Come along for the journey!

Come along for the journey!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

18 YEAR ITCH: (Jaiselmer, India)

I suppose as a European tourist, I like my Med azure blue, beaches cultured, and my coffee expensive. It just seems proper. It follows that I like my 'third world countries' dirty, poor, and rough around the edges. How patronising is that?! We want the authentic experience. We enjoy the dramatic contrast to our own lives, the voyeurism of seeing people suffer for our holiday pics. As a humanist and a Christian, I long to see poverty alleviated and people better their situations: then the quintessential pics go out the window though right?

Since my last visit 18 years ago, India has 'fattened up a bit', with population growth outstripping GDP by ten percent, and technological prowess a hallmark of their endeavour. There are 200 million more people here now! That's a whole lot of breeding. Today, the beautiful and 'remote' Thar desert was cluttered with folk wandering around, and our English speaking camel driver was on his mobile phone ordering our group cold beers to have on the sand dunes.

India is growing up and changing a lot. It looks and feels different: it's less exotic and more familiar; less impoverished and more polluted; less mystical and so on… However, people have more choices and some can live more like their European neighbours should they want to. For that matter, India finds me a little fatter, with more travel gadgets, and less the purist, idealist, 18 year old authentic traveller with my old one change of clothing!

The wonderful impressions and scars from my first experience seem slightly unmatched on this visit. Like a hypocrite, I want developing countries to develop so long as they can give me my 'aren't they dreadfully poor here' authentic holiday snaps. Travelling feels less harrowing, and perhaps less remarkable for it. The hazy romance I had with India on my last visit may have died down a bit, but the friendship has deepened.

1 comment:

  1. On the reefer old man? Stream of consciousness Krsna powered (or at least George Monbiot) works for me. Keeping on digging dadio x