A Travellerspoint blog

India

Road trip to Hampi

sunny 30 °C

Hampi_2013_065.jpg

Eric and I began our journey at 7am from Kuddle Beach in Gokarna. As we drove our beast of a motorcycle through the monkey inhabited mountains of Karnataka, we came to appreciate the true beauty of the protected forests. We dodged families of monkeys as we drove for 2 hours through the twisty mountain roads and realized how rare it was that in an over populated country like India you can still find solitude. The mountains opened up and took us through 3 hours of dusty red farm lands. Plenty of smiles and waves greeted us from the men, woman and children of the lands. We drove over farmers crops that were scattered all over the road. Perhaps a new farming technique, we may never know. We drove by fields of corn, sugar cane, marigolds, sunflowers and chili peppers before the road brought us to a tremendously enchanting village called Hampi.

Hampi_2013_005.jpg
Dodging cows, no big deal

Hampi’s landscape is mystical with mountains full of world heritage monuments; ruins built in the 13th century and then abandoned and forgotten about for hundreds of years. The rice patties have been strategically placed among giant boulders formed from centuries of volcanic activity. The boulders teeter high and low, threatening the very existence of the small town if anything were to shift in the land underneath.

Hampi_2013_054.jpg
The holy Hampi river

Hampi_2013_055.jpg
Sunset view of Hampi's rocky hills

Our room was situated directly on the rice patties and we couldn’t help but spend the majority of our time marvelling at the beautiful sights and sounds of the natural landscape. Thousands of frogs would sing us to sleep night after night. But rice grows in stagnant water and stagnant water attracts bugs. Mosquitos, flies, beetles, worms, roaches, ants; more bugs then I have ever seen in any one place or time. They were everywhere, they were aggressive and we were in their territory! To say I had the hebejebes is an understatement.

Hampi_2013_126.jpg
Lakshmi the temple elephant

After being in India for a few weeks it becomes easy for me to relax my expectations for cleanliness. This is a big mistake, as it opens up many opportunities for food poisoning. I spent an entire day regretting my nonchalant attitude. This lesson I have been taught many times and have yet to learn!

Hampi_2013_018.jpg
I think this lady has Eric out tattooed

We made the 400km long journey back to Goa which took about nine hours. We found the experience of motorcycling to be nothing short of extraordinary. What we saw and experienced on the back roads of India will leave abundant memories that will last a lifetime. We returned to our ‘home town’ of Vagator. It is holiday time here in Goa and the province is jam packed with people from all over India. Many are celebrating the independence of India, and many are celebrating just for the sake of celebrating. We will stay here in Vagator for a few days, until the province clears out, then head to neighboring towns for a different scene of beach life.

Posted by H-Dizzle 01:09 Archived in India Tagged mountains sunset india monkey hampi rice_patty road_trip_hampi Comments (0)

On the road again

A journey through the southern India

sunny 30 °C

2013_trave.._camera_052.jpg
Gear strapped on and ready to hit the road! Don't forget Heather!

We were nervous while driving our rented Royal Enfield through Goa’s back country and into Karnataka. The bike is unfamiliar to Eric, the gears and breaks are on opposite sides from the western syle motorbike, and the kick start sometimes gives us trouble. The locals in Goa advised us against the trip as it is illegal for a tourist to drive a rented motorcycle between provinces. The tourist motorbikes have special yellow plates and it is impossible to get across the border with them. We did our research and found a local who was willing to rent his personal bike to us and allow us to take it across the border. If we were to get caught it could be mean big trouble… or 200 Rupees ($4) of baksheesh (bribery). The adventure seemed worth the risk. So far we have been without any trouble from the police and are enjoying the ride.

Palolem_2013_036.jpg
sunset on Palolem Beach

Palolem_2013_014.jpg
Eric with the cows on Palolem Beach

Palolem_2013_185.jpg
dolphin spotting from Palolem Beach

2013_trave.._camera_014.jpg
a quick trip to the nearby beaches of Palolem

We started in Anjuna, Goa, drove south to Palolem for a few days of beach time, then further south into the province of Karnataka. The further south we drive the more traditional Indian lungies and dusty red rock landscape appear. It’s amazing how the culture can differ so much from one province to the next. Lack of development on the unspoiled beaches of Karnataka make for a pristine coastline and attract a unique vibe. The stars sparkle bright, like galaxies of diamonds in the sky. The amount of hippies here has doubled since Goa, it almost seems as though the hippies who use to dwell in Goa have manifested a different scene in Kuddle Beach, Gokarna. The foreign hippies all gather at night to juggle fire, play instruments and meditate on the beach. For many people this is a captivating scene and some people tend to stay longer then intended. I once made the mistake of asking a local hippie for directions, they wanted nothing to do with me. Perhaps it’s because I don’t smell of patchouli or have dreadlocks.

2013_trave.._camera_057.jpg
Kuddle Beach, Gokarna, Karnataka

When we arrived in Gokarna we headed straight for Om Beach where supposedly the network of guesthouses was situated. We were disappointed with the quality of rooms and decided to look elsewhere. After driving down some rough dirt roads for what seemed like forever, we found a resort that was currently under construction. They had a few rooms that were fairly upscale and we managed to stay in one of them for $20! The next morning Eric and I stumbled upon a rustic Yoga Retreat in Kuddle Beach and decided to take advantage. We stayed here for the next four nights. We started our mornings with Yoga and a beautiful homemade breakfast. Of course even a quiet beach like Kuddle wouldn’t be complete without a volleyball net. After spending the afternoons playing volleyball while watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean, we would head to our favorite restaurant on the beach Little Paradise Inn. We befriended the locals at the restaurant and had the cooks teach us how to make a killer Indian meal. This for me has been one of the highlights; being in a real Indian kitchen and watching them effortlessly whip up 3 of my favourite dishes. MMM tasty.

Kuddle_Beach_075.jpg
If you are in Kuddle and are looking for some killer food call Suresh Traloki and visit Little Paradise Inn.

Kuddle_Beach_032.jpg
The cooks at Little Paradise Inn hard at work.

Kuddle_Bea..rnatica_016.jpg
Boy at Gokarna market selling spices

We somehow managed to stay in Kuddle for 3 days longer than anticipated. That is the great thing about having no rules or strict timeline; you can let time stand still when it wants to. Our parting point was watching a young Indian man drown on the beach. This was the second death we had seen in the past week. The tragedy makes such a beautiful thing seam so retched and evil, for me it was time to leave Kuddle and the horrific scene behind. We packed our bags and were on the road at 7am this morning in search of a holy town in the mountains called
Hampi.

Posted by H-Dizzle 20:24 Archived in India Tagged beaches india palolem royal_enfield gokarna kuddle little_paradise_inn_kuddle indian_cooking food_kuddle_beach Comments (0)

Indescribably India

Round number two!

sunny 30 °C

India. It feels like we never left. The smell of inscense, cow feces, curry and hot garbage assault your senses while walking down the road in Vagator Goa. Smiles are everywhere as we run into locals that we’ve met before. We spent the last couple of days visiting different beaches and seeing the country side on our scooter. The weather has been sunny and around 28 and at night it cools off to 20 or so which is great for sleeping.
Our guest house has been great. We are staying at a family Guesthouse called Blue Bird where we know the family well and enjoy watching the children grow up. One thing about India is that the accommodations can at times be fairly basic and well used. We tend to avoid these places and opt to stay at the cleaner less used places. We are currently paying $20 a night which is higher than we are accustomed to, however it is worth the couple extra bucks to have a nice clean place to call home. The food has been fantastic. India is a vegetarian's dream - Fruit salad with home-made yogurt and granola every morning, a healthy serving of vegetable curry for lunch and dinner. Fresh fruit, veggies and spices are in abundance and it is easy to live a healthy lifestyle. Meals are typically about 6 dollars for us both to eat. Again we tend to go to the cleaner more trustworthy places for food. Practicing Yoga in the morning and playing beach volleyball into the sunset, life is good in India.

Vagator_Blue_Bird_010.jpg
Jucinda, the 3 year old girl at our guest house who loves hiding in our hammock.

Vagator__India_046.jpg
Who says we don't eat with our eyes!-BlueBird Special

016.jpg
Arambol Beach in Goa. Eric helped push this sailboat into the water for its first time a float. It has been under construction for over 12 years! Its owners are taking it to Sri Lanka, a momentous occation for all.

We have rented a 350cc Royal Enfield Motorcycle (India’s Harley Davidson) and we are hitting the open roads of India. By the way the 'open' roads of India consist of (but are not limited to)- cars, trucks, scooters, busses, cows, dogs, chickens, pigs, goats, garbage and people. All sharing the same space in a chaotic ride thats all part of the Indian adventure. We will head south from Vagator Goa to Palolem Goa then head further south to Gokarna, Karnataca to an untouched place called OM Beach. From there we will let India decide our next move. Avoiding disappointment means to avoid making many plans in India and liberate your expectations. Otherwise you will never be on time and life will likely be a constant battle. Don’t fight it, let India take over and enjoy the ride!

PS Sorry for the lack of pictures. The slow internet connection will not allow me to upload any more!

Posted by H-Dizzle 07:33 Archived in India Comments (0)

The last dance with dazzling India

Kerela & Mumbai

sunny 30 °C

Our last days in India were some of the most adventurous. The beautifully colored backwater villages of Allepy left us in tranquility. The volcanic stone cliffs and volleyball on Varkala Beach left us smiling. The strikingly rich suburbs and dirt poor slums of Bombay left us sad, angry and flabbergasted.

Our first stop arriving by train from Goa was Cochi, in the state of Kerela. This old fishing town was charming but did not hold our attention for long. We did some Yoga and watched some traditional Kathakali dancing. Within a couple days we decided to move on to other things.

Traditional Kathakali dancer
IMG_1326.jpg

Allepy, once out of the Indian city life and buried into the backwater canals, was quite lovely. Traditionally these large and small water channels are used for traveling and transport by local villagers. Allepy is a very happening tourist destination for backwater adventures, however the tourism is slowly taking over the tranquility as well as the very delicate ecosystem of the backwater villages.

IMG_1579.jpg
IMG_1396.jpg
Allepy is said to be the Venice of India with its beautiful backwater canals.
IMG_1366.jpg

From Allepy we headed further south to Varkala. As soon as we arrived we knew we wouldn't be leaving this beautiful beach community for a while. Most of the accommodation, restaurants and happenings sat high above the beach, atop colorful volcanic cliffs. Almost anywhere (including our room) looked onto the never ending beaches below. It was easy to get caught up in the beach bum life. Yoga in the morning, beach bum during the day and play beach volleyball into the sunset. We met a good (very large) group of friends from all walks of life, it seamed there was never a dull moment. Days turned into weeks before we started thinking about heading to Mumbai. After a quick visit to the tourist grab beaches of Kovalom, we headed further south to Thrivandrum before flying to Mumbai.

Varkala Beach at sunrise
IMG_1606.jpg
Beach food!!
IMG_1653.jpg
Kovalom Beach
IMG_1659.jpg

Arriving in Mumbai was a true test of patience. There were not very many rooms available. The rooms that were available were either absolute shit holes and expensive or brand new and not affordable. We stayed in an expensive shit hole and neither of us were happy about it. We quickly saw why 60% of Mumbai's population live in slums and the other 40% have loads of money that they don't know what to do with. Regardless, we lived Mumbai to the fullest. Going to fancy restaurants and movie theatres. Boarding local trains in every direction to see the big city from a distance. Or so we thought. Instead we ended up smack in the middle of it. On a train with a capacity of 1800 with 7000 other people. Oh and did I mention they were all men? I reluctantly went with Eric into the slums. Its real, in your face, and tragic.

IMG_1736__2_.jpg
Eric playing cricket with the local boys, I think he made the team!
IMG_1718.jpg
IMG_1727.jpg
A very sad reality in Mumbai, I took this shot as we were passing by on the train. I think he was posing for me.
IMG_1755_revised.jpg

Mumbai was a trip and although both of us miss India in many ways, I think its safe to say we are happy to be out of Mumbai. We are now enjoying the company of friends from our travels as well as friends from home. Its great to be back in the land of many smiles with familiar faces.

Posted by H-Dizzle 19:47 Archived in India Tagged beaches bombay backwaters varkala slums Comments (0)

Going Going Goa!!!

where psychedelic trance parties and beaches become timeless

sunny 33 °C

From the Ibiza nightlife of North Goa to the bustling beaches of the south, we found ourselves somewhere in between. We stayed in the small, only mildly crowded town of Vagator. Centrally located, Vagator became our hub and our home for the next 10 days. We rented a scooter and easily travelled to and from the surrounding beach towns.

Candolim Beach:
IMG_3646.jpg
IMG_3676.jpg
IMG_1124.jpg
It is the funiest thing trying to shoe the numerous mooching cows away from your food, they are considered a nuisance on the beach but are well fed none the less
IMG_3685.jpg
Garbage on the beach is a big problem in India, hopefully India's vast population will soon realize that when they litter no one is going to clean it up...
IMG_3659.jpg

Sadly it was time to move on and leave Vagator. We packed our bags and moved south to the beach town of Palolem. Palolem Beach was stunning and night after night the sunsets were a treat to watch.

IMG_1108.jpg
1IMG_1099.jpg

We stayed in Palolem for a few days and our train to Kerela was quickly approaching. We missed our hub-home and didn't feel like we experienced enough of what Goa had to offer. After pondering the pros and cons we decided to stay in Goa. We changed our trains, extended our flights and soon found ourselves back in Vagator - extending our stay in Goa to nearly a month.

Once back in Vagator we connected back with friends from Moondance Restaurant and our Indian family at Blue Bird Guesthouse. We spent Christmas Eve at a psychedelic trance party on the hilltop and Christmas day with our friends Lisa-Maria and Johnny in a bamboo hut watching the stunning sights of Anjuna beach.

My Christmas tree this year:
IMG_1145.jpg

A few days later Eric and I bought tickets to Sunburn Electronic Music Festival and partied the night away in the most impressive venue I have ever seen! The DJ sets were out of this world, the 7 stages were beautifully, elaborately put together and the sound and light show was jostling.

Eric and I at Sunburn trying to capture the moment before our camera died!
IMG_3704.jpg

New Years Eve was very enjoyably spent watching fireworks with friends at Spaghetti Beach. The beach was quite a sight as fireworks lit up the sky as far as the eye could see. A beautiful and epic way to end 2011.

Shortly after the hustle and bustle of the season we moved on to the quiet, peaceful beach town of Benolim. Wind down is on and Yoga is aplenty as we rejuvenate ourselves and prepare for the quickly approaching train to Kerela.

View from our balcony in Benolim, quiet serenity.
IMG_1158.jpg

Posted by H-Dizzle 03:54 Archived in India Tagged beaches sunsets goa vagator sunburn_festival Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 7) Page [1] 2 » Next