How To Avoid the Crowds in India? Try Food Poisoning.

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Crowded streets of India

India is a crowded place. You may not know this, but they have managed to cram over 1 billion people into a space about the size of your average Ikea. Trying to worm your way through any average street is like climbing a rampaging waterfall, only here the water throws elbows while you’re trodding in cow shit. Years ago, however, I did find the secret to enjoying a relaxing amble through the crowded streets of Varanasi: food poisoning.

It is a rather extreme solution, I admit. But after eating a dubious stuffed pepper at a local cafe (part of me said “that just doesn’t look right” while the other part said “shut up, I’m starving”), I found that my disoriented, feverish stagger back to my room was miraculously undisturbed. There is something about the sight of a big, sweaty, pasty-white American stumbling along with his eyes half-rolled up, hiccuping and belching bile that just made the locals say “I think I’ll stand over here“. Even the cows had sense enough to stay the hell away.

After months of fighting crowds, getting shouldered and roughed up by 80-pound old ladies, then run over by water buffalo pulling carts of God-knows-what, it was a refreshing change to see people so quickly get out of my way. It was like walking with Moses.

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Christopher January 17, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Ha. A solution I might even try. I dislike crowds much more than I dislike a little stomach upset.

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