Sunday, 11 May 2008

Eat rusk, be brisk

Hello there!

We're still in India, still overwhelmed, still wondering when we're going to tune in (out?) and get to grips with the noise/chaos/smell/heat/touts etc. When tired and irritable, it all gets on top of us and we want to go home, to be honest, but then we have a nice little moment like at that temple in Tanjore where we spent 20 minutes taking photo after photo of an extended family from Chennai. Sweet experience. The temple was quite nice too.

We got to Madurai today, a big transport hub with a huge temple in the middle bit of Tamil Nadu. From Chennai it has taken us 4 bus journeys to get this far, at a total cost of something like 8 EUR for the two of us.

The food is keeping us sane. Thank god we're familiar with something over here. We're having great fun exploring southern cuisine: idli, utthaparam, dosai, etc. All delicious, and all dirt cheap. The bill goes up a bit if you buy a beer though.

But seriously, 3 months is stretching ahead of us and we're kinda scared of what we're going to do for all that time. Apart from not really having anything to do except sleep, eat, travel and get overwhelmed, we're also concerned about the security of stuff, especially up north near the border with Pakistan - dunno if you're getting reports of this where you are, but "militants" are causing trouble. Maybe we'll give the Himalayas a miss... real shame, cos we were looking forward to that bit. We'll just have to make the most of Kerala and Goa and the Western Ghats...

Incidentally: plea! If you have any recommendations for great places to go or cool things to see and do, please let us know in the comments. Budget's irrelevant - if something's awesome, we're happy to pay.

Ben and Debs


Anonymous said...

Hi you two, just reading about the amazing time you are having in India, sounds fantastic just be careful - no risks.

Mum and Dad

Anonymous said...

Hey guys

Peter here. Reading your blog I feel I ought to step in with some travel advice: :-) Please do not get scared about bombs and militants. Bombs go off in India nearly every day. For years already. Think of it in numbers. Population is more than twice the size of the whole of Europe. It is a continent really. Chances to get hurt are negligble.

Things to see and do:

1. temple bay hotel in Mahabalipuram. Close to the sea temple. Nice place, 5 - 6000 rupees per night though. Bang on the beach, infinity pool, cocktails.

2. Kerala is not to be missed. Backwater trip etc. Totally different people

3. Rajasthan for the classics: Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer. Unbelievable palaces, forts.

4. Agra - Taj of course, but also Fatehpur Sikri.

5. Puri, Konark in Orissa if you want somethign different. You could then go up to Calcutta after that.

6. It is nice to travel up from Kerala to Karnataka (after which you could hit Goa). Please try and make it to a temple called Mookhambika near Kollur. If you do Darshan (see the goddess) there you will never forget it. The Prasad (free temple food) is not to be missed. Life changing experience. Beggars and millionaires side by side eating.

7. Don't miss the Himalayas. Go to Himachal Pradesh. The Kullu - Manali valley is nice. You can do simple treks there.

One thing to keep in mind is the monsoons. If you go West coast up you will have to try and stay ahead of the Monsoon which sets off June usually. East coast is different. So I guess Kerala either now or September. You can't swim in the sea during Monsoon for instance. Too rough.

If you need more just email me.


P.s. don't miss Bombay.

Anonymous said...

By the way: you can hear Sandhya sing in many places. Especially in touristy places like Goa, various places in Kerala, probably Pondicherry too. Check out the Prem Joshua CDs. If you hear a deep voice it is Sandhya.