GIVING UP ON INDIA wasn’t an easy decision. Since the idea for our trip was conceived, we had hoped to fly to Delhi and spend a good three weeks or so traveling around the northern part of the country. But drawing closer to our departure date, J and I felt a growing sense that the timing wasn’t right.
First came the reports about the “superbug” — an antibiotic resistant strain of disease that scientists had, controversially, traced back to hospitals in India and Pakistan. Fine, we said, there’s no real chance of catching that.
Then came the realization that we’d planned our trip right smack at the start of Delhi’s Commonwealth Games; prior to getting all the bad press, there wasn’t much about the games in the international media. For a city already infamous for crowding, the idea of having to wade through additional thousands wasn’t appealing. But it was going to be fine, too.
The news that tipped the scales was this: a spike in dengue fever, with more cases halfway through the biting season than in all 2009. With J being a veritable mosquito magnet, this changed things. So we cut it out. We cancelled the flights, the train tickets. And then we hopped a redeye to Singapore.
A surprisingly leafy city-state inhabited a mishmash of cultures, we wanted to go to Singapore mostly for the food. When we finally crawled out of our hotel (Air China coach seats don’t offer the best environment for sleep) and made our way through the tropical mugginess to one of the food halls for which Singapore is famous, the question of what to fill our bellies with was easily answered: Indian food.
During our time there, J and I loaded up on Biryani and Dal Makhani, lime and mango juice. We spent an afternoon walking through Little India, fascinated by its bright colonial buildings and equally colorful flower garlands. We passed by a temple dedicated to the fierce Hindu goddess Kali, who is sometimes depicted wearing a necklace of heads.
It wasn’t going to replace seeing the Red Fort in Delhi, the Taj Mahal or the lakes and hills of Udaipur, but it was our experience, what we had. We weren’t trying to force anything. When changing course seemed right, we did.