Archive for Traveling

  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Travel Tips for India

    Posted on 02.16.08 | 13 Comments

    Sunrise at 6:20am, Feb 14, 2008. Alleppy, Kerala.

    By Tina Su

    Awoken by the sound of roosters and black birds, I crawled out of the mosquito net to meditate and to catch the sunrise in one of the most beautiful places in the world: Alleppy in Kerala, India. I am now sitting on the front porch of the simple palm tree hut where we’re staying. I can see in front of me: serene alleyways of calm rivers, rows and rows of palm trees, birds flying in schools into the horizon and hues of pinks and blues and yellows out in the sky. Occasionally, groups of two or three men will pass gracefully along the calming river in a traditional Indian gondola on their way to the morning market.

    I am in love. Not just because it’s valentine’s day and we’re supposed to feel so, but because I have witnessed a slice of heaven here in South India.

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  • The Big Day

    Posted on 02.04.08 | 13 Comments

    Tina’s things all in ziplock bags, ready to be packed.

    The day we leave for India has finally arrived. It feels so ominous, but we’re glad we finally get to leave.

    We’ve passed being heavily stressed, then quietly nervous, and finally excited. The last week has been lived entirely in anticipation of this day. From trips in and out of our doctor’s offices, to strategically packing the apartment, to planning, to shopping, there have been few moments we haven’t been thinking about this trip. The last three days have been the busiest, as we packed the apartment, move to a friend’s house, and helped our subletter move in. We’ve packed, and packed, and double checked all our bags. It feels great to be fully prepared, and have a few spare moments to sit in relaxed anticipation of our first trek; to the airport.

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