18.02.2011 23 °C
We made it - we saved the best to last....The Taj Mahal at dawn.
We named this blog “Incredible India” because it’s the marketing slogan of the Indian Tourist Board. Now, having called India home for the past four months, we can honestly say that it is incredible – that is… a place beyond credibility. India is a land of paradox, populated by ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse peoples, which hangs together by a single thread of nationality. It is a country which, on paper, should not work – yet it is thriving. We’ve seen far more of India than most Indians will ever see and we’ve done our best to capture the essence of the country but, in truth, we have barely scratched the surface.
We’ve travelled nearly twelve thousand kilometeres to the four corners of this vast country by plane, train and car, (with only a couple of minor mishaps), and are grateful to the many drivers who’ve been conscious of our western sensibilities and have babied us around.
We have seen the sights, enjoyed the views and experienced the culture, but it is the people who will remain most in our memories: the gangs of smiling children who wanted their photos taken; the older students keen to practice their English; the polite and helpful hotel workers; the city folks who would stop to offer us directions or guide us across an impossibly busy road; and the many rural people who, despite their inability to understand English, would go to extreme lengths to assist us. We will always have particularly warm memories of the homestay owners who shared their lovely houses and delightful families with us.
We have been very pleasantly surprised by the relative lack of hassle and, although we know that we have sometimes paid a little over the odds, we have never felt ripped off. Neither have we at any time felt threatened or in any danger. We have, however, been saddened at the sight of the multitudes living in unbelievable squalor throughout the country, and we have felt totally powerless to do anything that might have a meaningful effect on their lives.
Now we are saying goodbye to India, and these lovely kids, we want to offer a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the thousands of people who made our trip both possible and pleasant. We also want to thank you, dear blog reader, for taking this journey with us. As a reward, you are invited to Gabriola Island this summer to an “Experience India” party, (date to be announced).
Throughout India, in coffee shops, countless restaurants and nearly fifty hotels, we’ve been persistently asked to complete customer satisfaction questionnaires – and we have generally complied. So, now it’s our turn to ask. We would really like to know what you think of our blog, so please, please add a comment and please tell us of any way we might improve it .
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