1) I am visiting India for the first time how should I prepare myself? - Michelle
Hi Michelle, I am happy you are visiting India (of all the places in the world you had to chose this place!) Well, for starters, I would advice you to watch Lonely planet on Discovery channel this show will give you more information about India and its people. I would also advice you to talk to Indians in your neighbourhood, avoid the ABCDs they have no clue about India. Visit the temples and the kitty parties hosted by fat desi aunties. But in general I would suggest you get chlorine bleach, iodine tablets, a doctor (if thats too expensive get tickets to Singapore), frozen food.
2) What is advisable to eat and drink in India? - Pat
Hey Pat, this is a very good question. I have seen many tourists not taking this seriously and then end up spending time in the loo with dysentery than enjoy their trip. Indian people love to hand-handle their food i.e, they touch food with their bare hands with no gloves (Egads!) I would advice you to stay off Indian food. Its best you bring pre-cooked pastas and frozen salads. The only thing safe to eat in India is raw vegetables and fruits. But remember to soak them in chlorine bleach before consuming them. I would suggest you drink all the water you can before you board the flight and get some rubber water bottles (the ones seen in the movie Laurence of Arabia). If you are desperately thirsty drink soda made only by the Coca Cola or Pepsi company.
3) Do people understand English and other foreign languages? - Mark
Hi Mark! You have to understand India is a third world country. There are not many schools or internet cafes. Indians can speak only their native tongue. In some parts of India (especially teh rural areas) people only communicate through drawing on the walls (you must have seen this in Raise of the Neanderthal on Discovery). I would advice you to watch the parliament session and try to learn the native tongue and the drawings/sign languages from a gentleman named Laloo Prasad Yadav and his pals.
4) Can I pay in Euro, US $ or through credit cards in India? - David
David, India does not accept foreign currencies. They still believe in the barter system. If you want to buy a tomato you have to trade your watch, if you want to buy a pastry (not a good decision) you have to give them your suitcase.
5) Should I use auto and bicycle rickshaws? - PK
Hi PK, I would not recommend autos or rickshaws. They have been known to interchange the position of bones in the vertebra. I would suggest you rent a bullock cart (a bull attached to a wooden trolley) or an elephant. They are much cheaper and gentler on the bones.
6) I have heard there are animals on the streets how should I deal with them? - Dan
Hi Dan yes sadly animals rule the Indian roads. You might encounter a feral cow or dog. I would advice you to have some bananas and a packet of Parle-G (cookies for dogs) handy. Just in case they attack you throw these and you will be safe. Do not attempt to pet any of these animals, remember they are not domesticated they will bite and it will not be a good sight.
7) How should I handle beggars? - Linda
Hi Linda I am so happy you asked this question. After the feral animals, its the beggars who are a menace. I would advice you not to look at them in the eye. If they run after you turn around and give them a stern look. If its a child beggar, then just throw some cheap candy, get on your elephant and run for your dear life. If you find a woman begging with a baby and you pity her and would like to help her out. Stop. The baby is definitely not hers and she doesn't deserve any sympathy.
8) Do cell phones work in India? - Twiggy
Twiggy I am sorry to say mobile phones do not work in India. Most people used small boys as messengers to communicate information, but now since USA is pressurizing India to stop child labour, messenger-boys are not in vogue. Instead pigeons are being as communication gadgets. You can buy these pigeons at the local bazaars (markets) , if you buy 10 you get standard messages like "Hi I am fine", "Thank you", "No mention", "Want to watch drama tonight?", "Want to play kabbadi( it's a game where a man slaps his thighs shouting 'kabadi, kabadi' and try to grab another man's thighs)?" etc for free. Remember, custom messages are expensive so chose your words carefully.
9) What do I do if I get sick? Are there good hospitals in India? - Jim
Oh Jim! The last thing you want to do in India is get sick. There are no hospitals in India which offer medical care that you get in your country. You probably have to fly to Singapore or Malaysia to get medical attention. Also it is best that you get shots for tetanus, malaria, whooping cough, measles, polio, meningitis, hepatitis A to Z, STDs, chicken pox, small pox, H1N1 and other such diseases (See my book for the complete list) before you land in India. You can also hire a doctor to accompany you on your trip.
10) Should I drink water? Is bottled water safe? - JJ
NOOO.. JJ avoid drinking water in India. The so called mineral water is nothing but clarified sewage water packaged in a plastic bottle. I would suggest you drink tender coconuts (coconut that still has its husk and the flesh has not hardened) to quench your thirst, but remember to drop an iodine tablet in the coconut before you drink it. Also remember to soak the straw in chlorine bleach before using it.
11) Generally speaking when is the best time to visit India? - Gordon
Dear Gordon anytime is ok to visit India. But get a gas mask to protect you from the pollution and smell.
12) How should I dress on the streets? - Diane
Hi Diane I would advice you not to wear tank tops or mini skirts. They attract unnecessary attention from men. It would be best if you can find a saree or even better a nighty (a long house gown in plain colours or floral prints worn by Indian women) to cover your modesty.
13) Is there snow in India? - Emily
Yes Emily, you just have to open the freezer and scrape the ice- instant snow!
PS- I didn't make up any of these dumb questions. I found them on a travel website.