is almost impossible to describe the difference between a country
like the UK and a country like India.
travelling in India
only way I can think of is by saying, the UK is like a straight
line, where everything is structured and systematic, and India is
like a curvy line with huge peaks and troughs, where everything
is a little more individual and unstructured. I'll try to explain
a little better with some examples.
On most days, the temperature in Delhi reaches 40°C. This is
a temperature I did not think existed until I got here. Amazingly
though, it's not a heat that will burn you, and you're not always
aware of how hot it is.
it does do is make you sweat. Even after a fifteen minute walk you
are in desperate need of a shower, and no matter how much water
you drink, you can never replace what is being lost. Urination has
become somewhat of a rarity. People like me (tourists) flock to
areas with air conditioning, like shops where they have no intention
of buying anything!
for the monsoon, there will be the heaviest period of rain you are
likely to see, for anything from ten minutes to two hours, which
will pleasantly cool the environment. Then it will dry up within
minutes as if nothing has happened. These are quite extreme climatic
The UK has summers where it's rarely extremely hot and winters where
it is rarely extremely cold. It rains consistently all year round,
but rain is rarely stormy or severe. If we're lucky it snows once
or twice a year, but frost is a lot more frequent. It's really rather
predictable and boring.
A huge range of automobile and creature dominate the roads. First,
there are cars of all shapes and sizes, many with dents and missing
there's the motorbike and moped, which weave their way through any
gap regardless of size. It is common to see whole families sitting
on these mopeds. The father at the front wearing a helmet, the mother
behind, sitting on the bike sideways so not to crease her beautiful
sari, and a baby in the mother's arms.
there is the auto rickshaws, the three-wheeler miniature Del-Boy
vans that guarantee getting you anywhere you ask, for a negotiable
price, in what is not always the most conventional way.
for creature, cows wander the roads with a confident swagger knowing
drivers will avoid them at whatever cost. The drivers seem a little
less concerned about the pedestrians though, and there seems to
be an understanding that cars don't stop for pedestrians and pedestrians
don't wait for cars to stop in order to cross.
is all then thrown together in a random fashion and chaos ensues
which is plain to see and easy to hear by the continual use of the
The UK roads have cars, which drive in lanes on the left side of
the road, and overtake on the outside. There are buses, which often
travel in bus lanes, and bikes often go in the cycle lane.
the thrill seekers, there is the option of sprinting across a main
road, but this really is quite unnecessary with all the zebra crossings
Indian food is filled with variety and flavour and is renowned for
being spicy. A bold decision is often needed on what to eat, as
it can have magical effects on your digestive system.
is different depending on where you live in India, but mostly eaten
with a type of bread or rice, and is at its best when eaten with
the hands. The messier it is the better the experience, apparently.
The national dish is 'fish and chips' - quite simple in recipe.
It can be livened up a bit by the traditional use of salt, vinegar
and tarter sauce.
a more exciting combination is the 'fry up' consisting of sausages,
bacon, eggs, beans, tomatoes and hash brown depending on your taste.
try not to blink when walking round Delhi, just out of fear of missing
something. People fill the sides of the roads, either sleeping in
tents, or selling fruit or water, or ironing clothes, anything you
can think of.
and streets are often half-built, and I have nearly fallen into
open manholes and ditches. No two streets look the same, and no
two shops do either.
exciting are the many markets, where traffic comes to a stand still,
and you cannot see in front of you, due to the sheer volume of people.
It is action-packed wherever you look, with a huge range of goods
being sold, for whatever price your bargaining skills allow. There
are also some Western-style malls and arcades, but I try to keep
away from them, as they're far less exciting.
Many streets look the same in the UK, especially in newly built
residential areas where houses are built in identical styles. High
streets are usually filled with chain-store shops, and although
markets exist, they are usually weekly and operate on a 'pitch system'.
is however a lot more character in many of the smaller historic
or seaside towns. Any open manholes and ditches are usually attended
to after an accident and a stern letter to the council!
this is a rather flippant comparison the point is that, whenever
travelling somewhere outside of your own country, you will experience
some difference, or culture shock which you need to adjust to.
India, this culture shock is so significant that it's making my
time here a real eye-opening experience. It is so different to anything
I have seen or imagined before and I think the only way you can
really get a grasp for it is by seeing it for yourself.
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by Andrew Webster