Monday, March 14, 2011

Leaving India behind

Palolem, Goa
Backwaters of Kerala
Tea trees in Munnar, Kerala
Jin loving India
I'm not ready yet. That's all I can say about leaving India. The last 6 months just flew by. Someone wrote once that hating India is the easiest thing to do while in India. I totally and completely agree with it. But you soon realize that one emotion is never enough to describe India. There's absolute beauty, once you look past the trash, public urination and defecation, chaos on the roads, constant beeping, and the feeling of being cheated. All in all, this truly is a god's own country with vast amount of natural resources and abundant cultures. I will miss my corner dosa shop, amazing group of friends, southern Indian coffee, and organized chaos. So India, we've had our ups and downs but I love you. Thank you for everything you've taught me. AND this is not the end but just the beginning of our journey together. See you later...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Foreigners in India

It may be absurd that I want to talk about foreigners in India when in fact I am a foreigner. However, the simple fact that I no longer require toilet paper gives me a honorary citizenship to this country called India. First of all, I love foreigners. I feel safe when I see alot of them at a place where I know no one. I talk to alot of them as I travel alone. I actually relate to their frustration and love for India. BUT... I think everyone saw a BUT coming up.. BUT... really? really? reeeeaaaaalllllyyyy???? Ass always, here's my list.

1. Clothes in India: tube top with hot shorts in a Hindu town of Hampi? Skimpy tank tops with mini skirt? No shirts around the town???? There are posters around certain towns where they ask foreigners to dress appropriately. I've seen Indians' heads turning around 180 degrees with their eyes popping out with certain outfits. Puleeeeaze.. Have some respect for India!

2. Yelling at Indians in their native language: Okay, I get it, India makes you mad but do you really need to scream at them in your own language over 5 to 10 rupees? Indians just think you're a lunatic. In one incident, Indians told some foreigners not to come back to India. They said(in broken English) "This is India, it's my country, you go back to yours and never come back". That's just... sad...

3. Massive public display of affection in public: Yes, You are in love. That's cool but there's no need for frenchie in the middle of town. That won't even be cool in the middle of Philadelphia so why here? Maybe India just gets your blood boil and you get turned on. I don't know but please do private things in your own privacy. 

Not all foreigners behave like these. Of course it's only maybe 10% of those who come to India. India will always be India. India won't change its ways for us, the foreigners. so Learn to live with it! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jin's 0 to 10 scale on Indian cities

Not that I claim to know all the cities of India but I feel that I should judge each place I have visited like a beauty contest.  I created the 5 area, 10-point system method while backpacking around Europe years ago. The 5 areas are 1.Sights/things to do, 2.Shopping, 3.Food, 4.People and 5.General impression.
I did not include small towns or villages. Although the best parts of India are sometimes in those areas. 
So here's the list, Drum roll, please.... 

Sights/things to do
General Impression
Total Score
 36/50, 72%
 40/50, 80%
 32/50, 64%
36/50, 72%
 29.5/50, 59%
 46.4/50, 92.8%
*Disclaimer: This judgment is sorely from a foreign tourist's perspective. Please do not refer this table when you're making decision on where to live. Also, this does not reflect on those from these areas or live*

As you can see, I am a tough critic. What I realized is that it's usually the people and shopping that make the city lovable or hatable. So here's to you, Varanasi, for your amazing shopping, wondrous ghats, and lovable people. 

The rest of Varanasi pictures can be found here . And all the other pics can be found on this link

Monday, February 21, 2011

I could be Indian, Part II

I took a long time to get back to my blog. I still want to share my experiences but I am also getting used to things here in India, hence, these experiences are becoming daily routines. The last few weeks have been quite busy with Mel, Erica and Amy coming to visit and us traveling to difference places. Pictures of the places where we went will be posted in the next few days. For right now, I would like to let the world know that I am indeed almost(8 out of 10)Indian. On my last blog on this topic had a list. I want to add more to that list. 
  • I no longer require toilet paper.
  • I can eat with my hands now. I still can't do rice with hands, though. I now eat rice with hands.
  • Hot shower is a luxury, not a necessity
  • People don't stare at me anymore, They assume I'm from Northeast of India or Nepal (not even China). 
  • I don't see any problem with making 2-lane street into 6-lane street
  • Traffic lights are just annoyance, you don't need them.
  • Not sharing the street with the animals is just selfish. When there were no goats while I was in Delhi, I felt lonely. 
  • I believe squatting for #1 and 2 have anatomical advantages. Not only do I believe, I KNOW that there's a reason why 1.2 billion people squat for #1 and #2. 
  • Saying "please, thank you, excuse me" is a waste of time. Just get to the main verb/noun. ex) Can I please have the check? --> Check!, or Can I please get a cup of coffee?--> One coffee(sometimes just lift one finger and say coffee)
  • You should never pay the fixed price. If he tells you $20, just give him $15.
  • I wonder why Americans don't use metric system!
  • My head bobbles when I'm talking to people.
  • My American friends think I'm Indian.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What I did during Christmas and NYE

Thanjavur -->Tiruchirappalli --> Bengalore -->Mysore -->Chikmagalur --> Aldur -->Kadabgere/Bhadra -->Hasan -->Kushalnagar-->Madkeri -->Bylakupee --> Madikeri --> Bengalore --> Chennai --> back home in Thanjavur

 'One state, Many Worlds...' Southern Karnataka ( is what I did during Christmas vaca. The half of the trip was spent on local buses that had no suspensions and questionable working brakes but it was a blast. My favorites are Bengalore 100rupee fliflop shopping, Camping and eating river fish at Bhadra River Camp (, Hillside town of Madikeri, Coffee plantations of Coorg and Tibetan monks in Bylakupee.  
No No.. life is not all rosy, however. My iPhone was stolen while I was sleeping on one of the local buses, I couldn't keep up with different climate changes in a week and got a cold. The finale of my trip was food poisoning that kept me in bed or on the toilet for 48hrs. But it was one of the best trips EVER!!!
Now back to work, trying to finish my last month at work with a big BANG! 

Me with Coffee tree, can I plant one in my yard?

Commercial street in Bengalore on Christmas Eve

COFFEE!!!!! Beans are inside

Sunset view from Raja Seat in Madikeri

Golden Tibetan Buddist Temple

Fishermen running away after they refused to give us fish they owed us

Little teenage monks in training during their tea chanting

More Pictures found on Facebook:!/album.php?aid=259880&id=519266544 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What India has been teaching me for the last 100+days

1. Tolerance
In a country this big and diverse, it's easy to get fascinated in the beginning.  However, when the initial charms wear off, you face a rude awakening to the reality. India has been teaching me from the day one the meaning of tolerance. It means that I don't just overlook everything but have less expectation of things to work out the way "I think it should" and have more respect for the things the way they are. After all, I am in India where anything is possible and happens. 

2. Patience
Patience is one of the virtues that I possess very little of. Things don't make sense at times, I still get confused with the head bobble thing, yes doesn't mean yes and everything is 'just around the corner'. But this is a part of being in a different culture. If I am patient and lose my temper, I am the only one who waste energy. After all, everyone else will think I am just funny anyway.   

3. Assertiveness
This is a country with 1.2 billion people. there is no time or space to be polite. Just push and be aggressive! However, since being aggressive won't work back home,  I learn to be more assertive. 

4. Learn to have fun 
Being frustrated as a foreigner in India is an understatement. however,  no one else would ever teach me the importance of having fun and laughing everyday. For the lessons you teach me, I thank you, India.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Am I becoming an Indian?

Each day seems so long at times, yet the time flies before I notice that it's December! I am on a return train back to the lovely and sleepy town of Thanjavur after spending a long weekend with Erin and Geoff visiting Taj Mahal and the Agra fort. During this trip with Erin and Geoff, I've noticed that I am almost like half Indian. The reasons are listed below. 
  • I no longer require toilet paper.
  • I can eat with my hands now. I still can't do rice with hands, though.
  • Hot shower is a luxury, not a necessity
  • People don't stare at me anymore, They assume I'm from Northeast of India or Nepal (not even China). 
  • I don't see any problem with making 2-lane street into 6-lane street
  • Traffic lights are just annoyance, you don't need them.
  • Not sharing the street with the animals is just selfish. When there were no goats while I was in Delhi, I felt lonely. 
  • I believe squatting for #1 and 2 have anatomical advantages.
There're many other reasons why I am only half like I can't wear Sari, I can't speak Hindi, tamil or any other Indian languages, or I can't stand cockroaches. When I spend about 2-3 more months in India, I'm sure I will become a true Indian. So this was just a thought and I will post my pictures from Taj soon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Punjabee Wedding

Me in a Punjabi suit in a Punjabi pose Click this link for More Pictures!!!

So I finally "crashed" an Indian wedding in India! This was one of my things to do while in India. Technically, I couldn't crash since I was invited. First of word that comes to my mind is BLING-BLING. These people know how to dress up, play hard and work hard. My friend's family is one of the most hospitable people you could every meet and I still am so grateful for them to take me in and make me feel like a part of their family. It was definitely one of the most memorable weddings.

Raj in her wedding gown, so pretty

 The wedding ceremony goes on for three days, the first day was to get their hands henna done and other fun girly things that i missed. My hands were done later by one of the cousins...
My hand with Henna
 The second day starts with the bride's family all going to the groom's family. There was a Sikh service, food, then more food, then more and more food. The evening of the second day is when the women from the groom's family come to dress up the bride. The wedding is on the third day and it's BUSY and has lots lots of food. 
The newly wedded couple

The in-laws dancing and spreading money to each other

Me in another Punjabi suit

Throwing the rice backwards for prosperity before heading out...

After the wedding and reception are over, the bride and groom walk out together. The bride throws the rice backwards for prosperity for her family, then goes with the groom's family. I got sad because it felt like she was leaving her home to become a part of the new family.... Anyway, it was AWESOME!!! I plan to crash many more Indian weddings!
Nicest uncle and friend's dad!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jalandher and Back

So it's been a while since my last entry, it is not because I don't have anything to say or do anything fun. It's because the opposite. I've been busy traveling to Punjab (it's one of the northern states in India for those who don't know India geography). I went to a friend's wedding there. The wedding needs a whole new blog page so that will be posted separately. I would like to discuss about traveling in India!!!! Before I begin, I would to emphasize that I love India! 

But traveling around sometimes is not easy. Few examples here;  My morning at the airport started with a bunch of rude ladies cutting the line in front of me for the luggage x-ray. I was so aggravated that I pushed one of them with my backpack, but she didn't even flinch. On the way to the Delhi train station, the traffic was horrendous and the taxi driver reached over, opened my door and told me to get out and start walking because he wasn't going to drive in the traffic anymore! I basically told him off in English which I doubted he cared or understood.

View of the Delhi the train station platform

But all in all, this was not a bad trip, I guess. I was not ass groped, did not miss the stop, met some nice people whose son kept singing Justin Beiber's song the whole 6hr ride, and yelled at drunk men who were making passes at me. I do, however, continue to ask, India! why? Why can't we be on time???