|India: Life on the street.|
I am not sure that I qualify as a tourist here but I am learning a lot about how this country works for local expats.
My life of travel has included Spain, Thailand, UAE, Mexico, Germany, China and even a short period of time in The Philippines (spelled with 1 L and 2 Ps.) Sigh.
I have been privy to the expat's life in China, the UAE and now India. The interior of their houses always reflect where they call "home". What I have always missed with the inside of the citizens of that country. Even here in India the homes of those that clean and garden and walk the dog are not open to me. What would that look like? I don't know.
But here we are able to walk out at night to local restaurants and bistros. It is fun to sit about with locals and see them in their world, to hear them talk and laugh together. The waiters speak just enough english to keep us both happy.
There are a few things I always do when I visit a foreign country that may surprise you.
|Sapa, Viet Nam: She is the queen or the |
indigo fabric market...
a Su Mae I think.
|Sapa Viet Nam|
- I try to find a place to get a hair cut. I have done this is Spain, China and now in India. The life inside a woman's world always are a little unique in every place. I found Spain to be more my world than any of the others. In China and here in India men cut and styled my hair. In Spain women gathered together for other women. In Munich hair dressers worked in store front salons and become a bit of performance art. Each different.
India: My granddaughter's haircut.
- I have had my nails painted on the beach. That was such a lot of fun.
- If at all possible I visit a local food market or grocery store. No matter where I am I find food I have never seen before. In the UAE we bought eggs that needed to be scrubbed before being cracked. In Thailand I bought a lunch box. In Viet Nam I bought an individual sized coffee pot where coffee was brewed with water and Eagle brand milk. In Spain I bought a quart of olive oil in a beautiful container. They also had cherimoyas, a fruit native to Peru.
- The local outdoor market is filled with great finds. They have a Friday street market near the embassy that I would love to visit but time will not permit it. In Spain I bought peppercorns that spoiled me for any I have had since. In Sapa, Viet Nam the local market sold live chickens, tribal hats and of course hand dyed indigo fabric. (Sapa is located north of Hanoi and required an overnight train and a long van ride. It is very near the Chinese border and local tribes sell in the market.)
- Walking if the best way to arrive anywhere. If you do not just wander around you will miss a lot.
|Toledo, Spain: train station|
waiting to return to Madrid
- Local public transportation can be wonderful. In Bangkok, Thailand the Sky Train will take you almost anywhere. They also has those water taxi's that travel up and down the river. In Spain, Euro Rail will take you from Madrid to Malaga at the speed of light (it seems). Light rail travels up and down the Costa del Sol from community to community. In Shanghai, my husband I used the subway to go from Pu Dong to down town Shanghai. Taxis were available. In Mexico, we used resort transportation, rented a car and were told that we could stand at the side of the road and hail down a bus. You have to put on your big girl pants and just do it!
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico: Odami Tribal embroidery
- Do a little research and find out what each country is bragging about in the way of handicrafts or goods. I bought a beautiful Odami table cloth in Playa Del Carmen near Cancun. My husband loved masks and bought several. In China we visited antique markets. Here in New Delhi, small malls are everywhere and they are wonderful. I visit Fab India very soon after we arrived. It is a short TukTuk ride from the American Embassy School where I am staying.
- Take a cooking class if at all possible. My daughter-in-law and I did that when we were staying on Koh Samui in Thailand.
- Eat as much local food as you can and absolutely do NOT be an ugly American demanding burgers and fries. It is unbecoming and narrow minded. (My own personal opinion.)
- I suggest drinking bottled water and cooked vegetables whenever possible. Getting sick is not a good thing.
- Put your passport in the safe unless you are traveling out and are staying in a different hotel. The passport may be needed. Check on that information. But...do not carry it around willy nilly especially in Europe. The gypsies can outwit anyone.
- I always take a lot of pictures and do not regret that. Today I revisit my vacations at my leisure. Todays phones make it so easy. Here in India I have taken so many pictures from a traveling taxi to TukTuk. In many cases, it is the only way to do things.
|India: picture from the back of a TukTuk taxi.|
|New Dehli, India: |
A sacred cow
Here in New Dehli the monkeys and even an occasional cow are a very common sight. Homeless camps are everywhere that there is space. It appears that they have an economy all their very own. Vendors are everywhere. The proliferation of camps is very visible. An occasional child will knock on the car window begging and know all the flip-off signs if you do not donate. They do not go away.
The way of life is established is a constant and I suppose that each person is trying to improve their life day by day. How long has it been like this? Maybe forever.
I have tried to connect the Guatami Tripathy but it seems it will not work. That would have been fun.
Our driver, Maxwell, is wonderful and treasured by my husband's family. He ranks very high in their daily life. He will drive us to Agra so we can visit the Taj Mahal.
My granddaughter's graduation is Saturday. She will travel home with me next week. She is enjoying the time with her family and friends. She and her friends will part and possibly never connect again. Who knows.
Till next time...b+