Saturday, February 27, 2010

Delhi Belly

Almost 2 days from when the trouble began I am almost feeling 100% better. But Friday afternoon, roaming the markets of Pushkar, I got hit with the travellers bug that was pretty ferocious, otherwise known here as Delhi Belly. Without going into any unneccesary details, both yesterday and today we have had slow days (though 6 hrs of yesterday was spent in a car in mid day heat- not exactly a dream come true recovery place after spending all of the night before praying to the porcelain god).

Stop. Rewind. So from Delhi, Jessie and I made the most amazing decision to hire our own car and driver to show us through Rajasthan. This is a first for me in all my travel experience and I have to admit, it is pretty damn comfortable. The car is basic, no AC, and our driver Vikram has the strongest Indian accent, so we probably are only catching about 60% of what he says but its amazing. We get chauffeured everywhere. So far no trains, no buses, no time schedules, or tickets or hassles. Dont get me wrong, once we get to Udaipur this all ends and we get to delve into the realities of India and everyday travel, but for now....this is plush and Im soaking it up!

We are on a whirlwind tour of Rajasthan. In 6 nights we have visited 5 different cities. All of which have been amazing in their own way. We left Delhi and arived in Agra and saw the Taj Mahal. That was the high so far. We splurged and took the penthouse suite (nothing to write home about!) of the guest house we were staying in and got up for sunrise and watched it from the roof top, then walked the 5 minuted to the Taj at 8am and wandered around. AMAZING!!!!

From Agra we went to a place called Ranthambhore where we were up at 5:30 and headed out a top an open roof truck on a morning safari. We didnt end up seeing a tiger but did catch a leopard, antelopes, a few deers, loads of monkeys and lotsa birds. Somewhat anti-climatic.

From Ranthambhore was Jaipur, then Pushkar and then Jodhpur (this is where Jodhpur pants got their name) We have seen too many Forts & temples and Palaces to name them all but as always Ive gone camera happy and have loads of pictures.

India is pretty incredible. Like no other country I have been to. Im learning all about different religions living in unity and trying to soak up as much culture as possible, which isnt tough to do here. Unfortunatley it is dirtier than ANY place ive ever laid eyes on. There is pollution everywhere and the standard of living is crazy....after getting sick im a little paranoid now of germs and eating safely but its tough to do here. Dirt and grime and litter are EVERYWHERE. Jessie read a funny quote from a book she is reading saying 'the only safe place to touch is yourself in India' and its so true!

I hear its snowing at home. Its roasting hot here. Like really really really hot. What sucks though is that everyday we have been covered top to bottom as much as possible with long pants and usually tees and a shawl to wrap around our arms and shoulders. The Indians wear enough clothing to keep you warm on a cool autumn day in Toronto. Men women and children. Its INSANE, they layer up tank top, shirts, vest, blazer, and even when draped in clothes and saris there is layer on top of layer, and always a scarf around their necks or heads with turbans....i break out into a sweat just thinking about it!!!! But when in Rome......we're trying to stay covered. SO as the snow falls you can take a little comfort in how uncomfortable Jess and I are in the heat :)

Ok, breakfast awaits me, time for some chai tea to start my morning and then we are off to visit another Fort in Jodhpur and then headed to Udaipur, via Ranakpor!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Oops. There was England too.

Although today is Day One of India, there was a perfect transition from my realities in Toronto to my extended vacation by spending 10 days in my home away from home. England was perfect as it always is, just as I left.

I had a perfect dose of Amanda, who though I hadnt spoken to her in months it took mere minutes to swing back into the comfort of our old conversations and routines. Hanging at the flat, amazing conversations, great food, lots of wine and CARDS!!! I did a little bit of touristy things just so I could squeeze in some people watching in Camden and then an afternoon in Central London walking around before a hot dinner date & then theatre with Amanda to see (again, but probably better than the first time) THE WOMAN IN BLACK, in a small indie type theatre in Covent Garden.

I made it down to Brighton briefly but still managed to get in lots of trouble for Valentine's Day having a nice meal out, bar hopping and then eventually a club on the seafront with Will & company, which lasted way into the daylight hours, as usual when he is about! Even though it was brief my love affair with Brighton continues, some things will never change. And I think I might've actually gotten Garry, at a (very!) weak moment, to consider eventually moving there with me :)

I also got a night out with Natasha, and a small glimpse into the world she has created for herself in London. I loved seeing all the old faces and the level of familiarity with London after all these years.

England was an easy transition; a perfect segway from my day to day life in Toronto, to the what lies ahead. Now back to India....

Friday, February 19, 2010

India. I am here.

August 2008 was the last time I posted an entry and it was on my journey home from Thailand after a few months in Southeast Asia. Now a year and half later, a week and a half away from home, I find myself back in Asia, feeling just as confused as i was the day I arrived in Bangkok.

After a long hiatus, I am back!

It took 10 days in England to let it sink in, I am finally here....with no job to worry about at home, no rent to pay, and pretty much no responsibilities aside from finding a place to lay my head every night and squeezing every bit of enjoyment I possibly can out of every single day!

I am in India. I landed in New Delhi at 6 o'clock this morning and my head is still spinning trying to come to grips with it. I got here with pretty much missing an entire nights sleep and feeling ever so jet lagged. I slept away a few hours this morning after checking into my hotel and then ventured out for a walk through the crowded streets and hectic markets. Toto, I dont think we're in kansas anymore!

In 7 hours Jessie should be safely picked up at the airport and delivered to our room and then I can let out a HUGE sigh of relief and the adventures begin tomorrow. There is power in numbers and I know everything that is scaring the crap out of me now (for example how am I supposed to order a meal when I cant understand a damn thing written down or said to me!)will be totally fine tomorrow.

So, till then I am going to slowly decompress and relish in the thought that this is day one of many.