Real Students' Top Ten Lists for India
|Eric Anderson '99 (1999 Trip)||Amanda (Tomzak) Regas 99 (1999 Trip)||Nick Barootian '02 (2001 Trip)||Peter Elling '00 (2001 Trip)||Sarah Helminski '03 (2001)||Tara Richmond '02 (2001)|
Eric Anderson's Top 10
1) Be kind to each other and look after each other. The companionship of one another is the only sanctuary you'll have from the sometimes confusing world around you. This is especially important about halfway through the trip when each other's quirks begin to wear you down. Take pause to forgive others and yourself.
2) Be participants not tourists. Don't act/behave/think as if you're taking a stroll through the zoo. Interact with the world around you in every moment. Put down the camera for a while and touch the sandstone. Take a moment to feel the marble of the Taj on your feet. Stroll down the Janpath.
3) Take advantage of the free liquor on the flights.
4) Learn to swear in Hindi proficiently.
5) Make every effort to connect on some level with the people you meet in India.
6) The Hindi word for yogurt is RAITA (pronounced rye-tuh) If you ask for yogurt in New Delhi, they may bring you napkins as they did for Brad and I.
7) Should you contract a bout of 24-hour Yellow Fever, do your best not to respond to the hallucinatory trolls that begin to infest your bed chamber. They are not to be trusted.
8) Never tell an Indian how much you paid for something in India. Even if you got a remotely good deal, they will still laugh in your degenerate, stupid, foreigner face for getting swindled.
9) Don't spend all your time eating oriental noodles and pizza. I recommend the South Indian Thali with sambhar at the Sikh restaurant in Haridwar.
10) Do not be alarmed when your snot turns black.
Amanda (Tomzak) Regas's Top 10
1) Take your journal very seriously, not b/c of the grade, b/c itís important to have time to yourself with such a huge group of people and sometimes mentally is the only way you can be alone.
Even if you believe you have a ďtough stomachĒ bring pepto, Tums, etc.. and
Immodium AD. These things could be
your new best friends.
bring clothes that you will be heartbroken if when sent away as laundry they
come back a slightly different color or shrunk.
one pair of long underwear. Bring
at least one wool sweater/warm fleece that you can wear over layers or by
really warm socks and maybe a hat to sleep in at night in case itís freezing.
shower shoes or better yet, buy flip flops in India.
Honestly, I would say to bring
nearly enough underwear/socks for each day there and the cheap kind so you can
just throw it out along the way. That
way you have more room than you came with for presents to bring home and it
sucks to send your underwear out for laundry b/c it can get lost in the shuffle
even bother bringing a razor ladies, b/c the showerís cold and while you shave
hair grows anyway. Itís more fun to see what itís like to have armpit hair
and compare it with your new friends. Bring nothing but your most
comfortable walking shoes. Donít bring make up for the same reason. You
donít need to look cute itís India.
5) Bring a small personal flashlight so you arenít always borrowing the three peopleís who actually brought them.
In your carry-on bring your
contact stuff, a toothbrush, important daily medicines, a pair of
underwear/socks, and a clean shirt in case your luggage is lost.
Definite need for that soap that
you donít need water for. Also
for wipes- the kind you can wash your face with or hands or use when you go to
If you are not an amiable person,
become one. Go with the flow or you
will drive Jim insane and everyone else also.
Leave your stereotypes behind,
and learn from them when you are there.
Donít only hang out with the friends you may already have on the trip.
You wonít believe how much you will like people you never thought you
would. Carthage presents too many
stereotypes according to the organizations they belong to, be more
open-minded. I met a lot of people labeled as "independents"
and feminists that I really liked, and they ignored that I was a sorority girl.
11) BUT MOST OF ALL do not let a man with a monkey talk you into having a monkey stand on your head so he can take your picture.
Nick Barootianís Top 10
1) Take care of your body. Even if you don't get giardia :), a plane flight around the world, combined with a new diet and other environmental stresses, seems to challenge many people's general physical well-being. I would not underestimate the value of Pepto-bismol, that melatonin stuff that helps you sleep, and anything your doctor gave you for "just in case" situations. You'll be glad you have that stuff.
2) You don't need that many clothes--over packing is a perennial problem. I'm sure everyone already knows how stupid it would be to bring any electronic equipment like headphones. But aside from that, there is the less obvious tendency to pack too many clothes. While it's never a bad idea to bathe each day to maintain cleanliness, it is not necessary to change every day, (or at all, as far as I'm concerned). Nobody in India cares how you look (and it's just a fact that you will not look your best), so don't be ashamed to wear the same clothes a lot to save luggage space (in which you can put your souvenirs).
3) But (this is the corollary to #2)óbe prepared. Bring layers of clothing. It may be hot or cold and you'll want to be prepared for either. (When I went, I wished I had brought a jacket, or something heavy to keep warm).
4) When you're packing stuff, imagine when you might actually use each item. There will be times when it just won't be convenient to have a pair of sun glasses and a hat and a camera and an umbrella, etc. As hard as it is to imagine a place you haven't been to, try to think about real situations when packing.
5) Listen up---I would bet a lot of money that only 1, maybe 2 of you will ever return to India. So absorb as much of it as you can. Don't just let it happen. Observe the places you go. Look at architecture, taste new food, watch how the people interact with each other and you. Try to walk next to Jim a lot, because he is an endless wellspring of information. For heaven's sake, don't take a single moment there for granted. Ask questions. Learn stuff.
6) You have to look out for each other. Make sure everyone is still present. The men have a greater responsibility to look out for the women than they would have in many other places. Stick with the group so nobody has to go looking for you. People don't like having to do that.
7) Do your homework. I don't mean the stuff Jim assigns, I mean look at your itinerary and then look at a map of India. Get an idea of what you're going to do on this trip before you do it. Surf the web for a while and find out a little about the places you are going. When you know something about what you're going to see before you see it, it makes the experience so much more valuable and enriching.
8) Don't get taken advantage ofójust be aware. There are lots of people trying to earn a very quick rupee. If you take a picture of the snake charmer, he's going to want you to pay him. At some spots people do stuff like stick stickers on you and then try to demand payment. You don't have to pay them if they pull stuff like that. Realize that wherever you go, you will automatically stick out as a foreigner who has lots of money and who is stupid. Don't advertise this fact.
9) Gulab Jamun is the best desert (but it's very sweet).
10) It's possible to find them, but don't assume you will be able to find a working phone or e-mail everywhere you go. For a three week trip, I recommend not using them anyway.
Have a good time!
Peter Elling's Top 10
Here's the short list of my "India Essentials"! They were fun to think about on my long drive home.
1) Bring a hat! It's cold in January!
2) A sleeping bag is a wonderful thing.
3) Something with which to bring home the Ganges...
4) Woolen Socks...check with Pablo Neruda if you have any questions...
5) A pocket knife.
6) Earplugs...to help you sleep!
7) Sun protection-you should take this everywhere.
8) Something personal to help make your life more comfortable.
A long list would have been rather silly, so I opted for this!
Sarah Helminski's Top 10
Savor the sensations of India fully with all of your senses. Record your
observations. Take advantage of your journal and the time it grants you (alone?)
to reflect on the experience.
Pack light. You only need 2 or 3 pairs of pants, one jacket or wooly sweater
that will keep you warm, 5 shirts that can be layered and sufficient socks and
undies, maybe 7 pairs, and a hat. You can always do a little light hand washing,
the good soap is blue and works well in ice cold water. Keep in mind that most
of the time that will be the temperature of your bath as well and take a shampoo
and conditioner two-in-one. Donīt
forget to bring some good string for a clothesline.
3) Pack your very few clothes in a bag that is too big so that you have plenty of room for purchases. Make sure that your bag is easy to carry, to be sure walk up and down 2 flights of stairs with it. You should be able to do that easily.
4) Do your reading! Listen when instructions are being given! Even the most patient person would get tired of reminding you the name of the city you are in or the plan for the day (and Jim will be much easier to understand once you know what puja, prasad and gurdwaras are.) Youīll just get more out of everyday if you already have a base of knowledge.
5) Take care of each other and get to know one another. I suggest that you leave behind your diskman, in my opinion it makes people less present in the experience.
Always learn the name, street and gereral direction of the place where
you are staying, if you havenīt learned it yet, write the info down and keep it
in a back pocket. This is for just in case, it is India and sometimes
unpredictable things happen.
Be prepared for anything at any time. Carry a purse (or man-purse) with
things like TP, walking money, a small water bottle, immodium, Rolaids, and
other essentials for spontaneous adventures.
8) Learn both the dollar to rupee monetary conversion and the actual value of the rupee. What I mean by this is: how much does a worker in India earn per day? How much does a chapatti cost? How much does petroleum cost per liter? Knowing these sorts of things helps you know how much your money is worth, and also gives you a window for understanding the lives of North Indians.
9) Go to the Janpath and try not to be intimidated. Donīt buy anything heavy until nearly the last day of the trip. Get your hands henna-ed if you are a woman, do not if you are a man. Go get lost in the market streets of Amritsar.
10) Donīt eat mango when it is out of season, and trust Jim when he says it is out of season. Go to Nirulas and have ice cream, try rose flavored.
Tara Richmond's Top 10
1) Buy some brand of face washing
wipes that don't require water, I brought Oil of Olay and they worked great on
planes, trains, and nights when its just too cold to get up and wash your face.
2) Bring layers. There were nights there when we would wear pajamas, sweatshirts, mittens, hats, and 3 pairs of socks to bed, and days when we would wear tank tops so the weather changes greatly over a 24 hr period, its convenient to just be able to peel off the layers and keep going.
3) Buy a monkey stick- they can be brutal and they are strong. And don't carry food around them, ask Jim what can happen.
4) Bring 2 pairs of sunglasses, my first pair broke and I was stuck the rest of the trip without any and as an American it's tough not to make eye contact.
5) Pack light. No one will care in India if you wear the same clothes a number of days in a row and if you over pack your fellow travelers will not be happy when they are toting your luggage around the train stations to help you out.
6) Only order what you can eat, if you over order it will make not only the Indians but also Jim a little upset because you are wasting food.
7) Be forewarned that the beer is strong. We found that out the first night we ordered about 5 pitchers, each had 2 glasses and could already feel it.
8) Bring plenty of film, the memories are great but they start to fade, I took 8 rolls of film while we were there.
9) Bring plenty of TP, by the end of our trip the guys were stealing from us because they were running low, plan ahead.
10) Talk to the other people on the trip as much as you can; we would stay up on the trains and just ask each other questions about our lives, you really learn a lot.