Tuesday, December 1, 2009

1244 pages

Any guesses as to what I'm referring to here? 

If you guessed "the India guidebook," give yourself a pat on the back. If you guessed "the Lonely Planet India guidebook," give yourself a gold star, too. :-)

I decided to skip the whole guidebook thing for Athens, Istanbul, Cairo, and Dubai which means I've been without one for about six weeks now. And it's been fine, I've gotten along without it with no trouble at all. (My strategy is to pick up a map at the airport or train station when I arrive and then just go with the flow from there.) But. Dudes, India is huge. India has a population of more than a BILLION people and the city of Mumbai (my first stop) is the WORLD'S largest city. Wowza. Yeah. So, uh, I figured that I might be able to use a guidebook for this particular destination.

I've already started reading (oh, who am I kidding? I started reading before I even left the bookstore!) and I'm getting excited about the culture and the food and yoga classes and elephants and tigers and pretty much all of it. At the same time, well, I don't know how to describe it exactly. Maybe I'd say I'm nervously optimistic? People keep asking me if I'm planning on going to China and I reply that China intimidates me for some reason. They always, always then reply, "And India doesn't?!" And I'd always laugh and say no, it doesn't and they'd shake their heads at the crazy white girl. But now I think maybe Lonely Planet is trying to intimidate me (although they might call it "preparing").

One of the first sentences in the guidebook is: "Nothing can fully prepare you for India, but perhaps the one thing that best encapsulates this extraordinary country is its ability to inspire, frustrate, thrill, and confound all at once." In another paragraph, words like bamboozling, multidimensional, enigma, jostle, love, loathe, feisty, and tranquil all appear. In just one paragraph! I'm not intimidated (yet), Lonely Planet, but I'm sure the preparations are going to be helpful. 

1 comment:

  1. You intimidated? Never!

    I've never used a Lonely Planet Guide, but I've always heard they are good. I tend to like the Eyewitness Travel Guides, but only because they have cool pics, too. I usually end up referring to other sources for additional info, but that's okay. They're like the Cliff Notes of bigger travel guides to me. I seriously doubt there would be just one book for a place as big as India. Not that I am recommending you buy one. I'm just sharing here...

    Love ya!