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Published: October 12th 2007
Have left northern India behind and flown to Kerala today - staying the night in Trivandrum and heading to Varkala and hopefully a nice beach hut tomorrow. Shockingly enough as soon as I got anywhere near a beach it started raining! Hopefully sometime over the next few days it will clear up....
The last week of volunteering in Himachal was so much fun - had a couple of parties (our leaving do and a rooftop party at Silver camp) where the crazy Indian beer worked its magic again. The leaving party was great, all the staff joined in for some bizarre Indian dancing and party games.
I slept on the roof of Silver Camp every night last week - amazing to lie staring at the stars and Milky Way with the mountains in the background and waking up to a gorgeous sunrise. Teaching in the last week was a lot of fun too, tried (in vain) to teach them some geography, they struggled but seemed to enjoy it. The last day many of the kids gave me drawings as presents and as I was about to leave, most of the girls started crying!! Must have had some impact in
the short time I was there then....
Last Saturday we reluctantly left the camp and Himachal behind - the three four-weekers from our original group and the remaining eight-weekers from the old group. Back the way we came - jeep for 4 hours through the bumpy mountain roads, train from somewhere in Punjab back to Delhi and then seven of us and new guide Sanjeev headed to Agra by train. After staying in a surprisingly nice hotel (by IDEX and indeed Indian standards) we visited the Taj Mahal at sunrise the next day and went to the Agra Fort afterwards. The Taj lives up to all the hype - amazing building with ridiculous amounts of detail gone into its construction. The Fort was also very impressive (we hired a great guide) with some fantastic views of the Taj from a distance.
We headed back to Delhi after receiving crazy amounts of attention in Agra train station (Indian army recruits from all over had been in town that day) and returned to the original hotel from a month ago (now looking much better after being in India a month). Celebrated our last night together by going to a swanky
bar in Connaught Place that wouldn't have looked out of place in the West End or, well, Cork. Was bizarre to think that 48 hours earlier we were living in simple mountain villages in Himachal, but that's India today. Was a nice way to end the trip but I so wish I was still in Camp Bindraban now.....
Decided to spend three days in Delhi before flying south - big mistake. It truly is an awful city, nothing much to see or do except get hassled and ripped off at every turn. Luckily this wasn't my first impression of India or I might have left straight away. Thankfully the rest of India and especially the people are nothing like Delhi - the difference in Trivandrum was noticeable immediately.
So two weeks left here to relax and recharge on the beach and slowly head up the coast to Mumbai.....
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