A Travellerspoint blog

December 2010

India 'Heat' Magazine Christmas Exclusive

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

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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
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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)

Week 1

Maharastra Melange

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Its hard to know where to start summing up our first week away but here goes...

You've already heard a bit about Mumbai. The highlights included our night in Bandra, the amazing food, Victoria Terminus, taxi rides and friendly people, leopolds (although we couldn't afford to eat there the beer was good!) and generally finding our way around this bustling place. We tried to go and see a bollywood movie but it turned out just to be a comedy about a guy who worshipped barack obama with no subtitles so we left at the interval which was handy as Pauline had started to nod off! Later that evening we were scouted on the street (quite common apparently, but I like to think they saw star quality) to appear as western extras in an actual Bollywood production being made now. We had to turn them down due to all the other offers we had (pre-blanned bus ride to Pune)!

The day after we went to Elephanta Island (9km out of Mumbai harbour) where they have a lot of Hindu gods statues carved into the rock faces. On the way back our boat's engine blew and we had to get towed back - this was all the more stressful as Pauline was convinced one shifty guy on the boat was a terrorist (think he was just dying for the loo!). Later we walked to Chowpatty Beach and had some Pani Puri ( dough balls filled with what tasted like sea water) and nearly both threw up on the spot in front a few thousand indians tucking into a Maharastran delicacy).

On Monday, we travelled by Bus to Pune which we thought might be more chilled out but with at least 4 million people of its own proved otherwise. If anything the traffic is more crazy because they favour the moped over any four wheels. Here we met our host Nisha who had kindly offered to put us up for the week.

Tuesday we met Nisha's friend Naina who gave us advice on travelling round India and also invited us to her cousin's wedding the same day! We spent the morning visiting some beautiful temples and then upon our return to Nisha's house were provided with traditional Indian wedding clothes (the traveller combats weren't going to cut it apparently). We then went to the grooms apartment complex where I was further kitted out with the Pagdi turban and Pauline a Bindi (decorative marking on the forehead). 270_SANY0224.jpgWe then followed the procession into the five star hotel and were witness to the whole ceremony including the lavish food. We couldn't believe the hospitality and welcoming we had from a party of total strangers! This it seems is what India is all about.

We are having trouble uploading photos but we'll try to put some on facebook in the meantime. Heading to Goa on Friday on an overnight sleeper bus, bit of chillaxing on the beach should be lovely.

More stats to follow in the next mini - update.

Mill & Po xx

Posted by millfred 23:17 Archived in India Comments (0)

Mumbai Madness

Day 4

sunny 33 °C
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No. of times we went through a red traffic light = 25? (apparently you don't have to follow them at night!)
No. of frantic trips to the toilet = 0 (surprisingly no reaction to the food yet!)
No. of mozzie bites = Richard 1 Pauline 0 (who'd of thought it)
Beard length Richard = 3mm Pauline = 4mm!

Still going strong (maybe pushing it) here in Mumbai. Off to see a bollywood show today and to Elephanta Island (caves and massive Shiva statues) tomorrow. Struggling with the humidity which is keeping us tired all the time. Had a great time with our indian hosts Jasmin and Ajay last night! Our wonderful guides in Bandra

Our wonderful guides in Bandra

Thanks for hospitality and the pan guys (pretty sure we only went so you could see our faces)!Richard tastes Pan

Richard tastes Pan

Pauline tastes Pan

Pauline tastes Pan

Pics and videos to follow when I can find a computer with a usb port.

Keep the messages coming and stay tuned.

Posted by millfred 15:50 Archived in India Comments (4)

Mumbai Madness

Day 1

all seasons in one day
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No. of hours delayed = 5
No. of near misses in the taxi airport transfer = 42
No. of times taxi driver chose to open the door on the motorway to spit his tobacco out = 4
No. of chapatis consumed = 4

Mumbai so far is crazy, but amazing. Everything we expected as well as the unexpected! Didn't get too much time to look round today due to the flight delay but even at 6pm it was roasting. Managed to go explore a bit and found the Gateway to India, were looking forward to what this city wil throw at us tomorrow.SANY0216.jpg

By the way you can click on each blog entry title (i.e. Mumbai Madness ) to comment.

Posted by millfred 20:49 Archived in India Comments (7)

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