Murmeli goes India

An AIESEC traineeship in Hyderabad, India

Leaving Pondicherry

I will leave from Pondicherry this evening. Tomorrow morning I fly to the Andaman Islands. I have heard that Internet connections are scarce over there so I might not be able to keep in touch with people or write my blog while I am there, unless I stay for a while in the capital, Port Blair. With this in mind I thought I would share with you what I currently know about my future plans here in India.

After the Andamans I will visit Hyderabad briefly, for two days. I will see my friends, catch up on what has been happening there and relax a bit before I go to the West, to a city called Pune. Close to Pune I will visit some hill stations. After this I will go North West to the states of Gujarat and later Rajasthan. After this I am not so sure about what to do, but the direction will be East.

I have plenty of time left though. I changed my flight again yesterday. I am definitely coming back to Finland on June 21.

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January 31, 2007 Posted by | Traveling in India | 3 Comments

Fortune telling

Last night before going to bed I read in the Traveler’s Tales book about a place close to Pondicherry that is famous for its astrologers. The type of astrThe fortune tellersology they practise is nadi, which basically means reading the future from ancient Tamil (the local language) script, printed on a palm leaf. I could not believe how lucky I was to read about this right here, in Pondicherry, only 100 kilometers away from this astrology headquarters! Anyways, I hopped on my bike this morning, asked people at the restaurant if they know where the place is (it is not in my guide book) and got instructions on how to get there.

I found out that nadi is big business in the town of Vaithiswaran Koil. The street outside the temple was filled with astrologers promoting their services. I ended up paying 500 (!) Rupees for “a general outline of my future”. The whole thing was recorded onto an audio cassette. Now there is a nice souvenir 🙂 I also got my horoscope written down in Tamil. Some important predictions:
– married at 30
– kids at 34 (first a daughter, the second one is a boy)
– something really important and great happens related to work at 51.

Believe it or not 🙂

Colin managed to get tickets to the India-West Indies cricket match tomorrow, so I will be leaving Pondy in the morning for Chennai. I really feel like coming back to Pondy on Sunday (anyways it is only 3,5 hours by bus from Chennai), the place is so lovely. Well, let’s see what happens.

PS. I uploaded pictures from the two weeks after Bangalore to the gallery. Go check them out!

January 26, 2007 Posted by | Indian life, Pictures from India, Traveling in India | 1 Comment

Touring Tamil Nadu

My bike in OotyAfter Bangalore I have been touring Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of India. First I went to Ooty, which is a hill station close to Karnataka border. The town is at 2200 meters which makes it a very chilly place to be this time of year. It felt like home, really. I had to buy a pair of gloves to keep myself warm during the day. At night ITea pickers in Ooty stayed firmly under three thick blankets. The surroundings, once you get out of the congested and dirty town, are simply wonderful. I went sightseeing on a motorbike, actually, with an English guy, Colin, who was staying at the same guest house. We drove about 100 kilometers on two different days. I will try to get some pictures here soon.

After Ooty I went to Madurai with Colin. From there I made a day trip to Rameswaram, which is less than 100 kilometers from Sri Lanka! I walked along Adam’s Bridge, a set of reefs and dunes, closer to Sri Lanka and found myself in a fishing village. The village had been destroyed by a cyclone in the 60’s. Now the village only consists of simple huts of the fishermen and their families, but the ruins of the old village are still visible. The scenery and atmosphere are amazing and a bit eerie.

From Rameswaram we went to Kanyakumari, the south tip of India, Land’s End, as it is called. There is really not much there, so we were there only for a day and took a train in the evening to Trichy. Trichy has some interesting temples to see, so we stayed there for one night. After Trichy Colin went east to see his friends from the Tsunami relief projecBroken churcht in which he worked here last year. I came to Pondicherry, North-East of Trichy, on the way to Chennai. Pondy is an old French settlement, and the French influence is very visible here. There are many bakeries selling French bread and pasteries, most street names are French and there are many French restaurants. The place attracts a lot of foreigners because of its Frenchness and also because there is a very famous ashram here, where people can study or practice yoga.

I have a motorbike here as well, the same type that I used to ride in Ooty. The mostly French part of the city is a wonderful place to drive around, especially if you can avoid the rush hours. I think I will stay here for a couple of days at least. On Saturday I will go to Chennai (about 3 hours away by bus) to see India play West Indies 🙂 I have never seen cricket before, let’s see what I think about it. This particular match is supposedly a very, very big one, so I am sure it will be an experience not to miss.

January 25, 2007 Posted by | Traveling in India | Leave a comment

Christmas, New Year and after

Happy New Year 2007 to everybody!

After finishing my traineeship I went to Kerala with Toby and Brittany for a Christmas Holiday. Johannes joined the group a bit later in Varkala. We stayed in Varkala and one night on a house boat in the backwaters close to Alleppey. Varkala is a famous beach resort that attracts loads of tourists especially this time of year. We spent our time there riding bikes (Toby rode a huge 350cc Enfield Bullet!), lying on the beach and eating great food. We were a bit stressed about the house boat thing because we had not anticipated the prices to be so high. Eventually we paid 13500 Rupees for about 22 hours on a house boat, including all meals. The House boathouse boat was definitely one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.

After Kerala we went to Goa to meet our friends from Hyderabad and some Mumbai people. We stayed in Anjuna in northern Goa. On Saturday we went to Panjim, the capital. I had been there already once before in August, but the city is so nice that it is a pleasure stroll along its streets again. On Sunday we were first thinking about hiring bikes and go for a ride but the prices they were asking were so ridiculous that we decided to stay in Anjuna and take it easy. In the evening we went to close-by Baga to celebrate New Year.

On January 1. I said bye bye to many dear friends as they left back to Hyderabad and I started travelling with my Last group picgirlfriend. We took a train back to northern Kerala, to a city called Kannur. We went to see a traditional art form of North Kerala, theyyam, which was a great experience. After this we went to Wayanad wildlife sanctuary close to the border of Tamil Nadu and stayed there one night. In the park we saw some elephants and lots of different kinds of deer. After the park we came to Calicut for one night before heading to Cochin.

Cochin must belong to the itinerary of every traveller who comes to Kerala. The place, meaning specifically the area of Fort Cochin, is a very relaxed small town with plenty of excellent restaurants and comfortable hotels and home-Kathakalistays. Here we also went to see a traditional Kathakali show. We have now been here for three nights and we will spend one more.

Tomorrow we will take a bus to the tea plantations in Munnar and stay there for two nights. Then we will go to Kumily for one night and then from there we will travel to Madurai to see a big temple and to take the night train to Bangalore. There we will spend one night and on Sunday I will start travelling alone and she will go back to work in Hyderabad.

I uploaded some pictures into the gallery, from Christmas, New Year and then from my trip in January. Enjoy!

January 8, 2007 Posted by | Pictures from India, Traveling in India | 2 Comments