A Travellerspoint blog



Some thoughts / observations on India.

If there's a cement wall, men will urinate on it, in broad daylight, in the middle of a busy street, in full view of everyone - whenever the urge takes them.

They toot their horns incessantly.

I feel like I have been in India, Cambodia, Africa, China, the Middle East, Bali, Greece, Turkey and Morocco. So many parts of India and its architecture reminded me of these places.

No OH&S in India.

I didn't expect it to be so cold and wet.

Hardly anyone smokes in India.

Rubbish EVERYWHERE, but it doesn't smell and there aren't any flies.

I thought Varanasi and the Ghats and the funeral pyres would be VERY confronting but instead I found it quite beautiful. Amazing place.

The roads in rural areas are disgusting but because the bus had to drive so slowly, you really got to see what life was like in those areas.

The traffic is ridiculous - they don't drive in their lanes; they don't even drive on the correct side of the road; they toot their horns and weave in and out between trucks and cars and bikes and people and animals, and no one ever seems to get knocked over. I expect they do but we didn't see one accident.

There is no road rage.

The children are delightful and for that matter, the adults aren't too bad either!

If you have read my blog on India, I hope you get the message that I loved visiting it. I immersed myself in Indian books before our trip. This was the first time I had done that and it really prepared me for our adventure. I intend to read novels - fact and fiction - before I visit any other countries. It really sets the mood; well, it did for me. I loved India and I hope that after reading my blog, you might get the urge to visit this amazing and diverse country too.

Happy travels!

P.S. stay tuned for my blog of east coast USA in June/July 2013 - haven't decided on a title yet - may be New York! New York!

Posted by gaddingabout 04:39 Archived in India Comments (0)

Singapore - Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Day 22 - Tuesday, 26 February 2013 - Singapore

Went to the Singapore Zoo and had breakfast with the orang utans. It was nice and then walked around the zoo until lunch time. It's a very nice zoo - very green and leafy and the animals seem very happy.


Called in to the IT shop to sort out Judy's tablet and had a very yummy sandwich for lunch. After a huge run around, trying to buy a keyboard for our Samsung Tablet, we found one next door to the sandwich shop. After lunch we went into the shop and bought: a keyboard; a screen protector; a new smaller, more modern tablet and a screen protector for it. $700 SD later and very happy to have a keyboard. Will make blogging easier.

Graeme and Phil picked up their new glasses, back to the Irish Pub for one last dinner and back to the hotel to do one more pack prior to our flight back to Sydney tomorrow.

A fantastic three weeks, full of highlights. I think I must be the only person who gained weight in India. We were very lucky and escaped without any tummy troubles. We put it down to washing our hands a lot and not eating salads etc. I would recommend travelling to India to anyone. It's a fantastic place.

Posted by gaddingabout 04:29 Archived in Singapore Tagged singapore Comments (0)

Udaipur/Delhi/Singapore - 19-25 February 2013

Days 19, 20 and 21 - Saturday, 23; Sunday, 24 and Monday, 25 - Udaipur / Delhi / Singapore

Slept in, leisurely breakfast and chatted to some Texans who are travelling through India on their own with a driver and swapped book titles on India that we had read and enjoyed. Chatted to two Aussies from Kiama, who are also travelling alone with a driver. Not my cup of tea exactly. Repacking bags - bags out at 12 noon - leaving at 1.30 pm for the airport and our flight to Delhi which is 21 degrees and raining.

Good flight to Delhi. People are coughing everywhere. Joan Breen and Jill and their group are on the same flight. They are flying straight through to Singapore and then onto Sydney. So are some of our group and some are getting off in Singapore and some like us, Judy and Graeme, Vince and Carol, Judy and Ash and Richard and Wendy, are spending the night at the Imperial and then flying to Singapore on Sunday. Said good bye to Yogi at Delhi airport. Very sad but will keep in touch via face book.

Up very early on Sunday morning (4 am) for our 5 am transfer to the airport. Check in went smoothly and had a good flight to Singapore - 5hrs 10mins. I read my Kindle and slept - didn't watch any movies. The Imperial gave us a breakfast box. It was okay as it was good to have some food in our stomachs before flying. We had breakfast on the plane - chive omelette - which was a bit average. Also had snacks and a Singapore Sling. What else would you have on a Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore!

Said goodbye to Judy and Ash at Changi Airport. Judy is getting sick. Caught a shuttle bus to the Novotel at Clarke Quay - $9 pp. Judy and Graeme are on the 22nd floor in an exec room; we are on the 13th floor (I didn't think they had 13th floors in hotels) with a lovely big room and a bath. Very good location on Clarke Quay. Walked around looking for a spot for dinner and chose an Irish Pub.


Singapore is so neat and tidy and orderly compared to India and the traffic even stays in their lanes and there are no cows on the road!

Early night as it has been a very long day.

Monday - Went shopping and had a great time. Weren't looking for anything in particular but Judy ended up with four pairs of shoes and a bag and I ended up with two pairs of shoes and a bag! Judy also bought a Samsung Tablet. She is very excited. Came back to the hotel, had a very late lunch and a little rest and then caught a water taxi over to the Marina Sands Hotel and paid $20 each to go up on top of the "ship" hotel. The view was stunning.


Could see a big storm coming so went back to the hotel and helped Judy set up her tablet. Lots of rain and lightning. Went to a Thai restaurant at Clarke Quay for dinner. Food was just okay.

Posted by gaddingabout 04:03 Archived in India Tagged singapore new delhi udaipur / Comments (0)

Udaipur - Friday, 22 February 2013

Day 18 - Friday, 22 February 2013 - Udaipur

Up to the City Palace. Scenic paid extra for us to get in early so there would be no one else there which was great as we all have photographs with no one in them. Also, the staircases and hallways were very narrow, steep and made of slippery marble, so best not to be pushing and shoving.


After the tour, we walked through the market place with Judy and Graeme.

The streets of Udaipur.


You can buy ANYTHING in Udaipur!


On the way back to the boat landing, we came across another group of Aussies walking up the hill. They were all from Canberra, our home town and my old friend Joan Breen and Jill Fisher (Belconnen golfers) were amongst the group. Imagine meeting someone from home in India! Another 'small world' moment.


At 12 noon, Judy and Graeme; Jill and David; Claire and I went to the Indian food cooking demonstration. The chef met us and we walked through the fruit and vegetable market and he identified lots of strange vegetables for us. He bought some produce and paid 10 rupees (about 20 cents Australian) for 1 kilo of lovely orange carrots; 8 rupees for a kilo of grapes. The fruit and vegetables are lovely and fresh albeit a lot smaller than ours. It was hot and dry walking through the street market - about 30 degrees, but nice to feel really warm. So far it has only been in the mid to low 20s. The chef was quite famous in Udaipur and had been in Australia in 2008 at the Crown Casino in Melbourne for 12 days at a food thing. He said he was good friends with Pete Evans from My Kitchen Rules. He hopped on his motor bike and we walked a bit and then hopped on our bus and we all met at his restaurant, which was on the second floor of a building.

He started to cook deep fried ochra. Yum. Can you imagine me, the fussy foody, saying that! Ochra is usually slimy and revolting, however they slice it, coat it and deep fry it in India and it is yummy. "Top and tail and slice ochra downwards; dip in a batter made from chick pea flour, water, tumeric and a smidge of chilli; fry and then sprinkle with green mango powder. Yum. Yum. Yum."

As he started to coat the spinach leaves with batter, there was a big bang and the lights went out, which is not unusual, as this happens in India all the time, even in the poshest hotels. After the lights went on and off a couple of times, he said as calm as you like, "We have an emergency". With that we noticed that smoke was billowing from the kitchen and some Indians rushed in with some buckets of water! Still very smokey so they asked us to sit down and gave us a drink. I said it was probably laced with valium to keep us calm. Then someone arrived with a fire extinguisher.

We were then told that there was a fire in the exhaust fan in the kitchen downstairs (which would account for the smoke now starting to come up the staircase), so because they couldn't turn on the power for a while, the cooking demonstration was over, but we could now commence our lunch. It was still very smokey, so we moved to a window table near the fresh air. Out of the window we saw the fire brigade arrive in a clapped out truck, and because there were no flames, they didn't get out of the truck and just drove away. We were in hysterics. It was a bit like the Keystone Cops.

Lunch was pretty spicey. Back to the hotel by 2.30 pm just in time to say goodbye to Phil who was going to High Tea in Durbar Hall in the Fateh Prakash Palace. Did some emails and facebook and met up with the group at 4.30 pm for a sunset cruise on Lake Pichola. Called into the Party Island and them came back to get ready for our Farewell Dinner.


Our Farewell Dinner was on the terrace under the stars and it was beautiful. We had Aussie food (well, New Zealand lamb shanks was one of the choices). There was a man playing a sitar in the background. Phil made a thank you speech to Claire and Yogi and we all sang "Claire". It was pretty awful because we didn't know the tune and we all had colds, so we croaked along. But she appreciated it.

It was a lovely finale to a great trip.


One of the beautiful lounges at the Lake Palace, Udaipur.

Posted by gaddingabout 03:09 Archived in India Tagged udaipur Comments (0)

Narlai to Udaipir - Thursday, 21 February 2013

Day 17 - Thursday, 21 February 2013 - Narlai / Udaipur

Rushed breakfast and hardly had anything to eat because they were so slow. The problem with these posh hotels in remote villages is that they employ villagers to work in them and they are a bit slow. Went for a walk through the village with Claire and a few others. It was really good. The children went crazy when we took their photos and then showed them the results on our digital cameras. They just LOVED seeing their photos on my tablet because the screen is so big as compared to a digital camera and they quickly learnt how to flick from one screen to the next.

The children of Narlai.


The streets and people of Narlai.


This lady was the wife of a sheep farmer and was very happy to pose for us. No English, no education and no electricity, but she knew enough about technology to ask our guide if we could email her photo to her and asked her to bring it with her the next time she brings a tour group through the village. Life in the 21st century!


Another fabulous lunch stop.


Travelled to Ranakpur and visited a beautiful Jain temple. Because Jain's don't kill anything, we had to take off our shoes before we entered the temple and everything leather, ie belts, wallets and watch bands. They are total vegetarians and only eat in the daylight for fear of accidently eating an insect. The temple was white marble and rather plain on the outside but beautifully carved on the inside.


Continued on to Udaipur, about a 2 1/2 hr dirve. Everyone on the bus is coughing and spluttering. It sounds like a very sick bus.

The Lake Palace in Udaipur is stunning. We caught a little boat over to the hotel and were showered with rose petals on arrival and a dot was put on our forehead. Our room is not the hugest we have had but is still very spacious and very tastefully decorated. Some scenes from the James Bond film Óctopussy', starring Roger Moore were filmed in this hotel, the Party Island and the Moonsoon Palace and street scenes from down town Udaipur.


In the evening, Phil, Yogi and I went to a sound and light show at the City Palace and the others went to a cultural performance at an old Haveli. Our function was very enjoyable. We had great seats, in the centre of the front row and learnt all about the history of Udaipur, right from the beginning. When we got back to the hotel, we had dinner in the restaurant with Ash and Judy and Len and Celina. Our tour is drawing to a close. Only a couple of days to go and we are all getting very sad.


Posted by gaddingabout 02:24 Archived in India Tagged udaipur / narlai Comments (0)

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