The Most Touristy Thing I’ve Ever Done

I don’t typically travel for the sake of seeing über-touristy places.  But, if something is in front of me and it looks interesting, then why not?

As of today, I’ve managed to check out the two most visited tourist spots in India.  The rock garden is the second.  The first is hardly a surprise to anyone as it’s a household name all over the world.  You probably  initially heard of it in grade school as it’s considered to be one of the seven wonders of the world.

I’ll bet that no one ever taught you that the Taj Majal translates to the Crown Palace.

I arrived in Agra yesterday by second class a/c train.   I got up at the crack of dawn today and ventured to see this esteemed work of architecture.  I must admit that the site and its grounds are rather impressive.

A Few Pit Stops in North India

After spending roughly a week in Delhi and Rishikesh, the drifting began to speed up considerably.  This had to do with body clock adaptation, i.e., the jet lag was gone.

I couldn’t give myself a reason to stay longer than I did in the four places that I visited.  However, they all boasted unique beauty and exoticism.

Chandigarth
This city looks like the United States.”

Thank you.”

Burnt-Out on Buses

I hope this will be my last transport bus post for a while as I now should be in the position to stick exclusively to trains. 

Trains are smoother. They don’t freak you out. Unlike buses, trains don’t have the freedom to perilously weave and overtake.

Deluxe Bus Ride: Shimla to Dharamsala
As mentioned at the end of a previous post, I opted for an overnight deluxe bus from Shimla to Dharamsala.  It was much more comfortable than the previous rides as I had two seats to myself.  The driver kept switching the lights from on to off and back again at what seemed like random occasions.   I read until I became dizzy, or until the man whimsically decided that it was time to kill the lights.

Dental Tourism

Upon arriving at the Dharamsala bus terminal yesterday after a 9-hour over night bus from Shimla, I was carted up a mountain by taxi.  A man drove me to the area known as McLeod Ganj.  I had him drop me at a hotel I’d found online the day before.  I didn’t book. I just showed up and negotiated a price.

A Visit to Nek Chand’s Fantasy Rock Garden

It’s like you’re stepping back in time when you’re really walking through a creation spawned from Nek Chand’s brain work.

In the 28-hours that I spent in Chandigarth this past Friday night and into the very wee hours of the am on Sunday, many things happened.   As mentioned two posts ago:

Public Transport in North India: Part Two

The main reason I drifted from Rishikesh to Chandigarth is because I’d read somewhere that there’s an amazing train ride that ascends up into the Himalayan foothills from a place called Kalka.  Kalka is just a half hour by bus from Chandigarth.

Public Transport in North India: Part One

The three children standing in the back asked me to take this photo. Click on the picture to zoom in.

Upon leaving the hot but holy and laid-back city of Rishikesh, I took a local, one-hour bus ride along the Ganges to Haridwar

At the Rishikesh bus station there was one other foreigner,  a German who had been to India on numerous occasions.  He, like me, had a train ticket from Haridwar to Chandigarth.

Getting Out of a Megacity to Rishikesh

Big cities compared to smaller cities and towns are  different dimensions within the same land.  This holds true all over the vast earth, and it’s even truer when you’re comparing a megalopolis to a smaller city, town or rural area.

When I bought my train ticket at the Tourist Information Bureau at the New Delhi Railway station, they only had one seat left.  It was in first class.

I’m Not Immune to Culture Shock

Considering that I’ve travelled a fair deal, I figured that culture shock was a thing of the past. Now that over a week has passed in northern India, I realize that’s not the case.

On my recent trip to Central America, the culture shock was minimal. This is not the situation here, now.

India is considered a part of the Asian continent; however, it’s the only land on earth that can be considered a subcontinent. I suggest that we regard it as a continent as its unique cultural heritage deserves this distinction.

Three Delhi Scams That I Fell Victim to

If you arrive in Delhi, or probably any huge city in India, and you stay in a touristy/backpacker’s location, you’ll be a target for certain scams.  I recommend you set aside $50 or so as psychological write off money just in case.   This way the potential trauma will be abated.

Don’t worry.  The cons are not intended to harm you.   They’re only to steal your money.

That said, following are three scams that I fell victim to in Delhi.

SCAM ONE:  As mentioned two posts ago, a beggar, whose name I’ve since learned is Rayna, managed to smoothly rip me off.  She’d asked me to buy milk for her baby.  I had originally thought that I’d spend just a few Rupees on the milk which ended up being a huge container of powdered milk for over 410 Rupees ($9)  Since she got me on that baby milk buying scam, she’s accosted me on several occasions, trying to negotiate more money out of me.