Excellent report from India from the comments:
This blog is hilarious! Especially the bans. I’m a White American who has traveled to India three times, twice by choice, once for business. I have told people I thought India was the most beautiful and most terrible place on Earth.
Delhi is a horrifying shithole alright and is full of assholes. The taxi people will try to fuck you with a bunch of stupid scam shit right out of the airport. However, I went there almost 15 years apart on two trips, and the second time I went, it was much improved. Roads were being built, as was a subway (metro).
Twice in Delhi my wife was molested, once in a tuktuk with me, and once standing in a crowd. In both cases, someone grabbed her ass from behind. After a week, I was so disgusted and angry at the Indian men who would walk up to her, drooling, while I was accompanying her, tested all my strength of cultural tolerance. Fortunately we left Delhi before I kicked someone’s ass. I should add that my wife is 6′ and totally fucking hot but was dressed more or less like a dirty hiker.
Dharamsala is not a shithole. I did find occasional open sewer canals, but the people were much nicer, the city was generally cleaner, and most of the escaped Tibetans I met were very friendly.
Bihar is disgusting. I got dumped in Patna with my wife because of a bus strike in Nepal while we were trying to travel back from Chitwan to Varanasi, so we were rerouted there. I have seen the throat of Hell, and it is the Nepal/India border town of Raxaul. Beyond Bosch, Goya, Milton, etc.
Four bandits/dacoits boarded our bus late at night during a stop. I stood up in the back of the bus waving a Kukhri I bought in Kathmandu (very nice place in 1999, much better overall than India) and they got off at the next stop.
I believe I encountered a guardian angel in downtown Patna, who suddenly appeared on the street (it was the middle of the night) and told us we had to get off the streets immediately and take refuge in the train station. The floor there was covered with people sleeping on newspapers in filth and urine, but from there, we spotted the last open hotel in the place. After I checked in there around 3 AM, people immediately came knocking on the door after I had settled in. I pushed the chest of drawers in front of the door, and we went to sleep. In the morning we were awakened by knocking again, so I went to the door, and it was a member of the hotel staff who brought us tea and toast for breakfast, which tasted really fucking amazing at that moment.
Rajasthan is really nice. Beautiful palaces, lovely colors, friendly people. The occasional pool of human excreta, garbage and the fucking free-roaming cows did appear but not enough to feel pervasive. Jaipur is a mad crunch of people, but we stayed in a former palace for nothing, and it was great.
Khajuraho was fantastic. I loved Gwalior as well. On the road south to Orchha, we spotted a beautiful, empty palace of sorts called, I think, Dhuttia or Datia. We got out – no attendant or anything. It was UNESCO-quality in architecture. Climbed to the top of that, and inside we were approached by a security guard who was friendly, and we wanted to know why there was nobody there.
He said, “We don’t let Indians in here. They would destroy the place.”
Never forgot that; made me quite sad.
Goa is shit. Filthy, overpriced, non-stop haranguing from tout fucks. Disgusting beaches, filthy ocean, though there is infrastructure and decent roads in some places, and the Portuguese historical sites are interesting.
So I did the range from cheap hippie-backpacker experience in 1999 to five-star “bubble” traveling (and sometimes nomadic wandering). I would go back, as I would like to see the Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Kerala, and Gujarat.
I did bathe in the Ganges near Varanasi in 1999 because I was on some sort of spiritual journey thing right after my father died. I didn’t get sick, though I got sick other places in India (but that is the same as in many African countries, Egypt, Portugal, etc., and I got a terrible case of dysentery in London, though that was from eating samosas at an Indian food stand.)
The wife molestation thing I have never encountered anywhere else. The whole Eve-teasing thing and its mentality has to fucking stop. As does of course the raping, though that’s certainly not unique to India.
Now that said, I have been to 96 countries, including several in Africa. The poverty, at least demonstrated by total squalor, is worse in India. Where I have traveled, I have found assholes and wonderful people and have not usually been able to pin them down by religion. Except for Buddhists. Everywhere I have encountered Buddhists, everything’s been cool. I was surprised at how many Ethiopian people are assholes and at how endemic prostitution is there. The most assholes I have encountered were in Cambodia. But I can understand why.
So overall, I would tell people what I said at the beginning of this post: India is the most beautiful and the most terrible place at the same time. They should not be sending fucking satellites and rockets into space and spending gazillions on developing their own fighter jets which will never compete with the USA’s before taking care of basics like infrastructure, sanitation, health, and poverty. Costa Rica, for instance, has no military. They’ve spent the money on education and have achieved 95% literacy.
Also, I have made several acquaintances who I wanted to be friends with here in the US. Things went great until I told them I had been to India a couple of times. They immediately cut off all contact and wouldn’t engage with me ever again.
But if you get a chance to go to India, go! Just be prepared, and get your shots.