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Step 5: India, finished. Last thoughts.

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

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Sold the bike, utilized my highly tuned traveling experience to lock down a direct flight at $30 less than the search engines and India was complete. My last night was Diwali, the Festival of Lights which is a cross between Christmas and Fourth of July (in America). After almost three weeks in Delhi and a nasty smokers cough from all of the dust and pollution, I was extremely ready to move on.

Now that I am here in my next destination, I can look back and give India a C+ on the Steve’s traveling scale. India is a very contrasting country which makes grading it very difficult as the scale is based strictly on individualistic perceptions. Even before I got here, most people had said that you would either love it or hate it. One aspect that did bump the scale and is probably a factor that has increased the scale a point was the Schwinn. I would say that half of my positive memories would involve driving around as well as the huge amount of stress relieved by what the bike offered. Had I done what I did by public transport, I probably would have given India a D- and would have quit about three months earlier.

Since it is a fairly complex scale, I will throw out a few of the points which were significant in my viewpoint on India.

On top of the list is Spirituality. I am not spiritualistic. That probably reduces the interest in India by half. Religion plays a huge part in Indian life as well as providing for over 80% of the related tourist sights. Throw in the Yoga and Ayuervedic stuff and it makes a lot of the interest that India has. Unfortunately, I am not into any of it.

Food. Eh. Again, really depends on personal choice. I am not a vegetarian. India is a vegetarian heaven. Now, it isn’t bad, and if I had to be vegetarian, I would probably make do if I were to have access to what is available in India. The flavors truly are dynamic. I however would prefer a steak with salt and pepper.

The people. No different than anywhere else with the exception that there are a lot more of them and in many areas there are too many. I would liken it to big city dynamics in the US where people tend to be less open and friendly. It’s a “don’t look at anyone in the eye mentality.” India being so populated has that in its large and medium cities. I totally understand though as things are tough there and sometimes you have to look out after yourself before you can involve yourself with others. The caste system I am sure has something to do with it as well as the scale of friendliness increased as you went downwards.

My favorite religion, Sikhism. I vote all religions should revert to Sikhism. I am not going to debate it as again, it is personal choice, but I think it does exemplify more acceptance of everybody, standards for living, and a group that your not going to mess with (they carry knives and like to drive Enfields.) I was truly impressed with the Golden Temple and rate it as my favorite place in India.

Ease of travel. Getting from point A to B is handled fairly well even though I didn’t utilize much public transportation. I will give a big thumbs up to the Indian military who’s job it is to keep the roads open up there in Ladakh. Amazing. Having a large range of options available makes things much better for travelers as you do have the option of paying more and getting better.

Costs. Very reasonable on the backpackers scale. You can definitely travel for cheap if you needed to.

Women. Good luck. Bollywood should be considered Sci-fi. India is like the Middle East. Mini-skirts and cleavage on tv, ten yards of cloth in real life. The huge segregation of males and females is pretty crap and really puts the damper on things. You just get tired of dealing with guys 24/7.

Travelers. Everybody does India so you get a wide variety of travelers. There is a pretty set travelers route, so it keeps things fairly easy. Now, those, I am not sure what you call them, but there is a community of what I guess is an off shoot of the old hippie groups, dreadlocks, tattoo’s, piercings, and wearing I guess is Elf clothes, I don’t quite get. Pretty fun to hang out with though if you get the chance. Oh yea, the Russian girls. I am pretty sure that were I to catch on fire, a Russian girl wouldn’t even care enough to pee on me. Man, I love them.

Music. Suuuuuuuckkkkkkssss.

Television. Suuuuuuuuckkkksss.

Nepal. Forgot all about Nepal. Nepal kicks India’s ass pretty much all across the board. I would highly suggest visiting Nepal and especially if you are not finding India to your liking. The only set back would be the food, but what you gain in all the other aspects really offsets that. Nepal is almost the solar opposite. The place is clean and non-clustered. Probably the most scenic country with the Himalayas and all. Plus, the people would have to rate as being the most hospitable. Buddhism runs pretty close to being a top religion as well (I don’t like the part where you run and hide from things rather than dealing with them.) Great roads for biking as well.

So, that was my experience in a nutshell. Would I recommend it to others? Definitely. Since it depends so much on your individualistic tastes, you almost have to do it yourself to really know if it is a fit or not. Anyways, it’s over and no use delving on things that are done, so shall we move on.

Motorcycle for sale.

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

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Maintenance history.

Anybody interested in buying the Schwinn?

Currently, I am in Delhi hanging out getting ready to move on so the bike has to go. The risk level has dropped considerably, however the fun factor has as well so I am looking to get to Asia as soon as possible. I’ve got time and t.v. so no huge rush, but it is a stress in my life and I can’t have that. Not sure about picking up another bike in Asia, I’ll have to do some research first.

Otherwise, just relaxing in Delhi.

One more stop, the birthplace of….. Hare Krishna!

Saturday, October 11th, 2008
datia.JPG Just a quick side note, while driving the 55 kms from Agra to my next destination, Mathura, I found that I was still in castle rich territory. I was pretty surprised ... [Continue reading this entry]

Castle hopping in Orchha.

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008
orcha-blog-2.JPG Orchha name means “Hidden place”, and it personifies that to a tee. I was actually fairly burned out about seeing castles after my time through the Middle East. By changing my ... [Continue reading this entry]

Khajuraho: The birthplace of porn.

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
sexy-1.JPG After leaving Varanasi, my next stop was another prime religious spot based on the Ganges. Allahabad is where two of the most important and holy rivers come together, the Ganges and the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Photos: Varanasi

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008
varanasi-blog-1.jpg The main burning ghat where cremations are performed. Just before you get to the main area is a flooded out area much like the water in the photo. That was ... [Continue reading this entry]

The heart of India: Varanasi.

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008
varanasi-blog.jpg I wasn’t exactly inspired to leave Nepal and head back into India. My time in Nepal was like going on vacation from a big city and chilling out in some quiet little ... [Continue reading this entry]