Indian Last Stop and Sub-Continent Conclusion

Trip Start Apr 30, 2006
Trip End Mar 25, 2007

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Flag of India  ,
Friday, December 8, 2006

This is our second 15 day trip to India.  We were in Northern India back in August, now Southern India... both trips felt much longer than 15 days each.  Nowhere in the world does time move so slow while traveling.  Why?  India is an assault on your senses.  You are constantly bombarded with intense stimuli that is rare to find elsewhere.  The smells: The never-ending strong smells of incense from the temples; spices and curries from the markets and restaurants; and foul smells of cow dung, urine and trash on the streets keep your nose on alert.  Visually: The bright, colorful saree's that the women wear are gorgeous; the intricate temples; the chaotic streets where you feel like you're dodging bullets to cross - all of this keeps your eyes constantly busy.  The tastes: Curries, masalas, dosas, tandoris, dhals, naan flat breads - a plethora of spices, handfuls of chilies, garlic and onions - wash it all down with fresh fruit juice, milk shakes, lassi's and ice creams and your taste buds will be in heaven (consequently, your stomach may occasionally be in hell.  Imodium AD should be with you 24/7).  The sense of "touch" may be the most engaged.  The dust from any Indian street will be kicked up from the numerous rickshaws, buses, cows and people.  That dust will undoubtably find its way to your sweaty pours and wet clothes as you've probably been walking for a few kilometers in the hot, humid sun along some unfinished "sidewalk."  That dirt, mixed with sunscreen and bug spray make for an interesting cake-like mix. (Add 2 cups of salt and you have SPAM by the way)... On the good side, every evening you'll be amused by your (orgasmic) shower as you watch the brown water flow down the drain.  In conjunction with the bumping and rubbing that comes with being in a country with over a billion people, and the mosquito bites that speckle your skin, the old "touch" sense gets all it can handle. 
The noise: As a tourist in India you get a double dose of what the country has to offer.  On one hand you experience (like the locals) the symphony of horns (which never stop) coupled with the quartet of frantic market owners; in the background you'll hear the overall buzz that such a large population will undoubtably make.  Secondly, as a tourist, you are treated to the countless number of touts yelling at you, trying to get you to do "the deal of the week," but are greatly rewarded by the curious locals that are some of the nicest people on the planet - always wanting to learn more about you and share what they know about India.   
Mentally, you'll take in all of this and attempt to understand (even a small portion of) life in India and the psych of its people... be prepared to be constantly thinking.  This society is one of the most complex you'll find anywhere. 
India is tiring, but extremely rewarding.  If you want to experience the longest standing culture in the world; an ancient culture which still prides itself on tradition and its religious beliefs, come to India.  This log focuses on Kerala which is the most south-western Indian state.  The log will also show some video snapshots taken during our time on the sub-continent - North India, South India and Sri Lanka.  Next stop - Southeast Asia - Cambodia!

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