Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Days 131 to 136: Four Wonders In North India

It's been a pretty busy week in north India - Delhi and Agra specifically - since returning from Varanasi. For a start, my girlfriend, Danielle, arrived in Delhi for a two-and-a-half week holiday in India. To my relief, and maybe even slight surprise, she really took to Delhi, though perhaps less so Agra. The chaos and mess and touts and noise didn't faze her too much, as long as she had a hot shower. Fortunately, she has had this on three out of five days so far (let's not focus on the cold shower and the lack of any shower for now...).

My train back from Varanasi, last week ended up arriving at 8pm, a mere 13 hours later than scheduled. This screwed up my sight-seeing plans for the day, which included a comprehensive look at my two Wonders in Delhi - Akshardham Temple and the Baha'i House of Worship, more commonly called the Lotus Temple. Instead, I had time to eat and check my email, then go back to my cheap-but-dirty hotel, crush a cockroach underfoot, and get some sleep. The following day I intended to have a wander around Connaught Circle, an area of Delhi with some interesting markets and handicraft emporiums, but this was a little sabotaged by Delhi citizen's. My mission was to find models of Akshardham and the Lotus Temple, to add to my collection, and I knew these would be difficult to get. Usually I would brush off the "friendly stranger", but on that morning I thought they would lead to me a useful shop, especially if I specified very early on what I was looking for. I was wrong. Two friendly strangers took me way out of the way to a shop that had neither item, and wasted my entire morning.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Days 123 & 124: Delhi Restart

It's back to travelling. And where better to restart than Delhi?

Delhi is a location that I'd heard a lot about before heading off on these travels. Most of it was fairly disparaging - hassle, noise, chaos, touts, rip-offs, astonishing diarrhoea - and none of it I doubt. But appended to most of the tales was that despite the fact Delhi was awful, it was also quite fun, albeit perhaps with a little after-the-event distance. It was an experience, above all, and despite the problems, Delhi was a worthwhile experience.

My own Delhi experience began, perhaps not atypically, with being shown a room entirely different to the one I'd booked, in my case a double-room without bathroom instead of a three-bed ensuite room. The hotel had picked me up at the airport, no problem, but not managed much else. After loads of waiting without any clear idea of what was going on, I just opted to go for the crappy double room, as I'd better things to do than sit for hours while they sorted it out. Plus, I was only staying one night anyway. There was also a small problem with my travel partner, the unerringly alcoholic Burness. Due to bad weather in Britain, he had missed his flight to India. He'd managed to get the next one, but it wouldn't be due to arrive until around 3am. This meant I wasn't able to arrange train tickets (his passport was needed), and was also the reason I was kind of tied to the hotel.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Day 123: Off To India And Beyond

Well, that's me off to India.

The next month may see me getting a little behind, hopefully not with the actual updating but likely with the actual reports of the Wonders. The Wonder reviews take a little time and effort to write, and I don't know where I'm going to find the time. In the space of ten days, I'll be seeing Akshardam Temple, the Lotus Temple, the Golden Temple, the Taj Mahal, and Agra Fort, with quite a bit of travelling too. Additional to that, my girlfriend will be joining me for a couple of weeks. Understandably, she has never expressed tremendous delight at disappearing off and travelling for many months, and so during this short visit she might not appreciate me spending my free time writing. Her friend also gets married in Goa. In short, there will be a lot to write about and not much time to write it. However, at the end of the month, I can foresee a slight relaxation of the schedule.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Extra Photos: Part 2

Some more bonus photos from the last four months. This time, from my camera, before it broke.

Kickapoo and other drinks

Monday, 2 January 2012

The Cost Of A Wonder

What does a Wonder cost? Not in terms of construction or maintenance, but for me and you to visit? Some, as you would imagine, cost more than others. Very often it depends on exactly what you want to do there. In this post, I will outline how much visiting each Wonder has cost me, with it being kept in mind that I have tried to experience each Wonder fully, with cost not being a deterrent. The cost of buying the model Wonder is not included and transport is only included when the Wonder requires an extra effort of transportation to visit. I will also add what I think the minimum cost to visit the Wonder would be, if all you wanted to do was have a look around.

It should also be noted that many of these figures are not exact, with some relying upon memory and others being loosely converted into pounds from the original currency.

1. The Sydney Opera House

Extra Photos: Part 1

When I travelled a decade ago, the world was a very different place. Televisions used aerials, Arabs accepted their oppression, and Justin Bieber was still sperm. Also, cameras almost always still used film. I travelled with a small, crappy camera and small supply of film. As a result, I had to be frugal with the photos I took, saving them for the most special of occasions. Alas, take me, a cheap camera, and only one chance at a photo, and you get stuff like this: