Sunday, July 02, 2006

Across India in the Blink of an Eye

I am going to try a new skill on this blog. Keeping things ultra succinct. So here comes 2 amazing weeks travel from across the expanse of the Indian sub-continent in a few paragraphs.

CALCUTTA:
Howdy Victoria

The Mecca of Cricket that is Eden Gardens and me

An undoubtedly over-crowded and poverty stricken city that I still find charming. Go to see architectural shadows like the magnificent Victoria Monument representing what once was, flower-markets, temples, and the mecca that is Eden Gardens. Despite multiple arguments with taxis and police that reminded me that I am back in India, a very enjoyable experience in a fascinating city.

Overnight train

VARANASI:
A crime against humanity was thwarted and the dodgy beard and goaty were cleft shortly after this picture was taken

Back to Varanasi, but this time in the searing heat of summer. Days in the 40's (degrees C) were spend tiringly doing nothing. It still retained the same charm and the streets were as confusing and as eye-opening as before. Still failed to see the Ganges at dawn but said goodbye none the less.

30 hour train to Mumbai - a very hot journey that included one of the most serene moments of all my travels. Waking in the middle of the night still half in a dream to stare at the moon-struck background of rural India. At such times life stands still in contemplation as the world rushes gently past.

MUMBAI:
Hello Sarah
A city I could live in. A megalith of some 18 million people - HUGE. A wee bit of a crazy weekend was spent here. See other blogs, add some of the sights and then another impromptu night out (missed the train after beer lubricated the Saturday night feeling) with a cool English guy and some drunk Aussies. Fun, but a monster of a modern India. Wealth pouring in at the top with Asia's biggest slums beneath it.

12 plus 2 plus 1 hour bus to GOA - A glimpse of the beautiful, lush, tropical countryside and white washed churches that a longer visit to this old Portuguese colony has to offer.

PALOLEM:
Mooooo
Days sleeping and wandering the truly beautiful beach looking out on the Arabian Sea. Nights at Kennedy's place on the beach for drinks (oh dear - far too much rose) 'til dawn with a some English and Irish. Needed it. Interesting conversations nearly made me miss the onward train. Dave made me catch it.

10 hour train to Hampi

HAMPI:
Stunning, just stunning!!!




So glad Dave made me catch the train. A very special place indeed. A hilly green landscape almost inexplicably littered with huge majestic rocks and temples. A bit like Guilin in that it looks more like a fantasy landscape than a real one. We stayed in a bungalow fitted with swing seat overlooking the jaw-dropping scenery for just 50 Ruppees a night each (40p). Again very chilled - not much incentive to move. Did venture away to see magnificent temple ruins of Hindu warrior kings. Such surprises as musical pillars, elephant temples and adrenaline walks up and over off-the-beaten-track hills with many spiky, slithery things trying to get us (I am not joking - one of the biggest adrenaline rushes I have had in India). And finally an afternoon at the most relaxed eatery in the world. High up amongst the trees on a bank overlooking the simply stupidly stunning scenery sits the Mango Tree complete with travellers staring into space and a huge swing. Marvellous. Oh and quite a sunset to say farewell.

Last 12 hour train of this 80 hour transverse, arriving sparrows fart and starting the next 3 weeks of life with some interest.... would it live up to it!!

(uuuuhhhmmmm - sort of succinct!!)
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