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“It is when you leave everything that is familiar, and venture into the unfamiliar. This is when you find your truth”. -OneNomadWoman Like this:Like Loading…
Each place and it’s people on this wonderful planet have things that make it special and unique which is why I love to travel so much. India in particular has to be quite possibly the most diverse and humorous place I have been to yet with it’s great contrasts and colorful messages. Below is a list of things that so far, I have only found here…
1- You don’t have to be homeless to sleep on the streets.
It is quite common to see Indian people sleeping everywhere, and at any time of the day. From the man who runs the little shop down the road who catches cat naps onto of his ice cream cooler to another man who is perched up on the ledge outside of a building, Indian people can and will sleep anywhere as you can see.
2- You can find skin whitening cream and salons that apply it for you.
For the first time in my life, while shopping in a local grocery store, I found a huge shelf dedicated to – you guessed it – skin whitening cream. My first thought was, is that how Michael Jackson did it? Second thought was, why in the world would you want to change your skin color?? And finally my third thought was- ok so you lighten your face- that means when your naked, you have a white face and brown body? How unique!
3- Cows have the right of away and make the rules on the road.
It is said that if you hit a child with your scooter you will get a small fine and be on your way, but if you hit a cow, expect a fine, some jail time, and a bamboo massage. Cows run this place- literally. If they decide to camp out in the middle of the road – guess what? You get an unexpected break from driving and getting anywhere until they decide that you can go. It’s either that or you find a new route of off road around them!
4- Cheeseburgers come without a burger patty.
The picture on the left is a cheeseburger right? True story – just the other night some vegetarian friends and I went out to dinner. Everyone was ordering curry this and curry that, and I saw on the menu they had cheeseburgers! So naturally I ordered one as it’s been quite some time… when my “burger” arrived, it had all the fixings – lettuce, tomato, cheese, mayo (I think it was that anyway), a burger bun… and no beef patty burger. It was explained to me that in Goa, what made it a burger was the bun. Say whaaaaaaa?!?!!
5- A head wobble can mean yes, no or maybe or something else entirely?
This one is so confusing still. It goes like this – you say to an Indian person – “Ok so I will see you tomorrow at 4pm right?” And what you get in return is a side to side head wobble which quite literally could mean anything – yes, no, maybe, I don’t know, We will see, etc.. I have resorted to asking people to please, for the love of god, say yes or no and maybe is ok too. I have since noticed that there are more than one way to wobble or bobble your head which quite honestly only adds to my confusion…
6- Everyone in India is on burner time.
If an Indian person tells you “I will be there in 10 minutes” that could mean 45 minutes, 1.5 hours, or the next day. It seems the concept of time mostly does not exist here which is fine- I am just hoping that if there is a life or death situation happening, that this rule no longer applies! This no concept of time rule is also applicable when shopping.. for example, please see only in India number 7. Personally, I never really know what time (or day/date it is for that matter), so this one is not that unusual for me!
7- You are not that important as the next person.
So many times I have been in a shop (cellphone, hardware, grocery – it doesn’t matter) and am greeted and being helped with whatever request I have, when in the middle of helping me, the attendant will start helping someone else, and then another, and possibly another until the return to finish with me. At first I thought that it was that they were just not that interested in helping me in particular until it happened again and again everywhere I went.
8- The standing only limit on the bus is just there for laughs.
Every bus I have been on so far in India (and that has been soooo many) has a standing limit number painted inside at the front that usually ranges from 8-18 people. The funny thing is, I have never seen less than 30 people crammed into the aisle between the seats of every bus, and every time this happens, I just have to laugh.
9- You can walk out of a pharmacy with a fatal medication without a prescription.
The school I volunteer at right now in Goa India has a dog that wanders its yard. I have affectionately named her “Lady”, and started feeding her breakfast and dinner everyday. She is not like other dogs in this village as she has a massive maggot infested tumor on her rear end the size of a softball. I vowed to get her treatment and took pictures of her to the local shelter and was told what medications she needed. Traveling up north, I found a pharmacy that carried the medications, and was given it over the counter without a prescription. Both medications (a horse sedative and cancer injections) can be fatal yet were given to me without the pharmacist even blinking an eye.
10- The bus signs say no smoking / no spitting.
Why do the buses need a sign like this? The no smoking – ok that one is obvious and it’s found almost everywhere in the world. But no spitting? Is there a spitting epidemic on buses here? And why? I’m still curious about this one…
11- You can see people riding on the OUTSIDE of the train.
Totally true! Sometimes it appears there are more people on the outside of the train than there are inside of it!! Is it because they need fresh air? The train has too many people? Or it’s just more fun to travel that way… you decide- or try it yourself!
12- Your shopping list of 10 items requires 10 different shops.
I’m not talking about finding a hammer, a can of tuna fish, and cotton balls in one store here although that was part of my list once. But it is quite the adventure to go shopping as you would expect to find tuna in the supermarket right? Wrong! You can find that down the street in some tiny side store. And the cotton balls at the pharmacy right? Wrong again! The upside to this is that you get to meet EVERY shop owner after two trips with your shopping list.
13- The cost of an item if your skin is pale is 3 times the normal amount.
OK maybe this is not only in India, but it sure is more common here than anywhere else and they raise the price quite high. Example: You want to buy a t-shirt and ask how much is it. They say – 700 rupees (roughly 11US) and you shake your head noooooo and start to walk away and hear them shouting at your back- “How much? How much you give me?” I don’t know why some people here assume that if your European or American that you are loaded with cash. Any ideas?
14- Your feet are never clean – ever.
Never in my life have my feet been soooo dirty – and all the time. No matter what I do, everyday when I look down, my feet are black. And every night I have to use a scrub brush to get them to look like my feet once again.. and this is a never ending process. If I wasn’t so concerned about keeping my bed sheets clean (because laundry machines are hard to come by) I would simply just give up.
This is my list of what makes India special and unlike any other place I have been to yet. Are there any places that you have been that had unusual things that surprised you? Do share using the comment section below!
Many of you might not know that this journey began in 2012 with several endings. The end of my marriage, the life of my best friend, the contact with a close family member, and my life as I had once knew it. When I decided to start this traveling, I was seeking abundance as I felt that it was seriously lacking after all the loss that was experienced in a span of only 3 weeks.
Around the end of 2012 was when I finished packing my backpack and made a dinner date with a few of my closest girl friends in Los Angeles to have one last meal and great conversation with before I was off the next morning to drive up to San Francisco, and ultimately catch my flight to Oaxaca Mexico to begin this journey.
It was at Cafe Gratitude after the dinner that I found myself unconsciously searching for something – which I was not aware of until I had my hand on it. As we were leaving, I started along the wall where the exit door could be found, and where shelves containing various organic items were on display. After I realized that I had reached for something on the top shelf, I stared in disbelief at what I had found. It was a book called The Abounding River Personal Logbook: An Unfamiliar View of Being Abundance. (available on Amazon by clicking the link) Perfect I thought. This was my answer to which book I would bring because I had previously decided that it would only be one that would come with me and it needed to have purpose.
The Abounding River Workbook is a training manual to experience a life of being provided for. Consider that scarcity (not enough love, money, time, beauty, etc.) is an inherited way of being – a view of life that we practice and fuel by widespread agreement. This book is the antidote for our obsession with scarcity. Abundance, like love or joy, is a presence that we can evoke by our conscious attention to it- to what we have already been given. It contains guided material and a 42 day journey with mantras and lessons to be practiced each day and I started right away with the learning. As I trekked through Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula, I spent time being abundance. Each day I would follow the book religiously and repeat what I was absorbing, and each day I started to feel lighter and lighter. The practice of being abundance includes many categories including self worth, gratitude, generosity, love acceptance, creation/responsibility, and abundance itself.
I started to see how I was getting in my own way so to speak by letting my mind race furiously between the past and the future at warp speed. My mind was in constant distress it appeared, and was lacking the focused intention and silence needed to remain present. This part took some work.
A couple years we fast forward to the present moment and after practicing many different techniques from Qi Gong, Chakra Clearing and Healing, Meditation, Yoga, along several Spiritual trips into the Sahara desert, I feel that I have unwound and unraveled this mess that has covered who I really am for far too long. And the trip was quite a ride…
Join me on this journey into abundance and beyond as I share with you my personal experiences of what it has taken to wake up into this dream we call life and peal the layers of all that I am not, bit by bit.
It was after learning all about how to cultivate abundance in the first few months that I had been traveling that the next step was to believe it was all possible. And this new story about belief begins in good ol’ America…
Saving NYE in India
Arriving in Mumbai India at 5am after traveling from the UK and through Istanbul, needless to say I was quite knackered as the British put it. Making my way to the baggage claim area to collect the additional 40 pounds of gear, my next move was to try some traditional India cuisine as I had 5 hours to live here before my flight to Goa was scheduled.
Finding a suitable place with the proud face of a lion displayed on it’s wall, I strike up conversation with the chefs in an attempt to better understand the menu. I order the samosas as I know what those are, and then one of the men advises that I try something else as well (sadly I don’t remember the name of this). Immediately I ask him if it is spicy and explain that I don’t have a high tolerance to hot food. I can see a sparkle of – was it mischief? in his eyes that tells me I should not trust him when he says “oh spicy? no no my friend, this is not spicy – maybe a little bit this is all”. So I order it.
Nestling into a corner table that affords a view of both the inside of the airport terminal as well as the street outside, I take a bite of this mystery food and holy s#$% it was quite literally the hottest food I have ever tasted. My nose starts to run, tears enter my eyes and I begin sweating almost immediately. I look over to where the chefs are, and of course, this man is nowhere to be found and my dirty look hits empty space.
I finish the samosas only and decide to saunter on outside for some fresh air in a sad attempt to flush the hot from my mouth. Except when I arrive at the exit, I am stopped by the police who tell me that I cannot leave the airport. At first I started laughing because I thought they were joking- I mean, where in the world are you NOT allowed to LEAVE an airport? Playfully I tell the men there that I will be going outside and have no intention of staying in this airport for 4 more hours, and that they can chase me if they so desire. As one smiles and the other looks at me like he is imagining sticking a knife through my eye, I am told by a third man that I must go to the airline attendant to sort this out. I told them ok, but that no matter what, I will be back and will be going outside.
I rock up to Air India and am greeted by two lovely women and one man and explain the situation. They ask to see my flight itinerary. I hand it over and they say to me -”Well, you will definitely be going outside, because your next flight is not from this airport and if you don’t go now, you will spend New Years here”. Haha! Wait what? Where do I go then?
They write down the information right there on my itinerary and I head over to the police at the exit to explain that I must go- and to thank them for sending me to Air India when they do something unexpected – they still refuse to let me out. Seriously?!!? The next dirty look does not disappear into space but makes its mark as I stomp my feet all the way back to the Air India counter again. Grabbing the agent, we walk back over to the police and this time, I let the man do the talking to the police. Two minutes later I am free! Not only free to leave the airport, but free to catch the right flight to Goa, get a sweet massage while in the new airport, and free to dance all night on NYE in Adjuna Beach.
And what comes next is quite literally the most amazing experience I have had yet…
Have you ever been somewhere and had things seem totally backwards? Do share your stories, comments, suggestions and ideas using the comment section below!!