Je bekijkt de reis...
5 februari 2009
I hope you're all reading my other blog! only disadvantage is that i cannot receive any posted reactions on that one so I can't tell .. therefore the story that's split up on the other blog now in full here, it's about my most recent journey down south. What's more, tomorrow i'll go to China! More stories and loads of pics can be found on my other blog; Tony-in-india.blogspot.com
It all started off rather impulsively, asking a co-trainee of mine whether she was in for some travelling. Sure, where do you want to go? Goa and Kerala? Sounds good. With that set of mind Marieke and I got on the airplane to Mumbai.
The plan, insofar one could call this a plan, was to catch a night bus to Goa once we got off the plane. However, these buses tend to leave around eight p.m. if on time and up to eleven o’clock if late and thus our endeavours of finding one at 1 a.m. proved to be rather fruitless. Almost equally difficult to realise was Plan B; finding a room to spend the night. It took around seven negative responses of hotels in the area before we got admitted to a very shady place with grumpy employees who did not appreciate being woken up in the middle of the night by two random backpackers. They money we paid for the few hours of sleep could have gotten us a week in a guesthouse in Goa but once necessity arises these arguments are pushed back and the prospect of a shower and a bed are stronger than any monetarily dominated reasoning.
Mumbai by day treated us far better and I have to admit that it has everything that Delhi lacks; pubs and bars, the sea, a (modest) skyline, nice looking buildings, churches, efficient buses.. and apparently even nightlife (!). Things are definitely expensive though, as a city as such requires Westerners to live there for a while to know how to get around. But all in all a big plus for India’s biggest city, and it seems we’re in the wrong metropolis of India.
Getting on the bus that night was quite a struggle again, with a far too tight time schedule that later ended up being totally superfluous as our bus was about three hours late. But in the very end we found ourselves in a comfy sleeper bus with a nice double cabin and an annoying air conditioner that we could not switch off. Being totally unaware of where to go, despite having waited for three hours with the lonely planet in our hands without looking in it and another, say, twelve on the bus, we got off in Goa with no clue what to do or where to go. A slightly lonely planet guided gamble brought us to a nice affordable guesthouse about five minutes from the beach. Spending the first day lying in the sun, drinking cocktails on the beach, swimming in the warm and rather clean sea.. Goa treats its guests well. Moment supreme was dinner that night. During the day we had already witnessed two men with fishing nets entering the sea, and when I went inside the restaurant in front of which we had stationed ourselves to pay for our cocktails I saw various fish hanging from hooks. ‘Hammer shark’ the guy whom I handed over the money to said, pointing at the biggest fish the size of my lower arm. Unconsciously I knew it already, but it took me some time to decide that that would be my dinner for the night. And there we sat at half past nine in the evening.. looking out on the sea and an ink dark sky, dotted with stars. Light came from nicely decorated slightly dimmed lamps and various candles, the Eagles were playing softly from the speakers.. and in front of me, on a giant plate, my hammer shark. It was deliciously prepared and truly one of the very best meals I have ever had, with finger chips and salad artistically cut and arranged accordingly on the sides and a candle shining from within a tomato. The cocktails we took as a dessert as well as the imported cold beer made the whole dinner complete, as we had already had enjoyed a great starter to warm up for the ‘big fish’ ;)
Since we had only two days to spend in Goa, partially due to our previous delay and partially because we had a train booked that departed Monday evening, we decided that another full day at the beach would be a bit of a waste since Goa has so much more to offer. Hence we rented a scooter, grabbed a map of the state, and took off down south. Goa is a little paradise, as all you encounter on your way is beautiful and cozy and brings along an overwhelming feeling of holidays. As an ex-colony of Portugal it’s flooded with churches and Mediterranean looking houses, fortresses, and other features that the North of India so desperately misses. We followed the road down to an old Portuguese fortress which name I could not even remember every time we had to ask for directions and thus have no clue about now but which was certainly worth visiting. The fort itself was nothing special, just some remnants of the old walls and a church in the middle, but the view from one of the towers was breathtaking. The picture I attached does the scenery no justice but it is the closest thing I can supply you with.
The train to Kerala was two hours delayed, two hours which we could have spent on the beach that we had left behind with so much regret, but that’s India. Come to think of it, the train had departed in Amritsar (from the Golden temple, remember?) and had thus already covered quite some kilometers since Punjab finds itself totally in the North of India. This time we actually spent some time on the train planning our journey ahead and after repeatedly consulting our hope and salvation on the road – the Lonely Planet – we had decided on a plan: the backwaters! It took us another bus ride of two hours but eventually we had a houseboat arranged to cover the famous backwaters with, departing the next morning. Quite an expensive 22 hours, but the presence of three men with the sole devotion of making our journey as pleasant as possible, a great bedroom, welcome coconut drink and flower necklace, great lunch, even better dinner, and fantastic views on the way made it all worth it. The backwaters are waterways that function as roads in an area covered mainly by rice fields and jungle, and on the way we saw various houses, schools, villages, and plantations. Children go to school by school bus / boat, people go to church by boat, and selling fresh fish has become the profession of more than a few families.
The next day we took a two and a half hour boat to this village from where a five hour bus would take us to this place all the way to the East, deep in Jungle covered mountain area Kerala, where a Tiger Preservation park was located. That night be booked our full day tour for the next day, starting off with a safari tour by jeep, followed up by a trek through the jungle and some peddling over the lake by boat. We actually happened to see some fairly interesting animals but nothing spectacular, none of the 48 tigers currently inhabiting the vast park was spotted (which was to be expected) but neither did we see any of the wild elephants. Witnessing from big heaps of elephant dung and the unmistaken tracks these massive mammals leave behind their presence was badly concealed but the actual animals remained surprisingly well hidden, given their size. What we did see were giant buffalos, a whole bunch of uninteresting birds, a wide variety of monkeys, and a squirrel the size of a small dog. The latter still managed to swoop from branch to branch as if it was not restricted by the law of gravity that usually keeps creatures of such size closer to the ground, be it with the exception of the previously mentioned monkeys who spend more time floating in midair than actually sitting in a tree. All in all the beautiful flora and fauna was something to appreciate as well; the combination of mountains and jungle provides a beautiful landscape to roam around.
The next day we took on the famous ‘elephant shower’ that had been our main motivation to make the journey all the way to the East, or I should say, my main motivation which dragged Marieke along. ‘Washing an elephant’ had been the metaphor for my main impetus to make the whole journey down south in the first place. Hence we sat on the back of one of those units the next day while the guy guiding the animal maximally exploited the capacity of our camera by constantly taking the most random pictures, initially appreciated but later slightly scrutinized by us as during later stages (the actual shower) the device had almost run out of battery. After the ride we took the elephant to a basin where it lied down to be washed. Along with its caretakers we used pieces of coconut shell to scrub off dirt and dung from its body (we actually paid a whole lot for this :P ) while cooling it down with water from a tube. After washing the elephant it was time to take turns, as I got to sit on its back once more but now to be given a shower! Taking water from a bucket with its trunk in order to subsequently splash it all over me the elephant returned the favour of a good cold midday bath! Truly an exceptional experience that was worth all the money we overpaid for it.
The last day of our trip was spent in Fort Kochi, a lovely Portuguese town with picturesque streets, charming cafes and houses, pretty white churches and view on the harbour. The Dutch palace we visited was Dutch nor worth visiting but the two rupee entrance fee was not a big loss. On the airplane several hours later (after the usual rush within too tight a schedule and the slight touch of excitement that goes along with it) neither of us felt like going back to Delhi (to express it decently) but inevitably we ended up back home. Sitting in a cab Sunday night with my backpack full of dirty clothing next to me thoughts drifted back to the fresh fish and sunset in Goa...
5 februari 2009 10:39 | Door: knuffelpad
Hey you!! het klinkt weer ge-wel-dig!! ik probeer je verhalen wel bij te houden maar ben nu aan het afstuderen dus sorry voor het eerst in mijn leven kwam de studie eerst:P:P nu ga ik aan mijn eindstage beginnen dus time is my friend again;-) Maar ik heb dus nu vernomen dat je je familie hebt gevonden.. de olifanten.. past bij je eetprobleem he schat!.. haha nee kiddin.. echt een super leuke ervaring man. ben jaloers maar dat zeg ik volgens mij al voor de 100ste keer.. wanneer kom je richting het hollandse landschap?? (juli?).. dat kan ook best aantrekklijk zijn, wel oppervlakkig maar gezelligheid gegarandeerd;-) hihi.. verder is het hier allemaal vrij hollands en vivske viert zaterdag haar verjaardag dus party party.. koen heb je miss al gesproken na zijn val op wintersport en jel is op zoek naar werk en leo is ook alles oke en veel studeren.. dus you see.. niets veranderd echt als je weg bent haha.. voor de rest wacht ik natuurlijk op jou mijn prins want de rest laat ik maar niet opstijgen op dat paard want dat werkt toch niet haha.. dus kom maar terug dan ben ik niet meer zo single in het huis mits jij natuurlijk een onwijze asiatische stoot hebt gevonden.. en aangezien ik jou flirt skills ken zal dat wel weer:P.. ik hoor het wel moat!! sorry voor weer een absoluut chaotische reactie:P
20 februari 2009 13:06 | Door: Jayma en Karlijn V5A
Hee Teun a.k.a. Tony :P
Je hebt een hele trotse papa hoor! Hij heeft ons (Jayma en Karlijn) je site laten zien met de foto's .. niet alleen de site is favoriet, de verhalen worden ook in de klas verteld. :P Veel plezier op reis!!
xx Karlijn en Jayma
20 februari 2009 14:35 | Door: Teun / Tony
haha superfraai! bedankt voor de reactie jayma e karlijn. werk nu ook als leraar op een mid school (in china) dus in dat opzicht is t eventjes 'zo vader zo zoon' ;)