We've said it before - India is a land of contradictions and extremes. Over the course of a single day, we could vacillate between the highest elation and the depths of irritation. As we reminisce about our six weeks in India, here are some the highlights and lowlights of one of the world's most fascinating, and difficult, countries to visit, illustrated by photos of some of our favorite Indian signs.
Things we miss about India:
|Indian birds, it seems, subscribe to the raw-food movement.|
The head waggle. We had heard about the mysterious Indian head waggle, the side-to-side movement that means not ambivalence but “yes,” but we’ll never forget the first time we noticed it. We were at the Jaipur Fort and handed our camera off to a young woman to take a photo of us. She snapped the picture, Dave asked if it came out well, and she waggled her head from side to side. Thinking she meant, “meh, it was just ok,” Dave asked her to take another. Again, she snapped the photo and waggled her head from side to side. Dave started to ask her to take yet another when it hit me – “She means YES! It’s the head waggle Dave, the famous head waggle!” After that, we saw the head waggle everywhere, and by the end of our six weeks in India we could head waggle with the best of them. Luckily we would be heading back through Nepal a month later where we could keep our head waggling skills up to date.
The food. Oh. My. God. The food in India was spectacular. From the fiery masalas of Rajasthan to the Portuguese flavors of Goa to the coconut based curries of Kerala, we never got tired of eating Indian. Dave wrote in more detail about Indian food here.
|Oh man, no pan, no pan masala, and no arms? |
What a boring monument.
|I'm not sure that these specific clothes would make your boyfriend any less ugly.|
|This sign must be directed at all the feline tourists out there.|
|This seemed like a clever way to maintain the Line of Control.|
We certainly didn't try to cross.
The language. Hindu is the first official language of India, and English the second official language, but there are almost thirty Indian languages that are spoken by more than a million people. In Kerala, for example, the people speak Malayalam. What we loved, however, was the unique mix of Hindi and English that we heard everywhere and particularly in TV and movies when characters would switch back and forth between the two languages with blazing speeds. And we loved the way the newspapers seemed to create their own English words, like lathicharged (meaning, to charge with a lathi (a police club)).
The trash. Remember those tiny five rupees plastic cups my roadside chai was served in? For the first week or so, I would carry those cups around with me all day until I found a trash can. But before long I succumbed to the Indian waste disposal system and simply tossed my plastic cup on top of a pile of similar plastic cups (but never on non-trash covered ground; I've got principles).
|You mean, don't spit on this filthy, streaked, dirt encrusted plastic window?|
Also, is spitting permissible on the other nearby windows?
Cows. It’s hard enough to dodge cars, motorbikes, trucks and bicycles when navigating the streets of India, and cows (and cow shit) just add another layer of hazard. Also, cows are best enjoyed rare, and on my plate.
|Before this sign people presumably sought police assistance by spitting in their faces.|
|At least they're not claiming that they're definitely the best in town.|
|Basically, your laundry will be ready whenever it's ready.|