Share on Pinterest

Sometimes, like when I'm standing on an overcrowded Indian train with nothing else to do but think for hours, I think about certain things. Like how everything in our life, every event, every decision, leads us up to where we are right now. Because right now is standing on an overcrowded Indian train with nothing else to do but think for hours....

We arrived in Kollam broken, with the sole mission of renting a houseboat to explore the famous backwaters of Kerala. The city was dirty, crowded, not-so-tourist friendly. After a disappointing meal of flavored liquid on rice we headed towards the docks in search of a houseboat. We spent hours trying to negotiate with companies. They all offered the same tired package and no one would budge on the price. ...

We found a nicer beach about an hour away. Though the weather was cloudy and many places were closing up. This is what you get for visiting resort towns during the off season. I've never before been so self-conscious wearing a bathing suit at the beach. Men stare at me anyways. More so if I'm barely dressed. Women here just swim in their clothes. ...

Jaime and I have been traveling in India for two months now. Two long months. We've seen everything from the Taj Mahal to random exposed penises, from the adorable kids at our volunteer assignment in Setrawa to garbage being burned int he streets. Indian immigration should hand out "I Survived" t-shirts when they stamp exit stamps in your passport. I think we all just deserve that consolation prize for surviving, don't you think? After two hard months of travel, we were excited for the next chapter of our journey, flying South to Kochi, India (Cochin) in Kerala. It's been no secret...

Quite frankly, two weeks of nothing but (delicious but) similar vegetables served up with nothing but the same slices of bread makes you tiresome fast. The food we ate at our homestay in Setrawa was "tasty," but when we left we needed a bit of a break from Indian food. And then we got sick. Legitimately Indian-style Delhi Belly sick. And during that escapade we had no desire to eat Indian food. No. Desire....

Sometimes you just need a break from it all. To escape the city. To escape the heat. And so Jaime and I decided that we would spend one day in Kolkata at the movies, creating our own double feature, seeing something from Bollywood and something from Hollywood. The first movie wasn't playing for a couple of hours after we got there though, so we ate some Pizza Hut in the food court, walked around the mall....

Our guidebook made Kolkata seem like it would be some sort of cesspool where we could only find expensive yet run-down hotels, where we'd be accosted by touts and beggars, where we'd pay too much for too little. We were dreading leaving our beautiful little Darjeeling, but also knew we had to move on. ...

Darjeeling ended up being a nice little vacation from India. It was surprising how different it seemed from everywhere else we'd been so far. Up in the mountains, it was colder. The people were friendlier. There were no cows or rickshaws. No one stared at me. No one bothered us. It was calm, peaceful. It was a nice change. After two nights in our too cold room, Jaime and I found a new place to stay. Somewhere without holes in the wall and with a much cleaner bathroom. We were both still sick for much of our time there, spent...