Top tips for and facts about Travel in India:
1. When you travel to new and wonderful places, generally the traveller is open-minded, wanting to learn and experience different cultures, peoples etc. etc. etc. Travelling in India has a grave added danger of turning said traveller into (a) a raving racist and/or (b) the rudest person on earth. I find myself thinking, saying and doing unspeakable things: shouting at strangers, slagging off an entire country because of an experience in one place (okay, multiple similar experiences, but still!) and feeling nothing but extreme annoyance at beggar children. CHILDREN! I fear I need to flee to the comfort of my western ivory tower and regain my empathy for the world in general. Good grief.
2. It is from bitter experience that we have learned that, when travelling in India, it is important NOT to reveal any of the following:
- although we are Kiwis, we live in London (the implication seems to be that, unlike actual poms, for some reason, we are rich beyond all measure because we have managed to move to and now work in the UK);
- that I am a lawyer. Particularly not an Immigration lawyer. Particularly not an Immigration lawyer for the UK government. (I hasten to add that having realised the effect of revealing the lawyer bit I refrained from going on to let on about the rest!);
- that we are on a seven month trip. Especially that part of that trip is to South East Asia to see my parents. Or that there is a wedding in the offing. Why? because the inevitable question is "what are they doing there?" to which the honest answer is that my father's job took them there. "what does he do". Honest answer - diplomat. That isn't understood so Embassy is the next bet. "Ah, Ambassador, you are an Ambassador's daughter". This lead to an extremely uncomfortable conversation with the owner of the (lonely planet recommended) guesthouse about how he found it impossible to get a visa for New Zealand but that if we were to invite him to our wedding then "my father could send him a letter of invitation to the country". Hmm. It is incredible how thick S and I can become at not understanding highly unsubtle "hints".....
3. If you hand laundry over, ALWAYS count how many pieces have gone to be washed. We are four down (but 400 rupees up). And ladies, it is always the bras and knickers.....
Okay, enough now.
Mumbai is fantastic. I absolutely love it. The place is clean, interesting, beautiful, friendly and full of really nice non-leery, non rippy offy lpeople (barring hotelliers but that serves us right for going dirt cheap in the most expensive city in the country). Oh and the streets are streets, not latrines. The food is amazing too.... so much for the great no pre-wedding diet cos India would take care of it for me ;o)
But we are heading North to Rajisthan today (first stop Jodhpur) and really looking forward to it.