I decided I wasn't going to waste my last morning in India sleeping, so I woke up early once again and went for another walk along the ghats as the sun came up.
While I was taking some photos down by the river shore a guy who was bathing looked at me and told me he remembered me. I just looked at him blankly and he asked me if I remembered him. I told him I did not and then continued taking photos. I mean, I honestly thought he was just another person trying to peddle me something. But then I heard him say "orange juice and banana muffin." I had already decided to zone him out so it took me a second to process what I had just heard but then it registered that that's what I had ordered at one of the cafes the previous day. And just as quickly as I realized who he was I realized how big of a jerk I must have seemed like, brushing him off like that. Anyways, we laughed and spoke for a little bit and he told me how he always comes down to bathe in the river that early so he can open his cafe. After a while we parted ways and I continued making my way up the ghats until it started getting hot. Then I started to head back to the hotel to pack and get ready to check out.
With three hours to kill and 30+ hours of traveling ahead of us, we decided that it would be best to find somewhere cool to relax and reflect on our trip. We ended up going to the cafe where we had breakfast the previous morning since we liked the atmosphere and they had free wifi.
I consider myself a well traveled person and growing up in Peru has given me a certain level immunity to the sights, sounds, and smells of third world countries, but I don't think anything can quite prepare you for your first arrival in India. It's a shock, but one that gradually wears down as you get acclimated (or as acclimated as a foreigner could ever become). Soon you realize that there is an order to the chaos here. The best way I can describe it is as a mass of flesh and steel engaged in a constant, fluid dance to the unrelenting sound of horns and yells, as if orchestrated by higher power. You can attempt to fight it but that will only lead to frustration. Instead you have to jump in and dance along with everyone else. Do that and you'll come out the other end with a deep appreciation for this beautiful country and its amazing people.
India has been, hands down and without a doubt, the single most fascinating place I've ever visited. We only got to see but a small corner of it but I have no doubt that I will return to explore more of this incredible country.