Back in India

164_6445-4.JPGWe took a miserable 16-hour bus ride from Kathmandu to Nepal’s eastern border last night. If you’ve read my last post, it should be clear that I don’t care how miserable the ride was- we’re out of Nepal and back in India. Here’s some things I’ve missed:

Food: India is hard to beat in the culinary department, but Nepal didn’t even come close. One, their traditional food is not bad, but it gets boring pretty quickly. With that, you’re limited to touristy foreign food offerings. Two, food takes soooooo long in Nepal. I like my food to be fresh and cooked, but Nepali restaurants take way longer than the time its takes to cook food to serve you. Almost invariably, everywhere in Nepal took a long time. Thirdly, chai. Yes, Nepalis drink chiya, a sugary milk-tea similar to chai, but it falls so much shorter. Indian tea (both chai and black tea) is always hot and good (Nepali tea is usually iffy on both)… and the tea guy isn’t gonna rip you off.

People: Its nice to buy fruit or tea or anything else without a listed price on the street and get a fair price. I didn’t have to ask the chai-wallah or the fruit-wallah “how much?” today. I just handed them a bill and they handed me back my change. Just trusting people to give me a fair price is such a relief. People help us and don’t ask for a tip or commission- they’re just helpful.

Language: Not everyone can appreciate this, but having Hindi as a fallback in case someone doesn’t speak English is nice. Also, everyone here speaks English at least in a basic sense. Nepal, not so much. Its probably has more to do with British colonialism than education, although we did have plenty of problems in Nepal with getting correct change (both in the average length of time it took and in accuracy).

Sure, its dirtier here, toilets are somewhat more difficult to find, and everything’s a little crazy, but the food is good, the people honest, and while crazier things get done easier and better. It definitely feels good to be back. At least for a week, before heading to Thailand.

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