With all the bad press on India lately, I decided it's time to highlight some of the good things this country has to offer. So let's just get to it...
My top 10 reasons why you should visit India: Part 1
1. To be Inspired
Every day I am genuinely inspired by the generosity of those around me. At Vatsalya where I teach, I have met people from around the globe, including retired teachers offering their skills, high schoolers on summer break looking for adventure, and those just seeking a new perspective on life. It is amazing that people give up their time and comfort to reach out to children in need. Those are the people who inspire me to take off my crabby pants and enjoy this place. Those are the people who inspire me to do good, as often as I can, even in the littlest of ways.
2. To Eat!
I think Indian food gets a bad rap. Some people think its all extremely spicy, which it isn't. Usually spicy means that it's "heavily spiced" with lots of garlic, peppercorns, ginger, etc. I have learned what I like and dislike, and there are quite a few dishes I enjoy. You also have to come to India to eat to enjoy the traditions of an Indian meal. Eating with your fingers is a must (right hand only please.) It is rare that I use a fork when eating anymore. I have learned the art form of using naan to scoop up juicy pieces of butter chicken. Matt on the other hand seems to be perfecting the "swirl and scoop." He has no shame in mixing all the food on his plate with his fingers, swirling it into a mound to eat. He licks his fingers which I'm not sure is very appropriate, but whatever works.
3. It's a Great Value
I remember when we went to New Zealand, and a bottle of water was upwards of $5! It was outrageous. A vacation can quickly become unpleasant when you have to count every penny.
India however, is a great bang for your buck! In general, food, hotels, and shopping are far cheaper than in other countries. You can fill up your belly and still fill up your suitcase with souveniers.
And speaking of souveniers...
4. The Shopping
You can find a wide variety of unique items for your home or wardrobe in India. Markets are a great place to find unique items, but be willing to barter! I recommend to start at at least half of the suggested price. My rule of thumb is if you like it, buy it. When it comes down to it, there's no sense in arguing with someone over fifty cents.
The markets are a great place for items like scarves, silver jewellery, and clothing. Small boutique stores usually offer more quality items, such as blue tile pottery, clothing, and other household items.
5. Great Jumping Off Point
Once you make it to India, you have access to so many other countries at really inexpensive prices. You are just a short plane ride from other exotic places like Thailand, Sri Lanka, The Himalayas, and the Maldives. If you're in India for an extended time, you could fly to Bangkok or Dubai for a quick weekend trip!
Need even more reasons? Check back later for part Two.