1. Whenever they say right, they point left...and vice versa. We've learned to follow their hands rather than their words.

  2. Their infamous head bobble, resembling our "uh-uh", means yes, no OR maybe.   In this case, we go with their words instead.

  3. For emphasis, English words are often repeated twice: "Same, same; nice, nice."

  4. Since they use a separate word for 100,000 rupees (lakH), any counting with more than 4 zeros gets confusing-often Indians say one million when they mean one thousand.   For numbers-oriented people like us, this has made it tough to acquire accurate stats about economics and demographics.

  5. Speaking of population, there is not even close to enough Energy in India to serve its 1.1 billion residents. So, daily power & water cuts, in excess of 3 hours, are the norm from big cities to the smallest villages.   Therefore, careful planning of one's showers, toilet flushes and late night reading is essential. In fact, headlamps have been our constant companions.

  6. Exact change is imperative everywhere.   Even 50 rupee (U.S. $1.20), offered for 20 rupee of internet time, forces proprietors to run around the block asking fellow vendors for change.

  7. The amount of brill cream Indian men use on their perfectly coiffed and immaculate hair is directly proportionate to the filthiness of the environment in which they live.  

  8. Equal amount of care is also given to facial hair and the scalp.   No less than 2/3rds of all Indian men have mustaches and they are sure to prim and curl up their corners for a photo.   Also, numerous peculiar contraptions have been devised to enhance the lengthy head massages that follow all haircuts.

    trip image here trip image here

    photo caption: Geoff's first head massage; Laura in her 64th requested photo shoot with Indian Residents

  9. Also Unique to Indian men's hair, they are so impartial to turning grey that they frequently die their hair garish shades varying from carrot orange to hot pink.

  10. This conscientiousness regarding hair does not extend to food preparation, as I have witnessed when extracting an average of at least 3 hairs per meal from my food.   As one with a fairly large mane, myself, I tend to be quite tolerant of the occasional errant hair, but this surpasses even my limit!

  11. The rest of the world's acid wash jeans have come to India to die!

  12. One can come to expect one of three common requests when meeting Indians:

    1. From which country do you come?

    2. Will you take a photo with me?

    3. Can you help me immigrate to Canada?   (well, truthfully, this last one happened only Twice)

  13. Many things we take for granted as normal terrify Indians who've had little or not exposure to them (IE. escalators & pet dogs).

  14. Safety regulations seem almost unheard of in India where neither bikers or motorcyclists wear helmets, men climb 100-foot coconut trees to harvest them, with no ladders, ropes or harnesses, and construction work is done on completely modern skyscrapers with the same bamboo & twine scaffolding that was probably used thousands of years ago.  

    trip image here

    photo caption: Hanuman under primitive scaffolding

  15. Extremely resourceful folk, Indians have learned to harness energy from anything they can get their hands on: cow dung hearths line every village road and field.

  16. While most cannot afford a luxury car, or any vehicle at all, those with rickshaws maintain tremendous pride in their wheels.   We've seen pimped up rides complete with leopard skin seats, subwoofer speakers, and chrome-framed Krishnas on every panel.

  17. No location is too odd for the following things: taking a leak, selling goods, and getting a shave.   We've seen monks peeing on sidewalks; salesmen who walk on to buses and trains at long stops peddling everything from a toothbrush to a pack of pens; and barbers cutting close beards against a brick wall on the highway.

  18. The bureaucracy of the british raj still rules when it comes to purchasing any kind of ticket in India.   even for 25 cent ferry rides, one often has to purchase a ticket in one long queue which entitles them to the right to purchase a second ticket in another queue at the entrance, which they then have punched by a third vendor on the ferry.   (this redundancy may explain why India has only a 3% unemployment rate while only being able to pay their average worker $2 per day.)