Subject: Re: India
Hi Joan, it sounds like an splendid opportunity to get to know such an interesting country. The best time to visit India is during our winter. I was there in summer two years ago, and the weather was quite hot and very rainy, and I wasnīt able to enjoy it.

We visited Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Varanasi, with a couple of days in Kathmandu at the beginning of our trip. I loved Kathmandu, and I still cannot forget the first view of the Taj Mahal from the Agra Fort.

About food, we were very careful, and we didnīt have any icecream (although we were dying for one of them as soon as I arrived back to Spain). We are mostly vegetarian, and we discovered lassi, a sweet or salty drink made of yoghurt that it is so good ... (I had a good one last summer in Berlin).

And then the books. I am afraid I like books too much I took the Rough Guide to India, and the Fodorīs Guide. I like much more the first one, and it is more comprehensive, which will come handy for you, given that your friends live in Calcuta. I have read a few books on India afterwards. The last one has been V.S. Naipaul's India: A Million Mutinies Now. Probably polemic, but pretty interesting to read. He arrived to India from Trinidad with an idealization, and then got confronted with an amazing reality. Gita Mehta is an indian journalist. Her writing is addictive, and two good books are Karma Cola and Snakes and ladders. Octavio Paz, the 1990 Literature Nobel price, worked at the mexican embassy in Delhi, and he has written a good essay compating his country and India, In light of India. And now, one of my favourites, William Dalrymple, City of Djinns and The age of Kali. I first read In Xanadu, and I got hooked on him. I have some of his books both in english and spanish. He does a good mix of actuality and history, and can be very funny.

I hope you have a great time there,

Covadonga Bilbao - Spain