India is amazing, beautiful, sublime ... but also dirty, hectic, confusing
and sometimes a major pain in the ass, but no matter what you think of it,
most people agree that it is deeply memorable. Before I went to
India I remember asking people who'd been there before what they thought of it.
Most people simply said, "It changes you."
My trip to India started with a little side trip to Bangladesh.
I flew out of Thailand on
Bangladesh airlines and spent one glorious night in Dhaka. This is one of
the few places I've been seriously told not to tell anyone I was an
American and actually heeded their advice.
First thing I did when I got to Dehli was to meet up with my friend Jamie's
friend Heidi who lives in Dehli, and is learning Hindi there. The
following is a picture of the children I saw in one of Dehli's slum areas where
she goes to help the kids who live there.
After craving Dr. Pepper for untold months I would have done just about
anything to get some. As luck would have it, Heidi had heard that
you could get Dr. Pepper from the US embassy so we headed to the embassy to
find out if the rumors were true. It turns out that the American Club across
the street does have Dr. Pepper, but you need to be a member to get in.
As a result we begged and pleaded and only 10 minutes later
we had 10 cans of Dr. Pepper and I had a big smile on my face. I drank my
last can sitting on the beach in Goa and enjoyed every sip.
Getting Dr. Pepper from the US Embassy
After visiting the embassy we decided to act like normal tourists and visit
tombs and temples.
India gate in Dehli
Lattice screen in Humayan's Tomb
We found a door slightly ajar beneath
Humayun's tomb and decided to take a peak. It turns out we'd found
a tunnel that leads directly to Humayan's burial place beneath the building.
The pictures below show the pitch-black catacomb we were walking around in,
and, if you were wondering, the little black things hanging from the
archway are bats.
Bat's under Humayan's Tomb
Heidi under Humayan's Tomb
Isa Khan Niyazi Tomb
Goa, Goa, Goa ... It is indeed one of the nicest areas I had the ability
to visit while in India, but it was no California beach and as you can see
all the beautiful women bathe with their clothes on. Kind of takes the
excitement right out of going to the beach.
However, Goa did end up being pretty exciting when I got bit by a big black
dog on the beach. This necessitated a series of 5 rabies shots that I
have only just finished, some of which were taken under pretty excruciating
circumstances, but fortunately I survived and I haven't noticed any foam
coming out of my mouth, yet, although I have been feeling like biting people
occassionaly, but that's probably just my internal vampiral instincts coming
Goa bathing with their clothes on
If it weren't for the cows on the beach, things might even get dull.
Cows on the beach
What was really disturbing were the 50+ year old racquetball players at
Anjuna. In my not so humble opinion, swimsuit size should be
proportional to the age of the man/woman wearing it.
Anjuna beach in Goa
I met three Brit's while I was in Goa and we all rented scooters. There
were a few times, particularly when barreling down tiny roads
in the middle of the night with large buses coming from every direction
and I've just driven partly off the road in the dirt and through some
bushes, when I think renting a scooter wasn't the best idea I ever had. However,
they were a lot of fun and we were able to go everywhere and see just about
every one of the north Goan beaches.
Getting around on scooter
Boats on the beach
It's very different from Dehli, but still very much India. Bombay has some
crazy architecture, both good and bad, that makes it quite enjoyable to see.
The Taj Mahal hotel
Near the train station in Mumbai (Bombay)
Here's a great example of that Bombay architecture I was talking about.
This one I like to call "Fallen Building." About a block from my hotel
this building had collapsed without warning.
Doesn't this hotel remind you of the Bates Motel crossed with the Adam's
Family house crossed with the Haunted Mansion from Disneyland?
The haunted hotel
This is the first city in India that really took my breath away. It's
absolutely beautiful and happens to be the place they filmed James Bond's
"Octopussy", which consequently can be seen every night in every guesthouse
The ghats near the floating palace
Rooftop swimming pool in Udaipur
Udaipur at sunset
Monkey at the Monsoon palace in Udaipur
Jaisalmer is like something out of a fairytale, it rises out of the desert
like a mirage and is equally enchanting on the inside where you can get lost
in a maze of alleyways where shopkeepers offer every type of Indian curio you
Entrance to the Jaisalmer fort
While I was in Jaisalmer I met a couple from the UK, Lynsey and Nick,
(hey *(@er) who I ended up going on Camel Safari with. Here's a shot of
Lynsey feeding one of the innumerable street cows.
Lynsey feeding the cows in Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer street scene
Ramesh showing off his painting I just bought
The lake in Jaisalmer
Dessert Camel Safari
We took a three day two night butt bruising Camel Safari through the
vastness of the Rajhastan desert. It's amazing to lay out on the soft
sands of the dunes at night and stare up at the stars and hear only
the sounds of grumbling flatulant camels in the distance.
Rocket taking a drink
The birth of a lamb in the dessert
Lynsey and Nick
Camp at sunset
Nice socks, Lynsey
Sunset in the dessert, or was it sunrise?
Pushkar was the only place I got sick and the only place where I tried the
all you can eat buffet, you can draw your own conclusions. Despite that it
was terribly enjoyable and is
home to a great number of foreigners who it seems have decided to never
leave. A few of which have gone completely native and wander the streets
barefoot dressed in robes. Below is a great picture of an Israeli couple
who never left ;)
Old couple in Pushkar
Streetside cafe in Pushkar
This is considered one of the worst places in India to visit and most people
only make it a day trip. Agra is annoying, dirty and all the other things you
find in India, but has a reputation for being particularly nasty that is all
too well deserved.
Some guesthouse owners, lacking any morality whatsoever, used to deliberately
poison people and then rush them off to supposed
doctors who would keep them drugged and treat them for food poisoning all the
while charging them rediculous rates for treatment. It wasn't until foreign
insurance companies started getting a series of high doctors bills from Agra
did they send in their own team of investigators and send some of the doctors
and guesthouse owners to jail.
Despite it's terrible reputation I found Agra to be
relatively easy to deal with and is home to the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri,
two great examples of Indian architecture.
Entrance to Fatehpur Sikri
Courtyard next to the mosque at Fatehpur Sikri
Tombs in Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri archway
School field trip to the Taj
Sometimes referred to as "Very Nasty", Varanasi is an important spiritual
center for Hindu's. It is thought that if you die here and your body
burned on the ghats you will be released from the cycle of
reincarnation. As a result thousands of people come here to die.
The Ganges is considered a holy river and is used to perform Puja by
thousands of devout Hindu's everyday. This gives the place a unique
religious vibrancy I didn't see anywhere else in India.
Website generated on March 17, 2004 at 23:13