East and South India
- Byriani, Chapati and other crazyness! -
To travel to India in a van, you have to have a touch of madness.
First, because driving here is not easy. Slaloming between the frenzied tuktuks, the frantic trucks and the sacred cows requires focusing and sometimes forgetting our own codes (traffic rules but not only ...).
The first nights in India, we tried to sleep inside the van, as we have been doing for 8 months now. Big fools that we are! Because it is a bit quickly to forget that with nearly 2,000 inhabitants per km2 in the densest regions we have crossed, India lives day and night!
And she shakes up the stranger and the stranger by her promiscuity, her curiosity and, what one might think from our Western point of view, her disrespect.
You can't sleep peacefully because people knock or try to open the doors at all hours of the night, just to see what it’s all about.
You must then go through phases of craziness to want to send your van to Japan from the port of Chennai. While it is not easy to send a personal vehicle by boat abroad, it is even less so in India. After some 53 email exchanges, 5 quotes, a total of 110 messages and 24 phone calls, 3 meetings, 2 round trips to the port 35 km from Chennai, the welding of a partition in the van and some cold sweats later, our faithful Iveco will finally find a place between the brand new Mercedes of a huge commercial cargo ship, bound for Japan.
But rest assured! Madness was not our only driver on this Indian journey!
No, in this orderly chaos of India, the meetings were spontaneous, frank and beautiful and pushed us to explore this country more. What am I saying, THESE countries!
Because India is a colorful sari made of a thousand patched fabrics. The cultures and landscapes change from one state to another, so much so that some people speak in English to understand each other so the differences go so far as language!
On the east coast, little visited by tourists, we fell in love with the temples of Bubaneswar that the inhabitants of Odisha proudly presented to us. Then the fishermen from Andhra Pradesh offered us fish when we approached their boat in a kayak. We also surfed with the Tamils. Finally, we exchanged smiles with the tea pickers on the Kerala plantations and explored the legendary sites of Hampi with other travelers from all over the world in Karnataka.
Strong human encounters therefore, but not only. India has an exceptional and unspoiled nature, and we will keep an unforgettable memory of our wild encounters. Multicolored birds with the majestic large Indian hornbill, lion-tailed macaques and other endemic monkeys, Irrawaddy dolphins, wild Asian elephants and a whole bunch of patterned reptiles have fulfilled us!
A byriani accompanied by a chapati, a dish prevalent in India, that we taste on our last night train before flying to Japan, and it is with a touch of madness that we already regret our 2 intense months spent in India !