We were super excited about our trip to Manali so we left Delhi around midnight on a Friday night. It was a holiday weekend and we were hoping to miss traffic, but we didn’t. Instead it took us five hours to get out of Delhi! Finally the roads cleared somewhere around daybreak and we welcomed the clearing air, blue skies and quaint villages, along with the first dawn of our nine day vacation. We drove through the cute towns of Mandi and Kullu where we stopped at a fruit stand for some fresh apples. I eventually took my turn at the wheel so Kirti could take some much deserved rest before navigating the steep winding roads of the Himalaya Mountains. Finally, 18.5 hours later, we arrived in Manali. Little did we know that Manali is a little town full of big surprises.
India really is a fascinating country! They call it incredible India for a reason, and here are 10 fun facts that emphasize just how incredible India truly is.
1. It’s soooo dusty here and water is so precious that most people dust their cars instead of wash them.
2. The monsoon season is from July to September and it can rain inches in just a couple of hours. Delhi typically gets about 75% of its annual rainfall during the monsoons. Other parts of India get 90% of their rain during that time.
So you think we have bad traffic jams in America huh? Well, just like everything else, it depends on the basis of your comparison. Traffic in India can be some of the worst in the world, but there are different causes depending on whether you are in city or rural traffic.
In the city: Probably the biggest factor leading to the awful traffic jams is the sheer number of vehicles on the road. There are over 8 million vehicles per day on the roads in the greater Delhi area. Many commuters take metro, ride share in a tuck tuck, or ride a bicycle, but the roads aren’t designed to handle the volume. Many Indian workers commute over 2 hours each way without air conditioning and arrive to work already dirty and sweaty.
One of my favorite indulgences while living in India is getting a massage. It only costs me $15 USD! However, there are some significant differences between a massage in India and one in the U.S.
1. The first thing I noticed is that they give you disposable panties to wear. They look like a paper shower cap with leg holes. I guess they give them to you so you don’t get oil on your underwater. They look funny but are adequate for the purpose.
I’m so excited to be heading home for two weeks to enjoy America’s Independence Day with family and friends! Here are the things I’m looking toward to most when I’m home.
1. Time with my kids: I can’t wait to sit around the bonfire with them on the beach and just chat about things, listen to them play their music and hear their laughter. Time with family is very special and we often take it for granted.
I blogged in the past about renting a beautiful apartment in Gurgaon, but it unfortunately hasn’t been all roses. I’m currently in a big dispute with my landlord, and the situation is quickly escalating.
The problem is due to the high cost of my electricity bills. My first bill was about 30,000 rupees, or about $450 USD. Frankly I wasn’t all that surprised. My flat is about 2000 sq ft and has 5 separate AC units. None of them work correctly. I also run an air purifier and there is a ceiling fan in every room. On top of this Indian homes are not insulated or very energy efficient. I have big gaps in the sliding glass doors where I can feel hot air pouring in. So, I assume these are all contributing factors to the high electric bills.
I realize I’m guilty of bitching about things over here so it’s high time I share some more things with you that I appreciate about India. There are many special things that I like about India, and here are my top seven.
I know it’s corny, but I love my boyfriend, Kirti, very much. I never expected to find love in India. The best I hoped for was maybe a companion and a little fun. But four months into our relationship we are very much in love, in spite of significant cultural differences. He is adventurous, funny, smart, and compassionate. Kirti has made a huge difference in my life and has made my adjustment to life in India much easier. I am thankful for him every day! I guess you never know when and where love might strike, so keep an open mind.
There are so many cool places to visit over here! From mountains to beaches to ancient forts and spectacular temples, it is all incredible!! Plus it is very close to so many other countries that there are endless possibilities for vacations and it’s hard to narrow it down. Soon I hope to visit Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, maybe even Africa.
After spending over six months in India, oh how I miss my local Safeway, Trader Joes and Whole Foods Market! There is a grocery store across the highway from my apartment complex but just getting there puts my life in danger, and I’m not kidding! Grocery shopping in India is a risky business. There is…
After living and working in India for 6 months now, I can tell you that much of the time I feel like everything is just a big hassle here. Getting things accomplished in India requires a lot of patience, and those that know me best, know that is not one of my best traits. Nothing, even the simplest things, are ever easy! Here are some of many examples.
Buying data for for corporate use
We opened a corporate account with a local telecom carrier so that we could more easily make changes to our plans. This would give us the option for “post paid”, versus pre paid, meaning they would bill us for our data usage instead of having to pay up front. Initially they asked for about 10 documents, such as articles of incorporation, a letter of explanation on company letterhead, copy of the directors passport, etc. Each page of every document had to be stamped and signed. After jumping through all these hoops we finally successfully opened an account. A few days later I went into the store to make some changes to our data plans only to find out that I have to provide originals of all those documents EVERY time we want to make any changes.
Last weekend we headed out on another road trip, this time to Jim Corbett National Park, which is located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, India. The park was established in the year 1936 and is India’s oldest National Park.They have a wildlife and tiger reserve there and I’m still on a quest to see a tiger in the wild before I leave India. As is the case with life, the journey was every bit as interesting as the destination.
The park is located at the foothills of the Himalayas and It took us about 7 hours by car to travel the 250 kilometers. We drove through a number of small villages and towns, including Ramnagar and Muradabad. I’ve been in India for 6 months now but the things I see on the roads still fascinate me!