Murmeli goes India

An AIESEC traineeship in Hyderabad, India

The cool north

Kolkata was big, congested and very hot. I spent a few days there going through the sights and eating well. On Thursday I met a friend of mine from Delhi. We went to see the KaliKolkata traffic temple, had a traditional Bengali fish lunch and got on the bus going up north to Darjeeling. The 40 degrees of Kolkata changed to the little over 10 degrees in the evening in Darjeeling, the “quintessential” hilDarjeeling toy trainl station in the north-west corner of West Bengal. The people here look more Tibetan than Indian and, I have to say, they are friendlier here. When somebody offers you a taxi and you say no thanks they say OK without any more hassle! Wonderful ­čÖé

On Monday I went on a five nights long trek in the mountains. I met a couple of other trekkers on the jeep on the way to the starting point of the trek and then did most of the trek with them. The route went up to 3660 meters where it was really cold but the viewsKhangchendzonga were great as well. We were really lucky to get clear weather almost throughout the whole trek. We were able to see the 3. highest mountain in the world, Khangchendzonga, very well and even Mount Everest from a far! We also saw a lot of rhododendrons, mountain flowers, many of which are as high as trees.

This day I will spend just relaxing and getting over the trek. Tomorrow I will go to Sikkim,Buddhist praying wheels which is the state just north of Darjeeling. After that I am planning to go to Nepal and maybe do the Annapurna trek. North India would be a very interesting place to visit, let’s see how I have time for that.

Go see more pictures from Kolkata and Darjeeling as well as the Sandakphu trek in the gallery.

May 6, 2007 Posted by | Pictures from India, Traveling in India | Leave a comment

Delhi, Rajasthan and Varanasi

It has been a while since the last post, almost a month! I have beRajasthani┬ácamelen to so many places since I was in Nagpur where I wrote the last time that I think I will just write briefly about where I have been. After Nagpur I stopped in Gwalior and Agra before heading to Delhi. In Gwalior I saw a great old fort on a hilltop and in Agra, naturally, the Taj Mahal and the Agra fort. I was impressed by Taj Mahal and spent a couple of hours (all the money’s worth) just gazing at it. Then it was time to move to the capital.

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April 23, 2007 Posted by | Indian life, Pictures from India, Traveling in India | Leave a comment

Kutch

After the Little Rann Sanctuary visit I have now spent a week (!) in Bhuj, a city in theGirls dressed up for the wedding, Kutch, Gujarat heart of the area known as Kutch. Famous for its handicrafts and the Great Rann of Kutch desert (similar to Little Rann except bigger) it has been through some rough times, including the devastating 2001 earthquake, in which 10% of the city’s population perished. Nevertheless, the people here are enjoying life, they are extremely friendly and welcoming and the ages old traditions of creating the most amazing handicrafts are still strong.

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March 12, 2007 Posted by | Indian life, Pictures from India, Traveling in India | 6 Comments

Agaria

Fishing boat in the desert, Kutch, GujaratI spent four days in the Little Rann wild ass sanctuary in Gujarat, Western India. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my trip so far. Staying in the desert inspired me to write about many things, including the salt workers (the agaria).

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March 5, 2007 Posted by | Indian life, Pictures from India, Traveling in India | 3 Comments

Back from Andaman Islands

Hello! After 10 days without Internet I am here again, at the Central Train station in Chennai, writing my blog, putting new pictures online and reading emails. The Andaman Havelock┬ábeachIslands were an experience I was still this morning hoping to last a little longer. On Thursday I found an excellent place for my hammock by the Bay of Bengal, hanging from an old tree branch over white sandy beach, looking at the tide go out slowly. Perfect. And I thought I am not a beach person ­čÖé The 10 days I spent there (on the Havelock island) were not exactly enough, so still this morning I was thinking whether to use my place ticket to Chennai or cancel it and get a new one, paying 5000-6000 Rupees more for already expensive plain tickets. I decided to be cheap and not pay up, so I am here now.

The Andamans are definitely a place to chill out and relax and I might go there againSnorkeling trip to South Button someday. What surprised me though was the number of tourists. The first two nights I had to sleep on the floor of a restaurant (50 Rs per night) because there simply was no room. For the third night me and Colin managed to find a tent in Village 7 (the villages on the island are numbered 1-7), next to a beach that has once been voted the best beach in Asia. And truly amazing it really is too!

So the first couple of days we basically just spent finding accommodation. Several people sleep on the beaches in hammocks, by the way, and I actually had one made for 340 Rupees just in case… After we got the accommodation I spent a couple of days snorkeling and riding my bike around the island (there are only two roads though ­čÖé and then the last day in the hammock by the beach. I put some pictures from Havelock into the gallery, go check them out!

Tomorrow morning I will arrive in Hyderabad. It has been two months since I was last there, so it is about time I go see what is happening there.

February 10, 2007 Posted by | Pictures from India, Traveling in India | 6 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 ­čÖé 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 ­čÖé

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

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

Getting fired, trip to Marallapuram, getting ready for next year

First things first, I kind of got fired from my job yesterday. Fortunately, I was given the permission to come back if I wanted to, so I am back at the office again. Writing my blog, that is. The reason for letting me go was the report I wrote about the company and the traineeships here. The bosses saw it as a disastrous report that contained no constructive feedback. All the trainees read it before I sent it to my boss and they said it is accurate and there should not be any reason not to send it forward.

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December 12, 2006 Posted by | Being a trainee, Pictures from India, Traveling in India | 2 Comments

Pictures from Mumbai online + work

I managed to get the pictures from Mumbai into the gallery. I can not get the videos there because that would require I use certain software to first make my video files smaller and for that I need Pike’s laptop. Pike is coming back from Sri Lanka, although I just read an email from here saying that the return trip has gone exactly as planned. But anyway, she is coming back tomorrow.

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November 14, 2006 Posted by | Being a trainee, Indian life, Pictures from India | 1 Comment

Trip to Vizag

Araku valleyLast weekend I did a trip to Vizag (Visakhapatnam), on the coast of the state of Andhra Pradesh, by the Bay of Bengal. I went there with Tobias, Magda, Eduardo, Yusuf and Stephie. We arrived in Vizag on Saturday morning at about six and started immediately organising the connection to Araku valley, which is supposed to be a picturesque valley about 140 kilometers from the city. We got the train tickets and also booked two cottages in Jungle Bells, a really nice bungalow type hotel close to Araku valley, in the midst of the jungle. I started feeling really bad all of a sudden. I was sweating like a horse and I was terribly tired. I asked Eduardo and Yusuf to take care of the rest of the reservation process and went to be sick in the bathroom. I was so dizzy that I was not walking straight anymore. Luckily this sudden attack of nausea disappeared fast and I was able to get on the train with the others.

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November 6, 2006 Posted by | Being a trainee, Indian life, Pictures from India, Traveling in India | 11 Comments