Saturday, November 27, 2010

Varanasi - the beginning


We have arrived in Varanasi after a 15 hour train ride (ran late by three hours for no explained reason) but our hotel is fantastic! Right on the river side, heres a site where you can see some photos of it:

Click on the photos tab to the right of the page and have a look through. Our room doesn't have a view bur it does have a hot shower, tv and the mattress is approximately 18cm thick, slightly thicker than the 10cm we have been sleeping on. There's monkeys all around our hotel swinging round the pipes etc, and we just ate at the restaurant here looking over the ganges one curry, two naans a coke and a beautiful view for $4.

I think this is my favourite place so far, even though there's heaps of people the area where our hotel has a motor ban around it so it's so peaceful. We walked along some of the ghats (riverside sacred areas) and a hindu ceremony was being performed the whole place smells like insense! 

Photo from earlier tonight, on the banks of the ganges.

I was pretty nervous getting onto the train, alex booked us into cheapest sleeping section possible so in a room approx. 1.5m by 3m = 8 people sleeping. However, luckily I had the top bed! Nadine and Steven if you're reading this your silk liners have been lifesavers! Can't believe anyone would travel without one!

Railway stations are pretty crazy here but such a good way to see a bit more of India. We went through heaps of rural villages (stick huts etc) and I swear the driver stops some of the time to only let chai-wallahs and other men selling food on. Constant yelling CHAI CHAI COFFEE CHAI COFFEE COFFEE and a jumble of other words we can't understand but imitate anyway. Seen at least ten people pooing - pants down, squatting whilst riding the trains too! One small boy even being held over the tracks by his sister as he pooed at a railway station - lucky rats!

Forgot to add a couple of other photos from Agra - we had a loco cycle rickshaw diver who drove us to his friends 'gem shops' which we later read is a common occurence in the lonely planet. And he even had a guest book!

 This is a wee family we met down a back street in Agra, bubba on the left has the biggest cheeks you've ever seen!

Mini farm opp. house above

Wall of cow poo pats

We have been drinking so much chai, it is delicious, much sweeter than in NZ

Best be off to book in some activities for the next wee while


Friday, November 26, 2010

Old Delhi and Agra

Namaste Everyone!

We have been learning Hindi! Well mostly Alex, but we bought a phrase book and he got an extensive lesson on the train from Delhi to Agra with from our over friendly travel companions. This computer's a bit crap so I'm just going to write a wee blurb under each photo instead of long extensive tale. We're pretty tired right now, and our train to Varanasi isn't until 11.30pm, and doesn't arrive until midday tomorrow so we're in for a treat!
We're going to hopefully stay at Hotel Alka on the banks of the Ganges on trip advisor (website) you can find some very cool photos of it if anyones interested.

Monkey eating banana in the middle of Delhi

Entrance sign at the bird hospital we visited - halerious

.... this was also at the bird hospital entrance

Red Fort, Delhi

Trying to fit in

In Saree alley way Old Delhi

Alley way in Old Delhi, they have the most amazing bazzars here I was in awe. Whole lanes dedicated to beads, diff ones for fabrics, embellishments, hardware etc. Haha the hardware lane was pretty boring. Alex actually almost got attacked by a dog in that lane, just randomly jumped out from the kerb and headed straight for him, barking like mental. I sprinted off, but he barked back along with all the locals in the lane which deterred the dog. However I am still haunted by this incident as one of our rickshaw drivers told us it was because we have a different scent than locals.... Great news! I have refused to go near dogs quite a few times since this incident.

Pamphlet we recieved upon departing bird hospital. We will never forget.

The ceiling fans inside the temple next to the bird hospital actually do have covers over them to prevent bird injuries.

Lovely view from Smyle Inn, Delhi, note dog on roof top.

Me in Henna Shop - Amazing guy who makes stamps

In henna mans stamp warehouse

Arrival at train station

Hot peanuts in shells and craaazy chatty guy/language tutor

Unimpressed by my company

Entrance at Taj Mahal


Red Fort, Delhi

New family?

Taj Mahal

Poor poor hungry lonely puppies in Taj gardens

View of Taj from restaurant where we ate breakfast

At Yamuna River

Buffalos en route to bathe in Yamuna River

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Delhi

Hello everyone!

Arrived in Delhi yesterday morning after a long flight/stopover. Sleeping at Bangkok airport in 28 degree heat was not too fun! Thought we'd be too exhausted to do anything yesterday but after our crazy drive into the city we were far too excited. The roads here are mental, our driver preferred to stay in the middle of his lane to optimise maximum flexibility depending on which lane was going faster, and was at all times only a foot or less away from the driver in front. Initially I feared for my life, but then realised that everyone was doing the same thing and no one crashing. Honking constantly is mandatory, some cars even displaying signs saying "Please Honk".

We first walked out the 'back way' of our hotel - as advised by Mr Reed, however this plan ended us on a road called Main Bazzar in the Paraganj district (where we're staying) that was full of hardware stores, rubbish EVERYWHERE and urinals on the street where urine flowed down onto the pavement... I was definitely questioning why on earth we had come here at that point! But then we hailed down a cycle rickshaw and headed towards Connaught Place - the city centre. Here they have heaps of western shops, and Mc Donalds etc as well as a ton of 'toughts' as the lonely planet puts it - every block we walked we would get a new guy requesting for us to come to his 'government' tourist office where he could book the rest of our trip for us. Alex was the big sucker here, one guy came up to him and said "Your beard makes you look like a movie star" to which he replied "Oh thanks haha" and a long tourism discussion followed.

We then had an amazing lunch/dinner of Dosa's at a restaurant and south indian coffee afterwards - delicious! Kind of caramelly taste. Which gave us an extra boost of energy to head off to the markets on Janpath Rd. We purchased a few items, probably got a bit ripped off because we're still practising our bargaining skills! But it's all a learning process...

Then jumped in a motor rickshaw and headed back to Paraganj where I bought my first Indian outfit (top, scarf and pants) for NZD $3! It's bright orange and I'm wearing it now.

Our hotel is basic but nice, so noisy at night time! Fireworks were going off all through the night and for a few seconds I thought they were gunshots!

We're off to Old Delhi today to see the Red Fort and do some more shopping. I am worried for myself, I want to buy SO  much stuff here - you should see the amount of cool harem pants they have. Unbelievable. I actually considered opening an import business. The Third Eye on K'rd must be making a killing if the prices at these markets are anything to go by!

Right best be off, and have to warn future posts probably won't be as detailed as this.

HOPE YOU'RE ALL HAVING FANTASTIC TUESDAY'S! It's 9.06 am here just incase anyone was curious of the time difference


P.S. There are millions of dogs on the streets! Haha but they seem pretty harmless

PPS There are millions of birds Char, EVERYWHERE!

Sleeping in Bangkok Airport


Ridiculous Powerlines! Almost always like this

Two very cute school girls who requested we take their photo

Our first Indian meal - delicious!

Janpath Market

Muslim boys near our hotel, Paraganj

All outfits on this stand 100 rupees ($3 nz)

Cat-Rat on tour, with bloody leg

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Namaste and Welcome

Namaste friends!

Poppadom is now spelt correctly and we are ready for take off.

No one wants to be caught out without a poppadom - If I catch you in the street with a poppadom in your handbag I will give you some chutney to dip it into.

I will be posting all photos I take of people I have caught out with poppadoms and their marvellous expressions when I hand over their chutney prize - typically mango in flavour.