By: Jub Bryant of Tiki Touring Kiwi
Many a person has visited the country attempting to find something. Maybe to:
- find some kind of peace
- the answers to unknown questions
- an adventure of a lifetime
- life inspiration
- or the best masala dosa under 50 rupee.
My recent third trip to India wasn’t about any of these. It was more of a convenient place to stop for a couple months as I edge back closer to home (New Zealand) from Europe.
And the fact a few friends were going to be there during the planned two months. That was a big factor in going.
I thought I’d share a few thoughts after this latest India trip. My guess is you’ll be able to relate to at least a couple of them regardless of where you’re from.
Indian’s Are Busy. Even Too Busy For Holi
Holi in Mumbai
Celebrating Holi in India is a bucket list event for thousands of tourists coming to India.
The north of India is more wild with their celebrations than the south. But I figured celebrations would be of a reasonable size in a big city like Mumbai where I was with friends to experience Holi.
And while we had a fun morning (ugh, they start at 9 a.m) the day was tame. Rather than colour fights on trains, everyone was going about their day like any other Friday. We found a few kids and fellow tourists getting into the spirit but for 95%+ of the population it was just another day in the chaos of Mumbai.
In the evening I asked a group of young adults if they had celebrated earlier in the day. They said they haven’t got the time because of studies.
I can’t imagine too many New Zealand med students passing up a national holiday party for study. Full credit to them, but come on? Most of us say we’re busy when in reality we’re unproductive making us feel busy.
Bros Who Delhi Belly Together Stay Together
Delhi belly is colloquial for traveler’s diarrhea. For more of a table-friendly choice of words you can say food poisoning.
Delhi belly is synonymous with India due to many Western travellers suffering from it. I’ve always considered my stomach to be pretty good on the road (yay for being vegan), but wow, Delhi Belly got me good on the last week.
Thankfully (but not thankfully at the same time) my friend who I’d joined from back home came down with Delhi Belly at the same time. For the next week we were pretty miserable, but at least we can say we experienced a memorable life event together.
They Love Everything Cricket
Pune Cricket Museum
Where are you from? You can’t help but have fun with this question when you’ve been travelling for a few months (I can sell any country as many don’t believe I’m a native English speaker #accentproblems ).
Anyway in response I started saying ‘Brendon McCullum’ when the situation looked right.
Sometimes my reply fell flat, but other times it got the conversation into a high gear with Indians loving Brendon McCullum. For those who aren’t sure, he’s one of New Zealand’s most recognised cricketers with a high profile in India.
That’s something I noticed when chatting to locals about cricket. They actually knew players outside of the Indian team. I’m guilty of not knowing much about rugby players outside of the New Zealand team unless they’re a big name. They could list off nearly every member of the Black Caps and tell me something about them too.
They really love cricket, not just Indian cricket.
Where Is The Vindaloo?
When one of Dad’s friend wrote a comment on Facebook asking me to have a vindaloo for him I made an effort to keep an eye out for it on menus.
After a couple weeks though, nada. A vindaloo is a stock standard curry option at any Indian restaurant in New Zealand, Australia, and from what I can tell most countries abroad.
Writing this prompted me to do a little bit of digging about why I couldn’t find a vindaloo in India.
Turns out vindaloo is a popular dish in Goa, but is popular in other parts of India too.
Given I spent a month or so in Goa I’m still mythed with the fact there was no vindaloo options.
Everyone Is Always Fine
Random Indian: “Hello Sir, how are you?”
Me: “Marvellous, having a great day, on the way to find some food. How are you?”
Every Single Indian: “Fine.”
They are always fine. Every.single.time.
Regardless of the time, place, surroundings, the standard response from Indians is ‘fine’. It became a bit of a joke for me towards the end, allowing me to dig deeper…are you really fine? Inevitably they always were fine regardless of how much I tried to encourage them to give a different answer.
Sleeper Class Isn’t The Worst Thing Ever
The Golden Temple Train in Mumbai
Train travel in India scares some and excites others. I only ended up on two overnights trains on this trip in India and took the sleeper class both times. Many thought I was crazy choosing sleeper class with them insisting it’s better to go in 1st or 2nd class.
In reality, taking sleeper class is totally fine.
By booking sleeper class I had a ticket that let me sleep on my own bed. No one else was sharing with me and I got to meet some interesting people and see other totally normal citizens travel from one destination to another, just like me.
I did travel in second-class in Kerala in 2017 but honestly I can’t remember anything about it.
Sure, sometimes the train floor gets a little dirty, but people come through and sweep the floor in order to try and earn a few rupees from time to time. From what I found, sleeper tickets were at least 1/3 of the price of second class and for locals travelling as a family imagine the savings possible?
No doubt the occasional person catches a train in India looking to cause trouble, but the vast majority are just like you want to get from A to B in a safe manner. That means you’ll find a lot of families travelling with young kids in sleeper class. They wouldn’t put their kid in the dangers of sleeper class if it was that bad, surely?
That’s a few of the things I found interesting, annoying, and funny, about India.
I’ll be back again no doubt but for now I’m staying away from Indian restaurants with the image of porcelain closely associated with the cuisine for now.
Do you like travelling? How about Sports? Then you should visit Jub’s blog, Tiki Touring Kiwi – https://www.tikitouringkiwi.com. There you will find lots of great and informative articles about sports and travelling. And oh, he like cats too. That alone makes him a really awesome dude!