Our summary of India…

• There is no small voice in India, phones are always on full volume and talking is replaced by shouting.
• We haven’t had a bad meal in the whole country in spite of the many many varieties we tried, including street food

• Art is available anywhere and everywhere… 

• It can rain a lot with constant thunder and lightening during storms here
• Mango tastes like soap!
• India is massive, undeniably, incomprehensibly.
• As opposed to common belief, there are not many hole in the ground type toilets remaining in hostels and guest houses or in public use.
• Locals love video calls, phone calls and selfies. 1 out of 5 people is having a video chat with someone and the other 4 are busy taking a selfie. Of course loads of preparation goes into posing nicely for the camera. We once saw someone taking a selfie at a closed airport at 4 am and another posing on a construction site against some plain brickwork with a big grin. If we were to count all the people we’ve seen taking a selfie, we wouldn’t have time to write this blog.

• There are loads of half finished buildings with ongoing construction work, I guess so that the locals can take selfies there
• Volvo bus is a big thing?!

• Suzuki Maruti cars are everywhere. Literally every other car is a tiny white one.
• Thick bedding is supplied in most rooms in spite of the temperature 
• We haven’t seen any “normal” sized lemons and they have the world’s tiniest limes
• Geckos are distributed one per room. You never get 2 and you never get 0. We don’t mind them though, they are very cute and they eat mosquitoes

• People drive with their lights on full beam on at all times. Everyone gets dazzled, but no-ones turns them off!
• The dried brand of noodles called Maggi is really popular in the North of India. Even appearing on menus in restaurants. To be fair though, they do add a few bits of fresh veg to it….yummy!

•Weed is widely available in India. We took this photo in Kasol where it was growing wild everywhere

• Dehydrated dates. All I can say is…..why?
• Ants of every size are available in India and they bite! Even the tiniest microscopic ones will give you a nip

• We have learnt that India has gone through a globalisation in 1991, only since then the doors of the country have been open to foreign trade and that explains a lot…why mobile phones are so new still and so popular, why there weren’t many foreign make cars and motorbikes, why some western brands are enjoying a massive popularity.
• No matter how hot it gets, Indian men don’t sacrifice their long sleeve shirts and jeans.
• There are many many power cuts all over India. Wherever we’ve stayed they seem to be a daily occurrence.
• Loads of lovely fruit available at a fraction of their UK prices

• Service is incredibly slow at restaurants and things generally don’t come out at the same time. For that reason eating out can be rather strange.
• Many Indian ladies walk around in 40 degrees with their hair down, whereas I’m not even sure if Seda has any hair anymore as I haven’t seen it down for 7 weeks.
•They like their chilli

Just the 50 types of chilli powder!

• If you order a coffee here you will get a cup of coffee flavoured thick syrup. You have to specify “no sugar” when ordering.
• The only racism we’ve come across in India has come from the mosquitos. They only seem to bite the foreigners and leave the locals alone, much to our annoyance!
• We’ve been lucky enough to see many interesting birds during our time in India, a few that we were able to photograph…

• To our surprise, we were treated like celebrities in India. We never quite understood why but many locals asked to take a picture with us. On one occasion after asking to take a selfie with me, this lady shoved one of her kids onto my lap and two of us with the kids on our laps posed against the Taj Mahal background. We started enjoying this selfie game and actually one of us took a picture of the people taking the picture. We also kind of wondered what their explanation would be when showing the pictures of themselves with random westerners to their friends?

All funny bits aside, there are wonderful people in India some of which were the heroes of our heartwarming experiences 

• On a trip I went on alone, the driver stopped to get some food. In spite of my reservations about eating at places not many customers visit, I was very hungry so asked for some vegetable noodles. For the equivalent of £0.50 I had a delicious plate of noodles and a bottle of cold water. I mentioned to the guy who prepped the noodles that it was delicious and I really enjoyed it. I dont think he gets people saying nice things very often so he was very touched and gifted me a free pack of chewing gum along with my change. He then showed us his white pigeon collection!

• Fed up with tuktuk drivers trying to rip us off, we asked help from the security man at Chandigarh bus terminal gate. He went above and beyond helpful and actually used his own account to get a taxi. Also just as we were getting in, he gave us 100 rupees to cover his outstanding balance of 70 rupees on his account. We gave him a souvenir Union Jack pen and our thanks.

  • When we arrived in Mumbai we thought we’d grab a bite to eat before we arrived at our Couchsurfing host’s apartment. It was pouring with rain so we took refuge near a few shops. One of them was a small cafe so we decided to have some lunch there. From the moment we entered and sat down could feel about 4 pairs of eyes on us constantly. It was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable until we found out what was going on. When we went to pay the owners told us they had just opened that day and we were their first ever customers! It was all congratulations and smiling for photos after that.

This is our goodbye to nearly 2 months spent in India. It was a country that we never thought we’d go to, but when we decided to travel it was a country that we knew would enrich our experience. We were definitely right there. With its good, bad and sometimes ugly India was surely an unforgettable start to our year on the road.

However, we must move on eventually, and Sri Lanka awaits……

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