I love it. I really do. I need a year there just to take it all in. There is no way to describe that country. It contradicts itself around every corner (in a good and unique way).
The people: they are so nice and so happy and so friendly. It is amazing. I'm trying to sit back and think, but I think they are the nicest people in the world overall. The smiles are everywhere. The whole feeling from everyone is just laid back ease and contentment. Even in the driving. . .it is as crazy as any country, but everyone is just so relaxed about it. . .very relaxed and joyful even in what would be aggression and road rage anywhere else. There really must be something to the whole "Namaste" thing! Namaste literally means a reverent bow or salutation and adoration and that sums it up. People just seem to respect one another even in greeting. Anyway, the Indian people (the ones I met and saw) are happy and friendly and relaxed people.
The culture: I can't really describe the culture as a whole because India is made up of so much. It was many different kingdoms that became unified in the 1940s under British rule. I think it has 22 official languages and over 400 different dialects. The differences in culture was seen in each city we visited. The food seems to be the same all over and the people seem to be the same, but there was something different in each place. It is a very poor country. But something about it makes it not seem as poor as other countries I have visited. I think a lot of it has to do with the pride of the people and I think a lot of it has to do with the dress. They dress so fancy. All of the women do. Their saris are so bright and decorative no matter what class they are. India is colorful and I think a lot of that has to do with the women and the little girls. It just makes you feel bright and happy and clean.
The roads: I've mentioned several times before that the driving is a mess, but a happy mess. The roads are so funny to me. You will have on the same kilometer an Audi SUV (although I only saw one) and a thousand Tuk Tuks and a camel drawn cart and bikes and motorcycles and elephants and donkeys. It is as if thousands of years all converge on the roads. I loved that part! Buses carrying many people and potato trucks tipped over with a car speeding by and a camel just walking along. I really would like to spend months on a moped on those roads just taking pictures and taking it all in!
The cities: we visited Bangalore, Jaipur, Agra and Delhi (although we were just in Delhi and New Delhi for a few hours). By far Jaipur was my favorite. The culture was just everywhere and it was so old. The bazaars were bright and colorful and bustling and I loved the life they exuded! It was probably the poorest of the cities, but it was hands down my favorite place! I have to go back there!
The food: I can't do it. I really can't. The spices just don't agree with me. I tried to be open minded, but my tummy just wasn't having it. . .even when my taste buds were being brave.
The company: my traveling companions (Maggie and Wendi) were the best! I loved sharing India with Maggie. I know she didn't take it all in (how could she?) but I know that she'll remember it forever and she will come back to those memories as she grows up and they will mean more later on. I bought her many "forever" souvenirs from the trip so hopefully she'll carry India with her both in her heart and in her home for a long long time. Wendi was great! I'm so glad she was able to go. She was easy to travel with and she was easy to get along with. We laughed a lot and I can't imagine India without her! (Thanks, Wendi!)
The shopping: oh my goodness! I shopped like I have never shopped before! It was just all so colorful and bright and fun. The bazaars were our favorite places and we never left empty handed. I cannot wait to get home and give my home some Indian flair!
Overall, the trip to India was a TEN! I'm so thankful I got to go! And I hope that some day I will get to go back with Andy or my mom or my mother-in-law or anyone! I loved it! If you ever get the chance, GO!