Out of India

Posted by on Feb 21, 2007 in India, Jordan | 11 Comments

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.

11 Comments

  1. Jim
    February 21, 2007

    So, in one of your previous posts I told you that Egypt would permanently sour your travel attitude… it sounds like India was worse!

    I’m very excited to read your posts from this leg of the trip. Happy travels!

  2. Meiya
    February 21, 2007

    Glad you moved on to the next (and better) leg of your trip!

  3. Claudia C.
    February 21, 2007

    India…it surely left a sour taste on your mouth. well, hoping better travels for you. Take it easy.
    Pura Vida,
    Claudia C.

  4. Skye Frontier
    February 22, 2007

    Dear Megan,

    I’m blown over by your blog. I want to be just like you.

    Now you’ve arrived to right-next-door Jordan. Take some time to decompress. Jordan is fun (but expensive). If you’re planning on going to Egypt, to my great dismay, I would have to recommend avoiding Sinai for too long a stint. It seems that al Qaeda has gained a foothold among a minority of the Bedouin, and the Egyptian security services aren’t as omnipotent as we all once thought. Recent events have sadly borne this out.

    Now I’m going to check out your vast legacy material 😉

  5. Megan
    February 22, 2007

    Yeah, Jim… it certainly has worn my patience down. I’m trying to start fresh now though, even though it’s hard.

    Skye,
    I don’t know why you’d wan tot be like me, I don’t even speak Portuguese, let alone Indonesian. I’ve learned how expensive Jordan can be, especially compared to India. But it’s clean and people are nice and there’s food that I like! I ate meat twice today!

    I wan’t oging to really stop much in Sianai at all befoer but decided that I shoudl go to the top of the mountain. I don’t dive, or even really swim, so any time in Dahab will be short R&R.

    Thanks for the well-wishes everyone!

  6. Jim
    February 23, 2007

    You have to at least snorkel once in Dahab! Trust me, you won’t regret it! You can rent a snorkel and mask for a couple dollars and just walk right out onto the beach and go. It’s absolutely amazing.

  7. Ernest
    February 24, 2007

    haha

  8. Matthew
    February 28, 2007

    Perhaps India is not an “easy” country…but I feel that everyone should go at least once in thier lives…almost one sixith of the world lives there. Hope you enjoy Jordan…just don’t eat too many falafel sandwiches.

    Peace,
    M

  9. [F]oxymoron
    July 15, 2008

    Hey Megan,

    Suppose you had about 3 months to spend in India, where would you go, what would you do, and what would you definitely not miss???

  10. Megan
    July 23, 2008

    [F]oxy,
    I spent 2.5 months there and saw a lot. In retrospect I traveled very fast and it totally wore me out, although there were few places where I wanted to stat and relax, even the beaches.

    I would include Taj Mahal, Delhi (for the Bahai temple), Varanasi and at least one fort town in my trip. The temples in Mt Abu are much more impressive than the Taj, but also harder to get to. I really loved the South and thought that Kerala and Goa are overrated, although I didn’t spend too much time in Kerala. In the South I would go to Madurai and Trichy. I didn’t like Pondicherry at all. Although it’s a big city, Mumbai (Bombay) was interesting and had a nice feel to it and some nice architecture worth seeing.

    I would have liked to see the Golden Temple in the North, and maybe some of the mountainous areas, definitely Kashmir if it’s safe. I had just been in the mountains for months so I was anxious to get out of there!

  11. Megan
    July 23, 2008

    I should also add that I think visiting some sort of ashram, yoga or meditation for at least a week would be definitely worthwhile.