21 Nov India: touching a unique culture
India is a country where you will see everything you can imagine. More importantly, everything you will see will be intense. You will not see a beggar, you will see millions of them. You will not see a beautiful beach, you will see the most beautiful beaches in the world. Places of wealth are so over the top you’ll be stunned. The shanty towns of the poor, on the other hand, will set you back on your heals.
India is the one place you can visit and come away completely enthralled and disgusted at the same time. If your idea of traveling is sitting in a posh hotel, India has such resorts but you’ll be unable to avoid the less attractive areas. If you prefer to get out and take in a culture that is completely alien to your own, you will never find a better place than India.
India is really a number of countries within a political boundary. The south of India is entirely different than the north. The same goes for the east and west. If you don’t like the place you’re in, just get on a train for a day or two and you’ll be in a completely different world.
One of the biggest traveler complaints about India is the poverty. In truth, it is bad. There is simply no way around the fact. Whatever you have previously seen, wherever you have previously gone, nothing matches the poverty in India. The shanty towns are large cities and the conditions are less than ideal. To get a first hand account, I suggest you read the excellent book, “Shantaram”, by Gregory David Roberts. Roberts lived in one of the shanty towns for years while on the run from the law. The book is tremendous and gives you a different perspective on the poverty situation. Regardless, you will have problems dealing with the poverty in India. It can ruin your trip if you’re not careful.
If you’re considering visiting India, you need to accept the fact that life is different there and you need to come to grips with this before you go. In truth, India is an incredibly captivating country of beauty, stunning sites and incredibly funny people.