Farms, Forks, and Foreigners: Eating Locally on the Road

Given the opportunity, I would have eaten palak paneer for every meal while in India.

No wait, that’s not true.

Given the opportunity, I would have self-constructed an IV-drip bag of the pureed green goodness and pumped my veins full of that stuff every time I was feeling low on vitamin D, cumin, or anything else blended into that glory bowl of curry.

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A Diwali Story (minus Ralphie Parker and the Red Ryder BB Gun)

Diwali is the Christmas of India.

Except with a lot more fireworks.

And you know, probably a few less Ferrero Rochers.

And since most Christmas evenings end with me gripping my stomach and rolling around in hazelnut-overdose agony whilst simultaneously surrounded by gold tinfoil wrappers, this whole firework-Ferrero trade-off is completely fine by me.

I mean yes, most holidays get exponentially better when they include golf ball-sized servings of whipped chocolate. And yes, these chocolates only seem to taste that much better when arranged in pyramid formation to resemble a seasonal Evergreen tree….

But again, Diwali has fireworks.

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Jaisalmer Starship- We Built this City/ We Built this City on Dirt and Sand

There’s been much debate geographically about the city referenced in Jefferson Starship’s so-bad-it’s-good-then-bad-again 1986 hit song, “We Built this City (on Rock n’ Roll).”

Doing some preliminary research (does Google count as “research,” yet?) on the song, references to San Francisco, New York City, and even Cleveland have been made. But we’re talking about building a city. On the merit of rock n’ roll and rock n’ roll alone. Other than housing the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and being the birthplace of Chrissie Hynde, the leading lady of The Pretenders, I just can’t picture Cleveland being the referenced city in a song talking about the pending ban of music.

Same goes with New York City. And San Francisco too, for that matter.

However, after reading the lyrics to the song, I don’t really have any other viable options for an appropriate city whose urban blueprint doubles as it’s record’s liner notes.

Instead, I think the song probably has very little to do with rock n’ roll.

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The Do’s (and More Do’s) of Camel Riding in Jaisalmer

English’s greatest flaw is its use of directive language. 

Well, that and letting words like “irregardless” slide into our vocabulary to replace “regardless” without a second thought that they pretty much mean THE SAME THING.

Anyways, directive language.

I hate it.

And I’m sure you do to. (Or, at the very least, you were once just a little resistant to the whole idea of verbs like do, come, see, and go being your first set of instructions as a child.) And if in fact that’s the case, your youthfulness is calling…it misses you!

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Pushkar: The Perfect Place for Playing Hide-and-Seek (that’s a whole lot of “p’s”)

Remember playing hide n seek as a kid? You would bury yourself in the coat closet, probably almost suffocating yourself under 20lb of parkas. Your heart would literally sink into your toes when you peered through the small crack of light between the door and the floor and spotted a pair of feet shuffle past you.

Convincing yourself that all other children in your age range have the earshot of eagles, you would even hold your breath (bringing you even one step closer to suffocation) in hopes that the person that was “it” would not hear you gasping for air.

Well, some Indian urban planner also had hide-and-seek on the brain when they started mapping out the intricacies of Pushkar, India.

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Failing to Meditate: My 5 days at an ashram in Rishikesh

“We’re staying in an ashram for 5 days on the skirts of the Himalayas. There’s no internet. Whatevs. I’m totally going to throw my mind, body, and soul a serious curveball, here.”

I ended an email with this threat to my meditative self, said a mental farewell to shotty internet connections, and made  my way across the Lakshman Jhula bridge in Rishikesh to an ashram in the yogi-centric part of town.

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More than Abbey Road: Beatlemania in India

If you’re anything like me (and in terms of self-validation, I kind of hope you are), Googling specific search terms prior to a trip becomes a pretty crucial step in the planning stage of travel.

Maybe you want to know about minor things like safety concerns in a new country. Or perhaps you’re silly with curiosity about things like exchange rates, or even more outrageous, the weather. Or maybe you’re just wondering about the feasibility of extravagant things like Goa Holidays in the upcoming months.

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Getting Scammed in the World’s Oldest City

“He’ll probably use a name that’s easy to remember.”

Oh, Crap.

“And he’ll definitely tell you that he just met other travellers from your home country.”

No, no, no.

The staff at the hotel thought that predicting the behaviours of our auto rickshaw driver would be a fun game to play. I just felt like I was watching myself on an episode of some Just for Laughs comedy sketch.

The uh, prankster (so to speak) was a man calling himself “Mr. Baboo” and not surprisingly, claimed to have met two Canadians the day prior.

There’s no way Mr. Baboo scammed us. It’s probably just a fluke. I mean, he waited for us as we frantically scrambled through the Varanasi Train Station. And he even tried to calm me down after I had actively convinced myself that I would be stuck in Varanasi for the rest of my 20’s. (This is only a slight exaggeration. We were a big hot mess of we-need-outta-here fury. And since this was also during the holy Durga Puja Festival, it meant that even the locals were a big hot mess. Everyone wanted to go somewhere. And no one seemed content on waiting in a designated line to get there.)

But Mr. Baboo was there for us! There’s no way he could have scammed us. Just as long as they don’t say something about him taking us to that silk factory museum. 

“Did he take you to the silk factory museum?”

….

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Falling In Love (again!) in Darjeeling

So remember just recently when I was like, “I’m soooo in love with Pai.”

Come on, remember?

Well, there’s something you should know about me.

I fall in love a lot. Like, all the time.

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What Wes Anderson Forgot to Mention about Train Travel in India

Life inspires movies. (Case in point: Benjamin Button could totally probably happen in real life. Well, probably…maybe.)

Movies inspire life. (Case in point: Who else out watched Paranormal Activity and then promptly convinced themselves that their apartment was almost definitely haunted by an angry, door-moving, pot-smashing poltergeist?)

To those without a real firm grip on reality (but in my defence, the door seriously did close…ALL BY ITSELF), it can be really difficult to decide if events which happen in movies could also you know, happen in real life.

Unless of course, you’re a senior citizen newborn growing younger every year.

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