Over the summer I visited India for the first time to present at the International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences. It was my first time in Asia and a totally different cultural experience than I’d ever had before.
India is an incredible place to visit, but I think tends to be one of the more intimidating ones for westerners. It’s expensive to get to from North America, the language is indecipherable compared to western languages, and the cultural differences are numerous…from understanding the caste system to eating with your hands. The trip was well worth it, though, and it ended up being much easier to get by than I’d anticipated. It’s a trip to research in advance, but not one to miss.
I can’t say the places I visited in India are the must-see destinations because they were chosen out of proximity to my conference and convenience. But I had a great time on this trip and could see myself returning to visit more of India.
The conference was in beautiful coastal Goa. A prominent destination for both international visitors and Indians themselves, Goa is well known as being a touristy spot. But I can see why it’s worth the visit. Goa is historically a Portuguese colony and still has much of that influence. The conference itself was held at the Marriott, which is posh to say the least. The fact that the rooms were comparable to western prices was testament enough to the audience this particular hotel attracts.
But even the Goa airport was picturesque.
I was there during the Indian monsoon season, which is to say it rained a lot. It rained frequently and torrentially, but we were fortunate to get a few beautiful days of sunshine, conveniently aligned with our sight-seeing. In the end, I was happy with visiting in July because the number of tourists was relatively low and I was able to witness (and experience) an integral part of Indian life: making do during the monsoon.
India as a whole is far too expansive to get the full experience in only a few weeks, but I had a number of first experiences while there (like riding in auto rickshaws). In the next few posts, I’ll share photos from a number of my adventures including cycling in rural Goa, touring a spice plantation, and visiting local churches and temples.