One month in and we’ve already had a lot of great experiences, from meeting dolphins to riding bicycles around the ancient city of Hampi. Sam finally convinced Eric to grow a beard, so in his own way he’s now competing with the dreadlocked men who roam the backpacker trail.
Knock on wood, so far we’ve had no major health issues. We haven’t been extremely careful about what we eat, so maybe our adventurous diet at home prepared our stomachs for the onslaught of foreign foods. We have been pretty careful about water though, drinking either bottled water or tap water that we’ve sterilized with our SteriPen.
Our feet are another matter altogether. Sitting in a cubical for 8 hours a day didn’t prepare us for the amount of walking we’d be doing on the trip, so blisters, cuts, and sore muscles greet us with every step. But our feet are getting tougher and calluses are slowly forming in the key spots.
We’ve had the occasional bout of homesickness, which often crops up at breakfast time when we’re thinking about bacon. We’re going through bacon withdrawal! Moving quickly from place to place can take its toll, so we’ve been trying to take breaks when we can. This past week was spent lying on a beach in Goa, which has been perfect.
We’ve only had one minor breakdown so far when Sam accidentally submerged her foot in a hole of unidentifiable, warm, foul-smelling liquid behind a public bathroom at a bus station in Bangalore. Luckily we’re up to date on our Hepatitis shots so it looks like she’ll be able to keep the foot.
What Have We Been Up To?
We definitely don’t miss work, but we’ve had to devise a schedule so we don’t go too long without updating the site. We’ve declared Mondays our website “work days”, assuming the internet gods grant us connectivity. Eric’s MacBook stopped working so our productivity has slowed in recent weeks. Thankfully there are service centers in Delhi where it can be fixed.
Day-to-day tasks like research and hand-washing clothes take up the time we don’t spend exploring new places. In her role as trip accountant, Sam tracks every rupee spent and has become more insistent about staying on budget. Eric mastered the extraordinarily confusing Indian rail system, so we’ve been taking advantage of trains even though they lumber along at a snail’s pace.
A noticeable development is that even after a short amount of time traveling, we’re finding that things become more and more relative. In particular, the concepts of “clean” and “expensive” have taken on new meaning. We find ourselves thinking things like, “It’s just a couple of cockroaches – no big deal!” and, “The bananas two kilometers back were eight cents cheaper. We should wait and go back there.”
What Have We Been Eating?
In the past month we’ve enjoyed some amazing world cuisine as well as some bland imitations of it. In general we find that the closer you are to the main tourist areas, the more disappointing the meal. We’re always on the hunt for unapologetic, authentic, local food.
Food in Sri Lanka was tasty but a bit too consistent. Curry and biryani with mounds of rice were often the only choices on the menu, so after a week or so we’d had our fill. Sweet Sri Lankan tea was always around to wash it down.
Already we are finding that India has more variety and we’re looking forward to sampling street food once we get to the larger cities. At the moment we’re stuck on Gobi Manchurian (AKA Chili Gobi), a spicy fried cauliflower dish.
It looks like we’ll be in India for another month or two. In a few days we’re heading north to Jaipur in anticipation of the upcoming elephant festival and Holi, the spring festival of colors. We’re really looking forward to seeing Caroline in Delhi at the end of the month!