Chapter Three: Horn OK Please
Travel in India “Indefinitely Delayed”
Compared to climbing Mount Rainier, travel in India posed a different type of adventure and challenge—logistical rather than physical, although just as life-threatening and mind-opening. Seeing the wonders of India (the Taj Mahal, the Jaisalmer Fort, the Pushkar Fair, and the Thar Desert) meant learning to cope with “Indefinitely Delayed” flights, decrepit taxis, and the blaring horns encouraged by the most ubiquitous phrase in India painted across the back of every truck—Horn OK Please. I knew I had acculturated sufficiently to enjoy traveling in India when I took and kept an airplane seat with nothing more than an indifferent shrug for a boarding pass.
Finding vegetarian food to eat was the only logistic that did not challenge my ingenuity, patience, and finances—India has more vegetarians than the rest of the world combined. I enjoyed sampling the wide variety of chutneys and curries but succumbed to “Delhi belly” in the holy city of Pushkar while visiting the world’s largest camel fair. It was not the worst place to be so sick. As I walked around, when I felt nauseous, I could vomit where I stood and kick dust over the result, and it would blend in under the feet of tens of thousands of camels, as well as horses, cows, goats, and sheep, musicians, snake charmers, dancers, fortune-tellers, magicians, and the Hindu pilgrims who traveled to Pushkar to bathe in the sacred waters of the lake under the full moon. I could manage travel in India. I could now travel anywhere.