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Posted by Jessica on Dec 14, 2009
An Unabashed Fan of India

I fell for India. Hard.

I can't recall a country that so seamlessly worked its way into my life once touching ground there. And yes, that includes our beloved Cambodia, our treasured Turkey, and our wonderful Argentina.

There. I said it. I adored India.'Some well-dressed Indian teenagers look out over Udaipur's lake while mama and baby cow enjoy the sun

Prior to our trip there, Tim and I spent a fair amount of time preparing ourselves for the worst. Many of the articles we'd read, many of the stories we heard, and many of the images we saw indicated that India would be unlike anything we had experienced to date. There were numerous signs along the way which pointed to the difficulty that traveling in India can present. We researched and worried and wondered so much that we half expected to be presented with an apocalyptic state.

'Just your average walk to the train station in Mumbai: a bit crowded, very colorful, and always an adventureBut what we were met with wasn't anything of the sort. Every place we visited, every train station we waited in, every alley we wandered down, every restaurant we ate at, every place we stayed the night, every person we met was welcoming. There was never a point we felt unsafe. We didn't encounter poverty any worse than some other places we've been. We never saw any malnourished or aggressive street animals. We weren't ripped off, scammed, or worse. The water bottles we purchased weren't tampered. The auto rickshaw guys never changed their price upon reaching the destination. We were never told a sight was closed or certain routes were blocked. We had no trouble booking train tickets on our own at the train station. The few touts we did encounter weren't aggressive. There were no rats, cockroaches, or bed bugs in the hotels we slept in. We did not have bad Indian food in India. And we didn't even get Delhi Belly.

Whereas much of our time before visiting India was spent preparing for the worse, some of our time in India was spent wondering when the other shoe would drop. But drop it never did.

'This adorable family from the state of Gujarat in India were tourists too and asked Tim to pose for a family photo with themInstead we helped a few new friends practice their English. We posed in photo after photo with Indian families. We made grandmothers giggle by asking them "How are you?" in Hindi. We learned about Indian weddings and cricket and castes and Bollywood. We drove through a gorgeous countryside. We fell asleep to the sound of the train on the track. We heard a heartbreaking story about a love marriage. We were given numerous travel suggestions, blessed wishes, and email addresses. We walked past cows and camels, monkeys and dogs, donkeys and oxen. We went to see a movie in Hindi without subtitles and were moved to tears. We shook more hands than I can count. We met schoolteachers and students. We shared photos and laughter and stories. We watched a community dance performance and heard poetry. We drank tea and lime juice and ate with our right hand. We watched the sun set over palaces and the sun rise over cities. We explored ancient caves, little neighborhoods, and bustling markets. We experienced so many firsts and saw sights that easily rival the most beautiful places we've seen in the world. And all along the way we never felt more at home.

During our round-the-world trip, it took me five visits over six months before I enjoyed Bangkok. I fully expected India to be a similar challenge for me. But not once did I hate it. Not once did I want to leave. Not once would I have changed a thing.

I know we were barely there. I know it would be very different traveling as a single woman. And perhaps we were just extra giddy because it was our honeymoon. But I adored India, every minute of it, and I can't wait to return again and again.

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Janet
December 14, 2009 at 4:57pm
Going back?:)
December 14, 2009 at 5:35pm
Most certainly! We really loved it there and couldn't get enough of it. At this point it's just a question of when we'll go back and to what part! :)
Philsie
December 14, 2009 at 7:06pm
I will be telling you
December 14, 2009 at 7:23pm
Philsie, you're an oddball. :)

We'll call the tiki bar about New Year's Eve this week. Mmmmkay?

Amy
December 14, 2009 at 11:58pm
How refreshing. Your attitude is perfect and I am totally inspired. I have never been to India. I have dreamed for over fifteen years of finally travelling there and reporting back in a simliar fashion.
Nik Mukhopadhyay
December 15, 2009 at 9:17am
Jessica,
I am from India (Kolkata) and had been a friend of Al for a long time. Your wonderful, positive comments about India really gave me a great proud and pleasure. I am going to forward it to lot of our friends from this country who always have a negative feeling about India. If you two ever want to join us during our visit to Kolkata, we will be happy to host and show you around our great city!
Best wishes,
Nik
December 16, 2009 at 3:47pm

How refreshing. Your attitude is perfect and I am totally inspired.

Amy – Awww, thanks! That's wonderful to hear! I hope your dream of traveling to India comes true for you soon. It really was such a fabulous and welcoming place for us. :)

December 16, 2009 at 3:52pm

Your wonderful, positive comments about India really gave me a great proud and pleasure. I am going to forward it to lot of our friends from this country who always have a negative feeling about India.

Hi Nik! I can't tell you how much your comment made both Tim and myself beam with joy. :)

And thank you so much for stopping by! It's a pleasure to "meet" you online. Al has mentioned many times before how he's hopeful we'll get to meet you in person one day, and we feel the same. :)

If you two ever want to join us during our visit to Kolkata, we will be happy to host and show you around our great city!

Thank you ever so much! We would love to take you up on your hospitality one day. :) We can't wait to return to India! :)

Anil
April 7, 2010 at 9:27am
Hi,

I am from Bangalore, India and i came across your write up by chance and was glad you liked India. Though its fast progressing in the 21st century, it has deep roots in culture, tradition and values and these are what makes it a totally different experience. Jungles, Mountains, beaches, Deserts…you name it you have it.Its a small world in itself. Do visit again for a longer time.

Cheers

April 9, 2010 at 12:11pm
Hi Anil! Thank you so much for your lovely comment. :)

India has definitely seeped its way into our souls, and we look forward to returning again one day. We've been talking about going again later this year, so my fingers are crossed! :)


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