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Apr. 6th, 2007 @ 02:42 pm Madness
How to even begin describing my first month in India? Should I start with places (Varanasi, Orchha, Bhopal, Mandu, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, Bundi, Pushkar, Udaipur...) or experiences (being temporarily dyed purple during the festival of Holi, encountering transvestites on a night train to Kota, just barely preventing a bedbug infestation of my backpack, joining the women of Maheshwar in a mad dance to the goddess Durga...)? Or perhaps I should begin with pictures.

I love it here and at the same time hate it. It's nothing like what I expected yet some things are exactly as I expected. I've been sad, shocked, amazed, and seriously scared at times. Every day I waver between wanting to escape this place and be safe again within my own culture (I know now that I will never understand Indian culture; the longer I stay and the more I learn, the more bewildered I become) and thinking that perhaps I could stay another six months. Confused and uncertain, my only option is to keep moving and see what this insane country will throw at me next. Northward, I think.
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Date:April 7th, 2007 02:42 pm (UTC)
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Holy wow... that's incredible! I'm in awe of the pictures (and your ability to get there) Have you been staying with people along the way, or backpacking along?
What adventure lies to the North?

May the best of luck be with you - I'm certainly interested in hearing more about the culture there!
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Date:April 19th, 2007 03:29 pm (UTC)
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Sorry it took so long for me to reply...despite the surprising modernity of India, internet access (or at least cheap internet access) has been a bit spotty lately. I've gone north as my latest update explains, though not the 'real North' just yet. I'm heading into the actual mountains tomorrow, but right now I'm still in the foothills. I can't say exactly what adventure lies in Kinnaur and Spiti; I know there will be rough, narrow, cliff-clinging roads and tiny villages, but I'm trying not to have any expectations.

For accomodation, I've had the luck to find cheap guesthouses in every place I've visited so far. India has been on the "backpacker trail" for a good thirty years and so that sort of infrastructure is quite well developed. In the future I hope to have more homestay experiences, whether on one of the WWOOF farms or through another volunteer organization.