Published: February 25th 2009February 23rd 2009
The tour has now finished, and the group disbanded, it feels weird having spent such a long time with them to no longer have them right there. Despite this I have managed to sort myself a plan for the last few weeks, which i am currently extremely happy with. I guess I'd better recount my tales of the last part of my tour.
I must first recount an event which happened before my last blog which i forgot to mention. Anna, Roberta and I were walking to the ATM in the hot hot sunshine. I decide it is time to apply the keep me white cream and so pause to apply. Then as i bend to cream up my ankles a man cycles past. turns to look, turns back, double takes, looks away, turns for one final stare, nearly crashes in to anna and roberta, then swerves to avoid and almost collides with a tuk tuk. whoops! anyway onwards....
Our last train (Varanasi - Kolkata) was just 2 hours late, hooray, altho we spent that time in the hottest room known to man, playing cards, or at least attempting to, we could really remember the rules to the games we were
trying to play! But when we got on our train we didn't really get up to much before bed time. Anna and Olivia tried to read but gave up when our carriage-mate got on the train, put down his stuff and turned the lights off! Night Then!
Upon arriving in Kolkata we took a ferry across the a body of water (lake/river? I dunno too tired to take much notice!) and then took an actual taxi, yes a real solid taxi, with windows and things, to Hotel Victerrace. It was a nice hotel with friendly, helpful staff and a pretty good location. After lunch we went to Mother Teresa's place and Orphanage. It was nice to see happy children really being taken care of, even for those of us who aren't really fond of kids! After this we went to the Victoria Memorial. It was a pretty spectacular buiding with great gardens and this was made all the better because it was such a nice afternoon. Anna and I got accosted by some India tourists who wanted pictures of US!? And then they tried to palm their kid off on me for a picture. She was NOT impressed and i
nearly dropped her when she struggled and wriggled to get away. The mother just stood there smiling at me as i struggled on. Then said mother held her up and take and kiss anna's hand. Crazy times. Two steps further on we were once again asked to pose with people for more pictures. The guy wasn't impressed at my response to his "what is your occupation" enquiry!
In the evening we had our "last supper" at B-B-Q a indian/chinese restaurant. We all had indian as that is what Uttam told the staff we wanted. It was alright, the mushroom and pea curry did live up to the reputation as the nicest on our trip (according to Uttam). Following this we went for drinks at the hotel and finally I got people to help me drink the bottle of Blue Ribband Gin I had been carting around for the past week (well I wasnt gonna drink it all on my own when people went to bed at 10pm!) But we had some nice chats and got a little tipsy after I decanted the gin into a water bottle so we cud hav it in the hotel restaurant. I made sure I
kept it separate from the other water bottles, we all know the troubles a mix up can cause!
The next day left just a four of us plus Uttam. We had decded to go to the flower market, new market and then Haldirams, a bengali sweet store. Breakfast finished at 10.30 and it turns out the flower market finished at 7am or something, so that was a no go. But the new market was pretty interesting. The we walked and walked and walked for quite alot of the rest of the afternoon, which was good. I really liked Kolkata, my only problem with it was the pollution. I could feel it in my eyes and on my throat. eugh. We went for lunch at Haldirams, which consisted of us all getting things and sharing the lot so we could try as much stuff as possible. I had thali which is a collection of curry type things and ws surprisingly. I say surprising because the place was basically an Indian version of MacDonalds. altho somewhat classier i guess. It is the evening meal that really was good tho. We decided to check out a chinese restaurant called Golden Dragon, and it
was here that I had my best meal of the whole trip. With sweet and sour (huge)king prawns and Mandarin fish and veggie chow mein. Sooo good! Then it was time for everyone to get sorted for leaving India (except me!).
The next day dawned bright and early when i woke up at 6am and couldn't get back to sleep. grr. but i spent the morning packing all my stuff up and sending a parcel home, of stuff i shouldn't have brought with me in the first place! ah well, we live and learn. Got a taxi to the airport. The meter broke halfway through,so my taxi driver tried to scam me out of a couple of hundred bucks, but I told him to just accept the 50 bucks extra i was offering. I made a fool of myself getting through security, not having tagged my hand luggage, and then leaving my ticket in my bag thru the x-ray, and all the security guards must've thought i was a proper idiot tourist, but we got through and onto the plane and away...
Adi met me at the airport with his driver (mentalist) for the day and we went
and had some good continental food and later on i met some of his friends in the new hip and happenening district of Mumbai. Such a nice appartment!
The following day i was Laaazy! Just watched some films - I'm told there isn't much to see in Mumbai (I will test this statement next time as I have a couple of days there before I go to New Zealand) - and ate the really awesome food that the Housekeeper cooked for us. it was seriously tasty. In the evening we caught a train to Baroda. Petty average journey, but the food included in our ticket wasn't brilliant, gots to take the rough with the smooth tho i guess :-) We got back at 11 and started drinking straight away, its really nice to be around someone who doesn't need to go to bed by 10.30! Altho it seems its me that is one who's constantly sleeping now! Oh Adi has a dog called Naja (or something like that pronounce the j as a y, innit) she is a labrador barrel of joy who constantly demands attention, and its great, i can play with her without being worried about being rabidly
My first full day here was spent meeting Adi's parents and trying to plan my onward travels. I got it wrong and had to pay a bit extra to make some cancellations. No Kerala for me, just Goa it seems. There jsut wasn't enough time, given the indian travel system and the fact that its still pretty much peak season and me leaving it so late to plan things, thus being limited tickets at higher prices, so I have a couple of nights booked at a backpacker hotel in Vagator, and then i will check out some places to stay for the rest of my time whilst i'm there.
I have seen Some culture/sites of interest whilst i've been in Baroda. I was shown around the local palace by a guy who was completely jokes. He was lacking in any useful information, but he was hilarious. When asked "so what's the difference between all the different axe weapons in the collection," he responded, "they're all different sizes" as if we couldn't see this fact! But he did know that the golden stirrups were of significant importance, because the Maharaja used them. Wow! The palace garden was the setting
for Adi's sister's wedding, and what a backdrop! The palace from the outside is beautiful and the design is a combination of various different designs such as Jain and Hindi and then we went to a hindi temple made with materials from a crashed airoplane, this place was cool and some locals got excited that i was there! In the evening we went for a meal at Adi's uncles. They have a dog too a very male dog who couldn't stop getting his lipstick out and humping my leg, because i smelt of his great love Naja, the joys.
Today I went to Pavagarh Fort and Champaner a world heritage site nearby which was pretty cool and tomorrow I make my way down to mumbai and then on to Goa the next day. woooop.
There are more photos below