There are often different situations to adapt to when travelling, particularly cultural norms. Travelling in India is no exception. Here are a few dilemmas and quirks that you may come across along the way…
Sleeper train survival
As India is very large you may find yourself booking a sleeper train to travel overnight and save yourself a day. Though this doesn’t come without it’s challenges. There is always the loudest guy on the carriage who insists on chatting away to anyone and everyone at maximum volume even when you’re attenpting to get some sleep. Earplugs at the ready!
Personal space can also take a different definition whether it’s a man trying to use your sleeper bunk to eat on despite not even paying for it, to finding a stranger falling asleep on your shoulder.
Backpackers often have the awkward fitting into tight spaces situation e.g. atm cubicle or tiny lift in Shimla trying not to knock out the person behind you with your 40 litre backpack
Street food Roulette
We have all been tempted or intrigued at some point by street food when abroad. And we face that dilemma of should I or shouldnt I especially when it looks this good? When you finally do give in you must pray to the ‘Dehli belly gods’ that you don’t get sick. The 5 hour waiting rule is often applied as you wait to see your stomach’s fate. If you are fine it’s onto the next round of street food roulette!
Queuing ain’t a thing
If you attempt to queue in India be prepared to be completely ignored and leapfrogged by someone else.
I have always laughed at the sandal wearing traveller clichés. However in Rishīkesh it’s not uncommon to magically find yourself skipping off to your ashtanga yoga class at 7am (it is the centre of yoga teaching in India after all) trying to locate your chakra and true Guru (spiritual guide). Then afterwards chomping on a tofu salad and turmeric cleanser juice. I have still not embraced the parachute pants though! And not any time soon.
When you gotta go…
I think this is pretty self explanatory. There may be many instances when nature calls and its down to you to make the call on just how desperate you are to go vs the loo situation. Particularly when visiting bus station/ train station toilets/the mountains (more on that to come). The sleeper train toilets surprising weren’t the worst. Carrying your own stash of toilet paper is a must!
Despite these quirks of travelling they can make for an interesting and often humorous experience