I waited until I got back home to the USA to write this post. Why? It’s because many Indian’s consider complaining about a service, or anything in India for that matter, “anti-nationalism.” They don’t like anyone talking bad about anything in India, and if it’s a foreigner spilling the beans, that’s even more taboo. It’s…
This is a guest post by Jeron King The time has come to take a well-deserved holiday with the person you love, and there’s a lot to think about. The most important decision is where to go — why not consider India? When it comes to romantic destinations, you have plenty of choices, so we’ve…
Indian food is hard to beat. From Masala Dosa, to Thali, and Butter Chicken, it’s all mouth watering good. The street food is equally as delicious, but just a fraction of the cost. It’s also fast and convenient. However, if you are a westernized foreigner visiting India for the first time, you should proceed carefully. Indians don’t have any sanitation standards for their street carts. They don’t wear rubber gloves. Hell, they probably don’t even wash their hands. So, if you have a tender stomach I suggest you avoid Indian street food, but if you’re ready to indulge in some serious India treats, these are six yummy Indian street foods you simply must try.
Samosa is my new favorite Indian street food, and it costs only 10 rupees! That’s about twenty cents in USD. Samosa is a crispy deep fried snack with a flaky outer crust. Inside is a rich spicy filling of mashed potatoes and peas. It is usually served with a sweet and spicy sauce that reminds me a little of chutney.
All my life I’ve had a terrible pattern of falling in love with the wrong people, people that weren’t a good match for me. In the beginning of the relationship I’m overcome with a sudden burst of intense chemistry, and then I spend years, or even decades, trying to make it work. Now I realize that I did the same thing with Rishikesh India. At first I was attracted to her picturesque beauty, exotic charm, clean air, and the mighty Mother Ganga. But like any new relationship, the once rose colored glasses have turned dark. Now that the new relationship energy is over, I’ve begun to see obvious red-flags that I missed before.
I came back to Rishikesh for one main reason, to decide if I wanted to move here. All of the yoga, spiritual classes, Ayurveda, and recreation are very alluring. Plus, it’s cheap here, really cheap! I could probably live in Rishikesh comfortably on $500 a month. Unfortunately I’ve decided that inexpensive living is not enough for me. After a month in Rishikesh the clear answer is no. I can’t live here. These are the reasons why my love affair with Rishikesh, India is over.
The first time I came to Rishikesh, in early 2016, I cried tears of joy when I saw the brilliant blue sky. Keep in mind that I had just left New Delhi, one of the most polluted cities on the planet. I hadn’t seen a shade of blue in the sky for months. The pollution in Delhi was so bad that on most days I could stare directly at the sun because it appeared blurry and orange through the grey dense smog. Rishikesh is in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains and she looked shiny and new to me compared to Delhi, a good 7 hour drive away.
The first few time I visited Rishikesh I was astounded by all the usual tourist activities, such as white water rafting on the Ganga River, trekking through the Himalaya mountains, and shopping for exotic handicrafts. Then, last year around this time I took a 200 hour yoga teaching training course and learned that Rishikesh has…
I was nervous. I could feel sweat accumulating in all the usual places when I feel anxious, on my forehead, and the small of my back. I hate dentists. Well, I don’t really hate dentists so much as hate having to go to the dentist, get shot up with Novocain, and suffer through all that…
It was hard to believe that what was once a vacant lot was now decorated in beautiful orange and white colors from floor to ceiling. I swear, the Indian people can make anything beautiful. They take great pride in their weddings, and this one was no exception. Arun was one of my employees at my last corporate job, and I wasn’t going to miss his wedding to his beautiful bride, Aashna, for anything. It was in Delhi, 7 hours away from Rishikesh, but I made the journey anyway so that I could show my support, and experience the tradition and grandeur of a real Indian wedding reception.
The Indian people give out a “wedding card” instead of an invitation. It looks like a fancy booklet, with details of the wedding and the reception inside. This one was written in English and even had an QR code inside. The outside was a lavish yellow satin.
Love does not overcome all. Oh, we like to think it does. Disney convinced us as young kids that it does. Cinderella gets her shoe back and weds the Prince. Sandy and Danny drive off into the clouds in their new tricked out muscle car, and…well, you get the idea. The fact is, reality is much different. It’s often more like the Titanic and Rose having to let Jack go into the depths of the sea. Life is hard, and so is love. Love can’t make an alcoholic sober, and it can’t cure cancer.
Be Careful Who You Love
I’m kind of an expert on this subject. You see, I fell for the wrong man, again. I didn’t mean to fall in love with someone twenty years younger than me and from another country. But we can’t help who we fall in love with, or can we? Is there a moment, in the early stages of passion, where you can choose to move forward, or to stop before someone gets hurt? We had the opportunity. Kirti tried to explain to me that it would never work, but I’m stubborn and tenacious and was determined to make us the exception. Unfortunately, we weren’t.
I always thought chianti was a style or type of vino. Boy was I ignorant. Chianti is actually a region found in Tuscany Italy. So, you can even get white chianti. I learned all kinds of interesting things on my wine tasting tour, like you can buy a $70 bottle of balsamic vinegar, and that it’s pretty hard to hold a yoga pose when you’re a little drunk from all that wine. It was an incredible autumn day in Chianti Tuscany, and it was full of fun, fascinating facts, and new friendships.
The day wasn’t perfect. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the tour, the lack of organization surrounding the transport of guests was pretty shocking. It was kind of similar to my experience at the Rolling Stones concert in Lucca. It was a great event with lack luster planning. I can’t recommend to anyone using My Tours or GetYourGuide. The shuttle on the way out was 45 minutes late, and the shuttle at the end of the tour was over an hour late. I’ve been told that is just what you should expect as “Italian time”, but really? At the end of the tour, I had to call and pester the guide service to actually do what they had promised, shuttle me and some new friends back to our originating town. It was a real buzz kill, quite literally!
When my Italian friend and host suggested we go to Sassi for the weekend, I agreed, but I had no idea what, or even where, it was. Next thing I know we are headed out of Lucca and towards the mountains of northern Italy. Before long we are zooming along steep switchbacks, away from the city, enjoying the changing colors of autumn and the view of the valley below. Finally, we enter the most charming little historical village and stop in front of a giant red home, made of stones and concrete. To my right the Alps are towering in the distance and an ancient castle sits high on a hill. It was like like a view from a postcard. Staying in a 250 year old home, enjoying the astounding view, and mushroom hunting in the forest were all remarkable, and made for a most delightful weekend in Sassi Italy.
The Historical Home
Paolo Pocai’s family has owned the old homestead for generations. The front part of the home was built in 1770 and there is still an old brass plate above the door with the date on it. As if that isn’t remarkable enough, the back part of the building was a 15th century tower and still contains some of the ancient doors and the original circular stone staircase. The home contains some of the most beautiful antique furniture and chandeliers I have ever seen! It’s hard to guess how big the “house” is, as some rooms in the basement have never been completed, but I would estimate that it was well over 4,000 feet, which seems to be about normal for summer homes in the country in Italy. I helped Paolo prepare the home for winter as he doesn’t go there much anymore in the off season.