Visiting India as told by Friends

If you’re an expat who has spent some time in India, you should be able to relate to at least a few of these.


Hilarious Friends gifs about what it's like to visit India.



1. When you try to learn Hindi .




2. When you don’t like the food but you don’t want to offend your Indian host.




3. The first time you see a squatty potty.




4. When someone has sprayed the entire toilet and floor with water.




5. When the power keeps going out.





6. When Indians meet your children.




7. When men urinate in public.




8. When you try to hang at a Hindu wedding.




9. When you ride an overnight train for the first time.




10. When you don’t understand Indian sense of humor.




11. When you catch a whiff of someone standing next to you on the bus.




12. When you sit down to any Indian meal ever.




13. When you find real cheese.




14. When you don’t understand local idioms.




15. When you see an empty seat on the bus.




16. When you actually understand what someone says in Hindi.




17. When you take a taxi.




18. When the food was a little spicier than anticipated.




19. When someone visits from home with goodies.




20. When you master the squatty potty.




21. When you’re in a crowded bazaar.




22. When you buy a pound of jalebi and it’s gone in 24 hours.




23. Whenever there’s a Hindu holiday or festival.




24. When you surprise yourself by really liking a dish.




25. When you return home after your time abroad.




I love India and all of her enchanting, controlled chaos. But it’s a lot to process the first time you visit!


Planning a trip to India? Check out



Tip Top Tea Shop at Char Dukan in Mussoorie

Char Dukan in Landour, Mussoorie has been around since nearly the beginning of this former British summer retreat town. The name “Char Dukan” literally means “four shops” in Hindi. Although in the last 100 years an extra shop or two has sprung up.


There are many resorts in Mussoorie and it’s a popular destination with Indian tourists partly due to the lovely Mussoorie weather. When the rest of the country is roasting it’s nice and cool in this old British hill station. Click the Agoda ad below to find hotels in Mussoorie for as low as 12 US dollars.



Char Dukan, then and now.


Char Dukan in Mussorie, India




Char Dukan, Mussorie, India.


Naturally, Mussoorie tourism is booming in the summer months and Char Dukan is practically crawling with visitors on any Saturday of the year. Serving up typical Indian snack foods like parantha (<-click for recipe), maggi noodles, and paneer pakora, these old shops keep the masses fed before they venture out for a hike in the Himalayan foothills.


Char Dukan, Mussorie, India.


Tip Top Tea Shop


Tip Top Tea Shop at Char Dukan


There are many places to eat in Mussoorie but our favorite shop at Char Dukan, by far, is Tip Top Tea Shop. When facing the shops, Tip Top is on the far right. It serves up much the same menu as the rest of the shops, including the staple bun omelet (an omelet served in a sweet bun).


Indian Snack foods at Char Dukan, Mussorie.


But what kept us coming back week after week, were the pancakes. These are not your mama’s pancakes. No stacks of thin, flavorless flap jacks, here. When you order pancakes at Tip Top what you get is one, literal, pan-cake.


The best pancakes in Mussorie, India at Tip Top Tea Shop in Char Dukan.


Thick, sweet, and delicious, you really don’t even need the syrup. They come in a variety of custom flavors including banana, apple cinnamon, and chocolate.


Apple cinnamon pancake at Tip Top Tea Shop at Char Dukan in Mussorie, India.

Hot and crispy apple cinnamon pancake.


You can guess which flavor our boys preferred.


Choclate pancake at Tip Top Tea shop at Char Dukan in Mussorie, India.


This is India so be patient, your food will not come quickly or at the same time. Our boys loved to watch the cook work his magic.


Top Top Tea Shop at Char Dukan in Mussorie, India.


Ginger Lemon Tea


Before leaving make sure you don’t miss out on another Mussoorie specialty – Hot Honey Lemon Ginger Tea. It’s a nice alternative to the classic Indian milk chai.


Hot honey lemon ginger tea at Char Dukan in Mussoorie, India.


I preferred the bun omelet (I’m a salty, not a sweet kinda gal) but the rest of my family never left Tip Top without a scrumptious, fried pancake.


Have you ever been to Char Dukan or seen a pancake cooked this way?



The Foothills of the Himalayas

We ran into a fantastic bit of luck being able to nestle into the foothills of the Himalayas for the first leg of our South Asian adventure.

Himalayan foothills

                      The view from our yard. No really.

First of all, we drove 30 kilometers and the temperature dropped 30 degrees. In August. Yes please.

Second of all, hellooooo. That view.

Being from a place that’s sea level, flat, with zero visibility, these hills are amazeballs. (Do people still say amazeballs? Sigh. I’m streets behind.) Also, “hills”, my shrinking backside.  Not owning wheels, plus either going up or down no matter where you need to be, it’s almost impossible not to lose weight. Between hiking to run errands and all of my processed, American vices being taken from me in one fell swoop, I’ve lost 25 lbs in just under three months.

Himalayan foothills

This fantastic photo was taken by a friend.


I still see (white) people out running occasionally. And I’ve even heard there’s a cross-fit gym not far from us. No thank you, crazy white people. I get enough exercise walking to and from language school every day.