We arrived in India on 4th August and so far it has been a wild integration of emotions, smells, people and cultures, all rolled into a jam-packed two weeks.
India has been a country that we’ve put off visiting for a number of years as a result of one thing or another. The time had come though for us to roll up the sleeves and visit this sub-continent.
So here we are; just two weeks into our three-month visit.
On arriving in Mumbai, we literally took a flight a few hours later down to Goa in the south where we had a few days planned to work with a newly opened hotel – The Planet Hollywood.
Our first few days were definitely of the luxurious kind – with us not leaving the Planet Hollywood resort for 2 days straight!
After Goa – we headed to Hampi, and from there we moved onto Bangalore and then Mysore (where we’re currently are).
While there are numerous negative myths floating around about India, we always make up our own opinion about a country.
As you’re well aware, India is completely massive and is the second most populous country in the world – just behind China. With 1.25 Billion people contained here, each state and city is going to have different cultures, languages, climates and foods.
Without going into too much detail about our first few weeks; I’m just going to give a brief summary of our first impressions of India.
While we are still in the early phase of our trip here, we’ve already seen amazing kindness from locals. Of course, you’re always going to get a few ignorant locals in the mix as well, but what culture doesn’t have that?
We do see how intimidating the staring can be, especially from the men towards women – but this is something that you quickly become desensitised to after a while.
It’s part of the culture here, so that’s just the way it is.
Overall, the people have been some of the friendliest that we’ve had the pleasure of meeting on our travels.
While everyone talks about the infamous ‘smell’ of India, it’s actually not as bad as I thought it would be. Yes, of course it stinks of fumes, rubbish and pee in the big cities, but outside of that, it’s really not all that bad. In fact, we spent two nights in the countryside in Goa where the air was clean and fresh with no sign of ‘the smell’ that we’d heard so much about.
It’s monsoon season in India, but due to the sheer size of the country, the climate changes as you move around.
When we arrived in Goa, it rained more or less every day. In Calangute in north Goa, it rained every 10 or 15 minutes each day, stopped and then started again. It was also extremely humid.
In contrast, when we arrived in Hampi after a 7-hour train journey eastwards it was nothing but blue skies and arid conditions, with heavy rains coming at night.
The same was true in Bangalore and Mysore; only it’s a little less humid. Suits us perfectly in fact.
Kerala is our next stop, so that will probably bring more rain and humidly as it’s along the southwest coastline.
Regardless of the climate, we’re going to make the most of our time here and try to see everything we want to see.
We had notions that we were going to be 100% vegetarians for the few months here, but those thoughts were quickly scraped after our first day when we had a plethora of meats in a delicious Goan meal cooked up for us by the chefs in Planet Hollywood.
The food isn’t as spicy as what we were expecting it to be. Maybe living in Thailand for the few months beforehand prepared the palette in advance. Our favourite so far is the “Paneer”.
It’s simply amazing and there are so many varieties of it to choose from. We’ve tested a few different curries as well and so far, we’ve eaten everything that has been put in front of us. At some stage during the trip, we’ll put up a dedicated photo post with a few different samples of what we’ve hammered down the hatch.
Honestly, India is definitely the easiest country in the world to be a vegetarian in, if that’s your preference.
The food is so tasty and cheap.
Our main concern coming here was the Internet. With our online business making good progress this year, it’s important that we keep on top of things.
Surprisingly, it’s not as bad as we thought it would be. The mobile 3G is pretty decent and we were able to get a local sim card and activate a data plan with Vodafone in less than 10 minutes. Then we tethered the signal to our laptops so that we had a connection on the go.
South America last year proved waaayyy more difficult compared to India (so far). Don’t want to jinx things, but we’ve been able to keep the show running without too much WRS (Wi-Fi Rage Syndrome)!
The traffic definitely lived up to the hype! It’s madness on a scale that we’ve only experienced in Vietnam before.
As bad as we thought Vietnam was, India is so much worse!
There’s honking 24/7 everywhere and the crazy drivers speed along like they’re on an empty road on route to the airport as they’ve got a flight to catch – a flight that they’re extremely late for. The cows walk down the streets like kings on the way back to their palace for some afternoon tea. There are rickshaw drivers picking up and dropping off passengers at alarming speeds and racing around corners like they’re playing a computer game.
Personal space goes out the window here.
Buses are packed so bad that there are literally 10 people hanging out the door holding onto the door! Need to actually get a photo of that to show just how nuts it looks.
As crazy as it all sounds, we love the hustle and bustle of the cities. It’s nice to be able to escape into an air-conditioned café if we just want to chill out – but the honking and noise will persist.
You get used to it pretty quickly.
India is slowly growing on us and we’ve kind of adapted to this very crazy place. We’re learning from our mistakes – like forgetting NOT to brush your teeth with the tap water!
More importantly, we’re starting to really enjoy the whole crazy experience of travelling in India.
Yes, it’s only the beginning and there will be a lot of ups and downs to come – but that’s travel and that’s why we love it!