My Indian Experience...
Highs: The non-smelliness of Delhi; staying in an Indian home; seeing the Taj Mahal; Pushkar;
Meherangarh in Jodhpur; my time in Ranakpur; Udaipur (hotel, cooking class, art class, yoga classes,
etc.); easily being able to change my Russia plane ticket (and also obtaining my visa, for that matter!);
my time in Southern India.
Lows: Being in floods in Udaipur and having my train cancelled; taking an overnight sleeper bus.
Best Moment: It's hard to say a 'best moment'. I loved Kerala - both taking a small boat through
the backwaters and going up into the mountains and hiking through the tea plantations.
Smells: Street food aromas; incense; a bit of animal poop (but not nearly as bad as I was expecting).
Sounds: Horns honking; Hindi music; the soundtrack to Kabhi Alvida naa Kehna; bells being rung
at the temples; howling winds and rains of monsoons; thunder.
Sights: Lodi Garden; the U.S. and Russian embassies; the India Gate; Connaught Place, an Indian
home; markets galore; Taj Mahal (450 rupees); Agra Fort (250 rupees); Amber Fort (Jaipur - 75
rupees); City Palace in Jaipur (180 rupees); Jantar Mantar in Jaipur (50 rupees); Pushkar;
Meherangarh in Jodhpur (250 rupees); Jain Ranakpur temple (50 rupees); Lake Pichola (Udaipur);
ferry ride in Mumbai (55 rupees); backwaters; tea museum in Munnar (50 rupees).
Tastes: Noodles in a honey sauce; channa; chicken masala; chai; seafood soup; onion dosa; chatni;
sonf; paneer; chapati; chicken tikka; lassis; saffron tea; biryani; malai kofta; curry sauces (both yellow
and red); Keralan fish curry; idly; mango juice; crepe-like thing stuffed with coconut and brown sugar
and steamed in a banana leaf; tropical fruits; lime sodas; cashew stuffed dates.
Activities: Cooking class at The Spice Box in Udaipur (600 rupees); Ashtang yoga class in Udaipur
(by donation); Bollywood movie in Jaipur (60 rupees); art lesson in Udaipur (250 rupees); playing a
game called 'carrom' with locals while in Alleppey (kind of like playing tabletop pool with your fingers);
taking a boat ride through the backwaters of Kerala; hiking through tea plantations.
Purchases: An Indian outfit; a CD of the soundtrack to the movie that I saw; the books 'Holy Cow',
'Shantaram' and 'The World is Flat'.
Street Food: Curries; tandoori; fried puffs; ice cream; lassis.
Fun Food Finds: McDonald's offers chicken curry and paneer wraps. Baskin Robbins has a 'Mint
Chocolate' flavor with dark chocolate ice cream and green mini mint chips throughout; they also have
'Butterscotch Crunch' with butterscotch ice cream with a caramel swirl and toffee covered cashews;
their 'sugar cone' is a waffle cone - Makes me love Baskin Robbins even more!
Animals Seen Wandering the Streets: Cows; donkeys; pigs; camels; monkeys; elephants;
dogs; goats; sheep; water buffaloes (these were in the water just feet away from the street).
Western Companies Out Here: McDonald's; Ruby Tuesday; Domino's; Pizza Hut; Baskin
Other General Info...
Visa needed? Yes. I got this in San Francisco. I opted for the 1-year visa though there are many
Type of currency? Indian rupee. $1 equals about 46 rupees.
Modes of Transportation: Rickshaw; auto-rickshaws; taxis; public bus; train; Kingfisher
Airlines; car with driver; overnight/sleeper bus (much worse than it sounds); ferries.
Things India Is Known For: Bollywood; being smelly; spices; Hinduism; yoga; Delhi Belly;
holy cows; Taj Mahal; monsoons.
Religion: Hindu is the major religion. The others include Islam, Christianity, Sikh, Buddhist,
Jainism and Parsi.
Language: There are at least 18 different languages in this country. The main one is Hindi. I also
experienced Malayalam when I was in Kerala.