I’m writing this letter to let you know that you’re beautiful. And mesmerizing. And enchanting and inviting and exotic and the stuff of dreams. But at the same time you can also be dirty, rude, crass, and infuriating. I’ve only known you for 6 weeks but I think I might be in love. You’ve shown me so many beautiful things and teased me with so many more. There’s been more than a few times when I was on a bus or train and saw something absolutely incredible but was already on my way to see something else you had in store for me. Regarding your transit system, it’s really well run and gets people to where they need to go. In particular the rail system is outstanding when compared to many countries. It is light years better than Amtrak; Nepal doesn’t even have a rail system as far as I know.
You’ve shown me the ultimate monument to love, religious festivals like nowhere else in the world, colonial forts, kama sutra stone carvings, modern cities, ancient settlements, and chilled out beach towns. You’ve drenched me with monsoon rains and dried me with subtropical rays of light. You’ve blocked my path so many times with cows that they became a part of my life. And no matter how hard I tried to avoid it, stepping into massive piles of cow dung also became a part of everyday life. Now that I think back to our time together, I think you’ve changed me in some subtle ways which I haven’t yet realized. You’ve opened my eyes (figuratively, not literally; my eyes are still tiny) to different cultures, customs, and religions. You’ve introduced me to loads of awesome people. Oh, and you can cook like a goddess. Yes, I was sad to say goodbye to Nepal and my first impression of you wasn’t positive, but in the end you won me over.
But I’m easy to please. And I was still absolutely infuriated with you at times. The overt poverty, the filth, the flies, and the malodorous fumes that are present in so many places. The aggressive beggars, rickshaw drivers, jewelry sellers. The scammers and touts. People who pretend to be my friend and then ask me for “help”. It’s annoying and infuriating. You’ve really got to do something about it. No means no. Why can’t you take “no” for an answer? If you approach me in English, then you should know what “no” means. I can only imagine how many women here get date raped because their pleas of “no” are ignored. Yes, I’m going to see you again, but I’ve heard about lots of people who are fed up with you and never want to see you again. What will you do?
Thank you for an incredible time. India, I don’t know if you’ve seen Forrest Gump but you’re the Jenny to my Forrest. Or maybe the Peggy to my Al Bundy. Or maybe the Azamat to my Borat. Anyhow, we’ve gotten along so far and I hope we’ll see each other again.
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