India Travel Blog...the prologue


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January 7th 2015
Published: January 7th 2015
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It is easier to cover our feet with sandals than to cover the earth with carpets...” ~ Indian Proverb


Namaste people!

So it’s 2015 and we are celebrating the New Year by getting on a big plane (well, two big planes and one small plane) and flying to India. To say we are happy to be travelling again is a massive understatement.

We’ve been asked ‘Why India?’ many times in the last few months. There are a vast number of things that draw us to India, but in a nutshell it would be because of the history, architecture, culture, spirituality, colour, vivacity, diversity, and most importantly – the food. The questions about why we would travel to any particular country baffle us more than any other. Every country offers a different and new perspective on life and the world, and every single location in the world intrigues us. Unless there was a war or epidemic sweeping through a country, we don’t see why we shouldn’t travel to that country. However, in all honesty, Andrew is much more excited about the Indian trip than Ren is. Ren has trepidations about coping with the sheer mass of humanity we are sure to face.

As usual we have been trying to immerse ourselves in all things Indian; we’ve tried nearly every single Indian restaurant in Hobart and watched every single Indian film we could get our hands on. Ren has also re-read every book we own that has an Indian theme to it. 😊

More than most countries we’ve travelled to, we feel we know a little bit about Indian food and culture due to it being widely spread throughout the world via centuries of trade and immigration. There are some similarities with Sri Lankan food and cultural attitudes, which also gives it a sense of familiarity to us. However, we have no doubt that there is a vast world of Indian-ness that we know nothing about, and that’s what we are really looking forward to getting to know. Ren has been trying to teach Andrew the Indian all-purpose ‘affirmative’ head wobble so he can blend in with the locals. Ren is clearly a crap teacher. 😊

Here is a quick snapshot of India: it has a population of around 1.3 billion; the capital is Delhi; and the currency is the Indian Rupee. The official national language is Hindi, but each state is also able to nominate regional official languages, so there are about 20 official languages; and English is widely used too. The southern and northern regions of India are divided into different climatic zones by the tropic of cancer. The south has a predominately tropical climate (with the inland hill stations being exceptions), and the north lies in a temperate zone. January is technically winter / cool season in India, and we should experience bearable temperatures of less than 30 degrees and very low humidity in the south; while the north is expected to have chilly overnight temperatures of 5-10 degrees but daytime temperatures of about 20 degrees. We have packed as if we were travelling to two different countries! We are not expecting rain as the southwest monsoon doesn’t begin until June; and even though the northeast monsoon should have already finished in December, we have packed our raincoats at the bottom of our backpacks…just in case.

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We are all packed and ready. Jasper, Oliver and Mia have already gone to their respective holiday retreats, so the house is eerily quiet tonight. We are one sleep, a 45 minute drive to the airport and three flights away from our destination in India! Ren can finally stop spending her evenings and weekends pawing through the India Lonely Planet Guide. 😊

Travel is happiness!
Ren and Andrew



Films that set the scene for this trip...
Gandhi, directed by Richard Attenborough (1982);
Monsoon Wedding, directed by Mira Nair (2001);
Elements Trilogy – Fire (1996), Earth (1998) and Water (2005), directed by Deepa Mehta;
Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee (2012); and
Lunchbox, directed by Ritesh Batra (2013).

Travel reading on this trip...
Lonely Planet Guide India;
Gandhi by Arvind Sharma (Andrew);
India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha (Andrew);
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (Ren);
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Ren);
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (Ren); and
White Tiger by Aravinda Adiga (Ren).

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7th January 2015

On the plane again just can't wait to get on the plane again!!
How quick has this trip come around!! Jasper looks happy in the photo but am sure in his little mind he knows what those backpacks means!! Have a wonderful holiday ,stay safe and enjoy all that amazing food you will encounter. Look forward to settling down each evening and reading your addictive blogs Love you lots and take care xx Deb ✈️
9th January 2015

Re: On the plane again just can't wait to get on the plane again!!
Thanks Aunty Deb. We have woken up in Kochi and have started to transition into holiday mode. Missing the doggies and kitty a lot though. xx
7th January 2015

Well planned, well prepared and ready to go
I'm sitting here on the couch so excited for you and wishing I'd seen all those movies and read all those books. You do a great job of cultural immersion before your trips. I do half of what you do. You are my mentor and I will strive to do better. Have fun. Enjoy. Relax and learn to swim in the sea of humanity.
9th January 2015

Re: Well planned, well prepared and ready to go
Thanks Merry Jo. All the immersion builds the excitement so much more. I don't think I will ever 'relax and swim in the sea of humanity', but I will try to 'relax and walk carefully in the sea of humanity' :D
7th January 2015

food and books!
I love it that in all your travels food is such an important element, I'm looking forward to photos of yummy food. Life of Pi... I didn't managed to finish it :(
9th January 2015

Re: food and books!
Hi Deni, there will definitely be lots of food photos! :) Yes I thought Life of Pi got a bit boring in the middle too...have you seen the film? They changed ithe story a bit but not much.
7th January 2015

Why?
Ooohhh India! I say, why not!! Enjoy, I am sure it will be a wonderful sensory overload! Look forward to hearing your thoughts!
9th January 2015

Re: Why?
Thanks Emma. We have started our trip in Kochi, which should be a gentle introduction to the sensory overload we are sure to face :)
7th January 2015
jasper guarding the packs

"It is easier to cover our feet with sandals than to cover the earth with carpets...”
I love this quote which seems to describe the India of my imagination--where we adapt/change rather than asking the world to do it for us. I heard that one isn't really a traveler until one has spent time in India with its incredible rewards and challenges. As usual, you two seem prepared, so looking forward to your wild ride and tasty explorations. Incidentally, I wonder if Jasper thought she'd go with you if she stayed close to the packs.
9th January 2015
jasper guarding the packs

Re: "It is easier to cover our feet with sandals than to cover the earth with carpets...”
Thanks Tara, we love that quote too. And that's exactly what Jasper was thinking! She had to sniff every item that went into the packs...she fancies herself as a supervisor :)
7th January 2015

Bon voyage!
Have a fantastic trip! I was there for about a week in 1998.....so things would have changed a fair bit! I am really looking forward to reading about your adventures, and especially about the food :)
9th January 2015

Re: Bon voyage!
Thanks Rachael. We have only had one meal here and we are already excited about all the food to come! xx
7th January 2015

Jealous!
But very excited about hearing about India through your eyes. Have fun guys.
9th January 2015

Re: Jealous!
Thanks Matt and Roberta. We are so excited to be here! :)
8th January 2015

Well Done
You are winging your way to India as we in Tassie get a soaking. Go well. Much love.
9th January 2015

Re: Well Done
Hi Aileen, we are here safe and sound... looking forward to starting the day and going exploring! :)
8th January 2015

ooooh excitement!
Ahh..another armchair trip I will make! Exciting!
9th January 2015

Re: ooooh excitement!
Thanks Louise! There is SO MUCH excitement over here... xx
8th January 2015

Hey guys!!
Good to see you are back on the road! I'm leaning towards India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar 4month trip this summer!! I will definitely be following as always! Be safe and buen Viaje! ----Greg
9th January 2015

Re: Hey guys!!
Thanks Greg. A four month trip would be awesome! Looking forward to following that trip :)
9th January 2015

Cant wait for India!
My trip to India is in exactly a month (Feb 11th.) I'll be visiting what is known as the "golden triangle " on my short visit. I wonder if we'll cross paths at all, cause that would be so great! I loved your intro blog because I also have tried to immerse myself into India the way you have via food, movies etc. Have a fantastic and safe trip! Will definetly be following it via your blog :) -Jennifer
9th January 2015

Re: Cant wait for India!
Thanks Jennifer. We will be in the north later this month, and in Delhi in early Feb - keep in touch about your dates :)
9th January 2015

The sea of humanity
Rules for success. Wash your hands frequently, don't eat foods that have not been cooked, cooked, cooked at a high temperature, squat don't sit and don't let anyone cough in your face. Do you have hand sanitizer with you?
9th January 2015

Re: The sea of humanity
MJ I have a truckload of hand sanitiser with me! :D
10th January 2015

India ahoy
Glad to read of your upcoming travels. Meryl p.s. just loved Monsoon Wedding
10th January 2015

Re: India ahoy
Thanks Meryl. I had forgotten how good Monsoon Wedding was... We are hoping to watch a Bollywood film here :)
12th January 2015

Enjoy India
We have just returned from our trip to India. It was again great! We hope, you will enjoy it as much as we did. Wish you a great trip. We are lokking forward to reading your blogs. And be careful: never take a chai on train trips. We have heared from a lot of travellers who got sick because of it. Happy travels, Nina + Mark
14th January 2015

Re: Enjoy India
Thanks Nina and Markus. We had chai on the trains and at train stations (and in many other places) and have been completely fine so far. We really love the chai and masala chai here, it's brilliant on cold winter mornings!
28th April 2015

prologue
Like the fact that you have blogged beforehand, many people neglect this and think its important as it gives us a little insight into why people chose a particular country to travel. Love the pet pictures.
28th April 2015

Re: prologue
I really liked your detailed pre-blogs about your RTW trip too! I love it when a scene is set - it helps to give context to things :)
15th August 2015

Fantastic!
Hi Ren and Andrew I have started to read through your travel blogs on India, I like your huge interest and optimism and reasons for travelling in the first place. I share that feeling with you. Also great to see I'm not the only one who posts pictures of my travel books and packs on here before the big trip :-) looking forward to reading more!
16th August 2015

Re: Fantastic!
Thanks Alex! It's so exciting taking that photo of the guide book isn't it? We keep all our old LP guides, and I love looking at the line of blue LPs on the bookshelf :)

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