A word of advice from one Indian friend before departure was “fill all free space in your bag with wet wipes” so I made a stop at target in the states to buy some. While in line, a woman behind me said “Oh! I remember the days of baby wipes! They grow so fast though, mine is eleven now” rather than explain to her that I was about to go to India and between the heat, the “rustic” toilet system in some places and all of the illness that I was about to experience, I went ahead and lied “I know! Mine is already 9 months. Crazy how it slips by.” Lying to strangers is the most natural state of being for me.
So since I arrived with a cold, I didn’t want to deal with any stomach sickness…yet. I brought a ton of Lara bars and Clif bars from the states and was living off of those for the first few days. Eating my supply had the added bonus of making my backpack lighter. The first actual Indian meal I had was freaking amazing and I don’t know what it was. Since then, I’ve been having about one actual Indian meal (from a restaurant daily (I’m not ready for the street vendor yet. Little by little, guys). I came across one of the toilets that’s just a hole in the floor and I thanked my lucky stars that I’m young enough that my bladder is in good health and I could wait. I’m not saying never,I’m just saying not yet. I will figure out the hole system soon, but I’m easing into things.
I spent two nights in Pushkar, a small religious center with lots of Euro-hippies wandering around. It was beautiful and calm marred only by oily dreadlocks. One of the main attractions of Pushkar is the Camel tour through the desert. I’m not big on Camels (allergies) or deserts (ginge), so I opted for Chai, lakeside walking and a climb to the top of a hill to see a temple at sunset. I kept seeing Europeans and a few Japanese girls dressed sort of scantily and taking pictures of people and temples that shouldn’t necessarily be photographed. These things are somewhat disrespectful and add to the negative view of tourists. I kept wondering why it is that Americans have the reputation as obnoxious tourists.
I had a nice reminder this morning.
The hotel serves a continental breakfast with tea, toast, oatmeal butter and jam. I was enjoying my post-morning exploration chai when I heard in a very plain American accent “Ugh, this is what Indians eat!?”(nope) “These cups are so small. I don’t see any hot milk. The people are funny. This is why what’s his name said there’s another breakfast place down the street.” Let me clarify that I love my country and that I love the majority of Americans, but I do think that the baby boomers were a huge mistake. I think that their parents and children are all on the same page and we all know that we’ll be better off when they all move to Florida and talk about how awesome they are and how hard they work to each other and leave the rest of us alone. This particular baby boomer should have gone back to the job that was handed to her in easy economic times and her extra large Perrier bottle back home.This is why Americans have a bad rap sometimes; the ones who do suck, do so in a very loud and public way. I’m very aware of the fact that I’m an obnoxious tourist and doing everything in my power to keep that on a low setting. As soon as I finally shake this cold, I’m going all in on the street food. I don’t know much about Karma, but something tells me that lady might get dysentery from her next salad.
Next stop:the blue city of Jodhpur
P.S. editing this on my mobile device was the most annoying thing ever. It would be great to have an editor back home. Hint. John. Hint.