Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Goa and Varanasi

This is our last Indian stop on this trip.
We arrived in Goa 3 days ago after spending a couple of days in Varanasi (aka Benares). I had been very keen to see the ancient city, as I have recently read a couple of books that described it, and I must admit that the boat trip on the Ganges at sunrise was a pretty amazing experience, even though the sight of cremating bodies on the shore was a bit much for me. The boat guy stopped next to those for the longest time; a massive tourist attraction apparently.  But apart from that the boat ride was pretty spectacular.
We were also shown some silk workshops, for which Benares is known. A touristy stop?  Perhaps, but well worth our back-packing pride- the works were some of the most beautiful and ornate that I had ever seen.

Goa is probably one of my favourite places in India, to be honest. It's green. It's lush. It's clean. The Portugese influence makes this a truly unique place. After we reached Goa we went on a couple of trips a little ride off Panaji to see a museum of Goan houses and a spice plantation, where we were shown how they grow cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla and a bunch of other things. The place was something between a jungle and marshes, and worth visiting just for the view.

Tomorrow we're going to Mumbai and the morning after that we're heading on that outbound plane to Singapore.

Anyway- India was fun- now onwards to South East Asia!!!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

On our own now

This morning we have said goodbye to Karam, as he dropped us off at the train station in Delhi. Last night we stayed with his family in his home village, which was pretty amazing. The Rajasthan area that he is from is particularly beautiful, and his family are very warm and welcoming. There was his older brother, his sister in law (who is both his wife's sister and his brother's wife) and his parents. It was nice to spend some time with them and they all did everything they could to make us feel at home. His mother was a charming lady, who, although she spoke no English, was fluent in the universal language of hugs.


The last few days of the tour around the Rajasthan area were truly amazing! We went to the more desert-like areas, like the India's first lived-in fort, Jaislemere. Again we were guided by one of Karam's good friends, who told us a lot about the history of the place. People were friendly, with the ususal mix of hawkers and fake holy men added in for the flavour, so we have really enjoyed ourselves there. The same night we went to Jaislemere, we went of a camel safari: I was quite chuffed to see I could gallop on a camel on my own! OK- so it was more of a trot that a gallop, but I still felt very Lawrence of Arabia-ish.

At the moment we are in Orcha, which we will begin to explore tomorrow.
The pictures are all at the bottom.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Hello India - a quick introductory post.

Finally! Internet connection! A little longer and I would start forgetting things... I arrived in Delhi on the 2nd of March. Cameron has arranged for us to be driven around by the same man who has driven his family around in December. The driver's name is Karam and he is absolutely amazing; he has planned out the 10 days or so of travel for us- going from Delhi to Agra and several cities in Rajasthan. He is not only very knowledgeable but also such a sweet person that me and Cameron are getting really attached to him-goodbye will be hard.We have already seen Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udepur, and at the moment we are staying in Jodhpur. I will put up some pictures but it is hard to describe the sheer glut of things to see- today, for example, we went to a Jain temple that is probably the most beautiful building I had ever seen. Even with the blistering sun outside, it was nice and cool, made entirely of white marble with intricate sculpures and richly, yet elegantly ornamented columns (around 150 of them!). It seems almost incredible, but there are just so many beautiful things in Rajasthan alone that Taj Mahal is not even the second most beautiful thing I have seen here so far. And it's just a week into the trip!
I will try posting some pictures soon!

more from the Trek

more from the Trek

Waterfall in the Jungle

Waterfall in the Jungle

Sweating on the Trek

Sweating on the Trek

Ayuthaya

Ayuthaya

the Tiger Temple.

the Tiger Temple.

As the tanks roll by...

As the tanks roll by...

The bridge over the river Kwai

The bridge over the river Kwai

Floating Market

Floating Market

Squid Stick. Yum.

Squid Stick. Yum.

Fish Spa- little fishes eating the dead skin. Ticklish

Fish Spa- little fishes eating the dead skin. Ticklish

Fruit Market

Fruit Market

outside a Wat in Bangkok

outside a Wat in Bangkok

Ko Tao beach

Ko Tao beach

The snorkelling trip in Ko Tao

The snorkelling trip in Ko Tao

The Princess Lagoon

The Princess Lagoon

Rock climbing to see the lagoon

Rock climbing to see the lagoon

Thailand- Ao Nang beach in the South

Thailand- Ao Nang beach in the South

me with the world's biggest flower

me with the world's biggest flower

the famous white tiger in the Singapore Zoo

the famous white tiger in the Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo

On the spice plantation in Goa with the stinky fruit. It's not allowed on public transport

On the spice plantation in Goa with the stinky fruit. It's not allowed on public transport

The Main Mosque in Delhi

The Main Mosque in Delhi

Humayun's Tomb

Humayun's Tomb

Agra Fort

Agra Fort

No prizes for guessing where that is!

No prizes for guessing where that is!

Taj Mahal again

Taj Mahal again

in front of the Jain temple

in front of the Jain temple

Jain Temple

Jain Temple

Jain Temple

Jain Temple

Our room in Jodhpur

Our room in Jodhpur

Jaislemere

Jaislemere

Jailsemere

Jailsemere

Cameron of Arabia

Cameron of Arabia

me on the camel called 'Lucky'

me on the camel called 'Lucky'

the rat temple - the most pampered rats in India

the rat temple - the most pampered rats in India

Cameron having his nail painted by the world-class master of miniature

Cameron having his nail painted by the world-class master of miniature

Cameron and Karam next to an underground corridor leading to the local fort, near Karam's village

Cameron and Karam next to an underground corridor leading to the local fort, near Karam's village