I can’t quite believe that I am sitting on a rooftop in Agra, India, with the Taj Mahal in front of me, writing this blog post. The moment we landed back in Cape Town after our last stint of traveling I knew I wanted to travel again. It was a relatively last minute decision though, because I knew I wanted to travel but that was as specific as my plans were up until about 3 weeks ago, when we decided on India, and 2 weeks ago when the tickets were booked. So this really feels like a dream!
I had so many preconceived ideas about what India would be like before I arrived here. People warned me not to wear open shoes ever, and to be prepared for some of the saddest things you’ve ever seen. What people failed to warn me about was just how much I would fall in love with this country, and how quickly! I am already planning next trip back!
It is sad, there are abused animals and there is a lot of litter. But for me, personally, it wasn’t quite deterring enough. The smells, the colour, and the people… they all enchant me. This is a place with so many things to see that I think you could spend your life exploring it and still not see everything.
So driving out of the airport in Delhi towards my hotel I wasn’t intimidated. The city is surprisingly beautiful, with patches of greenery and a few places that are actually well maintained. It did take us far too long to find our hotel as we were scammed twice before we even arrived there, but we quickly realised what was happening and called the guys out.
I certainly was not expecting just how simultaneously charming and sly Indian people can be. And before everyone recoils at this gross generalisation, it is not meant in a derogatory way. I don’t even think they are being malicious, I think it is so engrained into their culture and society that it is considered normal.
This is in fact the only warning I feel necessary to share about India. Not Delhi belly, not dirt, and not even sad surroundings. Just beware of the scammers! Most people you meet will be so nice to you, but just keep your wits about you as many have a hidden agenda.
So for the first 2 days we explored the area of Pahar Ganj, where our hotel was situated, and just adjusted to the general rhythm of India. We found our favourite eatery, a place called Flavours on Arakashan Road, that was clean and had very tasty and well-priced food. It was here that we were introduced into authentic indian cuisine, like Thali and Dosa. And Norman and I love it!