Monday, September 7, 2009
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1. India is cheap--astonishingly so. First class hotels for $50 per night. Excellent meals for $5.00. Great bargains on clothing tailored for you.
2. India is exotic. Magnificent monuments. Bazaars. Sacred Cows. Beggars. Goats in Coats. Kama Sutra Temples. (You can read all about my own adventures in India in my blog, The House of Keon.)
3. Indian food is great. One of the most helpful things for foreign tourists is that ingredients are listed on every menu. India has three major religions and numerous minor ones, each with different dietary laws, so menus really need to be clear and accurate. This custom allowed me to try many new dishes I had never heard of before, without having to worry about ordering sheep's eyeballs by mistake.
4. Indian Chai is a treat. This milky sweet spiced tea is ubiquitous, and has a flavor I have not been able to duplicate at home, even though I brought a packet of chai spices home with me.
5. You can afford serious souvenirs. Oh, yes, I bought some trinkets and t-shirts, but I was also able to afford a yak wool rug in Agra, and a silk bedroom set in Varanasi. Even if purchases like those are beyond your budget, it's pretty certain you can afford some silver jewelry, a pashmina, or a salwar kameez, lovely souvenirs you will enjoy for years to come.
6. India is a land of mystery. I was never able to find out why some goats wear coats there, though it's probably to keep warm. Also why men are allowed to use canes or walking sticks, but women are not.
7. India is not Bollywood. If films are all you know of India--even Slumdog Millionaire--you will be amazed at what the country is really like. The only way to have even a slight idea of the real India (after one trip I am hadly an expert) is to go there.
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