-Kolkata, India-
Today is my last day in India, and like clockwork, I got sick. This is making my last few hours in India a little disappointing, like going out with a fart instead of a bang. One of the perks about traveling is the adventure presented to you by all the different kinds of food to choose from, from restaurants and small stands and push-carts on the street. Yesterday I stepped up to the plate, took a swing, and missed. Today and last night I payed the penalties. It wasn't pretty.
Before this unfortunate turn of events I was enjoying Kolkata. It has a more tropical feel too it, which is mixed with English colonial influence. Many of the buildings are black and rotten looking, but are really cool. I saw a tree growing off the side of one big, old English building, which had an elaborate metal gate, arched windows, rotten shudders, and a courtyard filled with trash and weeds. It may not sound like much, but it had character, which lends to a better atmosphere here in Kolkata than in Delhi, and probably Mumbai. I kind of wish I could explore it a little more, especially the undeveloped areas, but I will just have to save it for next time.
In just under 24 hours I will have departed from India. I can't say I will miss it. Although India can be extremely overwhelming, it has an appeal, an appeal that I find hard to describe. There is just so much going on here, from the North to the South, to the plains to the hills, to the buildings and the streets. There is a vibrance that India emits, even through the sounds of car horns and beggar's cries for money. I can definitely see myself visiting again, but when that will be, I cannot say. I will need some time to decompress and relax. It has been a great experience traveling in India, Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan and I probably only regret a couple of things throughout the trip so far (eating certain street food is one of them). Maybe it has left me slightly more cynical, but the desire to travel further is just as strong as when I left San Diego three months ago.
Only yesterday did I open up my small guidebook for SE Asia. I am still a little apprehensive about going to Thailand, Lao, and Cambodia, because I have not planned it out at all. Only an hour ago did I create a very loose itinerary for my first month there. I know it will all work out (it always has), but going off to a new part of the world with which I am not familiar with, don't know the language at all, and with no planning, is kind of scary to me right now. I have butterflies in my stomach right now as I think about it. But this uneasiness might not be nervousness, it could just be India's farewell revenge to me in the form of a food borne illness, a kind of sick joke (haha). It is India telling me that no matter how patient or proficient I am with the trains, the people, and the noise, I will never truly be able to control or master everything that India is or discover all of it's hidden secrets.

India: I bow down to thee.