A Travellerspoint blog

The journey that never ends....

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38 hours of travelling - does that sound like fun to anyone? I hope not, because we can definitely testify that it was not altogether too enjoyable! Here is a run down of our epic journey....

Ranthanbhore to Delhi you have already read about, and if you were wondering, Tam was successful in spending every single rupee we had left - good work Tam!!

Flight from Delhi to Kuala Lumpur - uneventful except for the fact that they kept trying to feed us inappropriate meals every half an hour! I know, I know, they were trying to get our bodies in sync with the KL time, but seriously - curry at 3am when you're stone cold sober..... not recommended!!!

Kuala Lumpur airport.... VERY CHEAP BOMBAY SAPPHIRE!!!! WOOOOOOPPPP!!!!! Not a drop of water to be found in the whole terminal, but plenty of cheap booze! And of course, Adam, who arrived safe and sound :-D

KL to Bali - a near empty plane! Joy!

Bali.... Now the fun begins! It was about midday when we arrived, it was pouring with rain outside (not the best start to a beach holiday!) and we had been travelling for over 24 hours on no sleep.... This was when we remembered to check how to actually get from Bali to the Gili Islands, where we would be staying for the next five days. The answer? By boat, in fact, by a boat that left 3 hours earlier! Uh oh! Thank God for free wifi! A quick check on trip advisor and we decided to catch a flight to Lombok. By this point Tam and I were on functionality rotation - i.e. I had completely zoned out and she was whirling around sorting things out left, right and centre! Within half an hour we were booked on a flight to Lombok in five hours time.

While waiting for the plane in the sweltering heat we decided we needed a drink and had to get to grips with the ridiculous currency out here - it doesn't take a lot to be a millionaire and a bottle of coke will cost you thousands!!

Next hurdle - how to get from the airport in Lombok to a port where we could get a boat. Tam was on form again and sorted us out a rather expensive, although hassle free, transfer all the way to the Gili Islands. She finally zoned out before we boarded the plane and Adam took over to herd us both onto the flight in our zombified state. I come alive again when we arrive in Lombok and let Tam and Adam both sleep on the transfer to the port, where I had a minor argument about the exchange rate with the driver (which we undeservedly won, it turns out!) and then we were onto the boat to head out to paradise! So now it is going on for 10pm the day after we began travelling and we are exhausted!

I will leave it to Adam's first ever blog entry to tell you about our paradise island, for me it is definitely time to sleep!!

Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 00:54 Comments (3)

Goodbye India

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The top ten things we've learnt whilst in India:

1. Holy cow! Cow tipping is not an acceptable past time in India.
2. Party tuk-tuks are the BEST mode of transport ever!
3. Driving isn't the same if you don't have to avoid a menagerie of circus animals on the road.
4. Cottage cheese in a curry - are you mad?! Apparently not! Bring on the paneer palak!!
5. When a shop advertises STD it does not mean that it is a riddled whore house! It is in fact just advertising phone minutes.
6. Diwali is a health and safety nightmare! NEVER sit on a rooftop when fireworks are going off around you - just a little tip that might be obvious to the majority of you!
7. We rock at poker, either that or our guide was being too kind to us and letting us beat him!
8. Indians profess to drive on the left hand side of the road, but who actually knows! The rule seems to be - drive where there is space.
9. If people aren't riding on the roof, the train is NOT full!
10. Shopping should always be conducted with a complimentary cup of chai masala in hand.

Posted by Tam-Jo 20:24 Archived in India Comments (1)

Back again!

sunny 28 °C
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And so back we go again to Delhi. What can I report from our journey? Not a lot! Lunch with Ida, Ingrid and Raghu was very nice - we had salad, which may seem a trivial piece of information to you, but it made for a very exciting mealtime for us! We have not seen a real salad in almost 2 months. That literally may have been the highlight of the day!

Then onwards to Delhi airport, where we are now. I believe I may have actually unleashed a monster in Tam, as she is off shopping AGAIN! Although, in fairness, part of her mission is to bring us back something bought we our remaining 90 rupees (not an easy task, I suspect!)!

Whilst we have loved India, it is time to move on and we are excited at the prospect of a bit of R&R in Indonesia!! Bring on the beaches!!

Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 20:02 Archived in India Tagged and delhi jaipur ranthambhore Comments (0)


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Another early safari for us! We made it into the national park before it officially opened at 7am! After following some tiger tracks for a short while with no luck, our guide decided it would be best for us to see the forest area. It was a bumpy ride! Not so much a road / track as a collection of boulders. Ouch! But amazing scenery and we saw so many antelope and spotted deer.

And then the golden ticket phone call!! A female tiger had been spotted not far from where we were. Time for speedy driving!! I dread to think how fast we were driving over the boulder tracks...i'm pretty sure we'll all feel pretty sore tomorrow. Absolutely worth it though...we saw the tiger up close!! She was beautiful! Perfect! And she just lay there for about five minutes while we all stared and took pictures of her. Amazing! Understandably she got fed up after a while...we know how tiring all the attention of being a celebrity can be!! And off into the jungle she went. Of course all the jeeps tried to follow in a mad panic (ours included). We were all nearly impaled by branches at various points in the pursuit. And we did manage to see her again but she was nicely hidden behind the bushes. We count ourselves very lucky to have seen a tiger here; many people who visit the park don't. I think Ida and Ingrid were our good luck tiger charms today!

Our last dinner in India, which we had at the hotel, was delicious. Tandoori chicken, raita, chapatis, naan and our new favourite veggie dish, palak paneer...we need to find a curry house at home that serves this! Its amazing! After a drink with the reception man (who turned out to be a little odd hence we excused ourselves after sharing just one beer), we set about the task of packing properly for our flight tomorrow!! Needless to say it took a while and I had to half sit on my bag to get it to close. But we did it!

Hopefully we'll get a good night's sleep tonight before our two day journey to Gili Meno begins tomorrow!

Tam xx

Posted by Tam-Jo 19:55 Archived in India Tagged ranthambhore Comments (0)

Sneaky tigers....

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After a very, very cold and very, very early morning drive we finally arrived at the gates to the Ranthanbhore National Park! During our three and a half hour sarfari we saw a lot of animals, including antelope, deer, jackals and a host of beautiful birds! We also learnt a bit about how the guides find the tigers for us tourists. But, alas, the tigers were in hiding today! A large male was certainly in close proximity to us, as suggested by the frequent alarm calls of a nearby deer which could clearly see more than we could. But we were eluded. A little disappointed, we returned to the hotel.

The afternoon was spent doing life admin, as we are far behind!! Mid afternoon brought two of the girls from our tour, Ida and Ingrid, back to us at our hotel in Sawai Madhopur. They will be spending the next two nights with us before continuing their trip around India. In store for tonight? An early dinner and bed - we are all exhausted and not particularly relishing the idea of another early start tomorrow! But hopefully it will be worth it!!

Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 19:19 Archived in India Tagged ranthambhore Comments (0)

A quiet day in the country!

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Sadly we could not get on a safari today as all the tickets were booked up. So instead, Mr Ali took us to a local craft place where two hundred families work to produce, among other things, rugs, wall hangings, jewellery and shawls.

My resistance to purchasing shiny pretty things has now been totally shattered. I blame Jo!! We both bought some beautiful wall hangings and a shawl. But we did manage to haggle more than a third off the price so we feel like we got a good bargain! Though we're a little stessed now about fitting said wall hangings in our relatively small rucksacks!

Our afternoon has mainly been spent catching up on planning, banking, blogging etc at the hotel. Although we did have a mad frantic dash to the car in the middle of it as Mr Ali had had a call from a friend telling him a tiger had been spotted a couple of kilometres down the road. We were unlucky though...it had gone by the time we got there. We did see some particularly cute monkeys though!

We're up at 5am tomorrow for a morning safari so we won't be having a late one. Early dinner followed by a fim in bed. Most probably Twighlight (we're both obsessed and can't wait to see the last instalment so are preparing ourselves by re-watching all the previous ones)!

Fingers crossed that we'll be able to show you some tiger photos tomorrow :-)

Tam xx

Posted by Tam-Jo 19:00 Archived in India Tagged ranthambhore Comments (0)

And the nearest hospital is where??

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This morning we said our final farewells to the group and left Delhi in our own private car, feeling very fancy indeed! Our driver, Akbar Ali, is nice and seems less of a lunatic than other Indian drivers! He says that people who drive tourists around for a living have to take a course on how to drive in a way that is more usual to Westerners, so perhaps that's why he seems a safer bet to get us to our destination in one piece than most other drivers we've known here!

After four hours on the road we stopped for a bottle of coke and the toilet. As we started wandering around the car park waiting for Mr Ali we were approached by a large local family. They were too timid to speak to us, despite us trying to initiate some conversation, and seemed pretty happy to just stand and stare, smiling all the while. What can we say - clearly we're funny looking!!

Back in the car for another 4 hours before we reached Sawai Madhopur, on the outskirts of the Ranthanbhore National Park. Our hotel seems very nice, and even has a swimming pool! However, the field which we have to cross to get from our room to reception and the restaurant appears to be home to a pack of wild, and potentially rabid, dogs! We're pretty used to wild dogs now and most seem to just ignore us. But this pack is clearly very territorial and do not like the occassional stream of tourists that flow through their field!! We'd like to point out that we were not the only ones scared of crossing said field when the dogs started growling, and a hotel man had to scare them away for a bunch of us before we could get back to reception and a hot dinner!! How we will fare on the way back to our room tonight is debatable! Suffice to say, Tammy is beginning to wish she'd got her rabies jab before coming away!! Wish us luck!!!

Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 18:51 Archived in India Tagged delhi ranthambhore Comments (0)

Ode to Raghu

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On our last train ride together as a group, Christina (very sneakily without Raghu noticing) got everyone to write down a word or phrase to describe our tour leader. We then set about writing a poem and recited it during our last meal together as a group! For the benefit of those in our tour who didn't get a written copy, here it is...

Poem - Thank You Raghu

Whats up!?! Yeah, we wrote this poem for you, ok!?
You are punctual every day
Except for when it is sunrise
Happy birthday mountain surprise
You were so generous with your birthday dinner
And you are also a dance floor winner
You're helpful, knowledgable and cool
We've learnt more from you than we did at school
Fireworks and wooden boats shouldn't mix
But even Mr Perfect has to get his kicks
So in control getting us on the train
Our protector you are, you never complain
Our trip has now come to an end
We will miss you so much our new friend
A huge massive thanks goes to you
Now let's go out and party Raghu!!
Why not?

Posted by Tam-Jo 18:48 Archived in India Tagged delhi Comments (0)

Back to where it all began...

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After a pretty decent nights sleep on the train we arrived back to the hotel in Delhi, Hotel Sunrise, where our tour began!

First item on our agenda...breakfast!! Once we'd fuelled up we had the energy to plan the rest of our time here in India (at this point in time we still had no idea where we were going to sleep the following night)! We'd decided on visiting a national park so we could go on safari to try and see some tigers. Unfortunately for us, the train tickets to the town we needed to go to were all sold out! Fortunately for us, we can actually afford to hire a car and a driver here! The travel agent managed to get us a ridiculously good deal on the hotel and so hiring a driver has cost us hardly anything! Crazy!!

The rest of our day was spent sightseeing. Most other people from our tour group went on a trip to the mall but Jo and I decided we could not cope with any more shopping!! Instead we hired a car and a driver for the afternoon to see some of the sights in Delhi we missed out on before the tour started; Lotus Temple, Qutab Minar, Parliament Buildings, Presidential House and India Gate. We had also wanted to go inside Humayun's Tomb, but our driver made us go into a shopping area (blatantly on commission) and we "accidentally" spent all the cash we had with us on jewellery for ourselves. Oops!!

This evening was the last with our tour group. We went out for a super tasty dinner followed by cocktails in the bar down the road which Nicole very kindly treated us all too (thanks Nicole)! Then our last rum on the rooftop excursion courtesy of Raghu...thanks Raghu!

An incredible last day to an incredible tour in the incredible India!!!

Next stop...safari!

Tam xx

Posted by Tam-Jo 18:29 Archived in India Tagged delhi Comments (0)

Goodbye Xi'an of India!

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Are you getting the impression that we do not love Varanasi? How perceptive you are! We knew you lot were clever!!

In store for today? To avoid going out in this city as much as possible! Lie in, followed by terrifying cycle rickshaw ride to the centre and then lunch, where they refused to make us a sandwich, were generally rude to us, and then made us stand about waiting for AGES for the bill! The highlight of our trip to town was a very well stocked toilettries shop with a very nice shopkeeper who clearly took pity on us and gave us some free sweets!

Back to the hotel, and Tammy had another argument with hotel staff about wifi! Then a few hours of doing boring life essential stuff on the internet and whileing the time away with everyone else who was waiting to get the hell out of Varanasi!

And now we are on an overnight train back to Delhi! Arrival time, 8am tomorrow! We then hope to be leaving Delhi again in less than 36 hours, to end our trip on a high at one of the national parks! Bring on the tigers!!!!

Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 18:01 Archived in India Tagged varanasi Comments (0)

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