The India Archive [5]

In 2012 I spent four weeks in Bangalore, India. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I cried a lot, I complained a lot, and there were at least two instances that I was positive I would die. That said, I learned a lot and went on adventures and had so much fun.

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It’s been a while since I’ve talked about India but I’m back to link up with Emma, Angie, Jessi & Carolann. This month we’re blogging about unexpected places or trips! I was well aware of where I was going when I signed up for India- although my friends and family would tell you it was a surprise- but there were some totally unexpected trips and experiences while in India.

(If you need a refresher you should check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4!)

We were given a guide/liaison through the university. Jacob was the one who planned our adventures and traveled with us and handed out his number in case we had an emergency. (Of course, half of us- including me- didn’t have a cell phone.) During our time in Bangalore we visited a leprosy community, traveled to an elephant sanctuary, went on a wilderness retreat, and saw the local market, rural villages, and multiple places of worship. A few students went to an Indian wedding and some took a trip to Mysore. During our very first weekend in India we traveled to a waterfall.

I can’t explain what I was expecting… Maybe a gorgeous, lush, crisp, clean Amazonian scene? I remember being SO happy to leave the city for a bit, but that’s about it. Jacob sent us a driver and told us where we were going, but we were essentially on our own for this excursion.

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I snapped this photo on the ride to the falls. It’s still one of my favorite pictures from my trip. It totally sums up India as a whole: A child waving ‘hello’ next to a sign that reads “YOU ARE WARNED.”

Our small personal van/bus showed up at the apartment village and we piled in for a two hour ride. We weren’t expecting such a long ride and we certainly weren’t expecting the insane driving that occurs on curvy, narrow country roads in India.

(First crappy surprise: I dropped my camera on this adventure. No sooner had we exited the van and started across the crocodile-infested water did I drop my Kyle’s camera in the water. I was borrowing it for the trip… oops.)

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We were greeted by this nice PSA
We were then met by these skinny guy and PEOPLE SWIMMING
We were then met by these skinny guys and PEOPLE SWIMMING
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…just in case the first warning didn’t sink in
The last photo my poor camera took...
The last photo my poor camera took…

We did not go swimming (for obvious reasons) but we had to wade across the low points of the water to get to the waterfall. We assumed if there were crocodiles and they were hungry then they’d go for the people downstream who were doing cannonballs and handstands.

(The photos from here on out are from my fellow travelers’ stock.)

Once we were across the shallow water we crossed a wide beach-like area and came to a bus. (Keep in mind, we had no idea the journey to the waterfall would be as treacherous intense as the falls themself!) Like everything else in India, there was a small fee for us to ride the bus to the waterfall. We asked if walking was an option. It was not. Additionally, the bus was packed full and it was not air conditioned (hahaha, nothing is). The next obvious step was to climb on the roof.

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. . .

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The bus ride was ridiculously terrifying. It was like the safari ride at Disney where they pretend like the jeep is stuck or about to flip, except in this case they’re not pretending. The path is for one vehicle… except when you have to pass another bus. And the trail hugs the side of a mountain/hill… which means you’re traveling along a cliff. The inside of the bus is packed and the top of the bus is packed. It was the craziest experience!

Once we got to the waterfall it was a short hike down the slope.

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. . .

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The pictures are a little underwhelming, but the waterfall was really awesome. It was a peaceful yet violent scene (if that makes any sense…). We were able to climb on the rocks and get right above the rapids. We spent the hottest part of the afternoon snapping photos and enjoying the countryside.

While we waited for the death-bus to come pick us up we chatted with some locals, refused a few marriage proposals (which happened more often than you’d think), and made “friends” with these little food thieves:

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Our trip to the waterfall was such a crazy adventure, but I’m so glad we were able to experience it! It was totally unexpected and life changing!

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22 thoughts on “The India Archive [5]

  1. Looks like an AMAZING adventure but again, you’re giving me a panic attack with the crossing crocodile waters even though I know the outcome.

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    1. Hahaha. We were fairly concerned, but we never saw a crocodile while we were there. This was one of TWO times during my stint in India that we had to keep our eyes peeled for crocs. Ha!

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  2. That’s why I’m crazy obsessed with wrapping my camera around my wrist like a dozen times 🙂
    Those skinny animals – is that normal? Or healthy?
    All the warnings!!! I’m such a chicken, I’d be like, I’ll stay on this safe bus where nothing bad can get me, thanks 🙂

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    1. Oh man… I wish that was the only camera/electronic I’d destroyed 😦 I had a really bad streak for a while. Two cameras, two iPods… UGH.
      Those cows were definitely not healthy, but they were moving about & picking through trash/food… I think there are a lot of malnourished animals and people in India 😦

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  3. yay i’ve been excited for the next installment! that image you captured of the child and the warning sign is amazing – wow. also – i CANNOT believe people were swimming in there – what. glad you survived the death-bus(ses) and you felt like it was worth it!

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    1. Half the people on the bus didn’t even see the little boy- I’m such a fan of that phone. Thank you!

      We were so blown away by the people swimming. WHAT. THE. HECK. Hahaha!

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  4. I can’t believe people were swimming there! And that skinny thing (look like a wildebeest to me, but then I look it up and it doesn’t look like one at all, but I’m sticking with it–ha!) makes me sad! I want to feed it until I can’t see its ribs anymore. Hahaha. But that sounds like an awesome adventure…though the scary parts sound HORRIBLE in the moment, but like once they were over you could be like, “I lived through that!” hahahaha.

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    1. Honestly, I’m pretty sure he’s a cow 🙂 (But there’s a reason I didn’t say an animal species in the post. Hahaha.) The ones in town were much healthier looking, but these guys have to feed on dry grass and tourist trash. It’s a….weird country. It tugs on your heartstrings.

      In the moment, everything seemed surreal. It’s actually scarier to look back on. In the moment I was more or less like, “Yeah! Let’s do it!” Ha!

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    1. Everything that happened in India was a last minute “yes, let’s do it” experience. Haha. If I put too much thought into our trips I’d have been very very nervous!

      (I actually turned down the Indian wedding- regrettably- because I was SO tired and I needed a day alone in the apartment! Same with the trip to Mysore. My introvert-self was getting a little cranky.)

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  5. oh my goodness. an adventure to say the least. i am terrified of dropping my camera when i travel. love that picture of the kid next to the warning sign. crazy. also, i feel like photos are always underwhelming compared to the real thing, especially when the real thing is something like a waterfall! the marriage proposals?! crazy!

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    1. I definitely agree about the lack of awe that translates in photos 😦 The waterfall was so neat and it was so far below us. (I think that photo looks like we’re right next to a little stream, haha.) I’m definitely glad we went through all that to see it! 😀

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    1. “Brave” might be a stretch 🙂 Maybe foolish… We honestly didn’t see any evidence of crocs. Later on when we visited the elephant sanctuary we were on the lookout for them, too. Haha. It’s a crazy place 😉

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    1. When I said “yes” to studying abroad in India it was more or less a blanket “yes” to everything crazy on the entire trip. It was an insane, incredible, scary, eye-opening four weeks!

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  6. Wow, what a shock it would be compared to life here to see people swimming with wild animals wandering nearby. And apparently crocodiles in the water. We rode in a van with a driver on our trip to Jamaica, and we rode up a similarly perilous and steep hill with curves. Our driver informed us that if another car came down the other direction, we would have to reverse all the way down.

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    1. We traveled to Jamaica almost two years ago and my husband was on edge during the bus ride from the airport to the hotel. I felt like I’d been conditioned by spending time in India, haha! I am an expert street-crosser, too, because of that trip!

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