12 December, 2010

Last Train!

The last train of this whirlwind India trip.

Goodbye Digha and sniff, sniff…goodbye sea.

The best part about this train was not the acommodations!  Since ALL the previous trains served us food and drinks, we assumed that this trian would follow suit.  WRONG!  This trip did not provide us with anything at all.  We didn't have time to run back to the station and buy food and water, so we bought bag after bag of packaged cashews, dried fruit and other snacks.

Once the train was moving misc. vendors passed though selling food.  THe best by far was these spicy treats or 'street food' which you can get everywhere in India and I have bought them in Nepal as well.

Bellies somewhat satisfied, we settled in for the overnight ride.

After departing from the train the next morning, we rode about 1.5 hours in a taxi to the border (I had to stop in immigration on both sides, getting stamped out of India and paying the 40$ for another month in Nepal) then another hour and a half taxi ride to Biratnagar where I stayed for one night with Chetna.

During the ride there we passed fields and fields of tea bushes and different scenery.

I went to work with Chetna the next morning and one of her co-workers bought us sweet treat. It was a little clay pot with basically extremely sweet dough balls floating in an equally sweet milky juice.

As tired as I was, the sugar kept me going until I boarded the bus to Butwal around 2:30pm …arriving the next morning at 5am! Chetna had contacted her family who lives in Butwal and I was to call them when I arrived. I felt so bad calling them at 5am, that I sat in the dark bus station and had a couple cups of tea, then called mom on my cell phone (almost using up all my minutes – but of course it was worth it!) I finally called Chetna’s family around 6:30 and they picked me up, fed me some bread and tea before they took me back to the bus station (and paid for my ticket!) to Dang. The bus left around 8:30am and I arrived in Dang at 2pm. I walked to the school and rode the bus to Children’s Peace Home with the kids when school let out at 4pm. I was so happy to be back and off of any form of transportation that I didn’t feel the effects 24 hours of bus rides until my head hit the pillow at 7:30pm that night!
Awww, good to be in one place (even if it’s only for a month).

11 December, 2010

Morning on the Beach

Click here to go to first India post.

I awoke before the others and headed to the beach for some quiet time. While walking along, I thought there was a big ceremony, so I headed towards it. Up close I found out it was a huge gathering of marshal arts students and instructors. What a nice way to practice!

I continued to walk along just taking in the sights, too cold for me to swim, so I made do by walking on the water’s edge or exploring the shore.

I met up with Chetna and Arunima a little later in the day and we went exploring again. By that time the shore was covered in red spots, which I thought were flowers (blown off some trees nearby), but as I approached them, the flowers disappeared. Realizing that they were little crabs, we all tried to photograph them.

Patiently waiting keeping super still until they reappear…

I thought this shot was funny as Chetna waited paitently for some to come out of their holes in front of her, the ones behind started to resurface. (of course she tried to turn slowly to take their photo, but they quickly ducked back down.

We did manage to capture a couple of them on film.

We ate lunch in the hotel, washed up, packed up and headed out for our last train of the trip!!

10 December, 2010

Yet another train….final destination in India, DIGHA

DIGHA is a beach town off the beaten path and is an 'up and coming' tourist destination and from the utter STARES from the locals, not many 'foreigners' come here!

Another transport to a hotel then heading to the water! It was an overcast day, but it didn’t matter, I was at the beach!! Ahhhh, I love water so much!

View from our Hotel

Just when you are getting a little thirsty a chaiwala appears carting his readymade tea stand!!

While slowly sipping our chai we caught a gorgeous sunset…of course the photo’s don’t do it justice.

09 December, 2010

Goodby Delhi again, Hello Kolkata (Calcutta)

Click here to go to first India Post.

Another train…another uncomfortable bed, transport food and freezing cold temperatures (note to anyone heading to India in the winter…do not get the AC car!). On the upside, another 12+ hours of goofing around and having fun in close quarters. What’s a little scuffle now and then…

And then another game of Chutes and Snakes…I opted out.

Instead I sat on my top bunk and read my 2nd book on this trip. With so much train time, I was going through them!

Although they fed us SO much on this train, I felt miserable...the food looks much better than it actually was; but at least we had food and a menu to boot…

After our chia, and 2 meals, we settled down the best we could and got ready for a day in Kolkata!

We arrived early the morning of the 9th and jumped in a taxi…one of the 100’s of taxi’s waiting just for us it seemed. We sat in traffic for almost an hour…

As we crawled along the city streets, I couldn’t help but notice their parking situation; I guess they know how to use up space! Not sure how they get out?

After we checked into our hotel and freshened up it was food time!

We walked to this beautiful park area which houses the Victoria Memorial (built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamaond jubilee in 1901) . It felt totally weird going to this memorial for a British Queen in India. I was even more perturbed when I (the only one in the group) once again had to pay an outrageous foreigner fee AND on top of that, the ticket guy tried to shortchange me 50 Rs. I know well enough to count my change anyplace I go…I confronted him and he quickly passed over the money saying “here is your change, you left”; instead of crying bullshit, I grabbed the money, glared at him and walked away. I tried not to make that put a damper on my day, but being at this monstrosity of a memorial to a colonial queen which I didn’t want to go to and paying 150Rs to do it, I wasn’t a very happy camper.

We all went inside and it was quite boring and no photo’s were allowed, but because I paid the money, I told the others that I was going to go to ever part of the place; so I headed upstairs and down. Once outside, my disappointment subsided a little and when I was asked by a group of young Indian men to pose with them for a photo, I figured that the day wasn’t entirely wasted. Who knows what they will tag me as on their FB page – ‘foreigner’??

After a long day of walking (we also visited the Kali temple) and then stopped for a hot yummy cup of…..you guessed it, CHIA!!!