Page 4 of LuBarnham Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka » Dhaka June 29th 2008

With 24 hours to take on Dhaka with a vengeance, we waste no time getting stuck in, despite my still somewhat feeble condition. We ride cycle rickshaws all around Old Dhaka, even though the UK government travel pages warn against it. (I think we only live once but it's debatable.) These are the first subcontinental vehicles i have travelled in that crash constantly. As Seth puts it, when you're travelling at 2 miles an hour, it hardly matters, does it? It's fun getting stuck in jams and seeing all the rickshaw art - film heroines and heroes, peacocks and animals - up close, even if it means we are in fact hurtling into the back of the given rickshaw. Each narrow street seems to be dedicated to the trade of a different necessity - here's where ... read more
Outside the Sitara Mosque, Dhaka
Old Dhaka Streets
Rickshaw Art, Dhaka

Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka » Dhaka June 28th 2008

The first thing I did on arriving in Dhaka was throw up against a wall. Considering I’ve been wanting to visit this city for eight years, it wasn’t really the entrance I was expecting to make. The bus from Kuakata had taken eleven hours, and we had travelled through the night. It was a great journey. All of the stars were out. ‘The Plough’ - that great saucepan of the sky - was the most prominent (quite appropriate for the subcontinent, I think.) The headlights lit up the endless rows of bushy trees, which appeared bright green momentarily then whooshed out of sight. Big grasshoppers kept jumping in through the window and landing on me. I know they bite (a bad experience in Agra four years back…) so I always just wait for them to move. ... read more
Tired Feet, Kuakata to Dhaka

Asia » Bangladesh » Barisal June 27th 2008

We've passed another day or so in Bangladesh and more random little truths reveal themselves. I'm noticing, in no particular order, that a) goats are tiny here, b) you never get your instant coffee in the same mug twice (my favourite so far had 'Happy Birthday Canada!' printed on the side), c) Bangladeshi women have a uniquely purposeful way of walking, and d) it is so likely that you will get stuck in your hotel's lift that every one you go in has signs telling you not to panic. Our own personal lift breakdown - inevitable - occurred in Jessore. The thing jammed itself on the way between two floors with a clunk and a 'whuuuum' as the electricity died and the lights went down. Seth, who has a few issues with confined spaces, held it ... read more
Coconut Water at Ferry Crossing, (plus audience!), Barisal to Kuakata
Buying a Coconut, Barisal
Trees Which Survived the Hurricane, Kuakata

Asia » Bangladesh » Khulna June 25th 2008

Heading from Kolkata towards the India/Bangladesh border, I kept asking myself what could go wrong. It was a morose way to be thinking, granted, but this was the third time i've planned to come to the country, and both of the previous times, something fell through. I started examining my visa in the back of the car, thinking it might have some kind of expiry problem. Meanwhile Seth snoozed next to me. He falls asleep in any moving vehicle. It's a gift, especially on this occasion, when it took us an hour and a half to get out of Kolkata; a city which, as much as i love it, has serious traffic issues. Our driver turned out to be slightly insane, which kept the journey interesting. He insisted on stopping for lunch at a small dhaba, ... read more
Rickshaws and Jackfruit, Khulna
Shait Gumbad Masjid, Bagerhat
Seth and Kids, Bagerhat

Asia » India » West Bengal » Kolkata June 23rd 2008

I'm always happy in Kolkata. It's hard to say why. It's a city that is in many ways poor, squalid, sometimes desperate, with lots of its citizens living out difficult lives. It might be that I'm deranged, but I sense that even those living in the toughest conditions approach their daily lives with a kind of practical stoicism and verve. Despite the odds, the poorest of Kolkatans seem undefeated, and its luckier citizens have the same air of drive about them. It feels like a place populated by do-ers. We were in the cab, heading to our hotel, and my heart was skipping about all excited. It was dark and raining, and this is one city that suits the rain (Mumbai is another.) As soon as you start to walk about this place, you feel a ... read more
Kingfisher, Botanical Gardens, Kolkata
Flower Market, Hoowrah Bridge, Kolkata
Bangla Style Temple, Kolkata

Asia » India » Andhra Pradesh » Hyderabad June 21st 2008

Plans change, even if you don't want them to. We were waitlisted for train tickets on an express service between Bangalore and Vijayawada. Vijaywada sounds like a great city, with cave temples, pretty ghats and an old fort close by, and it also sounds untourited and quintessentially Andhra Pradeshi; great! Sadly, we never got there. When you're waitlisted for an Indian train, it means the train is fully booked and you're in a queue to get tickets should anyone else cancel. Oddly, you almost always do get a seat in these situations but you only find out on the day of travel. Thus, we found ourselves on a bus from Chitradurga to Bangalore, then pushing our way to Bangalore's city train station, through a charismatic but stinking fish market and a dark, wet underpass where sad, ... read more
Crazy Streets as Seen From Charminar, Hyderabad
Charminar, Hyderabad
Shoppers in the Street, Hyderabad

Asia » India » Karnataka June 20th 2008

Bidar is remote, hovering in the north eastern corner of Karnataka, but closer to Hyderabad than it's own state's big cities. When I say close, I mean a hot three hour drive. I think we must have passed through a time warp on our way there because this city, despite being full of monuments and character, hadn't aquired the tourist savvy touts, auto wallahs or hysterical children i tend to associate with towns like Hampi and Badami. In fact there was an ambiguous comment in the Footprint guide suggesting Bidar had problems with being 'backwards.' (I don't know what that implies, but the people we met in Bidar were gentle and sweet, the atmosphere pleasant.) What we did find there was a town like no other. There was the great red walled fort, with its various ... read more
Ruins at Bidar Fort
Bidar Fort
Bidar Fort

Asia » India » Karnataka » Hampi June 17th 2008

The banality of the human condition is bizarre and it catches up with you at the wrong moments. I remember standing in front of the Taj Mahal for the first time and thinking, of course, that it was beautiful/ glowing/ surprising despite the hype, yet another part of me was thinking simply: I'm hungry. Likewise, in the World Heritage site of Hampi, on approaching the Vittala Temple - an architectural wonder, hundreds of years old, with elaborate carvings, musical pillars, a stone chariot and a gopuram alive with monkeys - i was distracted by mangoes. Now let's be fair, mangoes are pretty special. But still, you'd think i'd have more discipline. I bought three from a little old lady sat under a tree, and whilst the walk around the temple compound afterwards was lovely, the thought ... read more
Watchtower, Hampi
Lion doing what? Part One

Asia » India » Karnataka » Badami June 16th 2008

We looked for ways to get rural. The town of Badami has fantastic Chalukyan hilltop temples and caves, around 1600 years old. From the roof of our hotel, you can see the full length of the red rock cliff face, with it's northern and southern forts, and all the temples inbetween. It's incredible, but walking the streets is a little depressing. I swear there are eighty percent more children hanging off your arms asking for school pens and chocolates than there were two years ago, when i found the town quite peaceful. These kids are cute really, but you feel like a big dollar bill wandering around town. It wasn't the experience we were looking for, however dramatic the landscape and temples might be. So, we made a plan. We knew the temples of Pattadakal and ... read more
Cave Temple, Badami
Cave Temple, Badami
Cave Temple, Badami

Asia » India » Karnataka » Bijapur June 12th 2008

From Panchgani, we came to Kolhapur by bus. My mp3 player has a pleasingly bizarre mixture of Roy Orbison, Frank Sinatra and Bollywood soundtracks, and nothing beats watching Indian life racing by with the sound of 'Chicago is My Kinda Town' in your ears. It's greatly weird. Kolhapur was a typically busy Indian town, with a nice Mahalaxmi temple (she's the Goddess of wealth) which had a pretty black, carved base (10th century) and a modern, painted roof and spire. (As eclectic as my music taste, really.) Lots of the locals wanted to shake hands and talk, and there was a great atmosphere plus the best damn mango lassi i have ever tasted. It rained hard and we managed to find the city's wrestling pit and watch young trainees grapple in the mud. Personally, i have ... read more
Movie Poster on Bus to Bijapur
Ibrahim Rouza, Bijapur
Jod Gumbad, Bijapur

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