We had a rough start, and in truth, I didn’t really want to come. I am a traveler; my husband and I had been backpacking Asia for 3 months, but I had read the news and heard the horror stories. I was scared. My husband really wanted this trip and I didn’t want to let him down, so I agreed.
It took a solid pep-talk from my friends (thanks guys!) but I made it out and about. Our first tourist stop is where I started to see that maybe I had it all wrong. A family (complete strangers) stopped to help us. Not only did they help us but then they welcomed us and showed us around. This experience changed the way I felt about you, India. It opened my eyes and my heart to how nice and friendly your people can be.
From that moment on, we made many delightful connections. Front desk workers at hotels, home-based cooking lessons and people on the streets or train stations that stopped to help us. Now, there are times when I was openly stared at or cat-called. There were times when it was uncomfortable, but those were much fewer than anticipated.
India, you have some incredible sites and a rich, diverse history. You are home to the Taj Mahal, the Palace of the Winds and backwater of Kerala. We traveled for 26 days seeing sites, animal reserves and history. To be honest, your roads and road rules need help. We spent long amount of times in a car and came out feeling like we were in our 80s, not our 30s. It was painful and frightening at times. But your impressive history and diverse attractions always made the next stop exciting and appealing.
The pollution in Delhi was a force when we first arrived. It was burned our eyes, throats, and lungs. I felt as if I never saw the sky while I was there. Delhi is your biggest city, and the most intimidating for me. But again, your people saved it. They stopped on the streets to help us when we looked lost, and they stopped us to practice some English. They even bought us medication to help us recover from the infamous “Delhi Belly” while teaching us a cooking class.
India, you truly are incredible, just like you boast.* I loved your sites and history. I couldn’t say a bad thing about the Taj Mahal, Jodhpur Fort, or Ranthambore, but it is your people and their kindness for which I will return. Your people are truly what makes you incredible.
Please continue to be “Incredible India” and I will look forward to returning to see some friends I have met along the way.
All the Best,
* “Incredible India” is the name and slogan of the international campaign for global tourism by the government of India