10 key to backpacking India
Jodhpur, India. October 30th 2007
- Love animals, including cows, camels, cats, dogs, sheep, goats, crickets, beetles, mosquitoes, bats and rats. Camel dung that crawls across the sand is actually a beetle.
2. Have three pairs of eyes like Shiva to spot cows sleeping in the middle of the street, their poo, the sewer, the rickshaw parked in the middle, and the scooter with no headlights coming straight at you.
3. Learn to sleep in any conditions : in an antique bus on a dirt road, in a smelly sleeper train, across the street from the mosque, and generally by 30 degrees celcius and no air con.
4. Enjoy local cuisine and accept to be a vegetarian : chapatis, nan, malai kofta, aloo ghoby, dal palak, stuffed capsicum… yumyum!
5. Know how to speak several languages. Extended hindu vocabulary required: Namaste means hello, goodbye, thank you, no thanks, please… English, German, French, Hebrew, Italian and especially Spanish if you want to communicate in the desert. (there are an amazing amount of spanish speakers in the Thar desert!)
6. Don’t go looking for a hotel at 5 AM in an unknown town after a 6 hour journey : you are so tired you’d sleep anywhere at any price, and its written all over your face.
7. Learn how to say ‘yeah right buddy, you can’t pull that trick on me’ in hindu, with a smile, and without pronouncing the words.
8. Accept to dance with local teenagers under clouds of toxic pink powder while invoking Vishnu.
9. Be able to drive a camel with one hand while singing ‘onion potatoe, dal and chapati, ari bombari, good camel safari’ and liberally steal the blankets from the camels at night. it gets real cold in the desert!
10. Most important, learn how to relax and enjoy the magificent palaces of Udaipur, the red fortress of jodhpur, the citadelle of Jaisalmer, India, its traditions, its religions and its smiles.
P.S. Any resemblance to events that may have occurred to two traveling Frenchies is involuntary.