A Travellerspoint blog

White men can't sunbathe - especially not in Thailand

33 °C

Price for all you can eat buffet for a woman = 295 baht
Price for all you can eat buffet for a man = 365
Price for all you can eat buffet for a ladyboy = 335

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We are nearly 3 weeks in to our adventure in Thailand and we love it. It is much easier than India and China for getting around and finding reasonable accommodation. I guess that's the compromise as it is also much more touristy and most other tourists are on package deals. The food has been amazing, the street food is great, fresh and cheap and we have had some delicious meals in cheap restaurants. Especially in Koh Tao where we could eat and drink for under a fiver while watching the sun set over the beautiful bay.

From the beginning then. Bangkok was what we expected, a bustling Asian city. Too many people, too much traffic, too hot and a bit smelly. But we loved it. India had prepared us well for this type of place and if you don't mind eating your noodles with an audience of street rats while counting the lizards on the wall, you're fine! I don't know how they prepare such tasty food from such rotten carts on the road side but they do. Officially no upset stomachs so far either! It was difficult getting used to the heat again after a chilly few weeks in China. Walk a bit, sweat a bit, drink a bit, sleep a bit seems to be my coping mechanism. A few other highlights in Bangkok; the water ferry's, much better way to get around, cheap and breezy if a bit brutal. You literally get 10 seconds to get on/off and if you don't quite make the pier, good luck getting any help (Not because the people are mean, just on a tight schedule I think). Pauline had a David Attenbrough moment in Lumbhini Park when a pigeon fell in the lake and some children tried to rescue it. The climax of the drama however occurred when a beasty monitor lizard hot-footed across the lake to gobble up the unfortunate bird! I (Richard) missed it all!

From Bangkok we caught a train North East to Chaing Mai and we had the privelage of air-con (shame it was set to -2 and I could see my breath all the way!).We went trekking in the jungle for 2 nights and 3 days.
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Great value for money we met hilltop tribes, went rafting, swam in waterfalls and walked.... a alot! Also included was an elephant trek along the rapids.
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An opportunity not to be missed we thought and since the elephants seemed well looked after and were kept together in a family I thought it would be ok. I (Pauline) kind of regretted it afterwards though and whilst it certainly was an experience I didn't really enjoy it. A funny moment was finding a big hole in the balcony of our hut due to the fire not being extinguished fully the previous night (classic mistake!).
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After Chiang Mai, we headed back south to Ayutthaya (the old capital) for some temple sight-seeing but the most interesting sight had to be a fairly big monitor lizzard crossing the road in front of us. After it waddled off Pauline scared the shizzle out of me by pretending it was back behind me after i'd turned around.

So after over a week in the Thai heat we decided we needed to get to a beach to relax. Ko Tao was a dream, small enough to be not too touristy. We got a bungalow right next to the beach and the only downside was finding a cockroach the size of Pauline's fist in it on the second night! We spent a day on a snorkelling tour which was great value and only spoiled by the realisation that we'd both got burn't (one more serious than the other!) while being on our stomach's all day.
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After two days on Ko Tao we took the ferry to Koh Samui (via Ko Phangan and hence full of full moon party go-ers) and to our dismay spent 3 hours (1 in a taxi) trying to find the beach bungalows we'd booked. We must have asked about 30 locals to no avail and when it started getting dark had to settle for checking into a different hotel. Koh Samui was a lot bigger and more touristy, so on our second day we thought we'd try to hire a scooter, which was a cheap way to get around. If only I (Richard) had ridden anything like it before and didn't ride down the street like fred flinstone, refusing to apply the brake! The lady in the hire shop decided for us it was best to take a raincheck!

We have now crossed the Thai peninsula to see the other side of the Andaman sea (from India) and are having a great time on the island of Ko Phi Phi. Tomorrow we go snorkelling again and get to see where the film 'The Beach' was set. I'll get well lubed up this time.

Finally, check out our beach artwork and leave a comment telling us which one is best. We'll try not to argue over the result!
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Picture 2
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Posted by Po Gallon 02:01 Archived in Thailand Comments (9)

Chinese Crackers

sunny 6 °C
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No. of 7/11 convenience stores per sq km in China = 7
No. of street escalators used in Hong Kong = 25 (including the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world)
Size of box room in Hong Kong = 1.5m x 2.5m
No. of street gyms where pauline failed to complete the monkey bars = 5
No. of dumplings consumed by Richard on Chinese NYE = 35

We are a bit late with this blog, sorry. We are now in Bangkok but realise we haven't given you a China round up yet so here it is...

Xingping, wowsa (Pauline's word) what a lovely place, found almost completely by accident. Beautiful mountains adorn each side of the equally breathtaking Li River, ( I know enough lonely planet bumff!).
Xingping - gnipgniX

Xingping - gnipgniX

This place is really special though and we were genuinly sad to leave. 'This Old Place' hostel was the best we've stayed in yet and the staff there we so welcoming we really felt like we were spending Chinese New Year with an adoptive family as we were taught to make Chinese Dumplings and drank very strong cocktails.Concentration face!

Concentration face!

The town has two main streets and at midnight on 2nd Jan, every house, shop and restaurant set off a barage of firecrackers and fireworks. The noise was incredible. A few mini heart attacks for Pauline as there was no break from the fire crackers, bu her bravery was rewarded with a turn on the kids fireworks. The local kids had no fear with their handheld fireworks. (Basically a thin loo roll tube that you light and it shoots out about 10 in a row!). Perfectly safe if you haven't been drinking any of the cocktails!

Bit of a struggle to get from Guilin to Hong Kong in the end. Won't bore you with the details (2 buses, 1 sleeper train, 2 metro's) but we managed it and it was worth it. Hong Kong was really cool. Very multicultural and provided us the chance to reignite our Indian food passion. Only 2 days there but an early start meant we had enough time to get 'The Peak Tram' and see what was on offer in this very modern city. On our first night there we stumbled upon what turned out to be the most amazing fireworks display we've ever seen. (Mam, if Lynn Duffy ever gets wind of this, tell her its a lie and their back garden displays were unbeatable!). Not sure if its on YouTube but if it is, watch it. Unbelievable, must have cost millions and Hong Kong's biggest ever. HK did however continue the Chinese pattern of being pricey so we had to limit Richard's snacking tendancies.

Not once in India were we tempted by MacDonalds', so much delicious, cheap food on offer. Three weeks in China was enough to allow our feet to wander through the dreaded golden arches. To be honest though, it was the novelty of the Prawn Burger that drew us in (pauline that is, as if Richard needed any persuading). In any case the vegetarian card was out of the window after one week in China when Pauline tucked in to a KFC.
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Only KFC prawns this time though!
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And yes, Richard really did eat TWO scorpions on the night market in Beijing.
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Posted by millfred 12:29 Archived in China Comments (1)

Travellers stare kitsch horror bus in the face

rain 3 °C
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No. of street sweepers per square kilometre: 10 - communism and all that
No. of days snow: 3
Hours spent queueing at train station not to get a ticket: 5
Current pool score: Richard - 13 Pauline - 7
Number of tantrums during pool: Pauline 13 Richard 0
Speed of the Shanghai to Beijing sleeper train: 243 km/h

A quick update from Guilin (home of the HSBC adverts showing the fishermen collaborating with the cormorants). Its nice to finally see some Chinese countryside although the food is still a minefield, for Pauline at least! Who knew Tofu would be served with minced beef sauce (and the menu was in English with no word of a cow!). We flew from Beijing to Guangzhou since there was no other form of transport not fully booked and after a few enjoyable days there took a sleeper bus here which was interesting. Unlike India where the worry is cockroaches and the cold, we suffered from death by Chinese (anti-American) movies and variety shows played throughout the night and the sweltering heat from the air-con not because it was actually hot! Add to that the dolls house-esque furnishing with beds sized for far-eastern proportions and the sealife scene glass flooring meant it was a strange, sleep deprived experience.

Anyway we're here now and it gave us something to blog about! Onto Yangshuo tomorrow (supposedly more picturesque) and then to Hong Kong where we've managed to book the last two beds in town, albeit in a shared dorm with shared squat toilet (good exercise for the quads!).

Struggling to upload videos and photos at the moment or even get on the net sometimes so please be patient, there's lots to share from the last few weeks.

One final thought, in one of the nicest hostels we've stayed in a rat has just ran over my feet! The staff just said: 'Don't scare him he's our pet!'

Posted by millfred 22:00 Archived in China Comments (7)

Shanghai stick - Beijing bust

sunny -1 °C

We've been in China almost exactly a week and shared our time so far between Shanghai and Beijing. Both very modern cities and we are enjoying everything China has to offer. We had an amazing host in Shanghai, thanks Lara! We were totally spoiled and very well taken care of. Now we are on our own in Beijing and we've already blown our budget. There is so much to see and do here. We might actually have to stay here as there are 230 million people trying to book train tickets this week so they can get home for Chinese New Year. Terrible planing on our part and its going to be a very long walk to Hong Kong. It will be great to see some of the celebrations though when it all kicks off.

So what did we see & do in Shanghai? We had a fair few more beers than we'd been used to in India so the sightseeing wasn't quite as active as it had been. Our posh city centre pad was a very useful base and we enjoyed strolling around the French Concession, evening views along The Bund and some much needed cheap shopping to layer up for the cold weather here. We gatecrashed the drum & base scene there and were glad to find everyone really welcoming and not embarrassed by our not so hip outfits, we didn't pack for the night scene much.

Having spent 7 weeks in India suspecting regular rip offs we must have let our guard down in China. 24 hours in Shanghai and we fell whole heartedly for 'The Tea Scam'. Nearly a week ago now and i'm still furious. Apparently it's famous and our hosts felt bad that they'd forgotten to warn us. We returned from a successful shopping day with tales of our 'weird' experience which on closer inspection from our wise Shanghainese friends is a total scam. Hook, line and sinker. Luckily Richard's keen eye for our daily budget restricted their winnings from us but we still paid a fiver each on the worlds smallest cup of tea. We left the cosy tea house thinking we'd made some cute new friends - oh you fools!

As we have only seen big cities so far we can't believe how clean everywhere is. It's such a contrast to India and we are trying to get to grips with the culture and politics here.

Beijing is massive and very spread out. We are excited about heading out to The Great Wall tomorrow but can't decide whether to take the cheaper option and go to the touristy part or stump up to explore the more remote and less restored parts. Today Richard was in sports heaven when we visited the Birds' nest stadium and water cube from the 2008 Olympics. Yesterday was very cultural, Tian' an men Square and The Forbidden city. Interesting, but the guards had a very Russian feel so I was scared. We missed Mau's mausoleum though and Richard is quite intrigued so we may go back and stare at him for a while.

We've kept up with the beers here and our hostel is great for meeting people. After a few free drinks with the special buffet here we got chatting to some other guests. A young couple from Oz got a barrage of questions about Nieghbours but they seemed happy enough to humour me. Can't wait to get to Australia and go to actual Ramsey Street! I've go t a feeling the Kennedy's will be having a family meeting that day.

The food has been interesting. We ate like Western royalty in Shanghai but so far here its been a bit ropey. We are checking out a night market later and Richard is psyching himself up to try a scorpion.

So provided we find a way to get to Hong Kong for our flight to Bangkok, it's all good!

Posted by Po Gallon 18:25 Archived in China Comments (0)

7 weeks in India, 100,000 rupees...

not killing each other yet - priceless!

overcast 1 °C

India Stats
Modes of transport used in India: 16 (car, bus, train, taxi, motor rickshaw, cycle rickshaw, rowing boat, bicycle, motorbike, jeep, raft, plane, metro, kayak, ferry, foot)
No of different beds slept in: 20
No of overnight trains: 4
No of overnight buses: 3
Miles on the road in India: 3,488
No 0f McDonalds seen: 5
No of McDonalds eaten: 0
No of stray dogs: 134,672
No of times ripped off: 1 (for 40p!)
Maximum no. of layers worn: 8 (Pauline on overnight train)
Weight of Chapatis / Rotis / Naans consumed: 400kg (each!)
Current Rummy score: Pauline 17 Richard 9 ( Finally a game Pauline can seemingly dominate!)

This is a little late as we are now in China but we wanted to round up our last week in India. Since our last blog we spent one more day in Varanasi and decided we liked it but couldn't really decide why. I think maybe because it was more peaceful than the other cities with the river having such an influence on everything that happens there. It's a very spiritual place and apparently lots of people go there to 'find themselves'. We found a really nice bakery that runs a charity and a nice cosy guesthouse but we didn't really look for ourselves so can't really comment on that.

You can all officially stop being jealous of us being in sunnier climes. We have been freezing for the last few weeks and I hit a personal body temperate low on the very much delayed train from Varanasi to Agra. After shivering on the platform for 8 long hours we eventually boarded our train and tried to stow away in the posh (used loosely) carriage only to be literally thrown into the sleeper carriage by the very grumpy conductor. This wouldn't be so bad if we had been prepared like everyone else there and taken a blanket, it was baltic. Luckily for us there were some incredibly pissed Argentinians who happly shared their gigantic bottle of Whisky with us. That helped. In the morning some more new friends insisted on buying us chai everytime the sellers came round and refused to take our money. I think they were pleased that some wussy English folk were feeling the cold more than them. So our nightmare icy journey was actually a pleasure in some respects as we met some really freindly co-passengers. In fact, most of the people we have met in India go out of their way to welcome you, feed you, look out for you and ask you every possible question they can think of before letting you get away! It is a very friendly country once you settle in.

On to Agra, not the most vibrant or picturesque place we've seen but amazing for one, maybe two main reasons. Yes, the Taj Mahal is utterly breathtaking. We saw it from every possible angle, one of which is from Agra Fort which in its own right is worth a visit. I'd go back to Agra a million times to see it again but not for any other reason, sorry. We went at sunrise and were more than a little smug at beating the crowds.DSC_0391.jpgDSC_0414.jpg

On Richards' birthday we were in a small town called Bharatpur between Agra and Delhi. It's famous for the Keoladeo National park. We spent a morning on hired bikes spotting the wildlife which was more my ideal birthday than Richard's but he was happy enough taking photos. Apparently there is one tiger there but they aren't too concerned that you'll get eaten, they make you promise to stick to the paths and that's the health and safety briefing over. One problem, no signs anywhere. I was pretty nervous and peddled mighty fast passed the sunbathing jackals and wild boar. Weirdest sight had to be the domestic dog tucking into a huge cow carcass.

We finished our mini tour of India in the capital Delhi. We'd been told it was a bit dodgy and to steer clear so didn't plan to spend long there. Due to delays we'd lost a day or so as well so only had 2 nights to see what turned out to be a pretty cool place. There are some very modern parts of Delhi and it was a welcome change from the India we had grown used to. Contrary to what we had be warned, we felt very safe there and reflected over a cup of chai with our guesthouse owners that we were sorry not to have had more time to explore. We did manage to see India largest Mosque, the Jama Masjid and Delhi's red fort.

This is where I wanted to write my thoughts on India and my feelings on leaving etc, but Richard says it's too cheesy so no can do. On to a new adventure in China now and we'll try to make our updates regular and concise so we don't lose our audience yet!

Posted by Po Gallon 15:30 Archived in India Comments (4)

# Oh oobee do, I wanna be like you hoo hoo #

overcast 2 °C

No. of squatters on the banks of the Ganges = 77 and counting
No. of pizzas eaten = 3
No. of times Pauline would like to have eaten pizza or has talked about pizza = 20
No. of hours on longest journey door to door = 23

Hello fans! Yes this is my first official blog entry but I'm sure I don't need to reiterate that all witty bits of previous entries were my creations. Richard is the brains behind the stats though, he's obsessed.

Since our last entry we have continued North and East a bit from Khajuraho to Bandhavgarh National Park and we are now in Varanasi. Quite a few hours spent on trains, drinking chai in train stations and watching cows negotiate (moving) trains while wandering down the tracks. It is really cold here so you can all stop being jealous of the sunshine.

Our safari experiences were incredible. Bandhavgarh was rumoured to be the inspiration for Rudyard Kippling's Jungle Book (hence the blog title in case you thought I was going mad) and although I think this has been dispelled, it's a beautiful place for sure. After only 3 hours sleep, having arrived in the middle of the night to our guest house on the outskirts of the national park, we met up with Kaspar the friendly German and bundled in our open top jeep. At 5am Northern India is chilly to say the least and our million layers weren't quite enough to keep us warm. We set out hoping the tigers wouldn't be too shy and cold to show their pretty faces, they were! There were plenty of spotted deer, various cheeky monkeys, a jungle cat (apparently quite rare), wild boar, owls and eagles so we weren't too disappointed. Nevertheless, we had set out to see a tiger so we embarked on another safari with Kaspar in tow and two Americans we practically kidnapped to keep the cost of the jeep down. Sure we would spot one we set out in the afternoon with high spirits and a spot of sunshine. With only half an hour left before the park closed it wasn't looking hopeful, but some excitable exchanges between our guide and a neighbouring jeep suggested the king of the jungle was near. A commotion ensued ,we all nearly fell out of the jeep as we sped off into the distance, we were flagged down by another jeep and came to a screeching halt. At this point I thought we'd surely scare off whatever was there but no, there she was, the Queen of the jungle right in front of us, an adult female. It was very special. I don't think I breathed for a good 5 minutes as we watched her mark her territory and calmly pass us by. 3 words for you AH-MAY-ZING! Loads of good pictures thanks to Richard's steady hand, the video I took is hilarious as I'm clearly not as calm as the tigress. DSC_0044.jpg

So, Varanasi is quite something else. It's clearly a very sacred place but some people show their respects in a funny way. This is what Richard is referring to by 'squatters' in the stats. Lets just say we wont be taking a dip in the river Ganga anytime soon. In fact its difficult to avoid accidentally snapping the squatters when taking in the view, they are everywhere. It doesn't smell too bad though surprisingly and a dusk boat trip last night was really peaceful if a bit eerie due to the mist rolling in. DSC_0213.jpgYesterday was a strange day. It isn't difficult to find yourself immersed in this place. When we got a little lost down the side streets off the ghats, several funeral processions passed us very closely. That spooked me no end but I guess it's an experience. Nothing spooks Richard though and he calmly navigated his was between a few dead bodies and some of the biggest cows I've ever seen. Richard was yet again unfazed today when we crossed a really long, very unstable, very poor excuse for a bridge across the river. I need to toughen up for China as even this scared the ganga out of me!

We can't believe how quickly our adventure in India is unfolding and plan to make the most of our last week here. Looking forward to the Taj Mahal in a few days when we head to Agra, apparently the fort is good there too. We are still loving the food, I think Richard will have to write another entry just on food before we leave, he discovers a new favourite thing everyday. We have both eaten our body weight in peanut caramel brittle today. tasty good!

Posted by Po Gallon 19:57 Archived in India Comments (4)

1 month down, hopefully 11 to go!

sunny 20 °C
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No. of different beds slept in = 21
No. of days rain (pretty much just a light shower for less than an hour) = 2 / 34
Ratio of cows to people in Mahabalipuram = 1:1
No.of mozzie bites on feet = 14

We've just about survived the first month, although Pauline has thought about coming home about 10 times! Seriously though we have a great Christmas and New Year and hope you all have too.

So we left Mysore for Chennai and stayed with the Shah family who were amazing hosts for four days. We had a cracking time modelling for a new fashion store (see our celebrity interview), going to the cinema and were privileged enough to have an audience with a guru at a Jain temple. Richard also got to experience life on the back of a motorbike on the manic indian roads on a trip to the post office. No protection (helmet/jacket) deemed necessary!

After Chennai we went to a small beach village called Mahabalipuram for Christmas and Boxing day which was just the chillout we needed. Spending the day in 30 degree heat on the beach was certainly different for Christmas. We decided to try and make it more like home by buying as much chocolate as we could (not an easy task) and Pauline had a cheese toastie for lunch. SANY0415.jpgSANY0444.jpgOn Boxing day we got up at 5am (yes 'we', Pauline did get out of bed) to see the sun rise over the east facing beach, which was made more surreal by the realisation that it was the anniversary of the tsunami that affected that coastline 5 years previous. Later Boxing day we got the bus to Pondicherry to experience a french colonial town on India's south east coast. By far the cleanest place we've seen and some great ice cream.

After two days we got the bus back to Chennai and then straight onto a 17 hour overnight train to Nagpur. SANY0508.jpgThe trains have been a breeze and much more comfortable than the buses. Not much to see in Nagpur though, we just used it to break up our journey North. We did try to go to the cinema but the rickshaw driver took us to the wrong one inside a different mall so instead we ended up eating pasties in the supermarket! In the hotel in Nagpur we had our first cockroach in the bathroom experience too so we didn't come away with an affection for the place. The staff in the Hotel however were a class act, and actually booked our next two nights accomodation for us!

We left Nagpur on another overnight train to Jhansi, which is the furthest North we have been, and a bus to nearby Orcha for New Year which is a nice quiet riverside village with some good temples. Can't say we larged it on New Years Eve though. We gatecrashed a party in a nearby hotel but found it to be a big cheesefest and we sloped off at 11.00pm. On New Years Day we went white water rafting and trekked the local nature reserve. We stayed in posh swiss tents on the night which was the best 'payed for' accomodation so far but we spent the night shivering only to realise in the morning there was an electric heater under the table!SANY0550.jpg

So we're now in Khajuraho and today had two full games of cricket with some local kids. Richard was rubbish and embarrased by the nine year olds and Pauline turned out to be a bit of a pro (1 over, 2 wickets)!270_SANY0577.jpg

Anyway, will try and do this more regularly so its not so long winded.

Till next time...

Posted by millfred 05:04 Archived in India Comments (4)

India 'Heat' Magazine Christmas Exclusive

Worlds' first Interview with India's hottest new minor celebs!

sunny 22 °C
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Heat magazine's chief interviewer caught up with India's hot property this week in Chennai. The celebrity couple were launching a new ethnic clothing store in a trendy suburb. No-one knows why they are famous but Richard and Pauline have been pulling in the crowds, stares and interest throughout their journey so far. Here's what they had to say for themselves...

Heat: It is a real pleasure to meet you both, thank you for taking the time out of your hectic travel itinerary to be here today. I know the public are desperate for an insight into your trip, and indeed your lives so let's press on. Let's hear how you would describe India so far in 3 words?

R: Busy, spicy, horny (in reference to constant car and 2 wheeler horns, we think!)
P: Crazy, tasty, wild

Heat: We've seen for ourselves the reactions you get from the crowds here, who would you say has been the most 'starstuck' upon meeting you?

R: Yes, it is getting difficult to get around without being noticed! The school kids are always pleased to see you. In Hampi they were daring each other to say hello, I think they thought I was a football player with my shirt on, name on the back and stunning physique! When I replied, the giggles continued all the way down the road obviously.

P: People seem more amused by Richard than me, maybe it's the ferocious fire red of his beard. I get more inquisitive stares than hellos. Infact, one girl stared a hole through me on a bus in Goa and didn't avert her gaze for the entire hour. It's weird, I never know whether to stare back or not so I just smile and look away. I found it a bit unnerving at first but i'm getting used to it. In a nature park in Pune, more people took photographs of us than of the animals! I wonder how many Indian family albums we are in so far?

Heat: Just curiosity I suppose, still, must take a bit of getting used to coming from being relative nobody's in UK to this level of exposure. So we've heard a lot about where you have been in previous blogs, we'd like to know what have been your highlights and low points, if any, so far?

R: Low point? Getting on the Hampi to Bangalore night bus. The highlight, getting off the bus, you can't call that a road!
P: I'm sure Richard has enjoyed more than he's letting on there, but that bus ride surely was horrific. So far my highlights have come daily. Waking up in new places, exploring, talking to locals, getting advice and obviously the wildlife. The low points, erm, maybe the same things actually, when i'm tired and something goes wrong, what was a highlight and perk of travelling one day becomes a pain in the arse the next!

Heat: You must have tried so many new foods this month, have there been any disasters and what have you enjoyed the most?

R: I tried to think of a top 5 foods and ended up with 10 so here we go...vada pav, any dosas, ghulam jamun, butter chicken,thalis, buns puri, goan sausage, black dahl, malai kofta and mysore pak (which I would have enjoyed more of had Pauline not used the plastic bag as her sick bag!). The only thing I haven't liked was Pani Puri. we tried this Indian delicacy on Chowpatty beach in Mumbai and it took all of our strength to keep it down! Sorry India. It's not for us.

P: Couldn't agree more on that one, don't think i'll be trying that again. Apart from that though i'm in pure veg heaven. Loving the snacky food and breakfasts. Addicted to dosas. Loved all the things we tried with Nisha in Pune and with the Shah's here in Chennai.

Heat: So you'll be hoping pani puri isn't on the Christmas menu then! I know you have both been overwhelmed by the sheer size of India and it's 1 billion people, you must have seen some weird and wonderful things so far?

P: Yep, i'm pretty sure I've seen at least half a billion men have a wee in the street, some turn away so i'd like to thank them for that. Other odd sights and experiences are standing for the Indian National Anthem in the cinema in Bombay, 7 people on one moped. too many to remember i'll get back to you... oh the black market down the harbour in Chennai was an experience for sure.

R: Men in the street are very affectionate towards each other, they hold hands a lot and cuddle. Most recent funny experience was here in Chennai, where our host Naina turned off her engine and refused to budge in a traffic jam until the rickshaw driver blocking her apologised. Girl power!

Heat: So you've made a few long distance journeys already, are these just a necessity or have you enjoyed them?

R: Well. I've mentioned the nightmare trip from hampi...

P: I do like watching the world go by from the bus, the streets here are so hectic that you are never bored on the bus as there is so much to see. I've seen a few crazy things through the bars of the local buses. The overnight buses are ok, some better than others. The first sleeper we took from pune was mental. still not sure why its called a sleeper, not-going-to-get-to-sleeper would be more accurate in my opinion. Think we'll stick to trains where possible, the scenery is amazing and so far no cockroaches, bonus. Hopefully our celebrity status will improve and we'll be upgraded soon.

Heat: With so much to see and do and such a rich culture, you two must have learnt a lot?

P: yeh for sure we have, loads of interesting history, my brain can't remember it all but bits keep popping into my head that i've picked up from here and there. Each place has a story or two to tell and we are doing our best to learn them. Oh and Carrom ( i think it's called), a mix between pool and tiddlywinks, love it.

R: Our hindu wedding experience was interesting and as a lefty eating with my right hand has taken some getting used to. I've learnt two hindi words!

Heat: So we know how much you are both missing your family and friends at home but what else do you miss, anything you weren't expecting to crave?

P: I miss neighbours, not the boring couple next door, the TV programme.

R: Boosts, jelly babies, sausage and footy!

Heat: And finally, you both must be so excited about seeing more of the world but what is on your 'not to miss' list here in Incredible India?

P: Moving onto the North and exploring there. People here have told us that Varanasi is cool and we can't miss out Rajasthan. Oh and of course i need the obligatory 'Diana' picture at the Taj Mahal.

R: Boat trip down the Ganga at Varanasi, who knows what the North with have in store for us.

Heat: Sounds fabulous, we wish you all the very best. I'm sure you'll be safe following your blessing from the Jain Monks yesterday! Any final comments for your readers?

R&P: HAPPY CHRISTMAS xxx

For an insight into the Orly fashion launch see the following link (be patient and wait till the end to see the star catwalk attraction).

http://chennaionline.com/video/city-feature/ORLY---Mens-wear-store-launch/2525.col

Posted by millfred 11:02 Archived in India Comments (1)

Hampi Bizarre

Day 15 to Day 19

sunny 25 °C
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No. of times Richard has dropped video camera in the sea = 1 (it survived!)
No. of Mahatma Gandhi roads seen so far = 7
No. of times Pauline has tripped over her own feet = 23
No. of hours thinking of stats = 12!

Well it's been a busy week and we've travelled from Goa to Hampi, then to Bangalore and we are now in Mysore.
Hampi was amazing, unlike anything we've seen before. The boulder strewn landscape, awe-inspiring temples and history of the place totally bowled us over. We loved it. india2010-12-16_008.jpgindia2010-12-16_011.jpgindia2010-12-16_005.jpgUnfortunately, leaving Hampi was a bit of a trauma due to no lights on the rickshaw to the bus stop (middle of the night) and we can now confirm there is no actual road between Hampi and Bangalore, most uncomfortable bus ride yet and zero sleep.

Bangalore was a typically busy city and the first place we saw a rat (or two) but was welcoming as always and we had a lovely timing meeting up with Hector over a couple of cold beers. (no alcohol in Hampi!)SANY0351.jpg

Whistle stop tour of Mysore today. the palace is cool and when we arrived last night it was all lit up especially for our arrival. (96000 bulbs no less)SANY0406.jpg

On to Chennai tonight on the overnight train. Hoping for a smoother ride and not too many cockroaches!

Posted by millfred 15:28 Archived in India Comments (2)

Gotta Goa

Day 13

sunny 33 °C
View World Wide Wander on millfred's travel map.

Average no of black outs in Goa per night = 5
Average no .of switches in an Indian room (half of them useless) = 15
Bottles of suncream used in 2 days = 2
No of table tennis games before Pauline flipped out = 0.75

Last couple of days in Pune were quality, got the overnight bus to Goa which was cramped, bumpy with one persistant mozzie that we could only hear not see until the last 10 minutes! Funny experience though. Good job we travelled as a couple though since you have to share a double (not much bigger than an ironing board) even if your on your own. Cosy to say the least! Goa is everything expected hot, laid back, colourful and cracking beaches.SANY0268.jpgSANY0297.jpg Moving on to Hampi next (once Pauline has control of her motions anyway!) .

Next update coming soon. Send us your comments and we'll happily answer your questions (we've become mini-celebs in India anyway so we're used to the exposure!)

Posted by millfred 11:53 Archived in India Comments (6)

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