The video showcases “Five epic road trips you need to take in your 20s.”
I’d say BuzzFeed got the video just right, because as footage of our trip is shown, the text on the screen reads, “Leave everything behind…except your best friend.”
60 Seconds in India
Look around you. For a single minute notice all that happens in just 60 seconds. It’s a wild, alive world, isn’t it?
In 60 seconds I spin 360 degrees in India, and this is what I see…
A white-bearded sweet old man with a genuine heart
An elephant walking down a highway
19 people crammed into a single rickshaw
An old man pushing his pedal bike uphill
An entire family that thinks a white person is a zoo animal
4 religions living in harmony
Hundreds of shops selling things for which there is no purpose
More colors than you can find in the color wheel
12 people piled into a storefront buying shoes
Cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, rickshaws, pedal bikes and pedestrians all sharing the same tiny bit of road
People moving effortlessly around each other like bubbles in a beer glass
6 people on a pedal-bike driven by a man in his 60s
A dog with a third eye
A dog with no eyes at all
A cripple crossing traffic on all fours
2 cows blocking the road, uninterested in the idea of moving
Women with infants begging
A 12 year old kid that owns a shop
Hundreds of chapattis being flipped
Lassi bowls being washed on the ground
Half a dozen kids ecstatic about the half-suitcase they found to play with
A handful of kids you thought were too young to be interested in you because you’re white
Someone’s whites hanging out to dry
A few ox that are far too intimidating to ask to move
Kids preoccupied in a street game of cricket
Painted signs covering every vertical opportunity
Locals selling fake things claiming they are real
A grown man taking a poop
Someone begging for your business
Yes, a camel
Dads with little kids piled on the front of their motorbike
Monkeys tapping into the clean water supply
Postcards that look like they were printed in the 80s
Piles and piles of garbage
Pigs enjoying the garbage
A man taking a nap on his bike
A skilled rickshaw driver maneuvering through the crazy streets
A grinning man that just made his first “lucky” sale of the day
Every other person drinking chai
A cow scratching the inside of his ear with the handlebars of a motorbike
An already overfull bus with a conductor hanging out the side shouting loudly inviting more
A goat stealing her share of the fresh fruit that was going to be your breakfast
Probably still will be
A few men peeing
Women going nowhere special wearing the most elaborate, sparkling, colorful sari you have ever seen
Young boys holding hands
Shopowners standing around watching the world go by, just like me
Newspapers floating through the air
Tattered kites in the distance
A fresh litter of puppies excitedly trying to hunt down mom
Endless amounts of used plastic bottles littering the streets
Cow poop. Cow poop. Cow poop.
Human poop. Human poop. Human poop. No way. More human poop.
The gaze of someone whose life you will never come close to understanding.
The gaze of someone who reminds you, this is real life.
Not just 60 seconds.
Pakistan Border – 35 kilometers outside Amritsar
The four of us wanted to go to the Wagah Border Closing Ceremony which was 35 km away from Amritsar.
This border closing ceremony has been going on since 1959. The lowering of the flags is a military service performed by India and Pakistan every day just before sunset.
There are grandstands, and they are completely packed. At least on the Indian side.
The crowds on each side of the border shout Hindustan and Pakistan back and forth in the same manner the Cougs and Huskies shout back and forth during Apple Cup.
The “main event” kicked off at 5 p.m. The Indian side played awesomely loud, good Indian Bollywood hits from some quality loudspeakers. People ran Indian flags back and forth between the Pakistan gate and the safety of the Indian crowd.
Locals were invited to dance unapologetically for the half an hour preceding the gate closing.
Kelly, being the spunky fun chick that she is, insisted we go dance.
So we danced our butts off and it was the most fun I’ve had in awhile.
My chapstick escaped from my skirt pocket and is now lost somewhere in Pakistan.
By 5:30p.m. there were some very large, fully outfitted guards with tall peacock hats throwing out high school cheer squad kicks, shaking fists, waving guns, and just exaggerating everything you think would be inappropriate toward the Pakistani side just a foot away.
It was crazy and pretty accurately sums up the country.
Heh. Why should we take national security seriously? Dude, lets throw some high kicks at the current poverty crisis, flash some fancy outfits around at the waste disposal situation and make a joke of the caste system. Sure, let’s just dance and everything will be okay.
This is the part where you hate and love India. You hate it because they take serious stuff not so seriously, but at the same time you have to ask, what else are they supposed to do? Find themselves in a great depression because they are swimming in sewage, poverty and trash? Good for them for dancing like hell and playing music so loudly you can’t hear your own rationale thoughts even if they could be created here.
It was fun. It worked. A pep rally at the border between opposing countries. Sure, why not?
Sorry if that critique is offensive to anyone, but if this country doesn’t take itself or its issues seriously, why should I take the country seriously in a travel blog. (Writing this while incredibly ill thanks to India’s collective lack of understanding of food, health and safety). Cheers.
Darkness set in and the four of us went to the Grand Hotel to get food and drinks. Yes we passed an elephant on the highway on the drive back…
A good night went really really bad when I became suddenly violently ill while at dinner.
Ahhhhhhh. I thought we won, and James and I would leave still standing when we boarded a plane out of here.
Pretty close, but unfortunately that would not be a dream come true for me.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
I wish I were kidding, but we had a nine hour train journey and I was not really feeling the whole train thing on this particular day. I was feeling like I would rather board a direct flight home, but was at least grateful that there wasn’t much I was missing by sleeping the day away.
We arrived in Delhi at 3 p.m. and it was hot as hell. Maybe it was a fever, but I swear the city was 20C hotter than when we had left it back in February.
Not feeling well, the night in Delhi was pretty short. Having given up faith on Indian cuisine, James opted for Pizza Hut and I had the laziest day on this trip yet.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
My time is Delhi was pretty crap. I spent three days doing absolutely nothing except being sick and cursing my brains out at this country.
James took charge and got our Vietnam visas sorted and we excitedly watched time fly by, preparing for our departure from this country.
Yeah sure, there are a million lessons to be learnt from this place, these people, their systems or lack thereof. But right now, I feel like crap. I want to leave India. I never want to smell decaying bodies, fermenting sewage, body odor, thali, fried dal, see the word ghee, see a head wobble or a holy cow again. Certainly not now. Not in the near future.
Thank you, and peace out India. You’ve been nuts.