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James & Tracey World Tour

a travel blog by James & Tracey

Welcome to James and Tracey's World tour Blog. We will try and update the tour as we go around (or whenever we get on internet!).
We hope you enjoy reading all about our adventures and dont get too jealous.
Please post any questions, thoughts or wishes.
We look forward to hearing from you all soon

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Las Vegas, United States

permalink written by  James & Tracey on July 24, 2006 from Las Vegas, United States
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London, United Kingdom

permalink written by  James & Tracey on February 2, 2007 from London, United Kingdom
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Arrival in Delhi

Delhi, India

Hello All

Just thought we'd let you all know that we arrived here safely. Was a bit of a shock at first - finding out that transfer from airport wasn't included and we had to find our own way across a manic Delhi to our hotel (with only the hotels name!!)

Today we ventured out into Delhi. We got an auto-rickshaw into town - bit of a hairy experience as dont think drivers know their highway code, but at least they stop at a red light (well except our driver!) We nick named him "Michael" for short!

We've organised our 3rd week in India - a flight to goa and one night accomodation for 19th Feb, planning ahead already!

Sights, sounds and smells of India are meeting up with initial expectations. Hard to sleep with the constant horn blowing of cars!!

As and when we get the opportunity we will let you know what we are up to.

Just another little update from me! As we wont have e-mail access for 2 weeks, we think!

Met the rest of our Intrepid group earlier - got 2 people from Austria, 2 from New Zealand, 6 from Oz and us 2 pomms. We have to meet up at 8am tomorrow.

So far today we had a bit of a lie in after about 18 hours sleep, this jet lag thing is awful! Didnt venture out of our room last night as we were knackered and only had a kit kat for dinner.

So today was the big adventure out. We had lunch - a chicken tikka roll and small pizza thing - should have known it would be spicy I'm in India but still tried to burn my mouth out!! Went for dinner out tonight at a restaurant the other side of town, had to watch out for the rickshaws and cars, but can hardly miss them as all they do is blow the horn!! We had a curry each wtih rice and naan for 6 quid!! (there is no pound sign on this keyboard)

Doing OK on the Delhi belly side at the moment, as James said he can still fart with confidence!! It is only 1 day in though. We also found out after our meeting that there is no toilet on the boat for which we will be on for 3 days - D'oh! That's may be why its not a good idea to swim in the ganges!!!

thats it for now (again!)

Feb 5
It was an early start meeting up with the rest of the group and getting on a bus in to Old Delhi. It was mainly standing room only in the bus, until a few of the locals felt sorry for us and were allowed to sit down!
First visit was to a Red sand stone Hindu Temple. Both of us were the only ones to brave the top of the tower. Not really worth it as the view was quite misty when we finally got to the top!
From here we walked through the mad little alleyways of Old Delhi, Stopped for a spot of Chaye, and carried on going. We ended up coming out on a relatively normal street, quite strange as it seemed like another little world in those alleyways!
Went to a Seikh Temple - one of the main ones for Delhi and where they feed up to 10000 people per day for 3 meals. Tracey helped towards this by making 2 chappaties!! Got a great photo, and also one of James with the orange scarf on his head!

We caught a cycle rickshaw to the spice market. It was just a cicle of stalls that sold spices - and so many of them. On the way out had a coughing fit as some of the dust got caught in my throat!

We ventured onto the Delhi Metro (underground) It was amazing, nothing like London Underground - It is clean and quiet!!And nothing like the Delhi above it. Went into New Delhi and had lunch with the group in Connaught place in a restaurant called "piccadelhi".

James and I had the afternoon free so we thought we'd walk to the India Gate. Little did we know how far it would be and how busy the roads would be to cross! The last road that ran around the Gate took us about 10 minutes to pluck up the courage to cross all 7 lanes of constant traffic. In the end we followed the locals way of just walking out and waiting for the traffic to either go round us or stop!! All the time constant beeping! The India Gate looks a bit like the Arc de Triomphe, but is not as good!!

We went out for dinner with the rest of the group before heading out to the train station for our overnight train journey.

permalink written by  James & Tracey on February 4, 2007 from Delhi, India
from the travel blog: James & Tracey World Tour
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Start of slowly down the ganges

Mirzapur, India

After about a 12 hour train journey overnight and many of the workers calling "Chaye, nescafe, bolly wattle". we finally arrived at Mirzapur.
We had the luxury of a hotel room for 1 hour to have a shower and eat breakfast (2 rooms for 12 of us!) At least the water was a reasonable temperature!
We went in a short, but crazy taxi ride to the river bank of the Ganges to catch our boats.

There were 4 of us to a boat (we shared with Pauline and Karen) and 2 rowers. We had to be careful not to move as the rowers kept shouting "Balance" if we stirred at all!!
Lunch was served on the boats whilst drifting on the Ganges.

We saw Dolphins in the Ganges - 3 of them altogether!! Found out there are only about 4000 of them, a rare species, they are blind (not surprisingly considering what they swim in!)

We arrived at the campsite and got the tents set up for us. Dinner was set on the banks of the Ganges. 3 courses of Soup, Pasta and curried veg and fruit custard!
We did have a toilet at the campsite - a toilet tent with a hole in the sand - had to be good at aiming!!

Feb 7
We got awoken early by the ladies in the next tent talking about what a good sleep they had had (at 6am!) Toast was served promptly - cornflakes and toast with jam!

Set off in the boats again at 8am, it was a fresh start to the day (most of the aussies were complaining about the cold!). To keep warm both of us had a go at rowing the boat and also to give our poor rowers a bit of a rest. James thought he was better than me but I told him the only reason he overtook the other boats was because they all had loo stops!!

We stopped at a village on the Ganges. Had a look round at the school and got invited to one of the elders house. He played us music on a piano/accordian thing in hindi - He went on for ages, in the end the chief from the boat told him we had to go for lunch!!

Lunch today was the normal Daal, rice, potatoes. Its amazing how they can make such tasty food from cooking on a rowing boat and only using vegatables!!

The weather brightened up in the afternoon. James also had another stint at rowing. I think it was because we were going to stop but then we kept on going for another hour!!

Camping on the river bank again. Dinner was eaten in the dark - popadoms with tomato soup, pumpkin, chappatis, curried veg and chips!! Followed by rice pudding.

Feb 8
This morning we awoke to a damp mist. James had a yoga lesson with our guide, Shailendra.
Breakfast was porridge, toasty and hot chocolate!
We all had to wrap up warm this morning as it was cold - even for us!

It was only a short row this morning as we were arriving at Varanasi and finishing our adventure on the Ganges. Our final lunch was served on the boat.

permalink written by  James & Tracey on February 6, 2007 from Mirzapur, India
from the travel blog: James & Tracey World Tour
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Arrival at the oldest hindi town

Varanasi, India

Arrival to the oldest hindi town was, what can we say..... unique. We arrived by our rowing boats to the local people doing "their business" on the side of the river bank!! A pretty sight!

We landed on the river bank next to one of the ghats. A short walk to our hotel and finally a shower - except it was cold! Varanasi had a power cut and lots of rain therefore nothing to heat the water with. Don't think any of us cared much as it was wet and we were clean!

We got on Auto rickshaws to the main part of the town - the streets were narrow and manic, with loads of cows and their dung! We took a walk along the ghats as far as the burning Ghat. This is where most hindi's come to from all over India to be cremated. There is a fire inside that has been burning for hundreds of years. This ghat is open 24 hours a day! The towers above it are all tarred black with the smoke.

There were some locals playing cricket on one of the ghats by the side of the ganges so James and Matt joined them. They were pretty good, as think they have had many hours practising how to bowl fast!
James got bowled out after 4 bowls! But did very well considering he was the only English player against the Indians and Aussies!

We spent the first part of the evening in the Austrains' room having some alcohol - technically we aren't allowed any alcohol in Varanasi, but our guide had showed some of us where to buy some and joined us in the room too!!
Dinner was in the hotel - a Thali (veg of course!)

Feb 9
Morning shower was another cold affair!
Our morning was quite chilled - we just pottered around the hotel and street around the hotel until we met the others at 2pm.

2pm was the date at the Tailors! The owner and Tailor explained to us how cotton was made and how the different dyes work, different patterns, different examples of cloth, and so on and so on!
Finally got measured up. James ordered pair of linen trousers and shirt, I ordered pair of trousers and 2 tops - all for the grand price of less then 40 quid!!

Getting back to the hotel was a bit of a manic rush as we'd spent too long at the tailors! We managed to get back in a speedy rickshaw in 9 minutes (normally takes 20!!)
We walked down to the river and got on a boat. A Sitar player and Tabla player (bongo type drum) joined us and played music while we drifted. We had a flower ceremony - flowers in a leaf cup with a candle lit in the middle. For each one you put in you have a wish and if the candle stays alight enough to flow down the river your wish will come true.
My (Trace) first candle went in the river, because my arm wasn't long enought to reach the water from the boat!!

Shailendra took us all to a Nepalese restaurant for dinner - except they also served everything else. James and I went half and half on Chicken Enchillada and some Nepali dish - Had Buffalo in, tasty!!

Feb 10
This morning we finally had a hot shower!! Bliss!
We went down to the main Ghats with Megan and Kevin. We wanted to go around the burning Ghat as you're not allowed to walk through it. We all ended up going through these mad little alleyways and took it in turns to take the lead! We finally ended up by the river again and near to the end of the ghats. It was great to see all the locals having their washes in the river and doing their washing (all of the men washed the clothes!) and leaving the clothes to dry on the side of the river.
The walk back was a lot easier and we found there was an easier route to get round the burning Ghat (but wasn't as fun!)

Headed off to the train station in autorickshaws for the next part of the journey.

permalink written by  James & Tracey on February 8, 2007 from Varanasi, India
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Red fort and Taj

Agra, India

We slept intermittently on the train. Went straight to the hotel for a shower - guess what? Yep it was cold!! Breakfast was on the rooftop terrace with a view of the Taj Mahal!

On the way down to meet the group I (Trace) slipped down the stairs (marble of course!) and now have an amazing black bruise on my bum!

A new experience of an electric rickshaw to get to the Red Fort. We were shown around by a man who knew everything about the red fort - he'd been doing the same job for about 40 years! The fort was massive and we were only allowed to see half of it as the army still used the other half. There were a lot of optical illusions made into some of the works around the fort - a persian carpet that is actually marble fountain!

Next stop after lunch was the Taj Mahal. We were searched before going in and could only take the minimal amount in. Didn't look anything like the picture with lady Diana in - there were thousands more people in our photos!!
Don't think words can actually describe it - spectacular, maybe? It was huge! The Marble glistened in the light.

On the way back from the Taj we stopped off at a 5 star hotel to have drinks on their terrace with an amazing view of the Taj. Really wish we'd been staying there - they had a pool and gorgeous toilets - The simple things in life! James had 5 beers and I had a pina colada!

Dinner at a lovely restaurant. James had his food ordered for him, courtesy of our guide and was gorgeous!
On the way back to the hotel, James, Shailendra and Matt all had a drive of the autorickshaw! None of them actually asked how to use the thing before they went so ended up pushing it as they couldn't find reverse to turn it round!

permalink written by  James & Tracey on February 11, 2007 from Agra, India
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Jaipur - the pink city

Jaipur, India

After a 6 hour bus journey we arrived in Jaipur.
In the afternoon we went to a carpet making factory. The man tried very hard to get us to buy a rug, but we resisted! Although 5 others of our group didn't have the will power!
Also stopped at a jewellery place and got some topaz earrings for Valentines'!

For dinner ordered a chicken tikka masala - didn't look anythnkgf like it does at home and was a lot hotter!!

We got a cycle rickshaw back to the hotel and felt really sorry for the cyclist as he was huffing and sweating a lot!!

Feb 13
In the morning we went to a place called Ladli - an organisation set up for street children to help them with hygiene, schooling, housing and jobs if needed. All of the children there were great - they had all made things for us to buy if we wanted - jewellery, shawls, bags etc..
We got a few gifts, bag and shawl!!

Amber Fort in Jaipur. Set upon a hill so had a bit of a walk to get there! Elephants were walking in the street too!! Another experienced guide showed us around the fort.

In the evening we went to see a Bollywood movie!! "Shaleem-e-ishq" James was thoroughly bored throughout the film as most of it was in Hindi and no subtitles!

permalink written by  James & Tracey on February 12, 2007 from Jaipur, India
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Roopangarh Fort & Desert Safari

Pushkar, India


Up and out of bed by 8am and on the bus for another 1 1/2 hour journey. Us girls needed a wee by then so we popped in to a nice hotel to use their facilities. On the way out the men at the hotel gave us all Red Roses to say Happy Valentines!!
We had a jeep ride for another 45mins to get to Roopangarh Fort. This is a place where Sting has stayed!! The place is amazing!
James and I had a choice of 3 rooms (Number 1 being haunted - we didn't go for that one!!) The ropom we did settle on was modest and had a huge balcony area with views of the surrounding village and beyond.
We settled in quickly, with the help of a beer and played cricket with the Fort staff on the tennis court. It was a very competitive game as Shailendra (our guide) kept making up rules as we went along. This didn't bother us much as he was on our team and it was in our favour! We did lose by 17 runs though (bloomin aussies!)

We went for a orientation walk around the village. Going into some of their houses where they also work - Carpenter, Ribbon maker, pottery maker, and a lady who made local cigarettes (up to 500 per day and got paid Rs40 - about 50 p!) Went to a place where they made bangles from a wax. When I was Passed one I accidently dropped one so had to pay for it - oops! We were overrun by the local children running after us wanting to shake our hands, practice their English and have their photos taken with the digital cameras!
By the time we got back to the Fort it was just the right time to go to the roof for a drink and watch the sun set.

The Staff had made us a fire by the tennis court and we had dinner prepared for us.

We looked at the Suite that Sting stayed in - It is massive!

Feb 15

After a rocky start this morning we were 10 minutes late for the jeepss. According to my watch though we were 20 minutes early, but watch was half an hour slow!

We had about an hour jeep ride to get to Pushkar. We left our luggage at the hotel and headed into the town for a look around and a spot of lunch.
James had an Israeli pizza - it was all abit wrong as it had a puff pastry base!

Walked around the lake and around the ghats, over a bridge and there they were - the camels!!!

Camels were chosen at random for us. "Lean back" was the advice of the guides. We rode into the desert for about 2 1/2 hours until we got to the site to make camp. James' camel had kept sticking its tongue out of the side of its mouth and making grunting noises - pleasant. Mine was a lot more chilled and mostly my guide let go of the lead and chatted to the others on the ground!

Yet another sunset, just different scenery! James got an amzing photo of the camel sillouette with sunset behind (got advised to put it in for the intrepid competition!) When we looked at it a little later realised the camel looked as though it only had 3 legs!!

We all sat round a fire that had been made from dried camel dung - surprisingly it didn't smell! Dinner was served in the dark, but wasn't that great - bit too spicy for me!

We all slept under one tent (all 13 of us!)

Feb 16
Don't think many of us had a very good sleep, as there were a few snoreres amongst the group!
We set off at 7.30am for a gentle hike up a hill next to the camp (7 of us). When we rested shailendra took us to the next peak, then the next and the next!! When we could see the camp was a mere speck in the distance we turned round and headed down again!

As we were nearing the camp we saw camels coming towards us, one was James' camel. The camel guides decided to pack up camp and set off without us!! At this point we hadn't had any breakfast, water, or, more importantly, any suncream. As you can imagine I was not a happy bunny!!
But, back on the camels we went! It was only an hour trek this morning back to our hotel. The only snag was that because we set off so early we were 2 hours early to check in. We all had to sit in the sunshine, by the pool with no swimming bathers - gutted!

We were finally allowed access to our luggage and swim suits cam straight out. James was the first in the pool - It was freezing cold! I was next in. Had to keep trying to swim up and down but it was so hard to breathe cos it was that cold. Only 2 of the aussie ladies made it in for a couple of lengths.

Had a hot shower to try and warm up. James then went into shut down mode - shivering and trying to get warm. I left him in his sleeping bag with blanket and 2 duvet things on him!! I then went in to town shopping!!!

Pushkar is a very modest town and the only place with a Brahma Hindu temple. I managed to get myself a skirt, top and scarf all for the same price as 3 kingfisher beers (Rs370 - about 4 ponud 30p!)

When I got back to James I had to get him out of the sodden sleeping bag and get him warm again.

We had our last dinner as the whole group (except James as he was in bed) by the lake in Pushkar at the sun set restaurant.

permalink written by  James & Tracey on February 14, 2007 from Pushkar, India
from the travel blog: James & Tracey World Tour
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Return to Delhi

Delhi, India

James flet a bit better and more alive this morning after changing the sheets about 5 times during the night!! Had a very relaxed morning ate at the hotel and met up with the rest of the group before getting in a taxi and heading for the train station.

We had a 7 hour train journey. This time we were sat up (but facing backwards!) The journey went quite quickly as it seemed they were giving us drink or food every hour! First was a bottle of water; pastry snack and tea; soup and breadstick; more tea; daal and rice; yoghurt thing (none of us ate!); Kwality wall ice cream!!

We were then back in Delhi and back to the Honking!! Did't realise how peaceful the other places have been until you get back to the manicness of Delhi traffic!!

permalink written by  James & Tracey on February 18, 2007 from Delhi, India
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Delhi to Goa trip

Goa, India

Started off in Delhi leaving the hotel at 11.30am. Tracey not feeling too hot today as the cold really starts to kick in. Our flight was 1 1/2 hours delayed! We had a 2 hour journey to get to our accomodation in Palolem beach South Goa. When we arrived at our booked accomodation the guy looking after the properties told our taxi driver they were full!! Not amused after about 9 hours travelling!!
James with his expert negotiation skills (as well as extreme patience with me as I was unwell and very stroppy!) Managed to get another little hut. This one looked much better as it was right on the beach.
We had dinner at the hut restaurant - Red Snapper and chips - delicious!!
We then retired to bed as we were both shattered!

Feb 20
I (James) got up and walked straight to the travel agent in town to sort out the mess with our booked accomadation last night and to get our money back. I had set off at 9am and the walk had taken 20mins along the beach by the time I got there I was soaked through, man this place is hot.
I managed to get all the money back after speaking to umpteen people and on phone to Dehli office for ages.

We spent the rest of the day chilling on the beach and wondering around the local area.

The beach is gorgeous palm tree lined sand and about a half of a mile long. The sea is very warm but not very clear a touch green in colour but still very inviting

My drink of choice here is a large bottle (650ml or 2 standard 330ml bottles e.g bud) of Kingfisher (lager) which costs a bargain price of 30-50 rupees (83 rupees to the pound) and thats in the resturaunts - quality.

We finished the day by going to see a live band on the beach. Their music of choice was r&b, regga and hip hop (Indian style). Kingfisher a whopping 80rs here!

Feb 21
First thing in the morning we had to catch a boat which we had organised to pick us up. We had about a 30 second walk across the beach to the boat. We were going dolphin watching!
We got out of the bay to find 4 or 5 other little boats doing the same. A fishing boat was going past towing its nets followed by about 5-6 dolphins then these dolphin spotting boats so we joined in the chase.
Our boat drivers took us to butterfly beach but this was not as good as following the dolphins so we turned straight back around.

We had breakie followed by a session of dipping in the sea and sun bathing.

As we are trying to get close to local life it only seemed right if we then had a siesta for a couple of hours!!

Dinner was set on the beach and had a seafood sizzler!!

Feb 22
Had quite a Lazy start to the day, Trace did a bit of washing!
Had a leisurely swim and did a bit of gentle sunbathing. The entertainment on the beach today was a little girl doing a tight rope walk on a rope, her mum had set up using 4 sticks and 2 tent pegs, rope 8ft off the ground. Going up and down to the beat of her mum playing the drums!!

Went for a short walk into the main part of the village and on the way back stopped off at a bar that actually sold Malibu!! Listening to house music and drinking in the sun whiled away the afternoon.

When the sun was setting James swam out to a rock and I took a photo of him holding the sun!!

Both of us shared a seafood platter - with jumbo prawns (I mean jumbo!), red snapper and king fish - All for less than a tenner for 2 people!! Cocktails were drank in the moon light. What a good day!!

Who is reading this blog? If you are please leave a comment with your name to let us know.

permalink written by  James & Tracey on February 19, 2007 from Goa, India
from the travel blog: James & Tracey World Tour
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