BootsnAll Travel Network

June 3rd Shimla, India

Today it rained as usual, same time as it does every day.  After doing some work I decided I needed a Josh day of wondering around and hopefully having some good local experiences.  I decided to venture off the beaten path of the main Shimla Mall.  The Shimla Mall is where most of the people walk along and eat, drink and shop.  For most of the time I was just wondering down random alley ways throughout the lower bazaar mainly perusing and not really buying much of anything.  I have bought several little things but nothing major.  Anyway it was really cool to see where the real locals venture off too and not just the indian and foreign tourists hang out.  Anyway eventually I found myself pretty far down the mountain which Shimla is built upon, really not knowing where I wanted to go next.  I had of course been snapping photos along the way, as I have definitely been neglecting the picture taking.  It is hard living in a place for two weeks, you begin to settle in, and really try to immerse yourself in the culture and way of life that is Shimla, India.

As I walking down the road back towards my hotel but on the lower ridge pretty far down, I noticed a kid with a charcoal pit and corn.  Now I had seen this a lot throughout India so far, but I was a little hungry and feeling adventerous so I decided to get one corn.  The kid told me it would be two minutes and I said no problem.  Basically he had to wave like a fan type contraption back and forth, back and forth until the corn cooked.  The air would help the coal stay hot and cook the corn eventually.  He then put lime and salt on the corn and it was damn good!  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

As I was strolling along eating my corn these kids from the rooftop of a building started too look at me.  Now even though Shimla is a tourist hill top station, it is mainly for Indian tourists, not so much for western tourists.  I think I caught their eye because I was snapping photos of the sun setting and the misty air surrounding the mountains and neighboring parts of Shimla and other cities in the distance.  I said hello to them in Hindi and asked them how they were doing.  Immediately they were interested in the fact that I could speak a little conversational Hindi, more than they certainly expected I could.

They eventually came up to the road and introduced themselves.  We chatted for about 20 minutes just shooting the shit, and then one of them asked me what I was doing later.  Now of course I was skeptical but I feel that during my traveling experiences I have a good judge of character of locals and who is trying to scam me and what not.  It is important to know that I started to engage them, they didn’t approach me.  Anyway I said I wasn’t doing that much and they said  I should come out with them all.  I happily agreed just dying to have some local experience and not the force fed crap through the school program. 

We agreed to meet at 9pm sharp at this landmark near my hotel.  After saying goodbye I snapped a few photos and began my journey back to the hotel.  Along the way I met an Irish girl who had just come from teaching english in Korea and was traveling through India for 6 months or until the money ran out.  She bought me a cookie after I helped her not get ripped off from a local vendor, of course I spoke in Hindi.  We chatted for about 20 minutes until I got up to the top of the hill, we parted ways and I went back to the hotel.

Once I got back to the hotel, it was time to try and recruit people to come out with me.  This would be hard as many of us are skeptical and there really wasn’t that much time to get ready.  I managed to get Cait and Sarah to come with me.  We met my friends at the place at 9pm sharp.  They were waiting for us which was nice, and at this point the girls were a little skeptical about hanging out with locals.  It is so annoying that some of the staff on the trip has been so conservative abou t meeting locals and having a local experience, I am certainly cautious myself, but reasonable and open-minded at the same time.

Now to test if they were going to kill me or not, I asked one of them “hey are you going to kill us?”  He and the others started laughing and they kept reassuring us they came from reputable families in Shimla and even pointed out the police station when we passed it.  The guys took us to a local near the top of the ridge, near this old church at the top of the mountain.  Apparently since it was a very local bar, and we had girls with us, that we had to sit in the back of the  bar which was really interesting and a very obvious cultural difference between the USA and India.  Throughout our two hours at the bar or so, we had several drinks, chatted, got to know one another, made some cheers with our glasses and laughed.

Tonight was probably my first real typical “Josh night” traveling and it has been something I had been lacking, a feel of emptiness not experiencing the local culture.  If anyone read my blog last summer I had days filled with days just like this.  I hope I have many more on the rest of my journey around the world.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *