There are a few checkpoints you'll definitely cross at some point when you are in Southern India:
1. Getting fleeced by rickshaw drivers (those infamous three-wheeled cabs), check.
2. Getting stomach problems (because you ate food you shouldn't have eaten but ate anyway because of...whatever reason), um check.
3. Being afraid for human life while on the road (because you or someone else could have gotten killed - plus people drive like headless chickens there), CHECK.
4. Seeing the air you breathe (because, yes in some places, you can see the air - this applies to the large metropolitan cities and not to the smaller cities or the lovely countryside), definitely check.
5. Being actively worried that the tap water in your supposedly 4-star hotel room is actually sourced from a toxic waste plant, check. You see where this is going, right?
BUT this is all part of the deal and sometimes, you just have to take it in stride (as long as you don't die, it's all good, right?). The food and the cultural experience were amazing for one. Some of the people I met were kind beyond my wildest expectations. And all in all, I had a good time.
Unexpectedly, I even learned how to ride a canoe!! Since my friend and I had zero navigation skills, I'll attribute the feat of getting the thing to move without overturning to our irrational fear of taking a dip in the filthy waterway and drowning in muck. See, fear is the ultimate motivator in situations like this. Anyway.
If there is one thing you can't accuse the south of India of, it's blandness. It is filled to the brim with strange and wondrous things...and colors! Here are a few glimpses...