India ... the conclusion then
Finally arrived in Raxaul on the India side of the Indo-Nepalese border. Bit of a rough night as Andrea had a bit of an Alfred Hitchcock attached of the mutant cockroach episode with them climbing in her hair as she slept. This meant that I had the little ginger hot water bottle squeezed onto my bunk for the night.
Took a bicycle rickshaw with India’s oldest pensioner across the border into Brianj, which like Raxaul, was quite an ugly little place. A tad of bureaucracy with the passport control on both sides (“Yes! I know that the two signatures are the same … your colleague over there just said that I could sign on behalf of my girlfriend …. Aren’t you paying attention you fool!” OK … I didn’t say the last bit, but by gosh I jolly well almost did!).
The bus from the border was packed. Mental note … if the bus is being fixed when you get on it, there’s a pretty good chance that it’ll break later. Ended up sitting around the front of the bus with all the men scratching their heads and looking knowledgeable and occasionally hitting the engine with a spanner. For the remainder of the journey the driver frantically looked at the oil pressure gauge, stuck his head out of the window listening to the engine and then desperately glanced back at the passengers.
Got to Tadi Bizaar and took a taxi to Sauhara in the Chitwan National Park. This involved stopping half way at a rickety old footbridge where we then climbed aboard a WW2 1939 jeep which took us along a dirt track to the village.
So! Final thoughts on India then…..
The Bad ….
There is a huge amount of squalor and poverty
Loads and loads of people are trying to rip you off … and we managed to get caught a few times
The bureaucracy and form filling is ridiculous
Choking pollution, dirt and litter
It ‘s a very smelly place indeed
The Good …
A massive country with varied landscape and culture. After 2 months of being there we hardly even scratched the surface.
The food is great!
Huge depth and spirituality of the culture, which again, we hardly managed to get very far into
Very friendly and hospitable people.
India is a very hard place to travel in. There were some times during the first few days when I just wanted to get on the next flight out . But just when things were getting bad, someone would come along and have a chat with us. They were genuinely interested in Europe and also in telling us about India. Or perhaps inviting us in for tea or dinner. Then everything seemed to be worthwhile. I don’t think I have been anywhere we I have met so many people in such a short period of time. Yes, I think that I’d like to go back, but next time I’d like to go to Kashmir … when the situation there is a little bit better.