*** India blogs were written as we travelled. Terrible wifi didn’t allow me to upload them until now. Also, my final post on Sri Lanka is my March link. ***
India was never on our original itinerary. In fact, India was way down on my list of countries I ever wanted to visit! It’s crazy we’re here. And I’m still in awe we made it. There’s a few reasons we've arrived where we are.
Back in February, while in Christchurch, I was mapping out the second half of our trip. I really wanted to make it to Nepal and hike in the Himalayas. I had found a relatively straight forward hike (well, relative for the Him.’s - Poon Hill) that I felt the 3 of us could handle. And since we were going there from Sri Lanka, how could we not stop in India and make it to the Taj Mahal? I figured we could take the bus through India and into Katmandu.
Perfect, I had a plan.
So, requiring an exit ticket before Sri Lanka would give me a Visa, I booked us one way flights from Colombo, Sri Lanka to Delhi, India. Done. I had it figured out.
Untilllll...I found out the bus route was actually terrible. And at the time there were major protests at the India/Nepal border. The Nepalese were protesting India withholding oil and fuel. There was lots of violence. Bus windows were being smashed. Lovely. But then I started reflecting on why we didn’t travel to South America. Max is young and I knew he wouldn’t be able to handle the tougher hiking in Patagonia that I wanted to do. I decided to skip SA and figured eventually we’d go there in a few years anyway. But wait. If I thought he couldn’t handle the hiking in Chile, what made me think he’d be fine in the Himalayas? Yep. I’m not sure, either? I think the excitement of seeing the highest mountains in the world caught up to me. Reluctantly, I pulled Nepal off the table. But I had already purchased our tickets to Delhi!? We were stuck coming here.
Another small reason was Jane travelled with her friend Viktoria through India back in 2001. We weren’t dating then, but she wrote me a letter while hiking in the northern part that changed both of our lives. In it, she described the chaos of India, but also described what our lives might look like when she returned. I guess I’ve always had a small desire to see it. To see what she did. A small desire though. Very.
We’ve arrived and we’re here now. Living it. She was right. It is chaotic. And it’s crazy and relentless and dirty and loud and hot and beautiful and funny and stressful and mind-numbing and eye-opening and amazing and intense and poor and inspiring and OMG that’s a lot of ands. But it’s all those things and more. If that's even possible. And even for travellers as seasoned as us, it’s a lot. Too much really for 1 pair of eyes to look out for 2 curious and adventurous boys. We’ll see how we do. But for now, we’re breathing it all in and hoping for the best.
We have a plan. Delhi, then Jaipur (the pink city), Pushkar (close to the Thar desert, Agra (Taj Mahal), Varanasi (Ganges River) and then maybe up to Darjeeling (close to the Nepal border) where we can view those elusive Himalayan Mountains. Yep.
The minions are armed with bottles of Purell and specific orders from me to not touch anything or anyone, keep their tiny hands out of their mouths and to not eat or drink anything unless I approve it. I'm in full on drill sergeant/control freak mode.
I’m paranoid one of us will get sick. We will not get sick!