* Fresh juice every.single.day. Watermelon! Carrot-Ginger! “Sinful Banana”! (the latter is my regular – it’s banana, coffee, a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce)
* Indian Sweets! There are approximately 8 million different Indian sweets and I’ve yet to encounter one I don’t like. And let me assure you, I have been doing my best to try all 8 million.
* School children who work up the nerve to talk to me. Usually involves lots of nudging and stare/smiling and then a question like “Are you from Australia?”
* The occasional camel, standing on a street corner, eating a tree. Obviously.
* Being in Bangalore long enough that I have My Juice Place, My Coffee Shop, My Bangle Place, My Favorite Restaurant, My Internet Cafe. I walk the same route so often the vegetable vendors have taken to greeting me every morning.
* The fact that nearly everything has a vegetarian option. Never in my life have I been able to order absolutely anything off a menu!
* Saris and Salwaars! These Indian ladies are on to something – leggings, scarves, flats, heaps of bangles and comfy tops; I could dress like this forever! And saris somehow manage to be conservative yet sexy. How is that even possible?!
* My students who ask if my hair is real, if they can touch it, if I eat pizza for lunch every day, if I can bring in a picture of my cat.
* Vegetable vendors who wander the lanes of residential neighborhoods with blue carts, selling produce door to door. (How incredibly convenient!)
* Drinking soda out of a glass bottle – it feels so lovely and old fashioned! And it’s actually an appropriate amount of soda, rather than the big-gulps that I’m used to consuming
* flowering trees that drop orange, hand-sized flowers into the street
* Going to the doctor and getting four precriptions within 10 minutes, for $10.
* Showering out of a bucket. I realize this seems totally dire, but I assure you it’s not. It’s somehow oddly gratifying and very … wet?
* The toilet bidet system. The rest of the world owes India’s 1.8 billion inhabitents a huge thank you for not using toilet paper. Can you imagine the impact on the environment? Also, to engage in a bit of oversharing, bidets are quite refreshing.
* Giant trees shading the street
* Vintage tourquise vespas, humming down dirt lanes
* Indian Vh1 and MTV and the fact that they actually play music videos. Like, most of the time. Shocking!
* Not having to tip everyone 20%.
* The woman who sells beans on the street and yells ‘Hi!’ at me every time I walk by.
Have you been to India? What did you love?
P.S. I mailed off all of the ‘thank you’ packages. Will you let me know when you get them? I feel slightly nervous about the Indian postal service!