After three days in transit from Bangalore, including a 24-hour train ride, a 1am airport appearance and a brief layover in Kuwait, I have finally arrived in Jordan. More importantly, I got out of India.
I don’t think I’ve talked much about my frustrations in India here, because when I was so angry I had to clench my fists at my side not to hit someone I was in no shape to be composing blog posts. India is not a hard country to travel in. In fact, it was one of the easiest I’ve been to. Most people speak English, there’s a comprehensive transportation system and it’s inexpensive. But the every day hassles I had to deal with wore me down.
After the first month of “rickshaw madams” and “your countries” I was becoming violent. Even though I’ve been to countries where everyone wants to know where you’re from (Uzbekistan comes to mind), they didn’t continue to talk to you and tell you everything they think about anything without letting you speak. When I did speak or beg off I was usally told I was wrong or yelled at for not being interested in the locals and so on.
More than that, I can’t stand being told what to do. Generally, when someone gives me unsolicited advice (“sit down, go there, eat this”) I automatically want to do the opposite. This lead to many situations in which I got into an argument with an Indian man because I wouldn’t sit down. Sometimes I would be walking straight down a street and a man would come up and point the way I was walking and say “yes, that way.” I would have to find some side street to turn off of just to prove him wrong!
Add to that horribly greasy and/or spicy food, pollution and a population that apparently can not tell the truth and I was out. If I had left after the first month I think I could still look back fondly of the sites I saw and the few nice people I met. Even though the South was much more hassle-free I still got into a physical alteration with a drunk rickshaw driver in Fort Chochin and yelled at people in Bangalore.
In my mind I kept hearing those people who say “you’ll either love India or you’ll hate it.” I struggled with that statement because I didn’t hate India and I didn’t love India. Mostly I was just undwhelmed and dissapointed by it. In the end it’s just better for both me and India that we’ve parted ways.
Jordan is a breath of “fresh” air compared to India and I’m excited to be in a country smaller than the state of Virginia with plenty of really old, really important sites—all more or less on the way to Egypt. I’ve already bought my red and white checkered head scarf and Iraqi Dinar with Saddam’s picture on it. For lunch today I had a grilled chicken wrap with avacado, salsa and fresh sour cream. Sure, it cost more than my hotel room but it wasn’t Paneer Butter Masala.
When I arrived at 3pm yesterday I immediately went to sleep and didn’t wake up until 6 the next morning. The hotel staff later admitted that they were worried about me, that something was wrong, but they soon realized I just had to sleep India off.