Massive row on the bus between Jay and Amigo. A parting of the ways. Jay to return to Mumbai and Amigo to stay with me. Apart from that, I enjoyed the journey to Mysore. Wonderful of views reminiscent of the Peak District and then Switzerland. Nighttime through a tiger reserve where the bus’s lights picked out deer and wild elephants.
My second trip to India feels very different from when I visited for the first time nearly three years ago. Then I was travelling on my own, but was rarely lonely because I was meeting lots of people on the way. The Couchsurfing website - which brings together those offering and those seeking hospitality in people’s homes - was especially helpful in getting to know people. Indeed, it was why I went to India in the first place: Hima from Hyderabad, whom I hosted when she was in London, invited me to her brother’s wedding there. After that, I met many other wonderful hosts throughout my travels. I was also struck by the friendliness of Indians in casual encounters, whether it was being photographed with them at tourist attractions or chatting from armchairs at the various clubs with which I had reciprocal arrangements, from Secunderabad to Calcutta. And I am everlastingly grateful to Jay from Mumbai and Manish from Hyderabad who rescued me when the ATM swallowed my only card.
Chatted to my father on Sype this morning. He asked me an mportant question: is the Indian food in India different from the Indian food you eat in England? Not sure I know the answer. I don’t think I’ve come across anything in India which you couldn’t find somewhere in London, which now has specialist restaurants from all over India, as indeed does India. And many of the staples of Indian restaurants in the UK are also available in India, even came across chicken tikka massala. I suspect you would have to be Indian to notice the differences, just as I could spot that the British-style roast lamb at the British-style King’s Cliff hotel wasn’t quite what you would expect in a good British restaurant or at the Elfenbeins. Perhaps it was because it was halal and lacked the rosy pinkness that a splattering of blood would give.