India had always been that great mythical place you can never go to. So, as I was landing in India, I questioned if losing the myth was worth it. But obviously at this point I had already invested a lot and carved out 20 days of my life for this. I had to go, right? Of course I didn’t have to. But how would I feel if I planned it and failed to go?
At this point, it looked like all the places I’ve been, but I know it wasn’t or at least wasn’t supposed to be. But I knew this was the time, my only shot. I’m young, I know how to defend myself well, and my IBS hasn’t fully progressed to can’t-leave-the-house status yet. I just didn’t want to go alone is all.
I’m proud to say I made it through the entire trip without buying a sari. I had the common sense to know that even if I wore it while in India; if I ever wore it America, I would just be a dick. So, I didn’t waste the money. I wasted money on countless other things. But that’s just all part of the experience.
The moment I arrived in India, I thought, well shit, no turning back now. So I got in the taxi the hotel got for me and headed into town. I was in New Delhi. And driving in India is absolutely terrifying. Everything is communicated through honking. It’s like if an entire city of blind people figure out how to drive. Get too close, honk. Just want people to know you are there, honk. Etc. If I could describe their honks as actual words it would go like this,
“Hey, hey man. I’m right here this is my spot.”
“Oh, I see you, bro. Don’t worry, I got you. I’m gonna turn now.”
“Cool cool. You turn. I’m gonna just quick dodge this cow.”
“‘ight man. Cool.”
“Good talk bro!”
I don’t know why they talk like American frat boys, but it just seems right.
The first hotel seemed nice. There was an air con and hot water so I couldn’t complain much. I also got to watch Charlie’s Angels when I arrived. I slept in the bug infested bed with no issues and went up to eat breakfast in the morning. I got a personal driver for a day of sightseeing, which sounds much fancier than it actually was. But still cool.
When I got to the first place, I was immediately stopped by three families entering the temple. They asked me for a photo with them. I thought it was weird, but then I figured, this happens to famous people all the time so it must be okay. I lived the rest of my day as a celebrity. I was followed at every site I went to. So somewhere on random Indian Facebook pages, there are pictures of me with families and men claiming I was beautiful.
I say “claiming” because I think they thought I was beautiful just because I was foreign. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m beautiful. But I’m not the striking beauty you ask to take pictures with. I fit into the Liz Lemon category of beauty—cute, but a little uncomfortable looking pretty.
(If you don’t know who Liz Lemon is, I can’t help you, and you definitely should not be reading this blog.)
I saw many great things my first day. I don’t think I peed the entire day. Wow, that’s not good. How did I not notice that? Oh well.
The second day I checked out and left to meet my tour group. And this next hotel was noice; it had the water pressure of America. Water pressure is everything. Everyone knows that. Anyway, I laid on the bed in that hotel all day, it was like being home.
When I finally met my tour group, I quickly realized that I was the only American in the group. I was so relieved. Americans are a pain in the ass to hang around all the time. So for two weeks, I got to hangout with awesome Aussies, Irish, and English people that just understood that I didn’t vote for Trump and I didn’t have to talk about it.
Our tour guide was this great dude that is completely obsessed with Chai tea, so I would like to call the next part of my trip—
CHAI, CHAI, CHAI
We went from place to place just looking for Chai now. Varanasi, Arga, Tordi Grah, and Jaipur was all about the Chai.
Varanasi is a city on the Ganges and one of the oldest cities in the world. It is most famous for Indians as the place to cremate their dead. They walk the body through the town and to the water where they burn the body in the open then scatter the ashes in the Ganges. It’s a really beautiful ceremony. The city is also near Sarnath, which is where Buddha gave his first sermon after his enlightenment. So, in other words, this place is important. Which is good because we had to stay there extra long because the train to Agra was delayed by 10 hours-ish. And the good Chai place was right next to our hotel, so we didn’t have to search long at this place. And we got to go on a boat, twice. Boats are the best place to be on vacation because they allow you to be on the water, like a beach, without getting covered in sand. The perfect combo. As a treat for our train being delayed, we got to go to a fancy hotel to swim and eat dinner. It was really nice. It was also the place my cold started. So that was fun.
We met this man and his monkey in Varanasi while hiding from rain.
I picked the one lassi that looked like poop already. It was still good though.
The Australians forced me to try Vegemite. It wasn’t bad for something that comes out of a tube.
The slowest rickshaw driver in all the land. Thankful I did have to pee while on the ride because then it would’ve just been boring.
But, lucky for me, when we finally got on the train, we were on it for about 17 hours, which I slept the entire time. It was a sleeper train so you get beds. This did two things: removed my cold and got me really comfortable peeing over a hole in the train. So, two birds.
When we got to Agra, we went straight to the Taj Mahal at sunrise.
Next was a bus to Tordi Grah, which is a tiny village between Agra and Jaipur. It was very beautiful, and we got to stay in a castle. So, at this point in the trip, we officially won the highest level of vacation status. We also went on a sunrise hike. Apparently, everything in India happens at sunrise. So I got to hike up a mountain with people that were much older than me, and, by the end, I was the only one unable to move my legs. Hence the nickname Grandmaw Ames. Going to Tordi was like the scene in the movie right before the bomb goes off when the director decides to put everything in slow motion and take out the sound because it’s more artistic. There were no busy roads, no honking, and no crazy smells, except for the cow shit. But that is everywhere.
Before Chai on sunrise hike, unable to move
After Chai, life has been given
When we left Tordi, it was very upsetting. I wanted to stay there and bark orders at people like a true princess. There was also a hot guy staying there that, so far, I only got to make moderate eye contact with. Guys didn’t ignore me in India like they do in South Korea, I wanted to try this new visibility.
In Jaipur, we got to see the Bollywood moive, Judwaa 2. I believe Judwaa means twin, based on the fact that the movie was about twins. And it was something. The movie itself was amazing, but the crowd in the movie theater was the stereotypical crowd from a strip club in the 1970s. It was like the crowd you would cast in a movie about a strip club. There was whistling and cheering when the star came on the screen. It was crazy. I’m scared to watch the movie without the crowd actually because then I won’t know what to do at certain parts. The music was amazing though. I can’t stop listening to it. I’m listening to it on a loop right now. I have no idea what he is saying but I’m excited. I don’t think I like music in English anymore. I don’t see the point.
Movie theater in Jaipur
Elephants rides at the Amber Fort.
When we got back to Delhi, all I had energy for was shopping. So that’s what I did. I also had extra money, and I didn’t want to exchange it again.
The next day everyone went home. And even though my trip took extra long because I had to go through China. Never willingly schedule a layover in China, trust me, it was always end badly. So when I finally got home over 24 hours later, for flights that were supposed to be 16 hours, I was just happy to be back in South Korea.
When I found the bus home, a very attractive man asked if I was going to Daegu. Yes, I answered in a flirty voice. He looked at me and said plainly, Get on the bus.
Yeap, I was definitely back in Korea.