Saturday, February 27

Catching Up

Well since my last post I've recovered quite nicely from the stomach upset and while I still miss my friends and family I'm going to keep going on my adventures. I took a night train from Kochi to Bengalore and then a 4 hour drive with a personal driver to Mysore to be reunited with my tour group. Apparently I hadn't missed much, the tea plantation was pretty but that's all, lots of driving, the animal reserve was interesting but they didn't see much wildlife unless you counted the mice running around the cabins. So now I'm feeling better that I didn't miss the best things ever. The night train was an experiance, I wasn't in the cushy 3rd class that we've travelled the other times on the trains I was in the next step down, 2nd class which is still reserved seating but not AC'd the windows don't really close and I could smell the bathroom from 30 meters away so I didnt' even try to use it. No pillows or blankets either and 3 bunks to each side, I spent my night using my purse and penguin as a pillow hugging my backpack in my bottom cave of a bunk. It wasn't all bad I was sharing my compartment with 2 older couples and 2 women travelling with a small boy. They were very friendly and helpful to this slightly overwhelmed traveller although I'm sure they went home and had a good laugh about me not knowing how to work the windows or fold the seats into beds.

Mysore was well worth the travel to get to although the monuments in teh south are mostly from the british era so not that old compared to the north but the scenery is beautiful along the way. The south also appears to be more prosperous than the north and the people are very friendly and I don't feel like they're just being friendly to get money out of me. We went to a silk factory in Mysore and got a badge from the security guards that allowed us to wander the whole factory, the workers were so proud to show us the machines they ran and the jobs they did while trying out their english on us. The one guy let us know his friend liked me but was too shy to talk to me :P it was pretty funny. The silk was beautiful so of course I bought some, I also bought some cotton sarees meaning I now need another suitcase and soon. Fabric is super cheap here and super beautiful so I'll be working on projects for my home and me for ages to come. The silk saree I bought and then bought matching plain rose silk and I think I'll find a dressmaker at home to make me a beautiful dress out of it.

We then took a much cushier night train from Mysore to Chennai on the opposite coast of India then this morning we drove from Chennai to this small beach town. Tomorrow we'll be touring the town by bicycle in the morning. Today's highlight was that since we're here two days we could send our clothes to be washed...both Merriette and I were getting desperate for that that's our big excitement. After using the internet we'll probably wander the local shops around the hotel. Tonight we'll be taking in the festivities since there's a big local festival happening here where all the Hindu's come to this town once a year to worship and bathe in the ocean. Apparently it's a big party and we're very lucky to be here at this time of year.

Today's lowlight was the visit to the herpetology centre aka snakes, crocodiles, alligators and turtles....not my favorite stop ever. The snake part was horrible with the snake guy making poisoness snakes angry and then dancing out of the way at the last minute all while telling us how many hours we'd have to live if we'd been bit. I also really didn't need to know how many types of snakes live here in india and how many were now in addition to our monkey plan, cockroach plan and mouse plan Merriette and I are working on a snake plan. Most of these emergency plans are more amusing then effective we think but at least we're prepared for anything. LOL

Well I should go actually enjoy some sightseeing and get some sand for my Mom from the local beach (see Mom I remembered)

Wednesday, February 24


Well so much has happened since Agra. We went on to a small village called Orccha where we did almost nothing but relax and it was perfect. Then we went to Khurajuro where there are Jain temples, these are the same temples carved with the Karma Sutra. Very beautiful statuary work there and we stayed in a beautiful hotel. I also spent a good couple hours buying jewelry from a very nice jewlery designer, we sat and had tea together while we bargained and then he showed me his very innovative designs and his diamond collection while they sized the jewelry I bought. By the end I felt like we were family :D Then onto the holiest city in India Varanasi, this is where you go to be cremated and put into the river Ganges. It was beautiful but also disturbing....if you are under 3 years of age, a pregnant woman, a leper or have been bit by a cobra you can't be cremated first...sadly this means the river is disgusting. Then it was back to dehli to say good bye to my tour group and my roommate merriette and I went on to join our second tour. We arrived in Kochi I got off the plane and promptly wanted to run away. HOT HOT HOT and HUMID HUMID HUMID my two least favorite things in the world. Our transfer from the airport went a little awry but eventually we were picked up and delivered to our hotel. We started meeting our group that evening and this group seems to be good too. The next day we went sightseeing for the morning and then took it easy in the afternoon. Supper was eaten on the banks of the ocean at a beautiful restraunt after a fabulous folk dance demonstration. The next morning we were supposed to drive 7 hours into the hill country. However I awoke horribly ill with what is mildly called travellers diharea....I knew I couldn't get on a bus for 7 hours so I remained behind while the group went on. Today I am feeling better slowly adding bland food to my water diet and getting on a sleeper train to rejoin the group. I'm a little nervous about travelling alone but thankfully on our last tour we took a night train so I have an idea about what to expect. I've also been horribly homesick while dealing with this stomach upset and being on my own hasn't helped. Why is it you travel half way around the world only to discover that what you want most is home?

I'm asking for some prayers to help me feel better both emotionally and physically. Also I got news my sister is back in the hospital and it sucks to be so far away and unable to be there helping her through her own struggles. So pray for her as well since that's all the aid I can offer her. Still haven't had a chance to upload pictures, India has lots of internet access but not much upload capacity so it may be London before you get to see some of my pictures.

Thankfully I've only missed two days of touring with the group and will be reunited with my fabulous roommate Merriette again. We've been together 2 and a bit weeks now and I've enjoyed every minute of it. She even left me with medication to help me feel better.

Fun story this morning I went to use my washroom and I don't know who was more scared me or the cockroach on my bathroom floor. I quickly retreated to formulate a cockroach control plan....this was a three step process

1. put on shoes with heavy soles
2. find bug spray
3. proceed to stomp into the bathroom madly spraying bug spray

in the meantime the cockroach had retreated probably down the shower drain and I know have a bathroom that still hours later smells like bug spray. Thankfully this is the first cockroach I've seen all trip and hopefully the last but at least I now have a plan.

Saturday, February 13

Namaste from Agra

Well I've been in India for a week now and I have to say I love it. It's true it's dirty, poverty is everywhere and it's very very crowded but there is an underlying beauty that is undeniable. I've toured many beautiful monuments including the taj mahal, agra fort and amber fort. I've seen Dehli, Jaipur and Agra and also spent a night in a little village. I stand out horribly and get stared at everywhere I go, in the village I also scared the children. I've taken what feels like a million photos, and seen a zillion cows. It's sureal to be here and time doesn't seem to flow the same way here. One week feels like months have passed and I've found a lot of peace and healing here. This trip really is the best thing for helping me heal and I finally feel I've found some sense of being centred in myself while here. With everything I've already seen and experienced I can't believe I have another 3 weeks ahead of me. Tomorrow we go by train to Ochchaw (sp?) and then on to Varanasee the holy city. The tour group I'm with is a great group my roommate and I are the youngest two and the group ranges up into their 60s which makes for some very interesting supper conversation. Our tour guide is excellent, and very funny and very very over protective of's hilarious he hates when we wander off or want to do our own things but he lets us. When I totally overpaided for a book he was personally offended on my behalf but it was totally my fault for not bargaining better. My roommate is from Australia and we're the only two doing the month long tour, she's awesome and we get along great and already have a few in jokes between us. I'm getting a little tired of curry twice a day but the food is excellent and so far no sign of stomach problems. The weather has been mostly warm and humid but with a breeze so even in the direct sun it isn't bad. The flowers are just starting to bloom and everything is green. Animals wander everywhere even in the cities so I've seen...elephants, camels, cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, dogs, squirrel thingies, horses, monkeys several types and more birds than I can name. For an animal lover it's been quite amazing.

Well I'm off to try some more bargaining I did well on my fabric purchases earlier so hopefully I'm improving. I'll try to upload pictures next time but some of these computers look older than me so no guarantees.

Saturday, February 6

Safely Arrived

Well I'm safely arrived in Dehli. For the most part the flights were long but boring, however due to all the time shifting lack of sleep and turbulence from Hong Kong to Dehli was torturous I was pretty sick but once on solid ground I felt much better. The taxi ride from the airport to the hotel was amazing, traffic here is unbelievable, no one drives within any lines, follows the speed limits or uses seat belts. It was like the best amusement park ride ever! I loved every minute of it, unfortunately it was dark still so I didn't see much on my ride but it was fun. The hotel is very nice, plain but good service and clean. I've already met a few people from my tour, but not my roommate yet. I'm really proud of myself I've even gone out into the neighborhood here alone and while I stick out (can you say white) and I don't speak Hindi most people speak English. There is a fantastic looking fruit booth just on the corner so this afternoon I may go purchase a few pieces of fruit to nibble on. Most of my time has been spent sleeping so I'm ready for my tour to begin tonight. These were the few days I was most scared of being on my own and it's been easy. My pack weighs 30lbs and I feel like I overpacked but the one lady I talked to said it sounded like I was good and if I buy too much just buy a cheap suitcase that's what she always does. :D I love permission to shop!!
So far the sounds of Dehli I will remember are horns blaring, dogs barking, and fast spoken hindi swirling around me. I have tasted amazing food spicy and savory all at the same time. Dehli is much cleaner than I expected, dusty but that's a small thing. It's been around 25 degrees so the heat is tolerable the humidity is a little high but still tolerable as well. Glad I brought long skirts they will be much nicer than pants I think.

Well I should go and enjoy some more time in Dehli meet new people and have fun!

Tuesday, February 2

Packing List

I'm all packed except my toothbrush and some of my paper documents that I need to print off and it all fit in the one backpack and my purse. Whew and there's room for expansion (ie shopping) while I'm gone. I do plan on shipping stuff home occasionally and I know if I need I can buy a cheap suitcase in Europe because on the way home I'm allowed 2 checked bags but I figure the less I start out with the better. I'm really trying to travel light but prepared for any actuality. I think I've found a good balance and it helps to start with a great travel backpack from MEC. My month long trip and experiences in Europe last winter really helped me with this too. I also am super organized thanks to Kathryn's help and lots of pencil cases of different types to hold and organize things within my pack.

For those wondering what I packed here's the rough list:






Trousers ( Pants, Jeans )





Sandals ( Flip-flops )






Long underwear

Money and documents



Vaccination certificate

Insurance certificate


Emergency money

Credit/ATM cards

ID card

Address list

Photocopies of passport and other important documents

Photographs for visas/passports etc

International Youth Hostel Card


Paper folder

Airline tickets

Train tickets

Things for packing


Expandable carry-on

Plastic bags ( Ziploc )

Stuff Sack

Miscellaneous equipment




Safety pins

Clothes line


Toilet bag


Extra blades for Razor




Soap box



Sunblock lotion



Hair brush

Barrettes, headbands, hair ties

Laundry soap

Laundry bag

Sink plug

Fingernail clippers




General health items

Prescription medicine

Insect repellent

Band-Aids ( Plaster )

First aid kit

Chewing gum

Pills, tablets and medicines

Water purifying tablets

Motion sickness tablets

Fever tablets

Pain killers

Allergy pills

Malaria tablets

Diarrhea medicine

General electrical items

Wall socket adapter


Bookmark reading light

Extra batteries

Digital camera

Memory cards

Battery charger

Associated cables

Camera bag

Music player



Two More sleeps!

Well it's the final countdown till I leave, everything appears to be in place. My friend Kathryn the most organized person on earth is coming to help me pack everything I think I need for 3 months into one tiny backpack. Ok it's not really tiny it just seems that way when you think I'll be living out of it for 3 months but that's part of the adventure. Just waiting for purolator to deliver the package of documents from my travel agent and then tonight's job is scanning in all my important documents and id and emailing them to myself and my parents so that if something happens i have copies.

My cat/house sitter K has arrived and I feel a bit invaded. Hadn't realized how much I was getting used to being on my own and how much I like that. Had to have the chat cuz I realize I'm just not into him that way so we're just friends and that's where it's staying, so all that worry and drama for nothing. Sometimes life is that way but this way it's easier this is just a friend thing and there's no complications to mess this up. Tyb already adores K and is happy to follow him around for pets. Adrianna is still standoffish but K won't let her bully him so at least she'll be well looked after and he even tries to pet her once in a while. So I'm confident they're in good hands and will be well looked after.