India – the How, the What and the Where

Three things FULLY absorb our days. How we will ride? What we will eat? Where we will sleep?

Three things we barely think about at home! Three questions that now bamboozle us all day long!

We fixate about a cornetto ice cream. We haven’t seen a cold storage truck for weeks! We ride around for hours to find beer. At the end of a long day! We imagine crisp white bed sheets. We sleep like logs in a grubby room. The people, the places, their words mess with our minds the whole time. It’s almost never what it seems …

Here is a last collection of photos from India. They try to convey this aspect of our trip ….

 

We see all the must-sees ... from the Taj Mahal ...

We see all the must-sees … from the Taj Mahal …

 

... to the narrow gauge steam locomotive ...

… to the narrow gauge steam locomotive …

 

... that creeps its narrow way up to the hill station at Darjeeling ...

… that creeps its narrow way up to the hill station at Darjeeling in the north-east of India …

 

... we get into a cable car ...

… we get into a cable car …

 

... to view the tea estates from above ....

… to view the tea estates from above ….

 

... but the sights we remember most are not the main attractions but the daily lives of ordinary Indians.

… but the sights we remember most are not the main attractions but the daily lives of ordinary Indians.

 

And daily life for most Indians is hard. Here are two homes side by side.

And daily life for most Indians is hard. Here are two homes side by side.

 

And here are small businesses open till late at night.

And here are small businesses open till late at night.

 

This guy makes a living sharpening knives using his bicycle to rotate a grinder.

This guy makes a living sharpening knives using his bicycle to rotate a grinder.

 

Hard work required at a granary too.

Hard work required at a granary too.

 

Local Government services are minimal ...

Local Government services are minimal …

 

We never see rubbish collected ... but most litter is first picked clean by animals ...

We never see rubbish collected … but most litter is first picked clean by animals …

 

... and then burned in little piles in front of most homes and businesses.

… and then burned in little piles in front of most homes and businesses.

 

We have seen some crazy sights of animals ... just look at these guys cross a busy street!

We have seen some crazy sights of animals … just look at these guys cross a busy street!

 

Donkeys and dogs all have purpose.

Donkeys and dogs all have purpose.

 

And water buffalo seem to get taken for swims everyday!

And water buffalo seem to get taken for swims everyday!

 

...

 

This monkey on a lead holds hands with his owner and Harry on the bike.

This monkey on a lead holds hands with his owner and Harry on the bike.

 

And in Assam we see 3 working elephants in one day.

And in Assam we see 3 working elephants in one day.

 

...

 

And boy - we have eaten well! From the best ever fried fish fresh out of the nearby stream ...

And boy – we have eaten well! From the best ever fried fish fresh out of the nearby stream …

 

... to the best ever fried chicken at a street stall.

… to the best ever fried chicken at a street stall.

 

And lets not forget the better-than-they-look vegetarian dishes at home-stays!

And lets not forget the better-than-they-look vegetarian dishes at home-stays!

 

We have had loads of this at truck stops ... chipatti (this one filled with potato and onion) to be dunked into yoghurt curry with bean curd. Really GOOD!

We have had loads of this at truck stops … chipatti (this one filled with potato and onion) to be dunked into yoghurt curry with bean curd. Really GOOD!

 

At this truck stop this dear gent keeps his specialities coming .... potato cakes, stews, soups, relishes, salads, desserts ... long after we are full!

At this truck stop this dear gent keeps his specialities coming …. potato cakes, stews, soups, relishes, salads, desserts … long after we are full!

 

And you can never go wrong with an omelette.

And you can never go wrong with an omelette.

 

These little food stalls are all over the place .... after 3 weeks we brave one ...

These little food stalls are all over the place …. after 3 weeks we brave one …

 

... really GOOD ... little puffed balls, broken open (by the vendor's grubby thumb) and filled with a potatoe or lentil mix and doused with a sweet and sour or chili sauce.

… really GOOD … little puffed balls, broken open (by the vendor’s grubby thumb) and filled with a potatoe or lentil mix and doused with a sweet and sour or chili sauce.

 

But, oh dear - the joy of normal things - toasted cheese!

But, oh dear – the joy of normal things – toasted cheese!

 

But beware the 10 paged multi-cuisine menu - here Harry peruses one - but we know full well there is only one thing in the kitchen.

But beware the 10 paged multi-cuisine menu – here Harry peruses one – but we know full well there is only one thing in the kitchen.

 

These little wriggly morsels we did not try in Nagaland (but we do later!).

These little wriggly morsels we did not try in Nagaland (but we do later!).

 

Here I vow to no longer experiment with Indian wine.

Here I vow to no longer experiment with Indian wine.

 

And Nagaland is a dry state! We stock up BIG TIME .... most of it already in the bag.

And Nagaland is a dry state! We stock up BIG TIME …. most of it already in the bag.

 

Accommodation - from the worst at Moreh (border town to Myanmar) ....

Accommodation – from the worst at Moreh (border town to Myanmar) ….

 

...

 

... and Rohtak ... where this grubby little hotel room  ...

… and Rohtak … where this grubby little hotel room …

 

... comes alive for us with a SA versus India cricket match (T50).

… comes alive for us with a SA versus India cricket match (T50).

 

... to this mediocre room in Nagaland ...

… to this mediocre room in Nagaland …

 

... with its many bucketed shower ...

… with its many bucketed shower …

 

... that proves to be very effective ...

… that proves to be very effective …

 

... to the grandest at Allahabad ...

… to the grandest at Allahabad …

 

... even for our bikes.

… even for our bikes.

 

And this really wonderful place in Kohima, Nagaland .... ... where Harry services our bikes ... in full view of ....

And this really wonderful place in Kohima, Nagaland …. … where Harry services our bikes … in full view of ….

 

... young models practicing for a fashion show ... and strutting their stuff up and down the stairs behind him.

… young models practicing for a fashion show … and strutting their stuff up and down the stairs behind him.

 

But wherever we are ... all our gadgets need to be charged!

But wherever we are … all our gadgets need to be charged!

 

And our (very few) clothes need to be washed!

And our (very few) clothes need to be washed!

 

Trucks are the life blood of India

Trucks are the life blood of India

 

And we love to feel the pulse at truck stops .... here we sit in the shade to eat and watch ...

And we love to feel the pulse at truck stops …. here we sit in the shade to eat and watch …

 

... the truckers wash their clothes and ...

… the truckers wash their clothes and …

 

... themselves ....

… themselves ….

 

... before an afternoon nap.

… before an afternoon nap.

 

A not-so-happy trucker!

A not-so-happy trucker!

 

India maybe the most crowded place in the world ... but we did not have a single nasty experience.

India maybe the most crowded place in the world … but we did not have a single nasty experience.

 

Here we are invited into a school ... where this little girl shows off with the ENGLISH alphabet.

Here we are invited into a school … where this little girl shows off with the ENGLISH alphabet.

 

This 4 member family on one bike is a common sight!

This 4 member family on one bike is a common sight!

 

And so is this genuine interest.

And so is this genuine interest.

 

In the North Eastern State (this is in Nagaland) people become really tiny ....

In the North Eastern State (this is in Nagaland) people become really tiny ….

 

... and the children become really shy ...

… and the children become really shy …

 

So many fantastic people. We will never forget his wise words ... I used to believe only what I could see, now I only believe what I cannot see.

So many fantastic people. We will never forget his wise words … I used to believe only what I could see, now I only believe what I cannot see.

 

This guy at Shimla breaks my heart. He and his family are called - the servants - by the landlady. Everything about him seems trapped in a body of a servant ...

This guy at Shimla breaks my heart. He and his family are called – the servants – by the landlady. Everything about him seems trapped in a body of a servant …

 

And this guy at Khajurabo claims, cheekily, that he is from the kings caste!

And this guy at Khajurabo claims, cheekily, that he is from the kings caste!

 

Katie from Kohima, Nagaland. I thought this was a hair salon and wanted to colour my hair. Katie jumped to it .... and it was just a normal retail shop!

Katie from Kohima, Nagaland. I thought this was a hair salon and wanted to colour my hair. Katie jumped to it …. and it was just a normal retail shop!

 

The Nagaland Deliberations! A most insightful political discussion with 2 government officals and a guide in Nagaland!

The Nagaland Deliberations! A most insightful political discussion with 2 government officals and a guide in Nagaland!

 

Auntie from Nagaland. This amazing guest house owner has sent her 5 children to University in Delhi!

Auntie from Nagaland. This amazing guest house owner has sent her 5 children to University in Delhi!

 

At a Tribute to Abba concert in Kohima Harry helps this guy pull out this pole in the way of his nagging wife. In turn he plies us with brandy and dried intestines all night.

At a Tribute to Abba concert in Kohima Harry helps this guy pull out this pole in the way of his nagging wife. In turn he plies us with brandy and dried intestines all night.

 

12 Responses to India – the How, the What and the Where

  1. Meggan

    You are looking beautiful Lils! I loved India and you have certainly captured the essence with your writing and photos. I now miss the food!!!!!

  2. Wendy & Amelia

    Wow, what a fantastic overview! The ladies are wearing beautiful colourfull dresses in spite of being poor (7th picture)! Fascinating how entrepreneurial people are to make a living! Love the info on what you ate. Interesting how they use animals to work! Can’t wait to hear lots more over lots of cups of coffee and good SA wine!

  3. Jan and Gail

    wonderful to have this behind the scenes view of your travels so far. Love it you are always so brave and enterprising and abov e all kind GJ

  4. Stella Ziegel

    Love your photos of India… All captures your experiences beautifully.
    Especially like the entrepreneurial hairdresser!!

  5. Anonymous

    A brilliant reflection of an amazing trip and typically in your style and personality, bringing out the best in the worst situation and circumstance. Safe concluding journey.

  6. Anonymous

    Great pics. Nice to see your faces 🙂 . Never expected see you pouring cheap wine down the basin ..ever. Shows-SA’s cheap wine (Crackling) is better ……

  7. Wolfman

    Very impressive guys!

    I’ve been looking out for each one of your posts and enjoyed each and every adventure story with you.

    Thank you so much for all the beatiful picture and for making time to write so splenditly.

    Kind regards and save travels

  8. Paulandphilna

    I think I love this post best! Don’t think I will have the courage to see it for real. By the way what is the blue and white thing being charged? Surely not an electric toothbrush!! he he, be safe on your way home. Love, us.

  9. Anonymous

    Seems a land of big contrast and a place I have often wanted to go to but to be honest have always been a little scared of, not so much from fear of the people but rather the poverty and how I might react to that. I am so glad that you have been able to experience this incredible place first hand and very grateful that you shared your experiences and photo’s with us.
    I hope to see you guys at the Buff to have a chat.

  10. Jim and Muriel

    No nasty experiences but many lovely ones——well done again !

  11. Heuningbal

    Amazing Harry & Linda!

    Thanks for sharing this mind blowing trip with us — looking forward to seeing & hearing about the trip when you get home.

    I’m sure you have a good few stories to tell.

    Safe trip home.

    Luv G, J, J & K

  12. Colin Pienaar

    Nice insight into the lives of Indian families. Love the little girl showing off with the English alphabet. Thanks guys for a most interesting insight into your trip. Can’t whait to read about your next tip and the unusal places you will visit. Love Colin & Debbie Pienaar Durban.

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