Murmeli goes India

An AIESEC traineeship in Hyderabad, India

Maharashtra and Gujarat

kids-in-the-hills.jpgIt has now been a couple of weeks since my visit to Hyderabad. It was great to see my old friends again after more than a month of traveling. After Hyderabad I went to the state of Maharashtra to see the hill stations Mahabaleshwar and Matheran and the city of Pune. The hill stations were nice places. Mahabaleshwar because of nice sceneries and fresh strawberries and Matheran for the ban of all vehicles (including bicycles) making it an extremely pleasant and relaxing place to stay. The city of Pune did not manage to attract me so much, although the restaurants and the multiplex cinema were nice 🙂

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February 28, 2007 Posted by | Indian life, Traveling in India | 1 Comment

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 beachIslands 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 🙂 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 🙂 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

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.

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

The end of the traineeship

 

 

On Monday night we went to Little Italy in Banjara Hills to have a farewell dinner. It was also a farewell for Fatima, who is leaving next week after her Goa holiday. The food was great as always and we had fun. The autorikshaws in Hyderabad were on strike yesterday, apparently demanding a two Rupee raise in the starting price, which caused some stress about the transportation of all the 15+ people to the site. At the end we managed to get everybody there and back.

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December 22, 2006 Posted by | Being a trainee, Traveling in India, Uncategorized | 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

Trip to Mysore, work, three Hyd weeks left

A lot has happened since I last wrote about Mumbai and the situation at work. The most notable change is that I have a girlfriend now. It has made me extremely happy and now time just flies by here in
Hyderabad 🙂

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December 4, 2006 Posted by | Being a trainee, Traveling in India | 5 Comments

Postcards

I will be sending a few postcards as well as three parcels to Finland. I consider them Christmas greetings and gifts, even though I have no idea how soon or late they arrive if I send them next week. Anywho, I had to do some selection when deciding who to send something. In the category “potential receivers” I had tons of people, and of those people I had to choose those lucky few who get something. Believe me, if you got into the “potential receivers” group you are already a very good friend of mine. Then if before Christmas you receive something, well… you can consider yourself lucky also 🙂 So please do not send me hatemail for not getting a greeting. I hold you all (you know who you are) very dear and I wish I could send something to everybody.

I have a suggestion for you. When Christmas time comes along, I want to see a lot of comments from all you people in my blog. This is the first time ever in my life that I will be spending Christmas somewhere else than in my childhood home, so I will most likely be very sentimental about it. And perhaps a bit sad too. But all of you can alleviate my homesickness by dropping a line in my blog and wishing me merry Christmas when it is time for that. I promise I will write a counter comment to each comment I get.

Nothing much else going on at the moment. Next weekend we are going to go to Mysore, which is a nice city close to Bangalore. We have RAC (reserved against cancellation) train tickets, so we might have to share beds. No matter. I have started planning what I will do next year. My traineeship will end in January and I am planning to do some traveling after that. The big plan is to go from Kanyakumari (the southernmost tip of India) all the way up to Jammu. In fact there is a train that does this trip: the Himsagar Express cuts through India (3734 kilometers) in a mere 66 hours 🙂 But I am planning to crisscross the country in a more thorough way, which will take 4-6 months. Don’t know exactly how long yet, but I will keep you posted on that, of course. It would be the biggest trip I have ever done and it feels both exciting and intimidating at the same time. But I remember one piece of advice somebody once gave me: you ensure your plans materialize by making them public.

November 19, 2006 Posted by | Traveling in India, Uncategorized | 3 Comments