India

Varanasi & Mumbai Summary

Posted on Apr 7, 2012 in India

India may be the call centre capital of the world, but for every day use internet is almost impossible to come by. Even in the big cities. We’re sitting in a tiny 3rd floor room with 5 custom created computers running Windows XP and opening more than one window at a time bogs the whole system down.

We’ve been in Mumbai for 2 days now, and it is the cleanest city so far, and even though the traffic is insane, it’s tame compared to all the other places we’ve been.

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The good and bad so far

Posted on Apr 2, 2012 in India

We’re 10 days into our trip and luckily today have some downtime to reflect on our journey so far.

Highlights:

  • seeing the Taj Mahal at sunrise and watching it change colour in the morning from a yellowish glow to white as the sun moved upward through the sky
  • the wonderful spicy food. We’ve had some fantastic butter chicken like I’ve never tasted before in N. America … Although this also falls into the frustration category because the spicey food means more time seeking out washrooms.
  • a very competent and honest driver for a week. In our conversations with other travelers, this is a rare treat.
  • it’s wonderful and hot weather, at least +35 everyday. We’re learning to avoid sightseeing in the very hot afternoon, and appreciate any AC we come across.
  • we’ve had our picture taken many times with holidaying Indian families who gather their family around us to take a picture for their family albums. When it first happened we were waiting for the inevitable ask for money, but it never happened. Since then we’ve been asked to pose dozens of times.
  • learning about India’s incredible history and in a country this large and such short time, we’re only getting a snippet of it. I just wish I remembered more of my history class from school. All I remember about the Maharajas was that they rode elephants and had tiger hunts.
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Are there really tigers in India?

Posted on Mar 31, 2012 in India

If there are any, we didn’t see them.  We took two safaris yesterday (friday March 30th) in Ranthambore National Park and if the rumors were correct there are 45 in the park, and 4 had recently been sighted close by. After dusty rides through the trees zooming back and forth in the 18-person canter to spots where there were  “maybe” sightings we had to be content with concluding our day with seeing monkeys, peacocks, antelope and hundreds of deer (tiger food). Based on the deer population the tigers aren’t hungry?

But let me back track. Before our tiger expedition, we had two full days in the Pink City, Jaipur.

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Jaipur

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 in India

Finally have a few minutes in an internet cafe to document the past 5 days of experiences in just a few short paragraphs!

First 2 days in Delhi stayed with the wonderful Sushma & Sunny who acclimatized us to Indian food, negotiation tactics, bazaar shopping, and general survival skills. Then on Monday we were on our own.

Luckily we were picked up by our driver Prem, who has been a gem in navigating the roads. Not an easy task as he dodges rickshaws, motorbikes, camels, elephants, goats, monkeys, donkeys, carts, and multitudes of people. Everyone going in their own direction. As Jason says … you need to just get in a zen frame of mind to navigate. It’s the only way to survive.

From Delhi we’ve come to Jaipur and spent the last two days visiting maharaja forts and palaces. Too many to list here.

Tomorrow we leave for Ramthamborne, where we next have a day safari in a tiger sanctuary. Taken lots of pictures but no way to upload.

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