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India – First Impressions

Stand next to open sewer while viewing photo for full effect

Stand next to open sewer while viewing photo for full effect

Yesterday we crossed into India at Sunauli after a bumpy bus ride across southern Nepal.  After another bus ride and several bicycle taxis we arrived in Garakhpur.  There followed a learning curve wherein we attempted to decipher the convoluted Indian train system in an attempt to get to Darjheeling.  Eventually we decided to head south to Varanasi from where we were able to book the long train ride to Darjheeling.

If you’re curious, it turns out the rumors are true – India (in our admittedly limited experience)  is hot, dirty, smelly, and incredibly crowded.  Oxen roam the streets rummaging among those piles of garbage and excrement which haven’t yet been set on fire.  The air seems constantly to be filled with acrid smoke.  Crossing the street involves dodging and weaving between buses, jeeps, rickshaws, mototaxis, and bicycles.  We haven’t yet become accustomed to the constant staring/glaring of passers by.

We were almost ready for this.  We had heard stories from other travelers on the backpacker trail and we had prepared ourselves for Indian culture shock.  We know this country has much more in store for us, both good and bad…


  1. Cathy says:

    Sorry that there has been so much of a “culture shock.” I can’t wait to see your pictures.

    1. Beth Ann says:

      After a few days we are starting to enjoy the country. It is really full of life here. Now that we have (sort of) figured out the train system it is less stressful.

  2. Marcus says:

    Yeah, I’ll never forget that smell.

    1. Marc says:

      At the moment I’m not sure which I dread more.. the stinging burning polyethylene smell or the open sewer human waste smell. Probably the latter.

  3. J-2000 says:

    Hey Guys!

    I can’t wait to talk to you in person about some of these events. I’m just catching up on your blog now and my jaw has dropped a number of times. In a good way, of course! I can’t wait to read more.

    Be safe.

  4. Marcus says:

    Will you be going to Kerala at any point?

    1. Marc says:

      Unfortunately we’re not going to make it to South India on this trip (although we have eaten our share of dosas and got an ayervedic massage). Next time!

  5. Ryan says:

    USHA: Don’t go. India is a dreadful, dreadful place.

    ZUBIN: You know, it’s the only country that still has the plague? I mean, the plague! Please!

    USHA: Here’s the registry. Send her a gift, and be glad you did not have to go.

    ELAINE: (Soaking it in) Right. Don’t go. Send a gift. I think I understand.

    ZUBIN: If I had to go to India, I wouldn’t go to the bathroom the entire trip.

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