The food was great. Pace my fears, northern food did not lack spice! I didn’t get to try everything, but I didn’t have any dish that was too creamy or bland. However, the masala tea was varying in quality, and sometimes disappointing/bland.
The aggressive touts were exhausting. It puts the annoying salespeople of US mall shops into perspective. However, the people not trying to sell us something were very friendly and helpful, so it isn’t surprising that when a sales aspected is added on, the result intense. The people we got to know were really great.
The time we were there was ridiculously hot, but it was nice to avoid the tourist season and have some space to roam at the popular sites.
The roads really need some work, but the railways were very enjoyable. If you have the time use the railways!
There was a lot of paperwork and entrepreneurialism. It is often impossible to get things done without paying someone to navigate the system. E.g., someone wouldn’t give you a form, but instead would insist that their friend take care of it. I missed efficient, impersonal bureaucracies and the feeling of self-sufficiency from doing things for yourself.
The gendered security lines were very silly. Making the women in front of me change lines and pull their items off the scanner, so I wouldn’t get their cooties, was infuriating. Megan found it equally infuriating to have to wait in much longer lines (there was only ever one line for all the women) to go behind a curtain for a metal detector to be waved over her body by a women.
We saw so much and still missed so much.
Everything was very colorful and full of life. After some of the countries we have been to, it was great to see myriad posters of faces and slogans; the world’s largest democracy in action.
Did I mention the food? It was great.