Guesthouses and Eating in India

A Few Words About Food and Guesthouses in India

I still haven’t had any salad here in India! I’m extremely cautious and haven’t even had street-food yet, nor have I eaten any meat or fish.

A few months before I traveled to India I had started to eat meat again (I was previously a vegetarian since a few years back) but decided that while in India I would only eat vegetarian because I think it’s the safest option.

And Indian vegetarian food is delicious so it’s not like I would miss meat, but I do miss eating fish a little bit.

I would love to eat some Goan fish dishes but I don’t know if I dare to do that to be honest, I don’t want to risk becoming sick.

If any of you have any advice to give me (coming from your own personal experiences, not merely opinions) then please share below in comments.

I have read from other India travelers that they recommend to not eat any raw food, salads and other stuff that might have been rinsed in contaminated water so I haven’t had any salads yet.

Street-food is another thing; it looks incredibly yummy, but you don’t know about the hygiene of the people handling the food.

Indian people has a different immune system than we have, their bodies are accustomed to that type of food and (lack of) hygiene while ours are not.

I have thankfully not been sick at all during my journey so far. Only once did I get scared that I might have got something.

But it was nothing but bad hummus that I had taken a few bites from before I thought that it kind of tasted weird and within a few minutes I got really sick and basically ran to the pharmacy to buy some meds.

Thankfully it wasn’t Delhi belly/travelers diarrhea, it was just old hummus that made my stomach revolt so the rest of that day I ate a lot of bananas as I have heard bananas are good for stomach issues (and so is curd/yogurt).

Here are some rules I follow when it comes to food, and they may be obvious but maybe not for all:

I never eat in empty restaurants. There must be a reason while people are not eating there so I don’t eat there either. I eat mostly in busy places.

I always wash my hands with alcohol or hand-wipes before eating and I have also started to wipe off the knives and forks before using them after I saw them being dropped on the floor by the waiter and then just put back on the table.

I wash my hands a lot here overall. Especially after have touched money, and always before I touch any food (and also, avoid touching your face with unclean hands).

I always order drinks without ice. Never take any ice, you don’t know if the water is clean or not, and always see to it that whatever drink you get is opened before you or open it yourself.

Water bottles should always have a sealed cork.

The best food I have had so far on my entire trip so far was in Delhi.

I have a friend there and their family has their own cook and she made really good, homemade Indian food everyday and it was delicious! 

I loved it 🙂

Guesthouses in India

Okay, so this has been a different experience too, I have lots to say but will keep it short because I don’t want to spend too much time on this.

At first when I began experiencing things when it comes to guesthouses I had the thought of maybe start writing reviews on TripAdvisor but then I just decided not to, simply because I want to spend my time writing on things that are more important (like my blog).

But I will say some things that I know will be helpful to you.

When you book online I suggest you only book for a few days (and not weeks) ahead because you might not like the place when you arrive.

Don’t believe every review online. I have been to especially one place that had got really good reviews but it was the worst place I have ever been to.

They lied about the WiFi for example (which many do here) even after I had called them up to get it confirmed that the connection was good.

And since I knew I would have lots of online work to do it was really challenging because the “WiFi” was not a WiFi but the managers Hotspot on their mobile and whenever he decided to leave suddenly the Hotspot went with him.

One time I sat an waited for him for 3 hours after he said he would be back in half an hour.

I was really annoyed by this and told him that too.

The pictures lie too on the websites and booking sites.

Almost all places I have been to (that I have found online) have been totally different from what they are advertising.

Make sure you see the room before you pay anything (if you go directly to them), and make sure the WiFi works (get connected right away), and check that the room and bed is clean (if it’s not, tell them to change the bed/clean) and that there’s both hot and cold water because not every place has that.

Hard, lumpy old pillows, stinky sheets and pillow cases, unclean blankets and so on are a reality here so there’s always a hassle before you get settled into a new place.

You have to ask them to change and so on, and sometimes even to ask for a clean blanket takes 2-3 times before anything happens.

And if you book online always call them up (or email) them afterwards to get the booking confirmed as the booking websites are not always in sync with the guesthouses own booking systems.

So I would suggest that you book a place in advance for a few days ahead only and when you arrive you can go and ask around because there are many guesthouses everywhere in India.

There are signs everywhere about available rooms in guesthouses so just go in and ask about the prices and then always barter the price of the room if you feel like doing it the “Indian way” or because of financial reasons, if you travel low budget for example.

Going directly to the guesthouses is best, at least that has been my experience, but it’s also best to book a place a few days at least before arriving at a new destination since you have your luggage and have traveled an so on, so it’s nice to just be able to go to place and relax.

And sometimes you can get ‘lucky’ too, I’m not saying that all places are bad that you find online!

The first place I booked (online) in Rishikesh for example was clean and nice so I decided to stay for a week or so.

I know that some of you reading this might say that “well, you get what you pay for” but that too me is nonsense.

To me it makes sense that even if you run a “cheap place” you should be able to keep it nice and clean.

But uncleanliness is an issue here in India, and mold, damp, cigarette buts and smell, smelly beds, garbage etc is what you can expect when traveling low budget (although again, if I were the manager of a cheap guesthouse I would still keep it clean and nice.. but maybe that’s just me).

It amazes me to see a place that has great potential fall apart because the people running it prefers to sit with their mobile phones (and not even look up to you when you speak with them), smoke pot and just walk (or sit) around looking bored all day long when there’s a million things you could do with up-keeping the place.

Like cleaning it up for example.

Anyways, .. 🙂

I love my room that I have now though, it’s very nice, the best I have had so far (and it’s also a little bit more expensive than the previous ones).

It’s big, clean and smells good! 🙂

Here’s the story behind how I got it:

mariaerving.com/calangute-and-baga-beach-goa

Let me know if you have any questions at all regarding India traveling, I’d be happy to share what I know and have experienced.

PS:

I have decided to go to Gokarna, Karnataka, after Goa on the 26th of February.

I will stay here in Calangute (Goa) until Saturday and after that I’m going to a Yoga Retreat to do a collaboration.

It’s going to be an interesting experience for two reasons:

1.) I have never done a collaboration like this before.

2.) I’m a total newbie at Yoga (only done it a few times in my life)

So I look very much forward to it; both the experience and also to share it with you 🙂

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Comments

  1. Peruette

    Not everyone is a doer like you! 🙂
    Doers charge more :-p

  2. I disagree. Being a doer has nothing to do with it.

    If you’re not a doer yourself, you can, as a business owner, hire people who are.

    If you care about your business that is.

    Whatever price-tag you have on the service you render makes no difference; it’s about caring about what you do, about respecting your business and your customers.

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