Hello to all my lovely Curlettes!( how does this name sounds like to you?:))
Today I'm gonna write a blog about my recent trip to India. If you've followed me for a while then you should already know that travelling is one of my biggest passions: after visiting many European countries, Australia, New Caledonia, the Middle East, Africa or the US, this time I've had the opportunity to travel to India for ten days. I've been invited with my husband to go to a wedding and spend a few days immersed in a new culture with an Indian family while visiting the south of the country..; I sort of knew straight away it would be one of those trips that would change me forever. I never thought I'd ever go there one day though (like most of my trips to be honest!) and I didn't really know what to expect, apart from experiencing something quite different.
The first thing that hit me was how people drive on the road: if London's traffic drives you mad already, then know you haven't seen anything yet!! It's completely insane: everyone is honking ALL the time, you'll find an extremely high number of motorcycles, rickshaws and many wild cows, dogs or other animals standing in the middle of the road or simply crossing over...and traffic lights are almost inexistent! (though there were more traffic lights in Mumbai than anywhere else we've been). So it is somehow a very happy mess :)
Attending a wedding and seeing traditions and rituals so closely was also really interesting. In India they have several gods and often go to temples, making gifts for them. Making gifts to visitors is also part of their culture, so we were offered many coconuts, silk and other presents. They felt very honored about our visit, as we felt very honored about them welcoming us so kindly, so we shared many emotional moments.
Food was also a fun part of the experience: as soon as we arrived we were offered dinner in banana leaves, ate with our fingers and it was simply succulent! Very spicy, mostly vegetarian and full of explosive flavours (our stomachs got upset after a few days:(), we were so lucky to eat very traditional and local food: many of the recipes (sweet or salty) were made with a rice base.
We travelled in the South of India, from Bangalore to Mysore, visited a tea factory in Ooty, Gandhi's prison in Pune, and even ended up spending the night in India's only Sofitel in Mumbai! India being 3.287 million km², needless to say we spent loads of time on the road! The views were splendid, and because we were europeans, many people asked us everyday to take selfies with them: it felt like being celebrities! :))
You can find loads of things to buy in markets, on the roads or touristic places, and bargain is almost like a national game!
I purchased tea, silk, clothes, jewels, music instruments and a few souvenirs.
We also went for a safari and were lucky to see many animals in their natural environments (though it was unfortunately not the best time of the year to see white tigers).
It was also good to speak a bit more in depth with my friend Gauri, who told me about women's conditions regarding work in the country (her mother is from a generation where only 40% women were working, but things are changing); and that only the middle class is really interesting in making things change and progress regarding India's economy and cleanliness...I hope they'll manage to reach their goals!
To summarise, I'd say travelling there was somehow a shock to the system but we completely fell in love with the country and its inhabitants, and we're already thinking of coming back and visit the North of the country next time!
Hope you enjoyed reading and I leave you with a few more pictures!