India is not for the faint of heart.
Patience is a virtue when traveling through India and you learn real quick you need to roll with the punches. Things won’t go the way you expect but that can be the best part of a trip sometimes. May I suggest reading “Holy Cow!: An Indian Adventure” Sarah MacDonald. I picked it up when I was in India its a hilarious and heartfelt journey though the country.
If you are headed to India with the idea of relaxation because you think its going to all be like “Eat Pray Love” then you will be sadly mistaken. Unless you’re headed straight to an ashram.
Most cities in India are very congested.
You will have to fight not only pedestrians and vehicles but livestock, namely cows, to get through the streets. Traffic is consistent all day in major cities like Dehli and sometimes even going a short distance can try ones patience, If you need to be some where at a specific time leave early or just expect to be late. I’m sure most Indians won’t even notice as they themselves are rarely in a rush to be in a place. Time is abstract in India.
Let’s talk about the cows.
You’ll be stuck in traffic for an hour because a few of them have laid themselves in the middle of a two lane “highway.” You will not see how the entire country looks at them like they are holy. They have the run of the place and they seem to know it and use it to their advantage. They roam the streets in different levels of filth many of them look like they are starving. For a holy beast they aren’t well maintained.
Where to plug in.
If you’re looking for the Internet I am sure you will find it in most places. However what you may not find is electricity. It is often inconsistent even in major cities. While in Varanasi I was in a large shopping mall and the power kept cutting out. As I started to panic I noticed that it phased none of the locals and they continued to shop in the darkness. In one town they told me that I could use the Internet at a small cafe in the village but that they only had electricity for about three hours a day.
A buggy day and night.
Another thing that you may have to get used to is, the bugs. They are everywhere and in abundance. From the second you step outside to the moment you go to bed at night they will be wit you. In your room , in the temple and everywhere in between. One day while praying in a temple a large bug that looked like a mix between a cricket and a roach crawled over my leg, I could no longer sit on the floor.
In one newly renovated palace now hotel my bathroom had tons of tiny beetles all over it. When I made mention to the guide he shrugged and said there are more of them then us. Which I took as “deal with it.”
It’s getting hot in here.
In case you weren’t aware India is a harshly hot place to be. Some days especially in the summer it is too hot to go outside and no one does. I went in the fall and it was still upward of 85 degrees with high humidity. For the most part I enjoy heat but if you aren’t prepared it will knock you out. After walking around all day I was always happy to go back to the hotel for a cold coke and a nap. Air conditioning doesn’t happen in a lot of places. It is mostly a luxury for tourists. Escaping the heat can sometimes not be easy.
Maybe all of these things turn you off.
It isn’t like bugs and traffic are my favorite things to deal with but if you are willing to put up with India’s eccentricities you will find magic all around you. There is so much more to this place then what simply meets the eye and behind every inconvenience is something new. Something you probably won’t ever experience again because this place is unlike any place you have ever been.