India is the most welcoming country I have ever been to. Nowhere else in the world have I had people stop me on the street, look into my eyes and say “you are very welcome in my country”. At times we have had lines (actually queues don’t exist in India – it’s more like a small hustling mob) , to have their photos taken with us! And have had entire train stations turned to watch as someone with passable English, interviews us on the essentials (country of origin, profession, married? And if so “love marriage”or arranged?).
Our travel through India was heavily marred by 3 things:
1) Unrelenting 43 degree heat accompanied by a plethora of different levels of humidity in two of the states we visited.
2) Landslides – the least fun of all slides! These chased us up and down the Uttarakhand state, saw us turned around and back again, at times trapped and ultimately sacrificing a week of travel spent on precarious bus rides without reaching our goal to see and hike in the valley of the flowers.
3) Monsoon rains – they just put a big dampener on everything.
But the tea in India and Sri Lanka was brilliant. Learning about tea production and strolling through the rows of neatly pruned tea bushes, was even fun in the rain!
Everyday we sat on crates, at street side chai shops, siping incredibly sweet spiced chai, and for a split second, feeling like we were locals.
Next we are off to South America… I will send another update soon!