After having a rough week with our 2 day stay average starting to take it’s tole on our brains, we were starting to wish we had booked our Goa tickets for an earlier date for some much needed beach time, but unfortunately our tickets weren’t changeable.
We arrived in Chandigarh with the hopes of having a bit of a relaxation break considering there isn’t much to see in Chandigarh from a tourist stand. All those hopes were shattered the minute we stepped off the bus. Walking away after being literally surrounded by Indian men/boys to get our business for their rickshaws, I promptly had to turn around and tell the lot of them to “Please F*CK OFF!.” After a long bus ride having your ass grabbed is not a nice introduction to a city.
From here we got in a rickshaw and drove around to 10 different hotels being turned away by each (except one, which I walked away from on the account of a very apparent cockroach infestation.) When we got to our eighth hotel we asked if we could use their phone to call another hotel to see if they have room because we were tired of driving around, the receptionist obliged and called speaking Punjabi on the phone with the other hotel. After we thanked him and handed him some rupees for his help, we got in the rickshaw and arrived at the hotel he had called for us only to learn no one had called and surprise, surprise…they also had no room. After Nick used his very serious voice with the next hotel owner and assured him that we would not leave until we spoke to a hotel that had vacancy, we ended up at hotel AB’s which was $50 compared to our average budget of under $10. Although it was nice I didn’t feel it was quite worth $50, as in India $50 can generally get you a very nice place.
Waking up this morning we were well rested (on sheets that were pure white no less!) but were sitting uneasy knowing we were eating away at our travel fund. We decided to call one of our original budget options and stay the next night there.
After another terribly draining morning trying to (un-successfully) book our bus tickets out of here, we decided to get out of India for a few hours. How does one get out of India you ask? Step 1 is to find a Mc Donald’s. Mc Donald’s is one of my favorite places in India because it is a very middle class place to visit, and when in Mc Donald’s no one stares at you and you can eat familiar food in peace. Step 2 is to go to a movie. Nick was ever so obliging by taking me to see the Twilight Saga: New Moon, on it’s opening weekend in India. Not being Nick’s first choice , it was still a nice experience for him to sit in a dark theater and turn his brain off for a couple hours. The only thing that reminded us we weren’t at home were the deafening screams from girls whenever there was a kissing/shirtless scene.
After arriving back at the hotel with a healthier amount of anxiety in our bones, we ran into a 72 year old Chandigarh-ian who asked us to sit with him while he bought us Indian sweets and explained with the help of a newspaper article written about him, that he was just a good samaritan who was very happy to see tourists visit his city. He realized there was a very poor budget-traveler-infrastructure and tried to help foreigners whenever he could. He asked to get a picture with me and have it sent to his e-mail because this seemed to be one of the joys in his life. Leaving that sweet shop we were reminded of our original reasons for coming to India, and that although it can be a very, very exhausting experience that may make you want to question ‘why did we come here again?,’ at the end of the day hopefully that question gets answered for you.