Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How to be the Dumbest Person Ever Travelling India

Because being dumb is cool!

1. Arrive at midnight in Delhi with no hotel booked, a dead phone and without an adaptor to charge it. Planning is overrated. People have voices. Ask locals for help. This is especially useful when they don't speak English.

2. Despite having zero clue of where to go and how to get there, follow locals' finger pointing and mysterious head bobbles and take public transportation to the ICBD, Kashmiri Gate. It may take an hour and you may be the only girl of a bus full of men, but when did that ever turn out badly?

3. Make sure to wear tight leggings. With a disturbing lack of women in public spaces, especially when travelling by night, it is a great idea to covet the heavy blunt stares of Indian men. Breath in the tension, girls! It's a whole new ozone really.

4. Once at the dingy public bus station at 1am, continue to talk to people who don't speak English. If you're lucky, the ticket sellers will be sleeping and will give you a dismissive bobble that you can interpret as liberally as you want. When that gets too exciting, proceed to walk around in circles past rows of sleeping homeless people, contemplate laying next to them, until someone takes pity on you and buys you tea, samosas and biscuits.

5. After an hour of this, kind biscuit man will confirm that there is no bus to Rishikesh at 2am and trust the counsel of Indian men who have gathered to help you find your way to your dubious destination. When they say that the bus to Hardwar takes you to an hour outside of Rishikesh where you can transfer buses, there is no reason not to believe them.

6. Finally, board the gaudiest red bus with a half inch level of grime on seats and a door that doesn't close. You'll be free to enjoy the soothing honks of a bus gone mad, impossible weaving (swerving?) through traffic and high-pitched Indian songs for the next 5-6 hours, most likely to dull the pain of your impending death. They're nothing if not thoughtful here in India!

7. You should arrive in Hardwar by 7am where a blue eyed mystic man will greet you. Do not be alarmed when he menacingly shakes a wad of peacock feathers at you and chants in deep undertones. He is most likely putting a hex on you. If you wish for the occult entertainment to continue, keep refusing to give him money.

Note: You may be the only female again on the bus travelling alone. Calmly clutch your belongings and put on a polite but firm smile. Best to avoid confrontation when people (men) sit too close to you or whisper 'I love you' while you're sleeping on the bus. What's lovelier than waking up to a stranger staring lovingly at you on a public bus?

8. And finally when you arrive in Rishikesh city still without phone, internet, hotel or plan, a nice rickshaw driver will help you find something in Laxman Jhula while he smokes a joint and insouciantly hauls ass around mountain roads. The safe journey will cost you 200 rupees.  Tip: Ganga View Resort is beautiful but pricey (3000 rupees per night).

After nine hours of relaxing and stree free travel, throw your bag down and enjoy a masala chai for your first day ever in India alive! What's the lesson here? Planning is for squares.