Only in Incredible India
Only in India…
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 way 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 or 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 it is.. (or day/date it is for that matter) so this one is not that unusual for me…
7- You are not more important than 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. Basically the queue rule does not exist here – which is cool, just plan your trips a little longer 🙂
8- The standing only limit signs in the buses are 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!