A Trip to India

Posted by Brette in Travel

Terry at the Taj Mahal

My husband recently went on a 10-day business trip to India. I had fits of jealousy, until he became ill from the food/water on his second day. Once he was feeling better, I was jealous again. He went to the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. He drove up into the Himalayas and had tea at a former British officers’ club. He stayed on the Arabian Sea in Mumbai and spent the day at a colleague’s home on a Mumbai island, complete with aquifer-fed in-ground pool and private chef. He had all kinds of amazing food.  You can see why I was on the brink of divorce over this.

Here are some of his observations:

– There are cows everywhere, and no one comments on them. He saw cows in downtown Mumbai. They’re like squirrels. You wouldn’t remark on a squirrel.

– Monkeys, on the other hand, are also everywhere, but people do comment on them, either to say how cute they are, or to warn you that there is an angry one right behind you (no joke).

– If you think people drive like lunatics in NYC, go to India. No traffic lights, lots of passing, constant honking, yet no one is agitated like they are in NYC.

Officers’ Club in the Himalayas

– There is poverty everywhere, but it was not as overwhelming to him as it had been made to sound.

– One of the hotels he stayed at had a wedding, which is a week-long event. One night, the wedding party was brought into the hotel with a full marching band.

– The Taj Mahal is beautiful. There are passages from the Koran on the walls, inlaid with jewels.

– People constantly offer you tea and drinks, to the point of being annoying.

Sculpture garden in Mumbai

– In every business meeting he was in, there was a plate of Lays potato chips on the table. Everyone refers to them as “Baked Lays” even though sometimes they were not baked and were regular.

– Thum’s Up is the drink of choice, a cola beverage made by the Coca-Cola company. In northern India Diet Coke is the beverage of choice. Regular Coke is not even offered.

– The flight there was rough, but the one home nearly killed him. 15 hours is a long, long time to be in one seat on one plane.

– One interesting food he enjoyed was like a milkshake which also had nuts, fruit and pieces of noodles in it that you ate with a spoon while also drinking the liquid with a straw.

– On the way into the Himalayas, their car was stopped by armed military (wearing machine

Ice cream drink: Rose Falooda

guns) and searched for alcohol, which is brought into the area to bribe people for an upcoming election. Interestingly, the people he was with told him not to worry, if there was a problem, they would just bribe the officers.

– In the Himalayas, he was telling his companions about a restaurant here in Buffalo. A woman nearby overheard him and said “Oh, I’ve been there. We’re from Toronto.” There is always a Buffalo connection. (I was asked for directions in Rome by a woman who turned out to be from Toronto – everywhere we go we meet people from home).

 

 

 

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2 Responses

  • I traveled to India in 2008 and loved it. One of the best trips I’ve ever taken. Your husband’s impressions match mine for the most part, except that the poverty did get to me — layers and layers of poverty. You think the people living in the slums have it bad until you see men sleeping on Jersey barriers.

    What I loved most about India was the colors and vibrancy. I never felt more alive.

    Curious: was he mistaken for a Brit or Australian? That happened to me a lot. I think it’s because Americans are less likely to vacation in India than other nationalities. My inner Anglophile was pleased with the mistake until an Indian tour guide informed me that British tourists have a reputation for being fussy and difficult. 😉

  • Brette says:

    He wasn’t mistaken for another nationality, but he was always with business associates wherever he went and did nothing alone, so there wasn’t really much opportunity.

    The poverty was terrible, and everywhere, but it was not as horrific as he was expecting. Now, it may be he did not drive through the areas where it is so absolutely terrible. And he spent most of his time in meetings and only had a few days of sightseeing.