I have a specific memory from my time in India that brings that feeling of nostalgia. I don’t remember exactly how long I was on the road, but I remember the sun setting and finding myself enclosed in the darkness of the rural roads of India.
I was with a new friend I had just met a week before and our driver, who thankfully was fluent in English. We were playing different podcast episodes from This American Life, ironically. One about animals who made random appearances, like seals on a public beach. The other shared real stories about crazy coincidences. I felt so present in that moment. We weren’t in a hurry. I wasn’t driving and had no need to learn the way. I was thousands of miles away from home settled into the back seat with nothing but the sound of our speeding car and the voice of a podcast host telling stories.
We made a few stops, but I remember two specifically.
One stop was to get naan from an off street restaurant. The restaurant was empty. The hygiene of the place was questionable. The bathrooms were an awful sight. (Might I add it was a squat toilet, which is actually the best posture to ease bowel movements. Fun fact.) Water and soap were not available. We had sanitizer. I think. Or maybe I’ve created that memory to bring me comfort. But we bought the naan and I ate it proudly, with this feeling of having conquered India because I ate naan made by two men who had likely not washed their hands all day. I pick up this strange courage when I travel. It’s my attempt to be one with the culture. Kinda grossed out about it now….
The second stop was at a store off the road near what seemed to be hotels. The store was large and spacious. I might have bought a chocolate bar. I don’t remember. I just enjoyed the stop at this random, rather large store with a wide selection of snacks. The fact that we made this stop at night made it all the more enjoyable. Going to random stores at night in foreign countries is fun to me. Makes me feel like I know the place.
My friend and I eventually made it to our destination, tired but thankful that the suspicious naan had done no harm.
Thanks for letting me share this very random memory. Feel free to share one of yours 🙂
May your day be graciously adventurous,
P.S. For those who need a visual, I introduce you to a squat toilet. I wish the one at the naan stop had been this clean….