Rick Steve's India
Rick Steve, everybody's favorite Euro-travel author, has his own favorite destination - India. He puts a different spin on my India-is-mindfunk line though. In an interview (Rick Steves: His top sites, pet peeves, best advice) with the San Jose Mercury News, he says:
India rearranges all your cultural furniture. I thought I knew what music was, I thought I knew what pain and love and faith were, but India changes everything. Everything is different. It was great travel, but it's very frustrating to talk about it. You can't explain India to people. I can explain Ireland, Norway, the Alps, but I can't explain India. It's like travel squared.
Nicely put. However, there are a couple of things I observed in my last trip. Double standards do exist. White tourists are the real sacred cows over there - most locals know this and accordingly will be amazingly hospitable. Unfortunately, they tend to view NRIs as cash cows. I don't exactly know where this comes from - it seems to be a mixture of resentment, annoyance and envy. Just consider the moneyed, boorish NRI stereotype that used to pop up in Bollywood films. Anyway, you have to be on your guard constantly as a consequence.
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