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Round the world trip!!

a travel blog by Kav & Sara

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Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on November 17, 2008 from Middlesbrough, United Kingdom
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London, United Kingdom

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on November 18, 2008 from London, United Kingdom
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Manchester, United Kingdom

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on November 18, 2008 from Manchester, United Kingdom
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First day in India

New Delhi, India

Mental. Thats the only word I can think of to describe Delhi. After a mahoosive sleepless flight from London to Delhi, we were ready for bed. But the taxi ride from the airport soon woke us up, and I'm not sure if that was a good thing. To start with, I realised that drivers in India drive on the right hand side, which was fine, until I realised a car coming straight towards us. We were supposed to be on the left. No problem though, the driver just swurved into the midle of the road and created a new lane. Sara and I were squeezing eachothers hands so tight with cars going past us on both our left and right, and we were straigh down the middle. And that was only the start. In 20 minutes, we saw horses, cows, stray dogs, monkeys, not to mention an 8 strong family of Indians piled on a little 50cc scooter!

When we arrived at our hostel in one piece, happy to be alive, we were pleasently surprised with our first nights accomodation. The only negative came when I realised that what I thought was the button to flush the toilet was actually a jet powered ass washer which conveniently sprayed me from the groin down. Everything else was fine though!

After 40 winks we got ourselves out into the streets. They're filled with the most random things. From colours that I never knew existed to smells that I've never experienced. Everyone was asking for money without exception, the "hello, where are you from?" conversation was echoed down the narrow streets. If you answered or even made eye contact you'd be sucked in to the Indian cash grab vortex, the only way out is to pay a ridiculous amount of money for something you never needed. But its not all bad. By the time you get used to ignoring people the things you see and exprience are extremely moving and mentally challenging. Which is kind of what we were hoping to go through.

Just as we came to the end of the road after being unable to find something to eat that didn't contain rat or pigeon, a well dressed young man saw we were slightly lost. He was in like a shot asking what we needed, as if he could make some money out of us. When I asked him for places to eat he told us to follow him. He took us to a small eat in curry house that only had two walls. The food was awesome and it cost about a quid for both of us. He sat with us whilst we ate and told us, in broken english, what we should see and where to go. I was preparing myself for the scam. Instead, he told us he worked for the government dealing with income tax and he was waiting for hs father, a local police officer, to finish work, and he just wanted to help. It was a huge juxtaposition with the past 5000 people I had brushed past down the dirty streets. He soon sent us on our way after flagging down a rickshaw for us, and even haggled the price for us! It was by far the most refreshing episode I'd experienced for a long time.

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on November 19, 2008 from New Delhi, India
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Day 2 - Delhi in a Day

Delhi, India

After a night of torrential rain we woke up at 8:30am feeling as though we hadn’t even been to bed, think the jet lag had taken its toll! After breakfast though, we were ready to set off for the sights!!
First port of call was the Indira Ghandi Memorial Museum. It was pretty much five rooms of front pages of the national newspapers, and you kind of had to work out what had happened over the last 100 years. Apart from the fact that weren’t even in chronological order, heavy brain tasks were not what we wanted at 9am. After the museum we visited the Qutub Minar, the world's tallest brick minaret dating back to 1193. The minaret was pretty impressive, although the huge eagle we saw trying to pick up a dog was awesome. Although a part of me is glad the dog escaped, I can’t help feel a little disappointed that I didn’t get to see a hardcore lesson into the hierarchy of the food chain!
The next stop at a Kashmir and Silk carpet makers is quite difficult to describe. It was like driving a Lamborghini with no breaks- fantastic to start with then just one big catastrophe. Pressured into buying a 2 x 4 foot rug for 120 quid we made a very rude getaway leaving a fat Indian man and his tash somewhat livid.
Next up was the Lotus temple, which looks similar to the Sydney Opera House. We had to take our shoes off for this one as it was a giant prayer room, but it was pretty average inside so we came straight and looked at it from the outside!
At dinner, we went to a restaurant where Sara and I decided to opt for mild curries as we were feeling a little tender. However, Sara’s curry was like eating lava with extra chillis’! So in good faith and being the gent I am, I sacrificed my delicious chicked Jal-Frezi for the curry that burnt a hole in my pants every time I passed wind.
The next trip on our one day mission through Delhi was Humayun's tomb, a breathtaking memorial tomb built in Mughal architecture. As well as bright green parrots and huge eagles that circled the tomb (the same ones that tried to eat a dog), we found a litter of 6 puppies, which were the most adorable things we’d ever seen. Our favourite was the little brown one, who Sara named “The Cute Little Brown One”.
Although we were due to visit a few more places, we were pooped, so only visited the Gate of India to take a quick snap, as well as the Presidents house and a Hindu temple!
Anywayyyyy… were off to get a curry (again!) so were gonna have another go at finding a mild one, if they exist.
Peace out……..holla x

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on November 20, 2008 from Delhi, India
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Agra, India

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on November 21, 2008 from Agra, India
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Jaipur, India

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on November 22, 2008 from Jaipur, India
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Pushkar, India

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on November 25, 2008 from Pushkar, India
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Day 3-10. A messy week in Northern India!

Udaipur, India

Ok, apologies first for not updating the blogs, we've been in places where the internet is about as popular as a clean street in Delhi. Anyways, we left Delhi to head to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. The place is amazing from the outside but the inside isn't anything special. We were there long enough to get photos then we set off on a cool 7 hour drive to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. It was pretty much another Delhi but hotter. Although the Palaces are amazing, once you've seen the Taj Mahal everything else is fairly average! So we spent the evening in a local restaurant which was an oasis, as our hotel was like a crack den from trainspotting. As quickly as we got there we left, heading for a Tiger Safari in Ranthambou, which was awesome, although we didn't see any tigers. We saw some pretty scary animals though, an owl, deer, a kingfisher, wild boar's, stalks, monkeys and other scary creatures.
So after getting over not seeing any tigers, we left for Pushkar. A place described as a peaceful holy town surrounded by mountains. We were originally set to stay here for one night, however when we saw our room and found out we had hot water (for the first time since we got here) we wanted to stay an extra night. Another perk of the hotel was an empty swimming pool, lush (i.e. no water in it)! The first night in Pushkar was spent chilling out accompanied by silence and the sight of stars (a rarity in India with all the smog!)
The following day, after a nice pancake, we set off into the town to find the 'holy lake' (the main attraction in Pushkar). Almost immediately we were given flowers by a strange man who said we must take these to the lake. As soon as we got there, we were separated because we're not married. So we were on our own from here, sat down at the edge of the lake, each of us with our own priest.
The priest began by praying for our families to have good health and good Karma, and even though I'm not were not that religious, one of us felt very spiritual, and the other felt uncomfortable from the start. After about 5 minutes, we both felt exactly the same. The feeling of happiness came to a swift end as the priest stated that unless we gave money per family member, they would not be welcomed by God. We were furious that both priests were using religion to make money out of us, and as we tried to get out of the situation, they became very hostile and pursuasive. Stupidly, we gave 40 dollars and 1000 rupees and said we would go to the bank and get more to cover the other people in my family. It wasn't until we left that we realised we'd been shat on from an enormous height. Both of us spent the rest of the morning upset and angry, and needless to say we didn't get any more money! We suddenly realised that 99% of the Indian population seem to be only after money, from the local kids to the priests. This is most likely due to how overcrowded the country is, and the absolute lack of jobs. But an element of greed seems to be ever-present, and unfortunately we've ended up clutching onto our money whenever I see an Indian walk our way, which is every 0.5 seconds!

We both wanted to get as far away as possible from everyone, so we got our walking boots on and headed for the mountains. After about 10 minutes of walking, we found a completely unspoiled spot, where a river had once ran from the mountain. We decided to sit here for a few hours and watch the sunset. After a short while, we had some very good company! A clan of monkeys were running around, completely content with our presence. This really calmed us down and slightly changed our perception of India. The landscape here is vast to say the least, and its sheer size and beauty is breathtaking.
When we arrived back to the hotel we were ready for a curry a beer, and bed, but we saw our driver who invited us to the Hindu temple he was staying at. Curiosity overcame our hunger and we set off into the mountain towards lights that darted up the mountain. Once we got out the car, we were nearly halfway there, with steps that looked like the path up Mount Everest, we took a deep breath and plodded on. At the top, our driver left us in the hands of an old spiritual man who guided us around the temple, explaining each of the Hindu gods. Unlike the priests by the Holy Lake, this man was honest, welcoming, and oblivious to the object of money and material objects. He asked us, "who are you?". He explained that, although you can see your body and your physical presence, you have to question your who you are mentally and spiritually. He also said that the only thing that matters in life is believing in yourself and that you are a good person, if you do this then money is irrelevant, and you will live a long and happy life with good Karma. He invited us to eat with him and the other Hindu's who lived in the Temple, and said if we wanted to donate to the temple, that's ok, if not, we could eat for free, as money means nothing. His refreshing perspective of equality and respect for everyone made us feel like we finally met a true Indian. And although the day couldn't have started any worse, it ended as the most enlightening and touching day so far.

So after our time in Pushkar, we headed on a 7 hour journey to Udaipur, where we are now. Similar to Pushkar in terms of scenery, Udaipur has a sincere friendly aura about it. Everyone says hello and smiles, which is what we hoped to experience in India. We realised that every place in the world has its good parts and its bad parts, and in the wise words of our very friendly driver Mr Singh "Not everyone Mr Singh!". He also said "if you look, you see, if you no look, you no see". And I think we looked at the bad in everyone because of what we had experienced so far, and if you look for the bad points, you'll find them. So from Udaipur onwards we've learnt our lesson, to look for the best in everyone but still be careful!!

We'll be in Udaipur for the next few days until the trouble in Bomb-Bay ends or we find another route!

Stay cool kids- don't do drugs...

Kav and Sara x x

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on November 27, 2008 from Udaipur, India
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Mumbai, India

permalink written by  Kav & Sara on December 1, 2008 from Mumbai, India
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