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Jiggy, jiggy on a camel

It’s been almost a month ago since my last post, so time for an update!

My last story was about Hampi. This place is definitely a backpackers place. I met a lot of new people here and we had a lot of fun spending time together. Everyday I rented a moped beacuse this was a nice and easy way to explore the area. The village itself isn’t much to write about, it’s the surrounding natural and historical beauty that’s the draw. Towering over the village is the tower of Virupaksha Temple which stands at the end of what used to be a long bazaar filled with vendors and shops, but has been closed now. For the rest of our days in Hampi we spent some days at the lake and we relaxed around Hampi on the mopeds. At the lake everyone was swimming, while there were signs on the rocks telling that there are crocodiles in the water. Often you’re too scared. Around the lake it was possible to jump of some high cliffs. Of course I had to jump a few times. We also visited Gangavati, it’s a city 18 km from Hampi. We had a great time driving on the moped in a city like this. We had lunch in a local restaurant and on our way back to Hampi we bought some delicious fruits and met some happy kids. The kids didn’t stop greetings us, even when the kids were like 100 meters away, they turned back around and started waving again and again. On our way back to Hampi we visited an tempel on top of the hill. We met a very kind priest in this temple. His daughter was also here and she told us a lot about the most important gods in hindoeism. After a good and interesting conversation the priest invited us to join his ritual at 5:00 am next morning. We didn’t have to think about that twice so the next morning we wake up early and drove on our mopeds to the temple. It was a very special morning and we and our family got blessed by the priest. I stayed for eight days in Hampi and then we took the bus to Mumbai.

Ritual

Mumbai

We booked a sleeper bus from Hampi to Mumbai. The sleeper bus was very comfortable and I slept the whole night. In Vile Parle east we had arrived around 12 am so we had enough time to find a decent hotel. After spending some time walking around searching for a hotel in Vile Parle I only thought what is this kind of place. This wasn’t the best place to look for a hotel. It was so noisy, crowded and you can see pollution everywhere. So after breakfast/lunch we found out we had to go to the southern part of Mumbai. We took the train to Colaba. The train was so cheap, only 14 cents. After leaving the train station we saw that Colaba is definitly a place for richer people. Many expensive cars in the streets, a starbucks, many businessmen but also many people in all kind of different conditions. People living in the streets, sleeping on the ground and begging for money. When walking towards the ocean we found a good hotel for a reasonable price. The hotel was one block beyond the Taj Mahal hotel and the gateway if India so it was a nice place to stay. The next day in Mumbai I was sick. The flu really got me and I slept almost the whole day. The third day I felt better again and we visited some architectonic buildings like the university of Mumbai, the high court and the hanging gardens. We also watched the locals playing cricket in the park. In the evening we wanted to go to a club / bar but we couldn’t find a really nice place. Not like the places in Europe.;) The last day we visited the gateway of India and we made a short boat trip. The view of the coast was beautiful. The days went fast and I wanted to be in Jaipur with The Diwali festival. Getting a train ticket to Jaipur was harder then I thought because there was a big waitlist on the train tickets. I was lucky beacuse the tourist counter still had some tickets left for foreigners. After three weeks having traveled with Marvin it was now time to move on alone. Thanks for the fun and great time we shared together in India. See you next time Marvin! Mumbai was nice but still I’m not a big fan of the bigger cities.

Jaipur

After a train ride of 22 hours and 1107 kilometers, I had arrived in Jaipur at 7:00 pm. Just in time to go to my hostel, drop my backpack and go to the city to enjoy Diwali festival. In the streets of the Pink city there were many people partying and the streets were decorated with all kinds of lights. It was fun to walk around in the streets and many locals wanted to be on a picture when I was clicking some photos. In Jaipur I stayed in a big hostel called Moustache. This hostel is very popular among the travelers. In Jaipur the locals were a bit different then in all the other places I stayed in India. Here I felt like a real tourist because almost everybody was trying to get money from me in one way or another. Even the tuktuk drivers asked a lot more money to get you somewhere. But beside the fact people were a bit different I had a good time in Jaipur. Walking around in the old city, visiting palaces and temples. Jaipur had many great sights. The second day of Diwali I met Wasim and Khaan, the tuktuk drivers living in Jaipur. They invited me to join them in the evening to celebrate Diwali. I accepted the invite and they picked me up around 7:00 pm at my hostel. First we were driving around in town by scooter and saw many people celeberating Diwali. Kids playing with firecrackers, music in the streets with dancing man and women and I had a chaj tea with the family of Khaan. After that we had dinner with some other muslim people in a local restaurant. It felt like I was the first traveller ever eating in this restaurant, but the food was good. It was a lovely experience. The next day I went along with Stephen and Joakim and we did a small tour around Jaipur. We walked around in the Amer fort and the Jaighar fort, visited the City palace, Hawa Mahal and the Monkey temple.

Hawa Mahal

I was a bit silly when we were in the city palace. At some places inside the palace it wasn’t allowed to take pictures. But it looked so nice inside so I tried to click a picture. One of the guards saw me or heard it from someone else and then he grabbed my phone off. I had to delete the pictures and had to pay a fine of 500 rupees. Oopsie..  In the train to Jaipur some local guys told me about the Camel fair in pushkar. The Pushkar Fair (Pushkar Camel Fair) is an annual five-day camel and livestock fair held in the town of Pushkar in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is one of the world’s largest camel fairs. When I heard this I really wanted to go there. In hostel the Moustache I met Tim from The Netherlands and he wanted to go to the Pushkar Camel Fair too. So on Tuesday we took a train to Ajmer and from there we went with a local bus to Pushkar.

Pushkar, Jodhpur & Jaisalmer

When I got off the bus and walked into the small streets, I felt this was going to be a nice town. In Jaipur I had already contacted a hostel owner in Pushkar for a place to stay. The prices of all hotels were tripled because of the camel fair so I was lucky to get this place cheaper. We went directly to the hotel to meet Joakim again and drop our stuff in our room. When we saw our room there was only one bed so Tim had to sleep on a mattress on the ground. Pushkar is a small town around a holy lake. It was very crowded in the streets at day time because of the Camel Fair. The camel fair was nice and there was a lot of things to see and to do. There was yoga, football matches locals vs visitors, camel racing, biggest moustache contests, camel decoration, folk music, horse dancing competitions and a lot more. Around the fair there were many shops that sold stuff for horses and the camels, like ropes and saddles.

camel fair

I enjoyed walking around in town, grab some delicious food, seeing the locals doing their daily rituals around the holy lake and watching the sunrise and sunset at top of the hills. I like to sit down in the streets of India and watch what is happening. Colors everywhere, children playing , holy men , cows, food, shopping , traffic and all the different sounds around you. It’s so amazing. In Pushkar we also visited the Brahma temple. It’s the most famous Brahma temple in the world.  There are only few temples exclusively dedicated to Hindu God Brahma in the world. It is an important pilgrim center and is located in the heart of Pushkar town. In the front of the temple, two small temples dedicated to Lord Kubera and Indra can be found. They are the dwarpalakas who stop all invisible entrants to the shrine.  The Brahma Temple is a small one but is very impressive. After spending some days in Pushkar, Tim and I had made a plan to tour with the Royal Enfield’s through Rajasthan. So we went to some bike rental shops and look if they had some decent Royal Enfields for us. We made a good deal and discussed some details about insurance and stuff. The next morning we left Pushkar on our Royal Enfields bullet! Tim has no motorcycle license but he learned quickly in the busiest streets of Pushkar at that time. Our plan was to go to Jodhpur and then to Jaisalmer. The roads were very good and the traffic is not that bad at all. There are just some different rules, you have to honk a lot and the bigger the car the more important you are on the road. So the buses and trucks race like idiots. On our way we drove trough some little villages and drank some chai tea with the locals. After a couple of hours we arrived in Jodhpur in the evening. In Jodhpur we only stayed for two nights. We visited the Mehrangarh Fort and drove around in the blue city on our bikes. In the evening we went to the cinema with another Dutch guy and a German guy. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo was the name of the movie. It was a new movie and we had to see a real bollywood movie. The only problem was that the film was only in Hindi without subtitles. So we had to watch for almost three hours to a movie we didn’t understand completely. We were tired after watching the movie so we went back to the hostel.

Royal

The next morning we left for Jaisalmer. Along the way to Jaisalmer we saw lots of wild camels and also an oasis. Now I’m already three nights in the desert of Rajasthan and it’s fantastic here. The village is small with beautiful houses and buildings. First day we visited Sam Sand Dunes. It was a very touristic place in the middle of the desert. We drank some beers and watched sunset in the dunes. Yesterday we walked around in town and  played a board game with the other guys from the hostel. The game took ages but we had a lot of fun. Tomorrow we are going on a camel safari and we will sleep for one night in the desert.

Sorry for the long post, I didn’t really have time to write. 😀

Namaste!

From Kerala to Karnataka

Time flies when you’re having fun. Two weeks ago I posted about my stay in Kochi. My plan was to stay here for a few nights but after six nights I was still there. The homestay was very nice and the owners were very kind, that’s why I stayed longer. I did a lot of sightseeing in Kochi and I read a lot about the history of Kochi and the European influences. Kochi is an important spice trading centre worldwide. I visited Binu’s hoometown and family before the day I left Kochi. We had lunch with his family and Binu’s brother showed us some other places in his village. We visited a little place where the locals craft ropes out of coconut husk. They use the ropes to craft the boats for the backwaters. After that we played volleybal with the locals in town. It was a beautiful experience and we had a lot of fun with the locals. In the Photography section of my site I added some pictures.

After that I had changed my plans. Instead of going to Munnar I wanted to go to Mysore. The Mexican guy, Marvin had the same plans so he joined me. When we arrived at the bus station there were some strikes going on so the busses to Mysore didn’t go anymore. By riksha we went to the train station and we took the nighttrain straight to Goa. Getting a ticket at the station was harder then we thought. The tickets were all sold out they said. After some conversations with the people behind the counter we got a ticket and we jumped on the train. You never get what you want in India and that’s making your journey so special. In Goa we stayed for five nights at Ajuna beach. The beach was nice and we met a lot of ladies (cows).
Ajuna beach

The high season wasn’t started yet so it was a relax stay. Our next location was Hampi so we booked a train to go on Tuesday to Hampi. The train departed from Vasco da Gama at 7:10 am so we left Goa on Monday to arrive one day before. We took four different crazy busses to Vasco da Gama. It tooks three hours to get there. At Vasaco da Gama station we saw that many locals in different conditions were laying on the ground waiting for the train. We decided to book a hotel instead of sleeping at the station. The journey by train was beautiful. The landscape was amazing, I saw a large waterfall and many rice fields. I already spent three nights in Hampi and oh my.. this place is super cool. The mountains are like big stones stacked on each other. It’s incredible! The town is surrounded with mysterious ruines with a kind of hippie culture. Yesterday we went to see the sunrise at the Hanuman Temple, also called as the Monkey Temple. Waking up early was nothing comparing the fantastic experience I had at top of the mountain. Even I didn’t complain about the 600 steps to the top.

Hanuman Temple Sunrise
Three words to finish this story: I love India.

First week

Almost a week ago I left my hometown to start my journey. Dubai was my first stop and it was pretty amazing. Dubai a city with so much luxury it’s just crazy. All those big buildings, weird architectures and a metro without a driver. Beside that the heat was killing me. On my first day it was so unbelievable hot that after a 10 min walk I searched for a supermarket to buy water and get some cool air from the airconditioning. In dubai I visited the beach near Burj Al Arab, the Marina Walk, Palm island with the Atlantis hotel, Dubai mall and the Burj Khalifa. The ticket for the Burj Khalifa wasn’t cheap but it was definitely worth it. Two days later I took the plane to Kochi India.

I was flying with IndiGo and by entering the plane I looked around and I saw that everyone was looking at me. It was a bit weird but also a very funny moment. When arriving at Kochi it was 4 am so I thought let’s wait till sunrise and then take a taxi to town. Only 30 minutes being on the airport I met some Indian people and they asked me where I had to go. After a good conversation they told me that they want to bring me to town. They dropped me off at the mall where I had wi-fi so I was able to book a hostel. Thanks George, Mariamma and Jesvin for being so kind.

IMG_1630 [47693]

From the mall I took a riksha to fort Kochi to stay there for the first two nights. Here I met some amazing people from Australia, Mexico and of course the owners of the hostel. My first day I get some rest because I was tired of all the travelling. Next day I went to the city with the Australian guys and visit some historical places like the Dutch Palace and Jewish Synagogue. We had lunch near the chinese fishing nets and after that we went to Cherai beach with the ferry and a crazy bus ride. Yesterday it was time for our backwater tour. It was very nice and relaxing. I will be in Kochi for one more night and then I’ll travel to Munnar.

Hellooo

Na alle voorbereidingen en de eerste geld bedragen al uitgegeven te hebben is het bijna zover! Morgen begin ik aan mijn wereldreis! Mijn eerste stop is in Dubai. Hier zal ik de eerste twee dagen verblijven. Nog even genieten van de luxe in Dubai om daarna door te reizen naar het grote kleurrijke India. India, het land van sprookjesachtige maharadja’s, de parelwitte Himalaya’s, de heilige Ganges, eeuwenoude tempels en natuurlijk de heilige koeien.

Zuid India is mijn beginpunt en vanaf daar reis ik door naar het hoge noorden. In totaal ben ik van plan om ongeveer 6 maanden door Azië te reizen. De landen die ik wil gaan bezoeken zijn: India, Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam en de Filipijnen. Ik heb er super veel zin in en ik ga proberen jullie op de hoogte te houden vanuit het zonnige Azië. 😀

To be continued…