A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about sunrise

Famous Last Words

The good news for Chewy is that up until now, everyone has been accounted for (even when the Aussies were lost, we sort of knew where they were). We get to the train station and only have a few minutes before the train leaves. Seeming as we are always well fed and hydrated, we were not in a hurry to get food- but Skinny and Poutine were. So, off they go to find train platform snacks... Skinny is back rather quick with some random packaged food (quite the change from the white starch he's been eating since Varanasi). The train starts moving... Chewy casually walks back to come play cards with us and we realize- no Poutine. And the train is off the platform on its way to the next station. What a stressful mess!! After watching Chewy run up the train a few times, she randomly surfaced from another carriage. Dodged that bullet.

I'm starting to like the trains, and have managed to restrict my fluid intake enough before train rides that I haven't had to use the toilets once (thank you dinosaur bladder). We are traveling in first class air conditioned cabins mostly, and they have been quite nice (nice is a relative term here). My favorite part has been being able to buy hot chai in tiny cups while we're sitting playing cards or while I'm writing to all of you out there. It's actually very relaxing.

When we arrive in Delhi the three of us had to get to the airport to finalize changing our tickets. G Adventures only uses 2 or 3 taxi drivers in Delhi, because they are very reliable and honest, we're told. Chewy hooks us up with a lift to the airport and we're off. Without being long winded- we had a minor catastrophe with changing our tickets. We ended up with tickets to Kat on March 8 (instead of March 5), and there were absolutely no seats left on any of the Jet Airways flights on Sunday or Monday. So frustrating! But when you get lemons, add some vodka and power through. We ended up buying three new tickets on IndiGo for March 5. We'll deal with trying to get a refund when we have more time.

When we left the terminal- we had one of the most intense paparazzi moments yet. People with camera phones multiplied rapidly- taking our photos, some posing with us, others just trying to get as many photos as possible. At the point Ging yelled "uh, that one's got a video camera!" we took off across the road to try and find our driver. 15 minutes of fame- check.

In the afternoon we went to see the India Gate, a monument in memory of the soldiers who gave their lives in battles for India. It is likely the most touristy space we have been to, with street vendors everywhere, children peddling handmade bracelets and even suave looking Indian men boasting to take your picture for you. We found out from G6 a bit later that he had been harassed by a young girl to buy a bracelet, and the entire altercation garnered a bit of an audience... The poor kid even turned on the water works. Note to the wise: just say no, and keep saying no. Poor G6. Big heart and wants to help everyone (he had his change for the poor in his pocket), but is just getting hassled by the aggressive ones here in Delhi.

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For our last supper, the group went out together to a restaurant called Spicy by Nature in Karol Bagh. It was hands down the best meal we have had in India so far. All of the dishes had a unique flavor- and the Mushroom Dhingri was amazing!!! We had a stock standard share fest again- palak paneer, chana masala, tandoori kadai gobhi and tandoori roti. A perfect meal for the three of us. Skinny and G6 went to town on the menu- consuming copious amounts of food (and the girliest drinks on the menu). I am honestly shocked to watch how these kittens eat!!

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G6's dinner

After dinner, we wanted to round out our trip with a night on the town. Now you think it would be easy to convince the Aussies to come out- but it was like pulling teeth! They finally caved and joined us for a drink at Jade Garden... Let's just say that none of them are winning any awards for their drink choices. Chocolatini? Way to do Oz proud boys. After one drink, the boys called it a night. The three of us walked another half block before deciding that Delhi at night was not where we should be by ourselves.

Sunday was our last day in Delhi. Naturally, we ventured out to check out the Meena Bazaar in the city. Delhi has one of the nicest metro's I have been on, is quite easy to navigate, and accesses many parts of the city (airport included). As the capital of India, the city is beginning to become more evolved in terms of cleanliness in comparison with the rest of The country. There were trash bins (and recycling bins) for once! Because of this- the new, very modern metro is actually clean and comfortable. Interesting fact: there are women only cars on the metro. Food for thought I suppose.

The Meena Bazaar was intense. Not only was it scorching hot outside, the market was crowded with men, all shuffling through, purchasing jeans and shirts and such. This was actually only our second experience with groping in public. Nothing serious, just a bum grab, but it's disturbing nonetheless as it is definitely nothing that any of us expect/welcome. The only solution is to try and avoid crowded places- which can be difficult depending where you are. After about 20 minutes of being hassled and harassed at the market, we ducked out into an open courtyard to make a decision about how we were going to get ourselves out of there and to somewhere to have lunch. Even sitting outside the chaos, within a minute we had an audience of about 15 men, just standing and watching us. Chewy- if you ever read this- at that moment we appreciated how much having you around deterred this from happening during the trip. Luckily, a kind old gentleman yelled at the crowd and they scattered. We all really wish we knew what he said.

After a disgustingly large lunch of masala dosa and poori, we headed back to the hotel to meet the Aussies. Holi (the festival of colors), is on Thursday. Basically: food, drink, water balloons and colored powder. So much fun! The kids are getting prepped for it already, and on our walk back, B gets ambushed by 4 little boys with water balloons! Her entire back was soaking wet and the three of us giggle our way back to the hotel. I hope we get to play Holi in Annapurna.

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Too much for the 3 of us!

Skinny is down for the count again- poor kid has just not had great luck with India. So G6, Curly, the Norwegians and the Trio had a nice last meal together at Spicy by Nature. Being the last night, we thought we'd have some fun, so after dinner we decided to enjoy a few pops on the roof of our hotel... Dear Aussies: I talked some smack and then Karma got me. You can count that one- thanks for being fun on our last night in India!

We're back in Kat now to start the next part of the adventure: trekking Annapurna. It's going to be a massive change from what we've been doing- but we're all stoked about it. Our 15 day jaunt with our group was fantastic. Great to get to know some new people from around the world in your travels. We'll miss the Norwegian Boy sneaking up on us and scaring us, the cuteness of the Brits holding hands everywhere we went, the watchful eyes (and card cheating eyes) of Chewy who always had our back- and I suppose hearing about the HHH's and the BT Combos from the Aussies (FYI we have been spotting lots of HHH today kittens). But on to the next chapter. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of this story.

We'll miss you India,
L, B & the Ging

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Posted by ellie nicole 09:46 Archived in India Tagged nature india hotel metro sunrise garden by delhi gate jade spicy karol bagh Comments (1)

Chai And Biscuits

We are starting to get quite the reputation as a traveling trio. We are constantly buzzing around at all times of the day. Busy going on excursions, or leading ourselves around town, to find new restaurants or to just explore. The three of us work well together too, always taking initiative and being open minded and flexible. Super chill and fun lovin' if you will.

Yesterday after the tour of the palace, we arranged to do a sunrise walk with Indu (INR 350 each, I am waiting for Indu to send me his contact info as he was terrific). We met him at 615 and we set off to watch the sunrise over the countryside. It was a brisk morning however- we were even able to see our breath... Nothing like home however!!

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Indu- is a birdwatcher. He has identified over 70 types of birds in and around Orchha, so needless to say, on a morning walk he was busy spotting everything from owls to vultures to parakeets and kingfishers. We were walking through fields of mustard and wheat, just peacefully enjoying a morning walk. We had chai and biscuits on the banks of the Betwa River, which runs south to north through India. Indu tells us stories of how they spend time on the banks of the river in the hot summer heat, eating and enjoying beer as it is too hot to do much else (at 45C I would have to agree).

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Walking through the fields

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Chai on the Betwa

As expected- we needed some breakfast after our walk and we headed straight back to Ram Raja. The breakfast assortment was good, but the pancakes were the item that stood out because of the delicacies of the ingredients... peanut butter and nutella!! Ging was super pumped for the PB. We spotted G6 half way through breakfast eating by himself- apparently he had ordered multiple kinds of pancakes (nutella and peanut butter!!) and decided that he would join us after he had enjoyed a gluttonous morning feast.

This afternoon, we went to Indu's home to learn from his wife how to cook several Indian dishes: masala chai (!!!!!), aubergine curry, potato and pea curry, raita, chutney, spinach and potato curry, veg biryani and chapati. We sat patiently on the floor as this lovely young mother recited from memory, the full recipes for each dish as she casually made them in front of us over a propane stove. Well worth the INR500 to learn authentic recipes and enjoy another Indian lunch.

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Cooking up a storm

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The final product

We're on the train now- headed to Agra... After a few poolside Kingfisher's before departing, we're all in very good spirits for this short ride to our next stop. We have been playing cards on every train ride- mainly "Asshole." Chewy's a cheat, the Norwegian Boy is a sneaky one and Skinny likes to talk smack whether he's winning or losing. Just for those who care- we are always winning.

Orchha was a little slice of slow quiet heaven in India after being in Varanasi. I could have had a few more by the pool this afternoon and been quite alright with that...

Eating our way around,
L, B & the Ging

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Posted by ellie nicole 01:51 Archived in India Tagged food palace sunrise tour cooking class orchha Comments (1)

From Mountains to Jungle

The Ging and I woke up in a bit of a panic as I had set the alarm but had failed to turn it on... So instead of having piles of time to get ready we had about 20 minutes. This compounded with the fact that the electricity was out when we woke up made our early morning routine quite difficult- so we improvised and got ready by candlelight, quite romantic. We both know as we're struggling in the dark, B will be cruising around with her headlamp- and will be more than happy to let us know how functional it is when we see her (it was the first thing she told us actually!)

After having to scale the marble stairwell in the dark, we headed off on our 20 minute ride to Sarangkot to catch the sunrise over the Himilayas. Sarangkot is on top of a hillside with a great vantage point of the mountains. I believe it is about Rs25 to enter, however Chewy takes care of those details so I'm not sure.

As we enjoyed a cup of coffee while the sun came up we couldn't help but talk about how amazing it is to watch the sun come up in the Rockies in the winter when you're headed to the hill, or what it's like to drive through the Okanagan Valley in the summertime. Funny we can be so far away from home but still be reminded quickly how beautiful our home country is. The sunrise over the Himilayas is quite spectacular- and although the Rockies are home- the Himilayas are impressive.

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After sunrise we enjoyed a lovely spread of coffee, mixed fruit porridge, boiled eggs and banana pancake at OUaT... We are pretty much regulars now, and we have all found our item of choice for breakfast. No sense in messing up a good thing.

After breakfast, we left Hotel Stupa behind and hit the road again to head to Chitwan, south of Pokhara by a 5 hour drive. Goodbye Pokhara- we'll see you in couple of weeks.

We are staying at Sapana Village Lodge in Chitwan, and it's gorgeous. It is set at the boarder of Chitwan National Park in south east Nepal. The scenery (and temperature) is vastly different then in Pokhara. It's jungle, wetlands and agriculture. The balcony of the restaurant overlooks the river and onto the green space behind the village. The sky is a beautiful blue and there is a calm peace here. Love.

We were invited on an orientation walk through the village in the afternoon. After learning that the average income in Nepal is around USD$450, you start to appreciate that the Nepalese people are very self sufficient, however have a different quality of life than we do in Canada. Our guide was very busy giving the group information about the houses, food and people when the three of us started spotting the women and children...

The difference a smile and Namaste will make. Children were curious about us- the three of us girls in particular as we were waving and saying hello to as many as we could. B & I encouraged the Kitten to go give a Canada pin to one of the littlest girls we had seen running through the street. Watching Ging have that experience for the first time- putting a smile on the face of a child who speaks no English, who will likely grow up in this village and who might just keep that maple leaf beside her bed until she is watching her own daughter run into the road towards smiling strangers. It's so much more rewarding to experience this part of culture. The information is interesting, and important- but the people are what makes Nepal.

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The three of us enjoyed a spread of dal bhat and a couple bottles of red wine for dinner back at Sapana. We have all been quite surprised how every restaurant seems to offer so many types of cuisine- Italian, Mexican, Chinese. We all seem to immediately flip to the Nepalese/Indian part of the menu. Ging and B are teaching me their ability to translate food items- dal, paneer, palak- are all now part of my food vocabulary.

Chewy sat with us for an hour answering our questions about Indian culture, tradition and customs. About his family and how the caste system works (or used to work). All while enjoying a couple of rum's- he's an intelligent and quiet guy- who has been keeping his eye on us since the moment he met us.

Tomorrow morning is our elephant ride and our jungle safari... No big deal.

xo
The Tender Trio

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Posted by ellie nicole 20:26 Archived in Nepal Tagged sunrise nepal chitwan sarangkot himilayas sapana Comments (0)

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