Backpacking

The most annoying thing about losing the bike is that for the rest of my trip, I’m just a typical backpacker. And I hate backpackers.

There was one on my carriage of the Kalka-Shimla Railway who ticked every box:

Long ethnic patterned skirt, and sandals with little bells on

There was nothing specifically Indian about these clothes. They were just generically faux-ethnic. Do they buy these sorts of items in their home country in preparation for going backpacking, or do they turn up in-country without enough clothes and have to buy more from the crappiest markets they can find?

Backpack festooned with string of Tibetan mini-pennants

Basically, touristy junk from a touristy junk stall. People who buy this rubbish make travelling all the harder for everyone else, because it keeps the touristy junk sellers in business, and keeps them jumping out at you trying to flog their touristy junk. I fight my way past them, thinking who on earth buys all this shit anyway, and then I see people trailing Tibetan mini-pennants from their backpacks and want to garrot them with it.

Baggy, lowcut black t-shirt

If the skirt and sandals were supposed to be some token gesture towards adopting local customs, the t-shirt had quite the opposite effect. It wasn’t super-lowcut, ie it wasn’t showing cleavage in a normal posture, but it was baggy enough that when she bent over to get something from her bag, everyone in the carriage got a massive eyeful of pendulous breasts. I just found it embarrassing, but in a country as chauvinistic and sex-starved as India, god knows what everyone else was thinking.

Forehead jewel

See first and second points.

French

Enough said.

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