Countries that made an impact on me by Nisha Jha
Last in the celebration series of guest posts is by Nisha Jha who blogs at Le Monde. Traveling for her is passion and a stress buster; her strength and her weakness too. Her idea of traveling is counting number of memories, and not places. Nisha is an amazing person and one of the few people whom I look up to when it comes to travel and travel writing. She writes about ten countries that made an impact on her during her years of travelling.
I am writing this post for the tenth anniversary of Prashanth’s blog. First, I congratulate him and especially his blog on completing and sustaining this long. I hope it’ll go a long way and I see myself writing a 20th anniversary post as well. :)
Since the magical number is 10, today I’ll write about 10 countries or places I have visited which made an impact on me.
Palestine – Palestine! The very mention of this word sends shivers down our spine. Most of us dread visiting or even talking about this place. Always a center of conflicts and confusion, people of this land are often ignored. Believe me, most of them are nice & love peace. It is us who think otherwise. Who’d think that these girls returning from their schools were such a bunch of fun!
Mauritius – This small African island country had amazed me in many ways. Known for its pristine beaches and sugarcane fields, it also has strong connection with India. Knowingly or unknowingly they still use Hindi words and cuisine. Three radio stations are relayed in Hindi. Here’s a small video of a Mauritian native. She beat me with her pure Hindi vocabulary! Her husband is a Tamil descendant.
Cambodia – Way more than Angkor Wat, it was disturbing history and living example of people that left a deep scar in my heart. I volunteered there and interacted with locals on everyday basis. Again, people are very simple. We learnt and shopped together, we laughed and chatted together. They invited me to weddings. How I wish it was a never ending experience.
New Zealand – More than Switzerland I liked the beautiful landscapes of this country. Whether it is the natural wonders, active geothermal areas like Rotorua or double colored sheep or the Maori tribe, New Zealand won’t cease to amaze you.
Spain – Having visited it three years in a row, it has become one of my favourite countries in Europe. People are warm, friendly and very helpful. I fondly remember how they went out of their way to guide me during my backpacking days in the country. Sports, food, art, culture, history and of course the people will pull you there again & again.
Israel –Living thousands of kilometers away and hearing all kinds of news, I always thought Israel would be a disturbed state. Like Palestine, this country also posed a kind of insecurity when I wanted to visit it. It surprised me, no doubt but it was a pleasant surprise. Not as conservative as I thought, there are many things which we Indians can learn from it.
Luxembourg – Luxembourg is that tiny little country which is forgotten when we prepare our European itinerary. Bordered by Belgium, France and Germany, it has a rural charm, abundance of castles and plethora of trekking trails in forests and nature parks. Do you know the national language of this country? It’s Luxembourgish ! :)
Taiwan – So near to China, yet it has succeeded to distance itself from the main Chinese land. If you bargain hard in its markets, they tell you sarcastically “This is made in Taiwan madam, not made in China”. Taiwan is one country despite being #1 in electronics, new technology and despite producing around 90% of the world’s laptops, the locals prefer printed books to e-Books ! Can you beat that?
Italy – I visited Italy in 1998. The memories are as fresh as if it was only yesterday. Italian trains introduced me to disposable pillow covers and bedsheets. Missing the train in Genova at midnight, ketchup on a pizza(?), glass artist who made a jewelry for me, floating platforms, they are all etched in my mind. Venice was the first city for me which introduced everyday commute on water. Office goers, shoppers, fish sellers and all others rushed to the ferry just like we run towards a bus. Florence, Genova, Rome, Milan and the small islands such as Burano, Murano, Lido etc. are others towns which caught my fancy.
India – Last but not the least is India, my own country. One life time is just not enough to know its nooks and corners. Vibrant and colorful. Festivals, languages, cultures, land, people, cuisines … everything is so different. They say the culture and language changes every 200 KMs. If you can explore it fully, there is no need to go out of the country. Such a diversity it has!
Which places have made everlasting memories for you?