In words of admission then, I'd like to make a summary of a few things that we recognise and are aware of so far. That's how is goes:
* on the road:
- the speed breakers (“lying policemen”) are most commonly marked by a bulk of stones lying freely on both sides of the road - so you will not fly over it without spotting it (in theory, cause we already did it a couple of times...). Usually 'installed' on the entrance/exits of th cities, next to the self-constructed shops-alike stalls, before school areas, junctions, railways tracks and in any other spots actually. Sometimes huge ones, sometimes you can't even feel passing them through, just single or multiplied – you never know where and how they're gonna be, but all in all it's good they exist cause Indians drive as lunatics! (widely known ;));
- animals most commonly encountered on the road, in abundancy, are cows (in the first place) and it doesn't matter if it is a highway/national road or just an off-road path in the middle of nowhere ; dogs and goats – I would say equally frequently spotted around ; in Rajasthan you can see loads of camels just by the road and then after probably sheeps would go. Almost no cats here, which is fairly incredible and I have no understanding to that, except that they may eat them..or sth... O_o
- on a highway: it's not always certain that if you've got two lanes in one direction and another two in the opposite one the cars and other vehicles will follow it accordingly. Actually the rules don't exist here, and sometimes you can be stunned and petrified at the same time with the amount of drivers going...the opposite direction! It's pretty a hassle, if you can't differentiate if a truck goes towards you until it reaches a distance more transparent to your insight...(all because it's painted equally on both sides – the rear one looks exactly the same as the front one). The rear mirrors are used just while overtaking (to make sure that's somebody else is not approaching you in the same time) ;
> on the exit from Delhi to Agra you can't slip on a highway (motorcycles prohibited!), but to our surprise, there's no problem with jumping on it afterwards once you leav the city.. Genius, hehe.
Highways normally are free of charge for: motorcycles/rickshaws/tractors and they're pretty well maintained.
- oh, and if you mistake a road you were going to take – don't hesitate to turn back (the opposite direction) and just turn back on the right one (we practice this tecnique every now and then ;)) ;
- use a horn ALWAYS, or you are lost It't not a joke. Otherwise big trucks will not see you, tractors will not hear you anyway (they always have a radio or some other mistic device turned on out loud,
so you think there is a wedding or other event somewhere close every time) and rickshaws/cars/other motor-vehicles-alike will give you a way or indicate they are approaching you (the rule of using a horn works the same way for everybody everywhere). Hint: be alert on what's in front of you – that's the only rule that we got to know so far. On junctions – slowly, but firmly get through the wave of vehicles coming from all sides...
- it's better not to drive over night (loads of trucks on roads, without working lights, which mreover are quire reckless to other vehicles), we drove a few times but just in Delhi and don't wanna find out how it is off road or anywhere else ;
* Indians always :
- will speak to J. first cause he's a man in this relationship. Sometimes if the situation rounds about a room renting or trying to find out sth about the neighbourhood they will turn back to him, not me ;
- men hold hands/fingers, not couples as we are used to ;
- or usually, give you a price that is quite far away from the proper one, you have to either know more or less what should it be or just bargain randomly without hesitation ;
- they try to get you on their side with almost everything, to buy their clothes/craftship/tobacco/water/eat at their restaurant or anything else that comes to your mind. If you don't need anything and trying just to wander around, don't respond or catch an eye contact – it helps, but not always, or simply (even better is to do it beforehand) refuse politely, thanking for any service offered. It's tiring sometimes, but what else you've got left? ;)
- always and forever will stare at you, because it's you who is an invader and so much different! Obviously. Nevertheless it's pretty hard to buy sth you need, if you are surrounded with half of the village (literally) looking at you as if you were an alien who fell down from the skies just a moment ago (yes it happened to us quite a few times already). And then a whole procession follows you, which is even more troublesome and overwhelming ;
- carry loads of things on the top of their heads, especially women. Astonishing how do they keep it in the right position all the time and walk a long distance, let's say from one village to another or some remote bushes back home. Sometimes there are bunches of branches/piled up utensiles/buckets or ceramic jars with water or even some heavy tools inside. It all surely weights!
This post will be updated just after we find out more about this vast country and its habits.