Alys Jasmine

AJ in India

Alys Jasmine

Thailand and India here I come!!!!

Asia » India » Kerala » Kollam January 12th 2008

Well, we did it. We attempted to take the train to Kollam, Kerala. We've read all the stories, I saw The Darjeeling Limited, we've spoken to other travelers. The train seems like a necessary experience to fully feel India. We promised ourselves that we would, at some point, experience India's railways. We went to the station, bought our first class sleeper a/c tickets and spent 30 minutes dragging our luggage and one-legged Nicole up a flight of stairs, over a bridge, then down a flight of stairs to our proper platform. Then, when the mile-long train arrived, we couldn't figure out what train car to get on so a train worker looked at my tickets and said, "Here, here, get on here." I got on with my luggage and Nicole's big bag (alone) while the girls ... read more
Keralean Thali
Our Villa
Rub my Belly

Asia » India » Goa » Palolem January 8th 2008

Palolem Beach, 3 hours south of Baga, is perhaps the most idyllic postcard retreat you could imagine. We originally planned to rent motorbikes to get there but after the rental guy watched me test drive it in the parking lot, he refused. Apparently, according to Nicole, the man was wiping the sweat from his brow, shaking his head, and announcing "No, no, no, she will not take that on the roads." So we took a cab instead. Our taxi ride left our stomachs churning which we have now learned to expect. But as soon as we saw the beach, we remembered why we had trekked so far away from civilization. No horns, no crowds, no perverts, no trinket shops, no filth, just miles of palm trees, beach huts, and ocean. Yay! We hung up the mosquito ... read more
Sailboat Sunset
Palolem Beach
It's Alive

Asia » India » Goa » Baga January 7th 2008

Goa was exactly what we needed; a chillsome breakaway from the sensory overload of Mumbai. I have felt far less vulnerable and anxious here, and we actually contemplated staying the rest of our trip here, and maybe forever. Baga Beach was our first of three beaches visited while in Goa and the most touristy, slightly reminiscent of Rosarito Beach on Spring Break 1999 but with more cows and less tequila. Baga is known as party central for the younger generation while Anjuna Beach, more north, has been an alternative/ hippy party scene since the 1970s. And looking around, things don't look like they've changed much either. Half naked hippies lay side by side with cows and lazy dogs while Goan gypsies with giant nose rings and bangles forever lure you with nag champa into their shops ... read more
My new friend
Happy Happy
Beach Bum

Asia » India » Maharashtra » Mumbai January 2nd 2008

I never would have thought any city could possibly exceed the overwhelming, perplexing lifestyle of Bangkok. And then Mumbai happened. The 30 minute cab ride to our hotel left me practically in need of cardiac resuscitation. Apparently turn signals, driving lanes, seat belts, pedestrian crossings, brake pedals, and patience behind the wheel do not exist in this city. But honking sure does. Oh my god, I have never heard so much honking in my life. I have never covered my eyes and silently prayed for life so many times either. I also witnessed more poverty in that 30 minute car ride than I think I have seen in my entire life. Our hotel, the Regent was in Colaba, South Mumbai and was two blocks from the Gateway of India harbor, the Taj Majal hotel and walking ... read more
India Cab
View from our hotel room
I am SO Indian

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok December 28th 2007

Chinatown, a densely populated area of Bangkok will be our home for the last 24 hours that we are in Thailand. Our hotel is immaculate and luxurious, with four poster beds draped with colorful Chinese silk and dimly lit lanterns dangle from our stained glass walls. The Shanghai Inn is deceivingly quiet, as just three floors below, shoulder to shoulder mobs of people bustle through the nosiy, narrow streets. Many of the thin alleyways that form the Chinatown network specializes in different commodities/oddities ranging from funerary paraphernalia, bulk Hello Kitty cargo, spices, gold jewelry, and the most curious streetway which displayed medicinal items like tiger teeth and petrified snakes, geckos, and seahorses. Maybe I'll bring someone back a "special" souvenir =). Our walk through the streets led us to another larger temple, this one housing the ... read more
Siam Square, Bangkok

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Ko Samet December 25th 2007

we are now recovering from the fanatical lifestyle of bangkok in a more relaxing, idyllic part of central thailand, koh samet. the island feels a bit more like beach camping rather than luxurious resort living, but that is exactly what nicole and i expected and wanted. koh samet is a retreat for bangkokers rather than tourists so we were two of the very few international faces. instead, we were surrounded by tanned, shirtless and barefoot islanders, fisherman, market vendors, henna artsits, and of course, lots of doggies. the dogs here are so polite, no jumping up, no begging, just chill, like the people. our beach bungalow is very cozy (and air conditioned!) on the inside, covered with geckos on the outside and we already have a porch dog that has adopted us! at night we hear ... read more
Samed Cliff
Christmas Eve Moon
Christmas Eve

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok December 23rd 2007

bangkok, day two our second day in bangkok proved to be equally overstimulating as our first. after waking up at 6am and having our second straight breakfast of wonderbread toast, we boarded a minibus and headed out of the city with travelers from four different continents. first stop: floating market, 3 hours northeast of bangkok. much like the bangkok mbk mall with endless floors of identical designer knock-offs, the floating market was endless waterways of identical cheap thai souvenirs, all ridiculously overpriced. it was very cool to see and i did buy some ugly overpriced disco elephants which two of my lucky friends will soon become recipients of =). next stop: the cobra show, the self-proclaimed "best show in the whole world" which i think cirque du soleil would beg to differ. while it was certainly ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Eastern Thailand December 22nd 2007

bangkok there are no adjectives that appropriately describe the overstimulating energy that permeates every corner of bangkok. my heart has been beating erratically since the moment we stepped off the plane and boarded a hot pink taxi to Chinatown where, after 24 hours of travel, we were anxious for a pillow. our hotel was far from representative of the pictures advertised online and were shocked to find a toilet directly IN the shower as well as a populous family of gnats. the peeling wallpaper and headboard saturated with black funk were not exactly welcoming so nicole promptly made arrangements for a hotel transfer in the morning. i slept with my head at the foot of the bed. our new, uncontaminated hotel is in Bangrak, across from the Patpong distirct of Bangkok which we discovered is a ... read more
Hot Pink Taxis!
MBK Anime Festival
Gold Buddha

North America » United States » California » San Jose December 19th 2007

24 hours til we leave for our 4-week trip and i still: packing and uppacking, repacking, packing again, unpacking and repacking some more. i'm currently unpacked. ...have a week's worth a travel to plan in south india. ...need to buy mosquito repellant and travel toilet paper. ...have to pay an astonomical cell phone bill. please DO NOT call or text me AT ALL for the next four weeks people!!! not know two words of thai nor hindi. i will be doing a lot of pointing. ...need a pedicure. Luv you all and will be in touch from Thailand! xoxo, alys jasmine... read more

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