Archive for India

  • India Ends with the Andaman Islands

    Posted on 04.30.08 | 11 Comments

    Beach on Havelock Island

    The Andaman Islands are a set of tiny islands sprinkled in the Indian Ocean. The islands are politically a part of India, but are geographically closer to Thailand and Myanmar (Burma). A hand full of indigenous tribes still reside within the jungles on secluded islands, mostly in the Nicobar islands. We spent two blissful weeks on Havelock Island, roaming around on a motorcycle, scuba diving, rolling down the sandy beaches, walking around the jungle looking for elephants, and enjoying fresh tropical fruits at the cost for pennies.

    The Andaman Islands felt like the calm lull after the storm. After enjoying a little slice of home in Brian’s comfortable and stylish flat in Chennai, we were back on the journey. We got to the airport early in the morning, only to find that our flight had been delayed for several hours. Since the security guard wouldn’t even let us in to the baggage check, we curled up on the leather covered airport benches. The Chennai airport was the most modern airport we’d seen in India. Having only seen the roads in the dark, Brian’s flat and the airport, we had a pretty high opinion of Chennai. I rested comfortably in an Indian airport, for the first time.

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  • The Road To Bangalore

    Posted on 04.25.08 | 1 Comment


    With our experiences on the Indian trains in Kerala and Rajasthan behind us, we weren’t looking forward to another train ride. After a couple hours of online research over an internet connection that puts my patience to the test, we discover that it will be many thousands of rupees to fly to Bangalore. We decide we can’t possibly afford the flight, which leaves us only one option; the train. We search a little deeper and find that the flight from Delhi to Bangalore is reasonably priced, but flights out of Varanasi are overpriced. We rationalize that any option saving us from a 57 hour train and the Varanasi airport can’t be all bad. In my stomach, I could feel we were embarking on an adventure. In hindsight, that feeling in my stomach was really something else.

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  • The Spirit of Varanasi

    Posted on 04.18.08 | 7 Comments


    There is no place in the world like Varanasi. The town on the river Ganga has been marked as one of the oldest inhabited regions in the world, and it shows. It’s not the Ghats, the water or the spirit that is most breathtaking, but the corruption and deception. Varanasi considered one of the Holiest cities in India, attracting hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each day to bathe in the river water.

    Varanasi is a stark contrast from the mountainous plateau of Ladakh. The temperature was a humid twenty to thirty degrees higher, forcing Tina and I to shed all the clothing we could immediately upon arrival. The clear blue rapid waters of the Indus river were replaced by the centuries-old pollution of the relaxed Ganges. The picturesque mountain ranges were noticeably missing from the dirty and crumbling ruins of mass and ancient civilization. The deepest contrast was in our interactions with the locals, who really left me dumbfounded.

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  • Warmth on the Frozen Ladakh Plateau

    Posted on 04.05.08 | 5 Comments

    After the high intensity action and sleepless nights in Delhi, Tina and I both took a breath of fresh air when we arrived in Ladakh. The air-born pollution in Delhi is as suffocating as opening your window in Beijing, and the calm mountain air was exactly what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, we hadn’t anticipated poisoning ourselves.

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  • Taj Mahal

    Posted on 03.16.08 | 2 Comments

    By Adam Tait

    Tina and I made a quick exit after Sonu & Tashu’s wedding ceremony in Delhi, as we were hoping to make it to Agra to witness the Taj Mahal over night.

    Avlok’s father had helped us secure a car and driver for the long drive, which we had been told would take about three hours. The agreed price was 2200 rupees ($55 USD) for the car, driver and gas, and remaining in Agra overnight. When it was time to pay, we were charged 3300 rupees ($83 USD), because the driver had switched on the air-conditioning, despite us having never asked. We had packed all our things and loaded them into the car that morning, and were now prepared to leave directly from the wedding.

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  • An Indian Wedding

    Posted on 03.14.08 | 3 Comments

    Jewelery worn by the bride on her wedding day. March, 2008. New Delhi, India.

    By Adam Tait

    Nearly midway through our stay in India, Tina and I had the good fortune to attend a reputably magnificent Indian wedding in the capitol, New Delhi. I have a good friend from school, Avlok Kohli, who heard we were headed to India and insisted that we attend his cousin’s wedding.

    Both Tina and I are so deeply grateful that we did because it offered us a view of India that was both amazing and completely unlike anything we had seen so far, or expected to see.

    For a traveller there are two completely different views of India; from the outside looking in and from the inside looking out. The extended family is the atomic institution upon which India is built, and once accepted as a family member, the world instantly lights up.

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  • India Hates Me

    Posted on 03.02.08 | 5 Comments

    View into the old city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

    By Adam Tait

    These words are coming in the heat of passion, backed by fear for my life. Not more than a moment ago, a bee the size of a hummingbird flew in through one of the eight windows in our hotel room that does not have a screen. Both Tina and I scurried madly around the room, until I finally found an object I deemed large enough to kill the bee in a single whack. As I returned from the bathroom with a plastic pail (normally for use as a manual biday), the bee had paused on the ceiling to do an upside-down hip-hop style belly flop.

    The power had just come back on, after the daily power outage, and we suspected that the bee might been drawn by the light. Tina jumped up from her spot cowering in the corner to flick off all the light switches. She exclaimed “I can’t take this anymore. I’m going outside!”, just as the bee circled the room once more. The bee landed on one of the two windows that does have a screen, and I grab the guestbook filled with names of French and British people, preparing to the trap the pest in my biday bucket. As luck would have it, the window screen was not sealed and the bee slowly waddled out. I quickly slammed the shutters behind him.

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  • The Majesty of Udaipur

    Posted on 02.29.08 | 2 Comments

    Women washing clothing and bathing at Gangaur Ghat in Udaipur, Rajasthan.

    Tina and I have just concluded our week in Udaipur, the first city in our tour of India’s Rajasthan state. I certainly enjoyed our visit. Though, I’m not sure I can say the same for Tina, who has been caught nose deep in Harry Potter books six and seven. Luckily, I do get regular updates of which characters are killed in fictional magic battles, amidst the bright red sunsets over the fairy-tale lake.

    Tina immersed in Harry Potter over lunch at Mewar Hevali. Udaipur, Rajasthan.

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  • Alleppey (Alappuzha) Traveling Tips

    Posted on 02.23.08 | 9 Comments

    Malayalam Resort viewed from lake, showing day bed in yellow. Alleppey, Kerala.

    By Tina Su

    Alleppey (Alappuzha) is one of those fantastic towns where days can drift by while relaxing with a good book and watching happy village life flow by in front of you. This sensation is in great contrast to northern India. Here, the pace is slower and people are always smiling.

    Most travelers miss the gem by rushing through Alleppey and jumping straight into an overnight houseboat. We recommend that you stay in a guesthouse along the backwaters for at least one or two nights (we stayed for 6 nights). Take this opportunity to kick back and relax in one of the most chilled out places in India. We used this time to study the houseboats and decide on the type of houseboat we wanted.

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  • A Week of Soothing Warmth: Alleppey

    Posted on 02.19.08 | 1 Comment

    Villager’s means of transportation: canoes. Feb 14, 2008. Alleppy, Kerala.

    Alleppey is the place of tropical dreams. Forests of palm trees. Huge networks of interconnecting backwater rivers surrounded by massive rice paddy plantations and tiny villages. Bright misty sunny days marked by brightly colored sunrises and sunsets.

    The villages that line the 200 meter wide rivers seem to blend together as you pass by them. Only a narrow one-man path and a single line of palm trees separates the rivers from the hundred acre wide paddies.

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