Sunday, June 11, 2006

A Couple of Beach Bums

30 Days in South India

India, what an incredibly amazing place. We arrived in Mumbai (Bombay) a month ago and have been having a fantastic time ever since. As I look back in our guidebook at all of the places we traveled it’s a little mind-blowing how much we fit into thirty days. This is what our route looked like:

We started out in the State of Maharashtra, the City of Mumbai. From there we traveled by train to the state of Goa where we mucked around on the beaches of Colva, Benaulim, Panjim, Anjuna, Calengute and then Bogmalo. We then took a train to Bangalore in the State of Karnataka and then the charming palace filled city of Mysore. An overnight bus from hell took us to the state of Kerela and the lovely seaside town of Fort Kochin, we then spent an incredible day and a half on a houseboat in Vikam Lake. We then flew (for $25 each) to the State of Pondicherry where we are now, in the French colonial town of Pondicherry. In two days we fly out of Chennai (Madras) to Thailand.

Many of the people we’ve met here are staying for six months or more and I can totally understand that now.

The causeway to Haji Ali's Mosque in Mumbai where professional beggars line the strip, until the sea turns the Mosque into an island at high-tide.

In Goa we spent a lovely few days in the Portugese influenced capital of Panjim, which was chockfull of churches, but we liked the hilltop Maruti Temple.

We spent many hours on romantic overnight trains where we enjoyed private berths and intense intimacy with Indian families.

We wrestled for an unassigned seat on our trip from Bangalore to Mysore and were unable to understand the resulting yelling matches.

In Mysore, we got the very distressing news that Sierra's Grandfather had passed away suddenly. We travelled to the top of a local mountain to drink a toast in his honour. On our way back down, we happened upon the beautifully garish illuminated palace.

Returning to the palace the next day, I took a ride on a rather large mammal.

A local ferry in Kerala transported us to our new home.

The highlight of our trip came late with our backwater cruise on a Kerala Houseboat. We originally planned to spend just twenty-four hourse onboard, but the local Communist Party in Kerala had a transport strike to protest high fuel prices and our taxi driver refused to pick us up because "children will throw bolts through the windscreen." Luckily for us our guide offered to keep us on for another half day where the three person crew continued to fatten us up with an endless stream of coconut-scented Kerala curries served on banana leaves.

Tompa, our guide showed us a local rope-making workshop, a lime factory and when our trip was extended, he even brought us home to meet the wife in his backwater village.

Our clothes might be disintegrating into rags, but having crossed the halfway threshold of our trip, Sierra and I are feeling like worldly sophisticates. And by that I mean... beach bums.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

We Will Miss You

In Loving Memory of Richard Teevan
1919 - 2006
You made up for the fact
that one of my grandfathers died before I was born.