• September 21st, 2020

Tashia Travels: Slowly but surely – Slowly but surely – the resumption of international travel

This week started with open borders and I hope that excites you as much as it excites me. This piece has me taking you to India and telling you about the exquisite Taj Mahal, as a celebration of the gradual re-opening of Namibian borders and the subsequent lifting of an international travel ban for a targeted tourism revival initiative. 

Namibia has once again opened up to the world and while the industry gears up to welcome tourists to the land of open spaces, here’s what you need to know about the re-opening strategy: International tourists arriving in Namibia will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result (tested within 72 hours) and will be required to remain at their first destination in the country for seven days. They will be tested on day 5 and “discharged” on negative test results. They also need to bring a longing for freedom, nature and beautiful isolated wilderness where social distancing comes naturally. 

The re-opening of borders works both ways. Namibians like myself aching for international travel are free to go wherever in the world where we meet entry requirements. Earlier this year I travelled to India and for a first-time visitor to India like myself, it is almost impossible to skip the bucket list-worthy Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is not only a breath-taking white marble mausoleum, which is India’s most famous monument, but is also a modern wonder and a sublime shrine to eternal love.

Most, if not all the pictures I saw of the Taj Mahal prior to my visit, showed only a large white building. Though still lovely, they didn’t do the real structure the justice it deserves. Those pictures left out the intricacies, and it is these details that make the Taj Mahal astoundingly feminine and opulent. Upon closer inspection, this exquisite monument astounded me for its symmetry, structural beauty, intricate calligraphy, inlaid gemstones, and magnificent garden. Personally, the white marble is the most striking and prominent feature of the Taj Mahal. 
More than just a memorial in the name of a spouse, the Taj Mahal was a declaration of everlasting love from Shan Jahan to his departed soulmate - who died giving birth to their 14th child. Shah Jahan, filled with grief, poured his emotion into designing an elaborate and expensive mausoleum that would bring all those that had come before it to shame. It was also unique in that it was the first large mausoleum dedicated to a woman. 

The Mughal Empire was one of the richest empires in the world at the time of Shah Jahan’s reign as Emperor, and this meant that he had the resources to make this monument incomparably grand. The Taj is an experience of its own kind. The romanticism and sheer majesty of the structure is unbelievable and it is no wonder that millions of people chose it amongst the new Seven Wonders of the World. India is one of the most vibrant, colourful and exciting places to visit in the world. The diversity of people, culture and cuisine make it a worthwhile destination for any traveller. How can you prepare yourself for the ultimate travel plunge?  Here are three tips to ensure your next (or first) trip to India goes as smoothly as possible. 

Print your visa
A three-month tourist e-visa to India is fairly easy to obtain through a website run by the Indian government. However, when you receive the confirmation email that your visa has been approved, print it out and present it the the authorities upon arrival.
To eat or not to eat?
I am an unabashed proponent of street food. I love the flavours and the environment but the fact that it is street food obviously has potential risks. Being someone who eats 7- day old chicken from my fridge, there are things even I wouldn’t eat off the streets of India. Fresh fruit (unless you can peel it) or meat products – that is not how I die.
Only drink bottled water
All the tap water in India is contaminated with pollutants and amoebas. The only brands I recommend are Bisleri, Kinley & Aquafina. Remember to stay well hydrated, India is typically hot and dry.

Tashia Kalondo
2020-08-05 11:05:03 | 1 months ago

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