Anyway, like I said a couple of days ago, I'm in Bangkok and I've time to properly reflect on my time in India.
Honestly, it was a bit mad. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, even China - they're all regarded as poorer countries than the West. But I saw genuine hope here, and visible demonstrations that these countries were serious about improving the standard of living for their population and improving in general. Bangkok and it's financial district are more fancy and advanced than home!
And then there's India. O.k. so they're population numbers are insane (currently 1.2 billion people!) so I can't even imagine what it must be like to try and implement something over that many people but the country was seriously shocking. The stories of the permanent love/hate relationship definitely held true for India! But then there's the caste system. I'm not going to go into much detail of it but basically at birth, depending on your surname (and according to religious beliefs), decides your class level and where your allotment in life is going to be. I'm not going to be too disrespectful but from what I could see, it goes under another term in our part of the world and it starts with 'r' and ends with 'ism'. It's pretty bad - if you're part of a higher class it means you get the opportunity to hold better jobs, and if not you could be working as a waiter for the rest of your life and the higher caste people can talk down to you.
And then there's the dirt. Step one from my experiences of other countries: teach the locals to stop spitting and dumping rubbish everywhere and let them develop a sense of being proud of where they live. India was disturbingly dirty and if I see another person spit while sitting on the bus beside me......
Honestly, India is a world of contradictions. They run a great train service, and they've put a satellite on the moon. but yet, almost have their population lives under the poverty line and I didn't see much effort to try and improve it. This is probably one of the most disjointed emails I've written on the big issue but hopefully it makes sense!
Speaking of contradictions. What's your first thought of Kolkatta (or Calcutta by it's old name)? Proabaly Mother Theresa, right? Anyway, it's one of the most developed cities in India and completely threw me out when I arrived to find fancy coffee shops, music stores, bookstores, the works!
And on that note, I'll stop waffling and go to Ton Sai for climbing! More fun posts in the coming days....once I remember how to use my arms again ;)
Image Credit: proof that India can build amazingly, although it only seems to affect the higher classes.....