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Is India wonderful or not?

I’m just asking. I’ve been wanting to get to India for quite some time, I got my plane tickets, I’m almost there.
Almost…. because India seems to be some sort of fairytale hero who has to overcome different obstacles in order to complete his quest. From “they’ll rape you on the street”, to “they’re incredibly stinky, dirty and disgusting” to “go to Ferentari, it’s about the same” and finally “you’ll get diarrhea”.
I’m not saying that these bad things don’t exist.

Thoughts from people who have been there

Here are some useful advice I got up until now:

Hey, Simona, I read that you’re going to India… I have a good friend in southern India, in Bengalore, if you need his contact, tell me. Are you going by yourself or in a group? Negotiate everything until you get half price, because if they see you’re European, they will try to rip you off. Public transportation is terrible, I don’t know if they finished the subway network in New Delhi. Be sure to have maps with you, because it’s very crowded, and you can easily get lost. A good option for getting around is using CNG – those small green cars, they’re pretty fast and perfect for heavy traffic, or you can choose a rickshaw. In New Delhi you can see the Lotus Temple, the Akshardam (I liked it a lot), you can also visit a sikh temple (in case you don’t get to Amristar, where the biggest sikh temple is located – the Golden Temple), Mahatma Gandhi’s tomb.
Also the “India Gate”, which is like their Arc de Triomphe, it’s in a much cleaner and nicer part of the city.
Mosquitoes will be a problem, so be sure to have anti-mosquitoes spray… the temperatures are not unbearable, a little too hot only during the day.
I also went to Agra, where the Taj Mahal is, and Chandigarh, where you can visit the roses garden, and the rock garden (a garden made out of recycled materials, mostly ceramics, pretty interesting).
Don’t trust anybody 100%… it’s better to have a guide, and I hope you won’t be by yourself.
Other tips… they don’t use toilet paper…. they often don’t use forks and knives and eat with their hands, you won’t find european food easily, and their food is spicy, so wherever you go, if you don’t get used to their spices, ask for “no masala” or “no spicy”. Take some stomach pills with you, also for diarrhea and constipation… trust me, I went through all of the phases ) I’m laughing now, but it was horrible, so my advice is to pack pills, you can find them there too, but it’s harder to identify the pharmacies. It’s easier in bigger cities, ‘cause they have supermarkets, but if you’re going on a tour, it’s riskier. Only drink bottled water. Hygiene and sanitation are not priorities for them (but I guess you already know this), so don’t expect much from hotels.

Ok, got it: beautiful, amazing, surprising, cultural shocks, be careful, don’t be naïve.

Safety precautions:

Here comes the slightly scarier part:

  • –          Avoid wearing open toe shoes to avoid contact with different fungi (the streets are pretty dirty)
  • –          Always have a pair of socks on me when visiting temples, because the environment is moist and bacteria-friendly
  • –          Don’t buy fruit from street vendors
  • –          Have water purifier pills with me
  • –          Don’t stay in 1-2 Euros hostels
  • –          Have anti-mosquitoes spray on me
  • –          There aren’t so many things to see in New Delhi, Lotus Temple is interesting.
  • –          Don’t miss Varanasi and the river rituals

As for vaccines, the list is long, complicated and it differs from blog to blog. The ones I intend to do are the following: Hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever, and I’m still considering wheter to take anti-malaria medicine or not. A new complicated decision.

Why complicated? Because some anti-malaria pills only make you feel sick and besides, taking pills doesn’t guarantee you won’t get it. And that sucks. Feeling sick from the pills and getting malaria, a duo with which I don’t want to get involved with. But I haven’t decided yet.

The officials say:

India’s embassy recommends:

Crime level in India is relatively low. Minor crimes such as theft are common in mass transit, train stations and busy markets. In recent years, cases of rape or molestation of foreigners have been reported. Sometimes, fake police officers request money from foreign drivers. It’s best not to accept drinks from strangers, as there is a risk they will slip you some sleep-inducing pills and then mug you.

Romanian citizens traveling to India are advised to avoid as much as possible crowded places, walk around in groups and be very vigilent in mass transit (trains, buses). Avoid cab rides at night, as there is a chance you will be taken to remote areas and mugged. To avoid scams, you should always use authorised transportation companies, usually found near airports or hotels.

MAE recommends to all romanians in India:

–          Avoid traveling to mountain regions of India during the munsoon

–          Avoid walking or driving at night, crowded places, demonstrations and remote areas of the country.

–          Keep your documents, travel tickets, money, credit cards and other valuables safe.

–          Lock their cars and secure them with alarm systems.

–          Follow local authorities’ recommendations
Individuals subject to attacks or other criminal offenses must dial emergency number 100 and contact the nearest police station.

Reading these things I got bored and went back to looking at the beautiful things in India. I was getting to the Dengue Fever warnings…

If I like it and want to go again, will you join me next time? This time we’re a group of 12 people, I think! cc guys (how many?)

The photos are from our friends at Shutterstock and you can find them here: 1234 si 5.


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