What a wonderful journal! Your comments on India were right on the mark - we spent *four weeks* there and it felt like a lifetime. As I remarked, to Karna, my sweetie, every day there was like taking LSD and drinking a six-pack all at once ... you just lost all sense of reality in a matter of hours after arriving there. Every hour you would see something new and not even know what it was you were looking at!
I liked to read you complaints about India. Being an Indian it is easy to forgive and not realize a lot of things that really are bad. It was informative to see it from an outsiders point of view.
But a lot of the modern day conveinces that we have, come to us at a price. Nothing is for free! I personally feel life is more lonely and at times cold in the most modern places. More and more people rely on machines making the transactions smoother but lacking the warmth and liveliness of human interaction.
Your fricking article can eat fatty too all I care. You made India look like a pig stock. As a experienced travel I have to say that your method of traveling was pretty fricking gay. I have been to India several times(last time I went was in the summer of 95) and it was somewhat like you described but I have to say that you streched the truth a little too much. My parents are from India and when we go on family trips to India there seems to be so much to see in so little time. I do admit that the facilitys are not that great but for crying out loud its a third world country.
From what I read in your journal about India, it seems so [ deleted ] that one would think that you wrote it while having a couple shots of vodca. I am sorry if my words may seem a little strong but it just ticks me off the way you judge all of the Indians from a little gay experience. So just stop crying over that and remeber and write about the good parts of your trip to India.
(name withheld by request)
I read your little jouranl you wrote about your trip to India and I think your just a fricking whinner. I too have been to India several times and during my last trip in the summer of 95 I toured the whole country with my family of 4 for 62 days, and saw the same sites that you saw. What you wrote does happen, but you deffently streched the truth trying to make India look like a bad place. When its really a majnificent place to visit. You have to be a full to go into a third world country thinking its going to be like marry old England. India has came up in the world and is looking more like the States in some parts, but you have to remember that it is a third world country. You also made the people of this great place look like theaves and beggers that are all deformed in someway. When in truth Indians are like nothing you have described them too be. Just look at the Miss Universe pagent were Miss India has won and placed very high in during the past several years. In general I would like to say that you are a big baby because you can't find your way around and for that you blame it on the people of India. I sorry if I came out hard on you but obvisley we see things threw a different prespective you BIG BABY.
(name withheld by request)
Yesterday I found this page on the internet. It was interesting to read, specially Asia part of trip. I have traveled a lot though some countries you described (Europe, India, Nepal, Thailand, Malysia, Sigapur, Hong Kong) and I have to say something about India, which you obviously didn't like. I think it is because you didn't spend enough time there. It's better not to go there then go only for few days to visit Agra and Delhi.
India is such a strange country. First days you are shocked. Than you can't decide wheather you love it or hate it. After that you are 100% sure you hate it. You hate food, you hate mess on the streets, people moving around you, bureaucracy ... It's time to rest somewhere. Nepal is specially good for this purpose.
If you have enough time to return to India after few weeks, a miracle happen. Everything seems normal as it must be. Kaos on the streets doesn't bother you. You can see deeper in the indian way of life. You meet nice, friendly people, not only those who wants to sell something to you. You realise India is a beautiful country with many beautiful places to visit and with culture, which is deeper and stronger then ours.
I visited India 4 years ago and this sommer I'm going back again. I'm curious, what would happen this time. Do I have to pass all phases described above again? I'll send a report, if you are interested in.
p.s. If you are guessing, where I am from. I'm from Slovenia, ex-YU republic (don't panic, we don't have war). It is very small country situated south of Austria and east of Italy. You passed very close to our border on the way from Italy to Austria.
I'm back from India. I promised you a report and here it is.
I spent there 5 weeks and had wonderful time. I can't remember even one really bad experience. It was still a shock coming out of airport in Delhi, but it lasted only a day or two. Then I got used on everything. I knew, what I could expect from riksha drivers, tourist agencies... I wasn't losing my temper on such things, so I could concentrate on kindness of ordinary people and beauty of nature.
It's also true, that I visited northern India this time (Ladakh, Kashmir, Punjab) and it's far more relaxed part of India that busy cities full of tourists like Delhi and Agra.
I hope, you are going to have another opportunity to visit India, to feel real pulse of that fascinating country. If not, there are so many other beautiful places around the world much easier to travel.
Your soujourn was interesting to read and was helpful to others who might be considering a backpacking trip on a limited budget. It was so funny to see an American have the same feelings and impressions I have had while traveling to a few of the same places. For example, India and it's masses of people and confused travel system. I enjoyed visiting again vicariously!
I liked your journal, but didn't like your idea of travlling the world all at one go. Don't know much about other countries but India is not like USA that one can pretty much make opinion about the country just by visiting a coulple of places. India does not have the same dialec, culture, beliefs, stores ... (The list is long.) at each city . It is not Delhi and Agra alone. One has to take atleast 15 days off to know India and to make an opinion of it. Shimla, Manali in North, Jaipur, Gujrat in West, Manipur in East, Andaman-Nicobar, goa in South are few places to visit. Each one is very different from another making it hard to imagine that all these states are part of a one country
I was amused by your comments about Asia and India,in particular. Oh! I agree we are not clean, infact our cities are dirty and somehow we don't seem to care. But reading your journal, that is the only impression one gets of India. You were upset by the fact that you were stared at. Let me explain that to you. You in America consider it rude to stare at people, we in India consider it normal. If anything or anybody looks strange we will stare. (Which reminds me. when I was coming to America I was warned by my brother not to stare at people as Americans take offence at it. Needless to say I try to adhere to it, though it is so difficult at times.) Staring is an accepted form of behaviour. There are lots of other differences between the American behaviour and the Indian behaviour. But let me assure you that everyone in India is not rude and unhelpful. Yes, the beaurecracy is bad but that is something we have inherited from the Britishers and haven't done anything about it. On the other hand we have to find employment for everyone, right :-).But then India is not Delhi and Bombay. There are lots of interesting places to go to. There is Goa with its portugese influence, Kerala with all its greenery ( which is BTW the most cleanst of Indian states), Pondicherry with its French influence and everywhere the Muslim and Hindu architechture existing side by side. Yes, there are no McDonalds, or KFC, or Wendy's. Infact there are no chain restaurants ( unless you go to Taj or Sheraton ). But isn't that wonderful? You go to a new place and start finding new things about it. I know it is not wonderful for foreigners who are not used to our fiery cuisine but if you are travelling you might as well sample the local cusine. At least when I travel that is what i look forward to and that is what I find difficult in America. But I think it is because I don't look properly.
You mention that you didn't find a mob outside Delhi airport even though you were expecting to. Oh! dear I laughed. We are not that bad! We have riots, almost at the drop of the hat it might seem. But no, riots usually occur at areas which we call the old part of the city. These are usually Muslim majority areas and somehow Hindus and Muslims do not see eye to eye especially during festival times.But otherwise the cities are not filled with gangs and mobs. It is almost equal to an Indian's perception that New York is full of gangsters and Mobs. It is not, is it? I have lived in Delhi for twenty years and I never been caught in fights even when the insurgency in Punjab was at its peak.We lived and enjoyed our life. I know we are getting a lot of flak because of Kashmir but I though Kashmir, at this time was aout of bounds for tourists. Anyone in India would tell you that and that sometimes makes me wonder why do foreigners enjoy courting danger? If there is problem the dilies are full of it and I do think w
Yes, the beggars are a menace. And they can be very persistant especially to foreigners who they always, erraneously, belive are loaded with money. The only thing to do is to ignore them but it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Probably that is why I prefer offbeat places in India, which have wonderful sceneries, warm and caring people who will let you share their home and food for a day or two and no beggars I have travelled in the South of India in that manner and enjoyed it. there will be no air conditioners or proper beds but fans, a room and good toilet facilities are usually provided. But yes, it will not be upto the Western standard but then given their megre income I don't expect it to be. Probably my being an Indian makes it different for me.
Btw, in your travelogues you mention the "hindu "language. There is no Hindu language. We have 14 official Indain languages. Mostly everyone knows English though it will be different from the way Americans speak. The usage is again in the British way which has been heavily Indiaized over the years.( The experience with the Indian Airlines is nothing unusual.Probably that is why people now prefer private airlines ). In south east Asia ( singapore esp) the language you would have come across is Tamil which is spoken in tamilnadu and parts of Srilanka. This is one of the oldest languages of India and the people who speak this language are called tamils. And the reason that it is widespread in south east Asia is because: i) long long time ago the tamils colonized parts of them ( they built the beautiful Ankor Wat in cambodia)ii) A sizable populations of tamils live there. They went there during the British regime as plantation workers.
I guess America and India are very different and the difference hits you very hard when you trvel to India. The poverty, the beaureucracy, the different behaviour of people ,the heat,etc. But somehow I glad that there are so many different people, countries, languages, religions, way of life, standards, expectations etc. Everywhere ther are good and bad people. If in America, I was robbed the first day I can come to the conclusion that only robbers exist in Amereica. But that would be wrong.If I peel away all the veener I would see the people as they are. And I would find them to be the same as in India (Oh! dear those two statements seem so contradictory but I am not sure how can I explain it to you). I am sorry you had a bad experience but probably one day you will feel like going back to my country ready to take it as it comes. And not compare it to your country. And then beneath all that garishness and dirt, I promise you will find a land populated by warm hearted,kind and nice people. I hope you will find that other than Taj, there also exists small buildings with wonderful stories behind them, palaces and monument which will remind you of the poem "Ozymandis" by Shelley,different people, different languages, different music. If you travel long enough you will find that there is something nice and vastly different about the different states of India.
I am angry! Why the [deleted] did you go to India in the first place, if you were looking for what you have back at home. Flights on time, clean streets and drug and crimes? You come across as a narrow-minded whiner who has yet to comprehend the meaning of "travel". One does so to experience other cultures and societies and take them at face value, and if you are really good you can even learn from it. Not to bitch and whine and make snide comments that imply how they are stupid or inferior than whites/westerners.
BTW, in India it is considered rude NOT to look at someone in the eye and to stare boldly at strangers. If you avoid eye contact it means you have something to hide; in your case it probably is yous asinine ignorance tho it doesnt seem you did too good a job hiding it.
Next time you feel the urge to "travel" stick to white decent Europe, better still to the UK, Ireland and Holland - they speak English. With "travellers" with your sort of ideas and expectations one day the rest of world will end up looking like a Dallas suburb.
I am not am Indian so dont try to shrug off the above as no more than a nationalist ranting, though I have been to India. All that you have to say about India is true, tho it's the tone I object to. If you cant deal with a place, dont go there but dont make yourself feel superior by bad mouthing is.
I love this collection and all Ur accounts about various countries. I have been to a few countries and its very nostalgic for me. I am surprised U had nothing to write about the Daulagiri and machapuchre or the fish tail mountain. I went to pokhara at dusk and was totally surprised to see these humungus monsters the next day.
I am an Indian and I am am surprised that other 'fellow countrymen' have expressed disgust over your Indian pages. From a westerners point of view, I could understand your feelings. Infact, the first few days when I visit are similar to yours.
On your pages on India, they reflected the side which every Indian has gone through, but it is just the way of life there which 'they' don't accept! But, U had visited only the crowded tourist-infested places which do kinda show the negative face of India. If U do plan another trip, I would recommend U to visit the southern places, Andaman Islands and to take Ur own time in doing so. Looking forward to some more entertaining articles from U.
Your travels through India brought back memories of my own visit to Egypt, which was, unfortunately not unlike your experience. I laughed recalling the major culture clash, and as a blue-eyed blonde, could sure relate to people's need to stare for hours on end.
Diane Mac Pherson
I enjoyed your travel journal, but I feel that you tend to misrepresent India as a primitive, backward country. Yes, India is not like England (although they certainly did try to exploit her during colonialism). You cannot expect the East to mimic the West and come to India dreaming of guidebook images. You must accept her on her own terms (even if these terms are scary). India's essence is more big cities and the Taj Mahal. It is a diverse country with regional variances. One must search and learn, realizing that most unique culture resides many times with those uninfluenced by the West and its anonymonity. You either love India or hate her -- most people experience both extremes. However, don't go in unless you are prepared to be shocked and you are ready to deal with philosphically conflicts that come with it. I admire Hillary and Chelsea for their jaunt to he Far East-- few are brave enough to try, and even fewer can understand. I'm still trying.
The comments about India, were, IMHO, excessively negative. I am from India and am the first to realize that one encounters enormous problems while visiting there. But then, which Third World country doesn't have misery and poverty? One would be leaving out vast chunks of the world if one wanted to travel only in plush surroundings. I tnink people going to India should be prepared to be in a different frame of mind. In spite of all the hassles etc., it can be an enjoyable place to travel around. After all, very few other countries have the richness of culture and tradition that the country has. There are so many things to see and so much diversity of culture that it can be almost mindboggling for a visitor. Of course, one has to be willing to rough it out.
As a fellow traveler, I really enjoyed the pictures from India. They brought back fond memories of the 24+ hour train rides and The Taj at Agra, New Delhi, Madras, Hyderabad, & Bangalore.
Donald Lloyd Jr
I feel you havent done justice to India. I can understand that things are different but they have to be looked at it in the right perspective. Maybe the next time you visit India you should read up on India and visit the southern parts of India also. When you are pressed for time the smallest of things affect you, I dont blame ya. Next time take your time, get in touch with the government tourist organization and they will look after you.
Read your comments on India. Actually you have not seen much of India. It would be much more interesting and less taxing if you preferred a guided tour/package deal which is not a rip off compared to the peace of mind you trade!.
There are places like Kullu, Manali on the foothills of the Himalayas. There is Shimla, Darjeeling, and several beach resorts .... actually the worst part is figuring out the travel/bureacratic details and taking in the beauty of the land are mutually exclusive as you might have expereinced.
The Indian people are a lot better than you made it out to seem. You see some roughians only on the street and foreigners are easy prey because they can get away easily.
I travelled to the North (I am from the South) and made a trip along with my colleagues (about 20) ...we shared rooms (worked out cheap!) arranged transportation (couple of travel agent friends) and generally had a great Time!
Sorry your trip was not that memorable. Maybe you will try and see something better next time you vist India.
I liked the tour descriptions generally!! and thanks for sharing it on the web
I read through the section on the travels throught India. All i could do was to laugh, laugh not because of what was written, but how the whole artcile was about the art of "whining". If you have decided to travel to a third world country, then the first thing to expect is to stop whining like a cry baby. What did you expect? A nice water bed, and a plane which would swoop you down to the places of interest. If that was what you expected, I am sorry. You are a lousy traveller. I live in South Central Loa Angeles. I think some of the streets here are in a worse condition than those in India. I think people here have no other job other than dealing in drugs and shooting each other. Things are so bad that even the city police head equates this place to "Beirut". So before forming any opinions/crticising some place, always deal with an open mind. As a matter of fact, i think i have experienced worse customer service from Delta and Southwest than some of the airlines in India. My luggage has been misplaced by TWA, and wow, i was never given any compensation for being put to terrible diffuclties in New York city.
I read your section on Asia, especially the trip to India. I am extremely disappointed with the way you have described the trip. You have made [ deleted ] England seem like heaven in a chapter following it. Please remember that those "white" bastards pillaged India till they could no more. I would hope that cynical folks like you would write more unbiased opinions about India. I can tell from my personal experiences that India is a much more friendlier place to be than Eng. I'm sorry to come out so strong but I disagree with your negative language in depicting the trip to India - mob at the airport etc.
(name withheld by request)