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Tourist Guide to India

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Source (http://www-personal.engin.umich.edu/~saha/archives/travel_in_india2)

Tourist guide to India

This guide has been hand-crafted from the finest electrons for your reading pleasure. "Why?" you ask? Er... supply grumble mumble demand. So here is the guide to my country, India.

India is known by various names, ranging from The Jewel In The Crown to The Land of Snake Charmers. However, most Indians would be surprised to hear either of these things, because they consider India as being the place in which they live, and which fits neither of these descriptions at all.

A famous guy whose name is not important (chiefly because I cannot rem- member it) once said in a weak moment, "Everything that you hear about India is true. The opposite is also true." What an idiot... Anyway, this probably may go a long way towards explaining why tourists in India (that includes YOU, stupid) usually feel like they do not know whether to laugh or to cry. Especially when the natives keep laughing at you most of the time.

Location

Unless it moved recently, India is located on the southern edge of Asia, which is rather neat because we are right next to the Indian ocean too. Would have confused people otherwise, I mean, imagine finding the Indian ocean there and seeing India somewhere on the other side of the world. Well, luckily for map-makers, that isn't the case unlike for instance, _a_certain_European_colonial_power_ _whom_we_shall_not_identify_by_name, who is not located anyhere near French Samoa.

How to get there

Getting there is half the fun, especially if you fly Air India (A.I.), the national airline. The domestic airline is Indian Airlines (I.A.), which is rather clever because they can re-use the same letters in the acronym. We heard recently that having picked up some knowledge about other alphabets, practically everyone and his brother is now starting up local airlines, such as Vayudoot, Damania and Megalomania.

The conventional way to enter the country is through one of the inter- national airports which are in Bombay, New Delhi, Calcutta and Madras. Most people who land there are headed somewhere else in India, which might make you wonder why the airports were set up there in the first place, but that's the way it is, and remember that you are just a measly tourist and who the heck are you to tell us where to put our airports anyway? And oh yeah, I was asked to welcome you, even if I thought you were a poor, sad excuse for a human as long as you were fool enough to give us your money. So, Welcome to India.

For the more adventurous minded tourist, there are other ways of entering the country, such as first going to Pakistan and crossing the border into Kashmir. Should you choose this route, the Pakistani government provides you (at no extra charge) with the latest in US Army surplus AK-47s as an incentive. (Offer good till supplies last. The Government of Pakistan reserves the right to substitute other weaponry without prior notice.) While this means you can get an all- expenses-paid to the Kashmir Valley, the catch is that it is very difficult to get travel insurance on this trip. Something to do with getting killed or something. I dunno.

You can choose to travel to Bangladesh first, which also provides free infiltration services, particularly into the Northeastern parts of India, but I hear that tourism is difficult in those regions. The natives in Northeastern India don't speak English anymore, since they have discovered that assault rifles are a more lucid way of getting the point across to dumbheads illegally crossing over the border from Bangladesh. Besides, this way they don't have to worry about dangling participles and split infinitives, always a problem when you try to communicate in English. They are reported to ask questions later, a point which is of little comfort to anyone who's been shot first. Besides, you would first have to go to Bangladesh, and who wants to do that.

Finally, you could take the boat ride from Sri Lanka to India, but the catch is that you won't be able to see much of India because you will be sent back on the next boat to Sri Lanka. Not much of India you can see in an afternoon.

Indian hospitality

Foreign tourists are welcome in most parts of India, and are referred to as "gora firangi", which is Indian for "fat-assed foreign bastard with diarrhea and way too much money". Where does the diarrhea come into the picture? Well I'd rather not go into the details, you know well enough where it does. If you want to know where you got it from, I would say the water, or the food, or the air. Of course the real reason is that you are a wimpy foreigner whose stomach isn't strong enough to take care of itself, and we are just too damn polite to say so to your face. The least you could do is to quit whining. Thank you.

People

First of all, there are a lot of them. Get used to it. There are so many of them that India's primary contribution to the sociological spectrum is the mob. They come in various shapes and sizes, primarily in two sexes (stop sniggering, sex in this context means gender), and range from fair to dark. Most people of marriageable age can be identified easily because they turn a distinctive colour best described as "wheatish complexioned".

Indian names are difficult to pronounce, which is why most Indian kids have nicknames like Babloo. If you forget someone's name, I would advise you against referring to him as Whatsisface, simply because there may be some guy within earshot called Chandragupta Harshavardhana Whatsisface and he may think you are talking about him. If you have to, at least say Mr. Whatsisface, and pray that there isn't a woman around called Mrs. Whatsisface. Better still, keep your big mouth shut, but this may be impossible to do if you are an American tourist.

Among the millions of unknown and unimportant Indians are some well-known and unimportant ones, such as:

Amitabh Bachchan - Tall actor and alleged philanderer
Rajesh Khanna - alleged actor and wife-deserter
Dimple Kapadia - alleged actress and deserted-wife
Pooja Bedi - bimbo
Sunjay Dutt - alleged actor II and suspected terrorist
N. T. Ramarao - alleged regional actor and skilled cross-dresser
Ravi Shankar - sitar player who prefers to live in America
Zakir Hussain - hairy tabla player who prefers to live in California
Rajiv Gandhi - corrupt ex-Prime Minister I, Dead. Resting in Pieces.
V. P. Singh - crooked ex-Prime Minister II, Brain Dead.

This list has only included a few people. There are about nine hundred million more, so your chance of meeting any of the above in India is pretty slim. Still, we gave you a little background on them; just in case you ran across one of them so you wouldn't look like a darned fool. Probably too late for that, but at least now it won't be our fault.

Places

There are thousands of places you could go to in India, and some of them are even interesting to go to.

The Taj Mahal This is well-known around the world as one of the most hyper-hyped tourist places of all time. Most foreign tourists seem to think that it is a mosque, but they are wrong (bloody typical, isn't it!). It is a tomb, built to bury a queen. After she died of course, they weren't barbarians or anything. Her husband thought it would be a cool idea to have a massive erection for his dead wife, which is pretty perverted, if you ask me. I mean, the old bag was dead, for chrissakes. Anyway, different strokes for different folks.

The Red Fort Well, it is a fort, and um... it is kind of red, but I guess you expected that anyway. It is located in Old Delhi, to which I guess you can go from New Delhi by doing some nifty time-travel. Heh heh, no actually that's just a joke and you are supposed to laugh now. Thanks. You don't need a time-machine, you can just take a taxi.

Corbett National Park: Basically a jungle, but we figure you would pay good money to go stay there (and get out of our hair for a while) if we told you that you could see some tigers there. Kind of ironic, since Corbett was known for killing tigers. Sort of like starting up a chain of Kosher Deli's named after that Hitler bloke.

Khajuraho A bunch of dilapidated temples in the middle of nowhere, ---------- but it just goes to show you how far people would go as long as there was some sex involved. You can think of it as Debbie Does Dallas in stone. Statues of men and women (and assorted barnyard animals) indulging in sexual acts which, aside from some of them being illegal under existing Indian laws, can be best described as falling into the "Can you really do that" category. A source of inspiration to young honeymooners and middle-aged foreign tourists alike, and a source of rich livelihood to local orthopaedic surgeons and emergency paramedics.

Kashmir Snow-capped mountains, serene lakes, quaint ageless -------- traditions, and beautiful valleys which are filled with the sounds of staccato gunfire. Stroll through centuries old marketplaces, touch lovingly handcrafted local ware, and witness a real-life kidnapping by local terrorists, or get caught in an exciting cross-fire between the army and the terrorists. Look up at the clear blue skies at just the right moment (timing is everything) and you may see a rocket bomb arcing gracefully through the air. Unparalleled scenic beauty and violent armed civil unrest, a combination you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere in the world.

Rajasthan Desert, mostly, but the kings built palaces there with ---------- a keen eye on the twentieth century tourist industry. They also have an annual camel-trading show, where a lot of tourists like to get into the way of local camel traders trying to run their business. Still, if sand turns you on, you'll find plenty of it here.

Other Stuff:
Not to be outdone, there are hundreds of places with ------------ really no inherent tourist appeal which would love to have you visit them and support the local skin-the-tourist industry.

Languages

English is spoken widely, but understood somewhat less widely. Exceptions are regions such as Assam (see above) and Kashmir, where the locals, presumably disenchanted with the peculiarities of English grammar, have made creative use of alternative ways to express themselves.

Sometimes you may come across signs which seem to be English, but make no sense anyway... Such as: "Xerox photocopy done in Telugu, Kannada and English." or: "Limca - The zero bacteria drink"

There are several hundred local languages, none of which you have any hope of understanding, so let us just forget that for now.

Politics

India follows a parliamentary democratic form of government, in which the people get together every five years and decide which party they hate the least, and this party gets to rule until the people find a party they hate even less. In this respect, India is just like any other democracy. The losing party usually vanishes, breaks up, merges with the winning party, figures out which ideology would get them the most votes and reconvenes with a different name in time for the next election.

Sports

The most popular sport is cricket, which the Indians picked up from the British. The Pommie bastards have been looking for it ever since, with little success, heh heh. There are several versions, such as "tennis ball cricket", "street cricket", "hostel corridor cricket", "half pitch cricket", "one day cricket" and "that's not cricket". The fundamental rules are common across these various forms.

  • There are two sides, one out in the field and one in. - Each man that's in the side that's in goes out and when he's out he comes back in and the next man goes in, (that is out) until he's out at which point he comes in. - When all the men in the side that's in are out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out. - Sometimes you get men still in and not out! When both sides have been in and out including the not outs, that's the end of the game. Unless the game is washed out, in which case no one gets to go in, but everyone stays inside and no one gets out. - The bowling takes place in overs, in which the bowler can hurl the ball as fast as he can at the wicket to get the batsman out, and the batsman who is in tries to hit the ball as hard as he can. They seem to enjoy this sort of thing, though no one knows how the ball feels about it all. - An over lasts six balls, after which the over is over, unless it is Australian, when there are two more balls before the over is really over.

  • Each match takes five days. It takes this long because they need time to figure out who is in, i.e. out, and who is out, i.e. in, and who is not out, but not yet in. There are one-day matches, which oddly are usually played at night these days (which may make you wonder why they don't call them one-night matches), in which everyone is in a hurry to get in and stay out.


Hockey, basketball and soccer also claim that they are popular, but only among the people who play them. These people like these sports when there is no cricket to watch.

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