Kiwi traveller who enjoys life and playing in the mud.

Asia » India » Punjab » Amritsar April 26th 2011

That was a bloody awful night bus, it was 5am somewhere on the outskirts of Amritsar. We jumped into a tuk tuk to the Golden Temple and after much walking around asking about accommodation, and dealing with Storms lost sleep deprived, hunger driven wobbly she was throwing, we bunked down in the free Temple accommodation for a few morning hours kip. Lunch was on the house (of god), you have to give it to the Sikh’s, they know how to run a large operation. The Temple kitchen ran 24/7 and must have fed a 1000 people an hour. Hundreds of devotees contributed cooking and washing up. And the thali was pretty damn good, and the rice pudding had us craving for seconds. The Golden temple itself is an amazing piece of devotion, gold sparkling in the ... read more

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Bikaner April 25th 2011

After a day of travel we arrived to Bikaner at 4pm, we discovered there was a strong tuk tuk walla gangster operation going on here that had to be skewing the statistics on the tripadvisor accommodation reviews, as we visited 3 guesthouses that were shit, before demanding to go to the one we had originally asked for Vinayak Guesthouse. The family run guesthouse was typical in india, with the retired parents always around doing the modest things they enjoyed during the day, whilst the eldest son ran the errands of the house and guesthouse. We hid in the shade from the searing heating and ate thali and drank chai, accompanied by another guest Banwari. Banwari was an poster-boy for veganism, seriously, he was mid 70’s in age but didn’t look a day over 50. He originally ... read more

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Jodhpur April 22nd 2011

This mornings government bus was still as difficult as the first one we took. The heat of Rajasthan was oppressive in the open windowed tin cans. Arriving to the blue city of Jodhpur at lunch we eventually got to the Blue Guesthouse and took the top floor room with windows looking out to the Mehrangarh Fort. The remainder of the day was left for eating and relaxing into the town. The following morning we hired a tuk tuk up to the fort which overlooks the blue city. The Mehrangarh Fort is still run by the current maharaja of Jodhpur, and armed with our audio guides we surveyed the fort and its grandeur. It overlooks the old city which is largely painted in light blue, as it’s said that the colour keeps things cool and scares off ... read more

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Pushkar April 20th 2011

Arriving far too early in the morning to Pushkar after a nonexistent sleep on the bus, we walked around the shit and fly infested alleyways in search of a hotel and found a little gem, Atithi’s Guesthouse run by the extremely chilled out Pappu. Pushkar is a small square lake with rows of sacred ghats surrounding the magical lake. One of the few Brahma temples in the world is here. Being too tired to sleep we went off to Babu’s cafe for breakfast then walked the streets where we became victims to the imfamous pushy priests of Pushkar. After some bartering and argument we significantly reduced our Brahman donation for our lakeside Brahman blessing. With the tiredness catching up to us we did some street market shopping and chilled out at the guesthouse for the rest ... read more

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Udaipur April 18th 2011

After a week of enjoying Goa we plied ourselves away and travelled to Goa Airport for our flight to Udaipur. Travelling for most of the morning we made it to Goa airport for our 2pm flight to Delhi where we had a 2 hr stopover and then a connecting flight to Udaipur. Arriving at Udaipur at 7pm we found an empty airport, no people, and no public transport for the 30km journey to the city, so we begrudgingly paid the overpriced airport taxi fee. Once in the tourist area we went straight to a rooftop restaurant for some food and it had a lovely view of the Lake palaces. It was very clear we were no longer in the tropical southern state of Karnataka, but in the arid, desert land of Rajasthan, and Udaipur was very ... read more

Asia » India » Goa » Palolem April 14th 2011

Beware of the 7.30pm 200km night bus, because you are going to arrive at your destination at 4am in the morning, not the 6am you were told. Fortunately there were enough drivers sleeping in their tuktuks to ferry us to the beach at the elevated price of course. And three of us didn’t have to wait long before a guy came off the beach and guided us to a beach hut provider where we haggled a very good price. This was only off meeting the germans the day before who had come from Goa and gave us a good benchmark for pricing to work off. Cressida Beach Huts let us check in at 4.30am which was cool as we could get a few hours rest and have a full day ahead of us free of charge. ... read more

Asia » India » Karnataka » Hampi April 6th 2011

If the roads weren’t so crap the sleeper bus would be the way to travel. It was cheaper and more private than the 2AC class train, the double bed very comfortable, it’s just a shame that every now and then you would be woken as you were temporary suspended in midair as the driver hit a bump, pothole, or possibly a fealess tuk tuk that had no lights working, which there are many. With little sleep, we arrived into Hospet at 7am and were straight onto a tuk-tuk for a 10km journey to Hampi and straight into Venu Guesthouse. It’s the low season at the moment so accommodation was easy picking, as usual . A small rest and we were off to explore Hampi, I picked up a tourist map and commentary of Hampi from one ... read more

Asia » India » Karnataka » Bangalore » Banashankari April 2nd 2011

Having had a very disjointed night’s sleep on the train courtesy of our cabin mate the Indian lumber jack, I looked out the window, and surprise surprise saw more rubbish littering the line of the tracks. It was 6.30am and soon we would arrive in Bangalore City Junction station. It was time to mentally prepare myself for all the pleasures of the typical Indian city, the tour agents, hagglers, rickshaw drivers, all in sundry after a piece of my currency. By now I feel I have mastered the ability to be courteous and entertaining to them, yet stay firm and numb to their obvious poverty. I will never treat any person like a dog, yet I’m no Mother Teresa. Storm and I ventured off in hunt of a internet cafe, but being so early on a ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Madurai April 1st 2011

We had a leisurely morning of food and checking out then were on the 5hr midday govt bus to Madurai. It was amazing how quickly we dropped out of the mountains and this had a direct correlation to the increase in temperature. Soon we were racing along the plains of Tamil Nadu in our solar heated oven on wheels, passing tropical crops of banana and coconut. The landscape was littered with large brick kilns/drying houses – large pyramid structures covered with palm fronds where hand made bricks were stored to dry. At one point a pyramid shaped mountain (due to aggregate mining I think) stood alone on the plains with the ‘mini-me’s’ in the foreground and it felt like some alien/ lost civilisation landscape. Madurai, one of south India’s oldest cities, was a dirty, dirty hole. ... read more
1000 pillars
Central courtyard

Asia » India » Kerala » Munnar March 30th 2011

We were on the 9am bus to Munnar, a hillstation in the Western Ghats populated with tea plantations. It was a winding journey and to our dismay the bus’s horn was like an air raid siren inside the carriage and the driver used it with WW2 enthusiasum as if ze germans were bombing the hell out of the place. Ear plugs made the trip just bearable. As we rose up the mountains, plantations of pepper and cardamon gave way to Indian tea. Oddly one of the towns prior to Munnar was loaded with large buildings that sat out of place with the landscape, perhaps some hilltop boarding school where rich students from the cities were sent by their parents either out of hatred or compassion for escaping the summer heat. Arriving mid afternoon we had a ... read more

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