Archive: India

Goodbye to India

We have been in India for 1 month now, and it has certainly been an eye opener to both of us! We have seen some beautiful, amazing and also disturbing things,  as we have travelled through India. One month here is not enough to grasp the fullness of the Indian Culture, however for us we feel we are ready to move on!

Arriving in New Delhi was one of the toughest travel experiences we have ever had to go through. That is not surprising though, considering neither of us have ever set foot into Asia before. When you arrive in a place like Delhi, you are leaving behind all your home comforts and you are entering a place that you know little about. You are curious about what people think of you and the locals are very curious about you. At the beginning we were confused about why people wanted our photo so much. Every time we would walk down the street, a local would ask if they could have our photo. Some children would even just want us to take a photo of them. Although I do not fully understand this, it has become a little more clear to me now. In India you are seen as a millionaire if you have a camera, lap top, ipod ect. So it is not surprising when they see us with our cameras, to be fascinated with us. Of Course we are not rich, as far as English standards go, but to them we are! Also the Indian Culture is not as diverse as our own. Most of the time, when we were out in public, we were the only white people in sight. So people would stop and stare. At first I found this amusing, but in the end it gets a bit tiring. Sometimes you just want to go out and not be stared at. There are some simple ways to blend in a little, for example cover up as a sign of respect. Indians take modesty very seriously, and it is respectful to cover shoulders and legs, whilst in public. As much as you try to blend in however, one thing you can’t change is the colour of your skin! So be prepared to be starred at whilst you are in India.

India is such a big country and an easy mistake to make, is to rush through the country, without taking time to appreciate the things around you. I would suggest if you only have a short time in India, then it would be better to see less places, than to rush through places, and in the end just wear yourself out. A great way to travel, is by train. We had no problem with the trains at all. They are comfortable and very cheap! It allows you to see the landscape in the country and it is a very interesting way of travelling. You also get to meet a lot of other travellers and it gives you a chance to speak with locals.

We really enjoyed our time in Goa as it gave us time to relax and slow down for a while. However if we had only gone to Goa, we wouldn’t of seen the true Indian Culture that a lot of tourists miss by just going to Goa. Even though Delhi was tiring and hard work at times, looking back we realise just what an experience that was. The madness of the place is what made the experience worth while. Walking down the street with goats, cows, pigs and monkeys, is not something you see every day, not to mention seeing a boy with a monkey tied to a string, hoping to make some money from it! People really do what they can here, to make money for themselves, and you have to respect them for that! I was fascinated to see men on the street with weighing scales, taking money to weigh people. Also it was not uncommon to see people getting there hair cut on the side of the street, or men getting a shave on the street.

We will always look back at our time in India as a time of learning! It has given us a glimpse at a culture that is so different from our own. It has also made us appreciate the things we had at home, but didn’t really appreciate enough at the time! Things like having a home, clean water, a job, safe roads, laws and not to mention our family and friends. You certainly learn to appreciate these things a little more, when you realise how many people here are without homes! There are so many children pleading for food and money, and it is hard to say no, but it is impossible to help everyone! Whilst we are overeating and chucking food in the bin, people here are starving.

I couldn’t pin point what my favourite place has been as such, as every place has been completely different! For relaxation I would say Goa, it is a beautiful, laid back place. It is very tourist friendly, in fact so much, that sometimes it is hard to meet locals! Everything has been an experience, some good, some bad, but all of which I’m glad we went through!

We will be leaving for the airport shortly. We arrive in Singapore 6 pm, their local time. We plan to stay there for about 5 days, then head to Indonesia. I will keep you all posted!

Love

Ruth and Paul

Goa to Chennai

We arrived in Chennai yesterday morning after a 22 hour train journey from Margao, Goa to Chennai Central. The train journey was a really pretty journey, we passed many beautiful mountains and waterfalls.

Arriving in Chennai was quite stressful as any city can be. As soon as we got off the train we were back to being bombarded by rickshaw drivers. All trying to get commission for directing us to a hotel. We finally found a hotel for the night. It was fairly clean and comfortable, the only downside is that we had to spend a good 1/2 hour killing cockroaches, before going to sleep. We are glad we are now out of that place, and staying in a brand new hotel, that only opened this week.

Today we visited different temples. We went to see the famous Kapaleeswarar Temple, which is a Shiva Temple, located in Mylapore, Chennai. We also visited Santhome Cathedral Basilica, which is a Christian church. The name of Santhome Cathedral Basilica was derived from the name St. Thomas who is an archbishop of the Catholic Christians. St. Thomas who is a hard-core devotee of Jesus Christ was buried in this place and as a tribute to his soul a church has been built up in this southern part of Marina beach.

Kapaleeswarar Temple, Chennai

Kapaleeswarar Temple, Chennai

Santhome Basilica

Santhome Basilica

We will post more later.

Ruth and Paul

Colva, Goa

We have been in Goa now for 1 week. We love it here so much, and will be sad to leave. Goa is definatley somewhere we would come back to. It is so relaxing and laid back, that you don’t want to leave. We read in a book, before we arrived, that Goa is a place that keeps you forever. This is very true!

It’s just been so nice being able to relax, and wake up every morning and go for a swim in the sea. The beaches here are so beautiful. We have enjoyed walking up the beach each day and meeting interesting people along the way!

There are still a lot of people selling you things here in Colva, but that’s beacause we are in a tourist spot. There are quiter beaches further up the coast, which allows you to get away from sellers and other tourists for a while. One day we were laying on a beach when a young Indian girl came up to us, she was trying to sell jewellery to us, I kept saying no, but she kept persisting. She started to lay all her jewellery out on Paul, asking if he wanted some. She couldn’t understand why Paul wouldn’t want to wear any of this haha. She also kept calling Paul milk bottle! Which was quite funny!

Paul with a display o Jewellery on him

Paul with a display o Jewellery on him

We have mostly taken this week as an excuse to relax, after being in busy cities. We hired out bikes one day, and cylcled up the coast. This was a great idea and only costs £2 each for the day.

Paul on Colva beach

Paul on Colva beach

There are also lots of nice restaurants to eat out, in Colva. We have started to get into the food here, and have finally learnt to enjoy the Indian Cuisine! A meal for one, including a drink, costs about £2 each. That is for good quality food!
We are just about to go out for a swim and a walk. We will post more later. We are leaving this Thursday for Chennai. We get an overnight train from Goa-Chennai, which will arrive Friday morning.
Speak soon,
Ruth and Paul


Arriving in Goa

We left Mumbai on the 16th February 2010 at 6.55 am, and arrived in Madgaon station, in Goa at 18.45. The train cost us 1564 Rupee’s, which is just over £20, for both of us. This is for 2nd Class Air Conditioned. Travelling by train is a good way of seeing the country, and also is very cheap. Just make sure you always buy your tickets from the official train stations. Touts will try and sell you tickets for a lot more!

The train journey from Mumbai to Goa went very fast, as we chatted with a guy from Sweden that we met, called Johan. He just arrived in Mumbai the night before, and already he’d managed to get tricked into buying a traditional Indian outfit, a train ticket that cost him way above the normal cost, and he got talked into given his comfortable shoes to the Indian guy, who had ‘helped’ him during the day, with getting his train tickets ect. On your first day in India, these things just seem to happen to you, and it’s only till you wake up the next morning, that you realise, you have been tricked! After a few days you learn! His stories made us laugh anyway, and made us realise we are not the only ones who have been fooled!

If you are reading this, I hope you are getting used to those Indian shoes you bought!

We also met a lovely guy from India, who was on his way to his home in Goa. He had travelled a lot, so was able to share his experiences with us, about different countries. It was nice having the opportunity to talk with a local, who was not trying to sell something to us!

As the train pulled in to Goa, we saw a massive change from the North of India. There was water and greenery everywhere. It looked so fresh and clean. It looked stunning. We were excited about being able to just relax for a while, after being in such busy cities!

We got a pre-paid taxi from the station, to our hotel in Colva. We stayed in a hotel called ‘La Ben’, near Colva beach, for the first two nights. Then moved to an apartment on Thursday 18th February.

We will update you on our stay here in Goa soon

Ruth and Paul

Juhu Beach, Mumbai

Whilst staying in Mumbai we also enjoyed a lovely day on Juhu beach. You can get to juhu beach on a suburban train. It cost us as little as 40 ruppees for us both to get to Juhu beach, from Mumbai Central. This is less than 50p! If you stick to public transport, like buses and trains you will get the local prices!

Juhu beach is well worth a visit. There are some nice shops close by and lots of places to eat along the coast. It is good to get away from the hectic city for a while and just relax!

Ruth on juhu beach, Mumbai

Ruth on juhu beach, Mumbai

A local group of boys that wanted their picture taken

A local group of boys that wanted their picture taken


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