Sunday, January 24, 2010

Leaps and Bounds

4 months later a whole new Delhi. As the commonwealth games are fast approaching Delhi is doing its best to look presentable for the rest of the world. The games are in October and the Indian government probably wants to do a job just like China did for the summer Olympics. Although I doubt India will come close to what china achieved in those Olympic games I have seen progress. The city streets are much cleaner than before which is helpful because Delhi is the dirtiest city in the world. As well I was very surprised by the amazing metro system that Delhi has created. This metro also goes a long way in teaching the Indians things that we westerners take for granted. Such as waiting in lines patiently paying at the toles and being civic on the metro. To make all this happen there are security guards every 10 feet blowing their whistles at people who are not waiting in line or who cross the magical yellow line saying your too close to the railroad tracks. Slowly but surely Indians will learn the rules that we take for granted which will make India a much more tame place.

I have come to find that Delhi is just a huge marketplace. I was walking through a market today called ??(ill find it out) and I realized that Delhi is just a real world Ebay. When your surfing through Ebay you come up on everything shirts, shoes, car parts, plastic tubing and the list goes on. Its exactly like that when your walking the streets of Delhi you walk through a maze of crap that replicates finding stuff on Ebay. And just like Ebay everything is fake!!

Until next time peace

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Delhi Arrival !

So i am in crazy Delhi!! I took 2 sleeping pills last night which knocked me out completely at 12 am in the morning Delhi time. I woke up this morning refreshed but still very tired. I have cut my hair and gotten a shave this morning now I am going to write many emails and then do some glasses hunting.

Funny story for you, actually its not funny it almost turned horrible. So, there is a new rule with Indian visas!! if you leave the country you are not allowed returning for 60 days. So I'm at the check point at the Delhi airport and they tell me they have to send me home. I didn't really panic maybe because i knew that this could just be something he made up. Anyways, they ended up keeping me there for 20 minutes, just trying to make me sweat, but I didn't. In the end I have to go to the Consolata here and tell them i am in India. Basically I am not suppose to be here so I am not really here I'm a ghost!!

SO now I am heading to this bazaar called Sadar bazaar which is 3 km from where I am staying.

All in all its ok here in Delhi. The harassment is so shit I totally forgot the annoyances but i tend to be pretty good at ignoring. Prices are high here because of the Commonwealth games fast approaching!!

I got so lucky my flight wasn't delayed check this link out

- Jeffery

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Second time around Packing List

Now our first trip, we were well UNinformed of how much India has to offer... product wise. We over packed in virtually every field. So this time, Jeffery has a new approach. (one I would recommend for all)

- camera (obviously)
- toothbrush & toothpaste (although you could find these anywhere, its just nice to always have it on you)
- 1 pair of comfy shoes and 1 pair of flip flops (and if you're like me, I also brought 1 pair of hiking sandals that were useful)
- sunglasses and a hat (don't forget you're super close to the equator for the most part)
- rain jacket or poncho (know the weather & season to the area you're traveling)
- any medications you may need (along with perscriptions just in case)
- money pouch/belt (always a good move)
- towel (if beats using clothes to dry off. Most budget places don't offer towels.. and if they do they're usually quite dodgey)
- MINIMAL CLOTHING (you can buy almost anything and everything there... cheap cheap! example: MY (marsha's) ali baba, baggy comfy travel pants, Rs 100, $2.25 Canadian)
- a few granola bars/snacks (food is def not scarce in India, but there are those days when your stomach needs a touch of home)
- 1-2 rolls of Toilet Paper (just in case your first few days are far from a toursity area)
- mosquito repellent (a net if you're going to be in the buggy areas during the buggy season)
- sunscreen (its there, but good to have your own)
- 2 locks: 1 pad lock (near impossible to find, and its good to have your own for hotels/guest houses) and 1 bike lock (for tying your pack up on long train rides_
- UV sterilization Pen (for killing ALL bacteria in the water. Instead of buying bottle after bottle of packaged water) SAVE THE EARTH!
- and last but not least.... The LONLEY PLANET BOOK (although we tried to minimize our dependence on it, it IS a great reference to have on hand)

Well, there you have it! Any questions or other suggestions?

Destination: INDIA.. again (for Jeffery)

Yes! Its true, one of the 2 explorers are heading back to that magical country called India. Jeffery (my better half) is traveling there, TODAY! He is in search of business opportunities and learn learn learn more on how that country works. I think its amazing and am super super jealous. He will be updating me (and all of you) of his continuing travels. Stay Tuned! Who knows what adventures this boy is bound to wind up in.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Holy City; Varanasi

Babas (religious figures) are everywhere in Varanasi

These are just a few of the flower/candles being sent down the Ganges

A Snake Charmer Boy on the steps of the Ghats

Goats with Coats

Our final destination, Varanasi. As we step off the plane we know we are back in the North. As we read our Lonely Planet, we are well aware that this city is another tourist scam hotspot, and with knowing that, we take all precautions. The drive from the airport to the main city centre takes much longer than it should, the traffic is terrible!
As soon as we get out of the cab (with the cab driver's "assistant" trying to follow us and take us to a "good guesthouse", one of the many scams that we read about), we shoo him away and haul our backpacks down to the ghats to try and find a descent place to stay.
After about 30minutes of tough walking, up stairs, down stairs, we finally find a nice backpacker friendly place, Vishnu Rest House. With our new German friend (we met on the place and shared a taxi with), we are all excited to walk along the ghats and see what Varansi is all about.
AND what a sight we see. Anything and everything is possible here.
Along with its positional advantage of being on the banks of the sacred Ganges River, this has given Varanasi a place at the forefront of the Hindu religion. Varanasi is considered the most sacred place for all Hindus, irrespective of denomination.
Hindus have long believed that bathing in the Ganges or dying in the holy city of Varanasi circumvents reincarnation and hence provides a permanent place in the Swarg (Heaven). This belief that has encouraged the establishment of innumerable nearby geriatric homes and also the disposal of half-burnt corpses into the river.
A big selling thing for young cute kids is the flower candle cup thing, which you light and then pray, and then send down the Ganges. Only 10 rupees (25 cents). Its tough to say no to these persistent cute kids, but after you do it once, there really is no need to pollute again and again (in my eyes).
An amazing experience you have to see while in Varanasi (and its hard to avoid) is the ceremony that happens every night on the main ghats. Its basically 7 men all in sequence doing light and smoke prayers in front of a huge crowd of people.

The city itself (apart from all the action happening on the ghats) is full of life and excitement in the back alleys, with restaurants, shops, temples and mosques.

Oh, and in Varanasi, make sure you get a photo of some goats with coats. Its quite a sight to see.
We had an amazing time here, and can't wait to go back!