Saturday, November 29, 2008

India: Down the middle

So we carried on to Mumbai after Ahmedabad. Mumbai was a massive city with a few nice bits. I am sure you are all familiar with the main sites after watching the news recently. We were there a good 2 - 3 weeks before all the current action.
From Mumbai we went to Aurangabad and spent some time exploring a type of cave city that was carved out of a hill side about 800 years ago. It was neat exploring the caves, seeing massive Buddahs and having bats run into my chest... it was a really hairy bat.

'The Cathedral' - One of the larger caves in Ellora.

From Aurangabad to Hyderbad. Another cool indian city. Here, with the help of couchsurfing, we managed to see a more contemporary side of India. We went to a sports bar and an english style pub for some beers, meat snacks and sports. Was a nice break from all the culture we have been getting.

We then hit Hampi. An old Hindu town that is now in ruins amongst some cool looking boulders, it was pretty darn incredible. We went off the track a bit and almost lost a jandal, but it all turned out all right... must have been the blessing we got from an elephant the day before!
The river running beside Hampi.

From Hampi to Goa. We stayed 4 days on Agonda beach. It was rather idyllic really. Just sitting in the sun (well, for the first 2 hours of the first day... then I got so sunburnt I hid under coconut trees, in the hut, in the sea or at a bar). Got a scooter and explored the coast too which was nice.
View from out palm leaf hut, right next the ocean... and an ants nest.

From Goa by a 16 hour train to the town of Alleppey in Kerala. On the train we got our first (second, third and fourth) taste of deep fried bananas... I love some indian food. Here we got ourselves a guide and a canoe and explored the backwaters behind the town. Lots of canals, coconuts palms, women washing clothes, water snakes... it was nice and relaxing.

View from the canoe in the back waters.

Right now we are in Alleppey, my feet are getting bitten by mosquitos and we are excited about getting out of this crazy humidity up into the mountains tomorrow to see some tea plantations. 7 days left in India before we head to Singapore... these last two months have flown by. Bring on Christmas with the family!

Monday, November 10, 2008

India: Deserts and Camels

After Agra we hit Jaipur in Rajasthan. The team consisted of Steph and myself, Andy, and Dan and John. Through those two links you can get more accurate accounts of what went on I guess, but here is my attempt at the facts also.

A secret garden at the end of one of the hill forts / palaces in Jaipur

Rajistan is a state full of Forts, Camels, colourful saris and deserts. A fun state to explore. Jaipur is the pink city, with a average palace in the city and some cool forts on the hills to explore.

View from Johdpur fort.

Johdpur was a similar, smaller and cooler city and is a bit more blue. We saw a cobra being released into the wild by a local guy who caught it in his house (his bed?) which was pretty neat, made us keep to the beaten track just a little more diligently.

Train stopped in the desert.

From Johdpur to Jaisalmer which is right on the edge, or in, the Great Thar Desert. Perfect place to find a camel and got get heat stroke. It was hear we got ourselves some baggy trousers and head scarves and set out for 4 days in the desert, sleeping with the dung beetles under the stars and ambling through scrubby somewhat populated desert during the days.

The evenings were spent hanging out with our guides, eating and making jokes about Pakistan.

Head Scarf, Baggy Pants and a Maharani, what more does a man need?

After Jaisalmer the team broke up and Steph and I hit Bundi for a few days which was really nice. Hired ourselves a scooter and went out into the country side and found a water fall and river to swim in, first swim in frickin' ages.

Monkeys on Bundi fort, we barely got out alive.. seriously!

From Bundi to Udaipur, the town used in James Bond: Octopussy way back in the day (Roger Moore! Oh no....). A not so exciting town really... good place to relax and get a room with a TV to watch the US election coverage. Historic.


Now we are in Ahmedabad, about to catch a train to Mumbai. Life is still sweet and no tropical diseases caught. Oh, and this town is quite Muslim so there is plenty of meat... I am stoked. Right.. time for street meat.