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Off Topic: Traveling to India and Nepal
May 1, 2015
The reason for no posts here for the last few weeks is that I’ve been traveling. This last trip was to India and Nepal [Personal to Rev. Lick: That makes 51 countries].
1. We left Nepal Wednesday afternoon, three days before the earthquake. Timing is everything.
2. Why does it seem that earthquakes hit the poorest countries?
3. Answer to #2: There are a lot more poor countries than rich ones, so the odds favor hitting poor ones.
4. The highlights of the trip were mostly the expected ones: The Taj Mahal is as magnificent as in the pictures and the two boat rides we took on the Ganges were spectacular.
5. The most unexpected highlight was simply watching the drivers in India. There are few stop lights outside of Dehli, few traffic laws (or at least that are enforced) and a huge amount of traffic including cars, buses, trucks, tik-tuks (small three-wheeled taxis) and motorbikes. Then, factor in the occasional cow – or herd of cows – in the middle of the road. Nonetheless, despite several long bus trips, we never saw a single accident. Contrast that to Beijing where we never went out without seeing an accident and usually several. Watching Indian drivers negotiate traffic is worth the trip in and of itself.
6. Nepal was surprisingly much cleaner and seemingly more prosperous than India, which is not what we expected. There was minimal garbage strewed around and there were actually sidewalks in Kathmandu. There were traffic cops at each intersection and motorists were paying attention to them.
7. Taking the train in India is an experience in and of itself. While there were no people sitting top of the train, getting into and out of the station was a matter of mob mentality.
8. We were told to be prepared for aggressive beggars and peddlers. Perhaps due to my experience living in Israel for a year and having traveled in parts of the mideast, it was very mild in both countries.
9. Two good things about traveling: It’s good to get away and see new and different places. And it’s good to get back.