I collected my backpack and took a deep breath….I looked outside the airport doorway and felt immediate dread. We have all heard about, what a culture shock India can be and what a hassle the first couple of days usually are, so when I looked out of the doorway and seen what looked like millions (ok, slight exaggeration…Tens!) of locals I momentarily shat myself, before composing into my default ‘I’m in a third world country face’ which is basically grumpy as shit!
I exited the airport wearing my biggest scowl, to realise that it was completely unnecessary, these people are awesome! Not only was I not approached by every taxi/ rickshaw driver, but no one offered to carry my bag, or tried to sell me a thing, no one paid the slightest bit of attention to me, the only contact was with a friendly man who pointed us in the direction of the bus…and when we were safely on the bus hassle free, the conductor then corrected us on our fair saying that RPS100 was too much and that we should only pay 70! Well my frown was turned upside down, if everyone is this lovely and helpful traveling India is going to be a piece of cake, the tabloids are definitely chatting crap!
My first impressions of India where great, first class flight, no hassle and fair pricing. Looking out of my window everything seemed good, the scenery was amazing, the sun was shining, it looked quite clean…I mean I’m pretty sure that I seen a dead person laying in the street, but no one else seemed to mind so I just tried not to worry myself with it.
After two aeroplanes and a bus journey I finally reached my destination – Fort Cochin: A beautiful coastal town, and capital of the southern state of Kerala. The main attraction is the Chinese fishing nets that line the bay. They’re ok however I think that on a tour of India they can be missed, if you want Chinese fishing nets then go to China!
Whilst at the fishing nets however, I received a marriage proposal! It was almost everything that I envisioned being proposed to would be, In India, in the sun, on the beach…Oh how romantic! It was just a shame that instead of tall, dark and handsome I was proposed to by short, old and Ghandi!
I was sitting on a bench, minding my own business, chatting with my friend when out pops Raj. I was over the moon excited when he started talking to me because he was the spitting image of Ghandi, as in he could have made a living as a lookalike, he even had the round glasses…anyway, ‘Ghandi’ pops up at my corner and says:
Ghandi / Raj: Hellooo
Ghandi / Raj: Stands there awkwardly, for a very long minute.
Ghandi / Raj: Where are you from?
Ghandi / Raj: ooohhhh very nice.
He then hands me a business card, with a handwritten message on the front and stairs at me grinning waiting for my reply:
My name is Raj, I am 54 years old. I have good English and would like to live in your country. I am fit and healthy and enjoy having fun. I can find a good job and make you very rich and happy. If you would like to marry me please contact me.
His phone number was on the back.
I stared at him completely bemused and said “ummm, sorry no” he then also asked my friend if she would like to marry him, before he smiled politely and then disappeared into the distance.
After this, I swear to myself to try and lose the ‘grumpy leave me alone face’, I definitely want more interactions like this, these people are just so freaking fantastic!