This will be the last of the 'places I went lately'-posts for the time being. Right now, I'm in Japan and I hope that I will overcome my laziness and upload stuff without that much delay.
So, I went to India this year. January 20th to February 14th. With my father.
India was a completely new experience for me. It was hot, people everywhere, it was load, hectic, dirty, animals mixed into every crowd, a lot of new smells, and - as obvious tourists, there were a lot of people coming up to us, trying to sell something, invite us somewhere, get us to go somewhere or always at train stations - telling us our hotel is full and we should follow this person to a much better hotel.
Honestly, it was exhausting - since I'm not really good at saying no, or what we often had to do - shoo people away. But once you get somewhere and get out of the tourist hotspots, it can be quit nice. Drinking some chai in the morning, watching people hustle by or just enjoying the view, get some nice indian food in a cozy restaurant, or just wandering around some busy streets. It was sometimes weird - in a lot of places, we got constantly bothered, but if you're in smaller villages or places where tourists are rarely seen, you can walk around more freely.
On my Instagram-page, you might already have seen some pictures of things I've eaten there and places I visited. Roughly said, we arrived in Mumbai, then travelled by train (21 train ride for 2 persons for ~7€!) to Jaipur, went to Jaisalmer where we did a 3 day camel safari, drove down to Udaipur and then took the train to Delhi. From there, we visited Agra (with the Taj Mahal), went back to Delhi and flew down to Kochi, where we stayed a few days and then flew back home.
This map shows the route, the numbers are just a indicator for the order of the places we went.
As I said earlier, it was a completely new experience for me. There was a lot of extreme poverty, people living in slums, on the streets - but then there are also some rich Indians. And especially in Mumbai, you can see wealth and poverty side by side.
All together, it was without doubt an incredible experience. There is a lot to see, taste and hear. But also, I'm really glad to be back. There are still places I might want to see there, and maybe I'll visit India again some time, but probably not soon.
Mumbai, taxi. There are a lot of these on the streets, but you'll see the Tuk-Tuk everywhere (pictures further down).
Mumbai, boats. This was near the Gateway of India, and these balloon-sellers were there too.
Mumbai. Train tracks. People just throw their trash out of the train, so the tracks are always covered in trash.
Cows are everywhere. People just ignore them or touch them as walking by. Maybe thats supposed to bring luck. Dhobi Ghat, a lot of the laundry in Mumbai is done here very cheap.
Cows searching for food in the trash.
These rickshaws are really cheap. And they have to be moved by muscle. Most of the people pulling a rickshaw have to rent these and probably pay most of the money they earn for being able to drive it. At night, you'll see a lot of them pulling out a blanket from under the passenger seat and sleeping in their rickshaws.
This is in Jaipur.
The "pink city" Jaipur. Only the inner part of the city is actually red. This was the city palace.
Food. There was a lot of street food (really cheap, but I mostly didn't eat it, because a lot of things would probably ruin my stomach). I thought I'll loose some weight in India, but I actually gained a little. They use a lot more oil than I thought. And they have really sweet sweets.
This is a Tuk-Tuk. They're cheap, they're loud, they'll drive through any road and they're everywhere.
Climed a hill by Jaipur to get to some fort on top.
Yeah, it was really hot. But with a nice view.
Food, fried in a lot of oil.
I don't remember what this was. Haven't tried it, I think he just began cooking.
Okay, I've tried a lot of different foods, and I really liked the non-fried bread, like Chapati and Naan, and also the different vegetable "curry" dishes (they don't really have one curry, but a lot of different dishes with vegetables and spices, which we generalize as curry). The masala chai (black tea with a lot of milk, cardamom and sometimes sugar) was good and some of the sweets and lassi were really good.
This is Jaisalmer. It's in the north, near to Pakistan (there was some military present around here) and right by the thar desert.
Jaisalmer is a nice city, not so crowded, so we had the chance to relax for some days.
These cows grabbed some things from the cart, and got shooed away from the cart-owner.
Yeah, cows everywhere. They don't belong to anyone, live on the streets and eat the garbage the people are dumping onto the street. They completely ignore humans, cars, everything and don't give a damn, if a Tuk-Tuk misses them by a few centimeters.
In Jaisalmer, we booked a three day camel safari into the desert.
Oh, a lot of kids wanted their pictures taken. Mostly, they looked very seriously into the camera, so I asked them to laugh after a few pictures.
A camel. Or a dromedary, to be more precisely. My father on his one, the white sack contains food for the animals, above that is his mattress and some eggs for breakfast. My dromedary carried the water.
Had to make our camp around 5 p.m., because it got dark really fast.
There was always a village somewhere nearby, and kids came visiting us.
Dinner. We had always something with lentils (Daal, in Hindi. Maybe you've seen some daal dishes at your local indian restaurant). I really liked these lentil-dishes.
These came crawling all towards us in the night. Had to get them out of everywhere in the morning.
This is in Udaipur, our next stop.
The view from Udaipur palace.
This is in Delhi. Delhi is really big, and we went just a little bit into New Delhi (which is the southern part of Delhi). This picture is taken from the Tibetan Refugee Colony in Old Delhi, called Majnu Ka Tilla, where we stayed while in Delhi. I really liked it here, because the Tibetan people were more relaxed and didn't bother us. They weren't as load as the Indians and I felt more comfortable here - it reminded me a bit of Japan. And I really liked the food. Could've just stayed here all the time.
Oh, yeah, this picture is actually behind the camp, already kinda outside the city. I have no idea who's living down there.
This is way inside Old Delhi. We walked past the big roads and the tourist markets, into small passages where only locals were. Also passed a muslim district, I think. First, it was a bit scary, because we had no idea where we were, and didn't see any other tourists. But the people here just ignored us, following their daily lives - and in the end, it was really relaxing walking around here.
School girls on their way home.
"Horn please". Yeah, everyone used their horns. Even little kids on bikes were constantly ringing their bells, which I found really irritating.
School boys on their way home.
Tibetan monk in the Tibetan Refugee Colony. Tuk-Tuks outside the colony.
Man sewing outside by the street.
The Taj Mahal as seen from the roof of hotel we didn't stay at, but had dinner in. Oh, yeah, this is in Agra, about 1-2 hours south of Delhi (the hotel is called Shanti Lodge, if you're interested. There are some other hotels/restaurants with a nice view too).
The Taj Mahal in the morning. We got the first tickets of the day.
In a Tuk-Tuk on our way to the Agra train station back to Delhi. These drove everywhere they could, like on the wrong side of the street. Well, whatever. I survived.
Agra station. Monkeys everywhere.
Our train arriving after waiting for four hours.
Oh, this is Kochi. From Delhi, we took a plane down to the south of India. 37° C hot, humid, more fish, ocean.
Chinese fishing nets, this is one of the things Kochi is famous for. We didn't stay long, we even took a flight slightly earlier back home.