Upon further examination, Reece and I have decided that Delhi is, in many ways, much more intense than any other place we have been. It's just that we have become so desensitized, that it takes us a while to register these things.
Take for example our hotel...
This is our street.
This is the urine-scented alley that leads to the entrance.
This is our $15 per night room.
Complete with moldy paint peeling off the walls, random holes with electrical wires spilling out, and a jammed window that leaks monsoon rains right in. Also equiped with everything we need. A bedbug-free matress, A/C and a private toilet. My, how our standards have changed.
We did a little walk around the neigborhood, and realized there are MUCH nicer places within our budget. (That's what happens when you're required to show a hotel reservation in order to get your Indian visa, and frantically pick the first thing you see on hostelbookers.com) Upon mentioning this in front of our hotel manager, he kindly offered to put us up in his nicer hotel down the road for the same price.
And you know what we did? Nothing. We couldn't be bothered to strap on our packpacks and walk a block to escape the stray cats howling outside our door. If this same thing occured in the beginning of our trip, I would have been out of that place faster than you can say chicken tikka masala. Now, I hold my breath while rushing down the alley to avoid inhaling cow and/or human poop on the way home each night. No biggie.
All I can say, is that I am so very grateful that we (aka "I") had the foresight to do this trip in the order that we did. South America felt so foreign. In Africa, we looked back on it and laughed at how good we had it. Egypt presented a whole new set of surprising challenges. And now here we are in India, so relieved that we didn't come here straight from the sparkling LAX Airport.
The other thing that makes India so easy for us to swallow is the people. Honestly, some of the nicest, most helpful human beings we have come in contact with anywhere in the world. Despite the absolute craziness that surrounds us, there is a sense of calm that exists within India's inhabitants that is captivating. We are completely drawn to the culture and can't wait to experience more of it.
I guess the key to satisfying travel is simply lowering your expectations! India, you have succesfully under-promised and over-delivered.