Monday, November 3, 2014

India, Nick. Nick, India.

I had to search for a coffee shop. This was my first priority.
Anything would do. It's what I do to remain calm. To get a chance to breathe. Caffeine helps. So I was able to somehow by the grace of God get to a really nice one (I did a review of it on TripAdvisor here if you get to Bangalore).

So, good. I'm having a good coffee and my mind can relax.

I landed in India two nights ago, and wow, it was so much different than Southeast Asia that my mind pretty much melted on landing. I grabbed a taxi, got to my hostel...and...and, wait, before I go on.

Let me describe to you this hostel. Let us call it, say, The Hostel of Horrors. Yeah, that sounds appropriate enough.

First off, the bathroom. No shower, so, well, I used a hose "thing" that I think was for showering. Or maybe it was for cleaning the toilet. It was pretty hard to tell. Either way, it only extended a few feet from the wall at my knees so I had to crouch down very, very low. My calf muscles are burning and I'm sure I got some good toning in my legs.

Outside my window
The bed. The bed was made for children. Or several hobbits. I'm sure of it. And I think the staff knew it, too. So they fashioned two of them together thanks to the magic of duck tape and a sheet (I really, truly wish I could snap a picture that did it...uh...justice). Sneaky, right? I slept in the fetal position all night, which wasn't too bad, the loud music outside my room and cows mooing didn't bother me because I was exhausted from getting only four hours of sleep the night before and being on planes all day.

The outlet for electricity sparked every time I put something in it, and I had to MacGyver a support system out of my backpack, a chair, the TV remote, and a bar of soap in order to hold up my power adapter into the wall and prevent it from falling out. I also watched it with a strange intensity because I just knew it would catch fire. Those kind of adventures love me. Fire and mayhem, that is.

I opened up the drawer above my bed to get some blankets. Unless I've gotten really strong in the last two months, I tore off the door like the Hulk. Awesome. It could have been made from wood, but it could have been cardboard. Like the shower, it's pretty hard to tell.

The door had 4 deadbolts. Why? Because I grabbed this hostel in the middle of absolutely nowhere, for dirt cheap, way off the grid of the city. I have not seen or heard one foreigner or another guest. 

There's a hole in the wall that may or may not be a hole to the next room.

The Western-style toilet self flushes (which it shouldn't) in the middle of the night. Because, science. I think.

Bangalore, M.G. Road
That all said, the staff are rad and the WiFi is absolutely phenomenal. Go figure.

As horrible as it was, it's too funny to be mad or angry about. It's part of the journey that separates it from Eat, Pray, Love (sorry, I can't stop bashing that movie). I'm not rich, I can't stay in 5-star hotel rooms with my $200,000 book advance. What I do have to do is kill a cockroach every once in a while and bolt the doors and sleep in my clothes because I don't really want my skin on whatever that stain is.

But travel is all about letting go. And it's pretty hard to learn to let go when you're not willing to be in a situation that forces you to.

I got my coffee. I'm off to a new place in the center of the city. I feel good.

Bangalore itself is nuts. The streets buzz with a million motorcycles and cars, every street echoing more honks per second than all of New York City (And Cambodia, forgive me for any bad things I said about your roads. You're the Leave it to Beaver of roads compared to India!). There are people everywhere, every side street, every nook and cranny. Cows lazily walk through it all. It's dirty and hot and disorganized. Everyone stares at me, the only foreigner looking completely and utterly lost and disoriented. Stands of food I've never seen or imagined line the street sides, the spices even hot when I breathe them in. A New York minute? New York has nothing on this place. It's absolute chaos.
Organized? Maybe.
Or, well, maybe not in the least bit.
It's madness but...but...there's more to it than that. It's alive and sprawling and the pulse of life is stronger than ever here.

As a new friend of mine, Alejandro, said of his recent trip to India, he greatly disliked it at first, but by the end he had grown to love the madness and chaos of it all. He didn't understand it by then end of his journey there, but still was greatly changed by the country and its people (his blog, by the way, is AMAZING and this guy is legit. He quit his job and started traveling and adventuring. Pretty much my new hero. His blog is in Spanish, but you can translate it over with Chrome. Click here for the link, give him so love and check it out).

It's chaos.

And I kind of like it.

Except for that shower. That was horrible.

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