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Shoddi and Ted's Most Excellent Indian Adventure

You've been hearing about it for months. Now you can see it unfold. Hopefully we aren't glued to a toilet seat as we write this. Click on this link to view an excel version of our itinerary http://www.TedsStuff.co.nz/indian_timeline.xls (for a PDF version click on http://www.TedsStuff.co.nz/indian_timeline.pdf)

Diary Entries

Thursday, 08 November 2007

Location: Kerala, India

Sadly our treehouse plans didn't work out, partly due to a state-wide strike in Kerala that meant we couldn't enter the state when we wanted to, and partly because we couldn't get what we wanted so we decided to give it a miss. We booked a car and driver to take us to Ooty, which is 2240m above sea level and in a tea growing region. Consequently the temperature plummeted from mid-thirties down to an unbearable 10. The trip there was interesting as we wound our way up 36 hair-pin turns and we got up into the clouds but sadly there isn't anything to do in Ooty. We walked around the shops (once it stopped raining) then headed back to our hotel. It was at this point that Shoddi started feeling very cold and wondered if she was unwell. We forced down some dinner (the worst corn soup in the world for Shoddi as that was all the poor girl could eat) then headed to bed just to keep warm (do you believe that?). At this stage Ted worked out we were on the most uncomfortable bed in the world (and that is saying something in India) and he had a bad nights sleep. By morning we were at the beginning of what was to be an uncomfortable few days for both of us ... Yes, we had finally succumbed to Delhi Belly. A very unhappy pair spent the next day in the car for 7 hours as we got back down the hill and took various detours due to flooding (!). We holed up in Kozhikode for two days, not seeing much other than the bed and the bathroom.

Back into the swing of it, but not fully recovered, we headed for Alleppey to book in for a backwaters cruise on a houseboat. This was an absolute highlight. We had two crew; a skipper and a chef. We boarded the houseboat at midday and returned the next morning at 9am. In between we cruised the backwaters, watching life along the rivers as people tended rice paddy fields, fished, washed, repaired boats, went to school etc. The meals were awesome and enough to feel the Brady Bunch. Sadly we were still a little crook so didn't do it total justice but the fresh water lobster we bought at the local fish market on the banks of the river was fabulous.

After disembarking the vessel we caught a taxi to Varkala, a cliff-top touristy settlement with predominantly European clients. The cliff-top was lined with 800m of shops and restaurants, all open-aired and sea facing. Our hotel room was fantastic; all new, quiet and clean, with a comfortable bed. Blissful after most of the places we have stayed. We dragged ourselves away after only one day in order to head down to Kannikumari, the southernmost tip of India and where the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and India Ocean meet.

At Kannikumari we managed, by total chance, to score a 'penthouse' corner suite that gave up 270-degree outlook over the key attractions. Kannikumari is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus and combined with the start of Diwalli resulted in a night of explosions as people let off firecrackers (the noise without the lights). We were also surrounded by temples that like to blare their music out night and day but you get used to that after a while.

Today we have driven back up the coast to Kovalam and found ourselves a lovely little resort with a swimming pool and our own private beach. We will be staying here for a couple of days (swimming, eating, drinking and shopping) before we head to Trivandrum to catch to flight to Chennai. From Chennai we head to Singapore for a couple of nights and then home. Home next Friday...

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Location: Mysore, India

We spent 4 days in Goa and it was very hot and humid. A couple of places we stayed had a pool and that was awesome as you just sweat 24/7. We made it to the famous Ajuna market on the first night and picked up a few bargains. We found a great restaurant on the beach in Calangute so ate there whenever possible.

From Goa we headed inland to Hospet where there is the nearby ruined city of Hampi. Of greatest interest to Shoddi was the enormous boulders, you felt like you were in the Flintstones so we should have packed our costumes. We stayed in an odd hotel out of town with almost no other customers and a weird receptionist, restaurant guy and cleaning lady. Honestly it had a certain Rocky Horror creapiness to it. Hampi was great though, with the ruin city said to rival that of Rome with its infastructure and palaces, much of which are just skeletal remains now.

We got an overnight train to Bangalore but didn't stay, instead choosing to head for Mysore so our stay in Bangalore was only 30 minutes (we were quite rpoud of getting off the train, finding the ticketing booth and getting to the right patform and train within that time. It was the usual running jump onto the train as the train only stops for about 3 minutes at each station).

We are chilling out in Mysore and it is a lovely city. quite clean and orderly to some degree. We had a look at the Palace yesterday and at a silk factory. We ended up down an alley in the back of a dark shop smelling incense oils so bought a few of those. Shoddi got a couple of silk sarees and some glass bangles.

Ted will upload some more photos asap. Until next time, stay alive and we are thinking of you often.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Location: Jaipur, India

Hello,

We've uploaded another batch of photos from our tiger safari and Pushkar. We are curently in Jaipur and fly to Goa tomorrow. Still very hot and it's been over a week since we have seen a cloud in the sky. Stay tuned for our next installment.

Namaste
Shoddi and Ted

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Location: Agra, India

Hello, from deepest darkest India.

We have been here and week and have covered a lot in that time. Here is a brief rundown:

We spent a couple of days in Delhi and managed to get scammed the first hour we were there. We saw a heap of the usual tourist sites, including India Gate, Humayans Tomb, Qutab Minar, Govt buildings, and the new temple complex that they are trying to make like Disneyland. Most of the spots were very busy
although these were mainly populated by India tourists. We even saw a Bollywood movie being made near Qutab Minar. Delhi is a hectic, noisy, and dirty place but was a good place to see.

We got a train up to Amritsar (Um-rit-sir) to see the Golden Temple, a very holy place for Sikhs, and the India/Pakistan border closing ceremony. Amritsir is a pleasant city and here our cycle rickshaw driver, Choondra, was a great guide and took us to where the cremations take place where we saw a few fires burning and some grieving families arrive. It was so hot and tiring being driven around by Choondra that we got a beer (750ml Thunderbolt) and rode through Amritsar drinking from the bottle. It wasn't until later that we remembered that Sikhs are anti-alcohol and it is strictly forbidden in some places.

We left Amritsar via the overnight train to Agra. Here we met up with our driver, Charman, who is with us for six days from Agra through Rajasthan.

Our first port of call in Agra was the wonder of the world the Taj Mahal (or Tajmahl as the locals call it). It was an awesome sight, and literally blinding with the sun reflected. Here Ted asked Shoddi for her hand in marriage. Once Shoddi checked he wasn't kidding she said yes. Just to recap, Ted and Shoddi are now engaged to be married. He he. This was celebrated by a champagne lunch.

Back on the tourist trail and we visited Agra Fort before heading out of town to see Fatepur Sikri. It was very hot and tiring so we got more beers and stayed the night in a small town. Here, the celebrate the enormous occassion Ted wore his finest Punjabi regalia at dinner. The next day we headed off to Ranthamborne National Park, a long journey on very bad country roads but
along the way we got a small glimpse of village life in Rajasthan.

We are getting the hang of the haggling situation and managed to get a great room near the tiger park for 600 rupees (they wanted 1200) which is about NZ$20. Ranthamborne National Park has a 10th century fort so we visited that and took some great photos over the park where Prince Phillip shot and killed a tiger in 1957. These tigers are now 'protected' as only 36 are thought to remain in the park but this may be much lower as there is a poacher problem.

Again hot, and again cold beer. Dinner at the rooftop restaurant before retiring early. Up at 5.30 for a 6am departure for our Tiger Safari. We saw a lot of wildlife but sadly no tiger for us. We did see fresh tiger tracks in the dirt but that is as close as we got to the tigers this time around. This was finished by 10.30 so we headed off for Pushkar. Again, the roads were really bad and the trip was long and bumpy. 7 hours later we arrived at the Pushkar Lake Palace (not the famous and expensive version). This time our beer had to be bought prior to arrival as Pushkar is a strictly alcohol-free town although they don't mind their marijuana lassis.

We went for a walk into town and wandered around the markets. Another nice rooftop restaurant for dinner, overlooking the lake. We grabbed a herby fruit lassi on the way home. Today we have been wandering around the markets and chilling out. Have managed to buy a few cheap goodies.


Photos - Click Below


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Recent Messages

From Kelly & Stu
Hey you two love birds,
So happy to hear about the engagement. You definately know how to keep the surprises coming don't you Teddy. Photos look amazing, love the shadow man photo. We are loving fiji, hot and sweaty too but happy.
xxxx
Response: Hello sweaty ones,
Glad you are having a great time. We miss you. Look forward to seeing you soon. P.S. Who is looking after the house while you are away?
From Mrs Titty
Little Brat Stevie - an engaged person ! - well I never !
Love and best of luck to you both and keep enjoying your wonderful travels.
Response: Hello Mrs Titty. Thank you for your kind wishes. We are having a fabulous time. Currently we are at Varkala in Kerala. The weather is hot and it is very relaxing. Take care. Ted and Shoddi x
From Dion
Hey Aunty Suz, glad you are having an awesome time. Can you please bring me home an elephant coz they look like fun to ride. Say hi to Ted for me
Love and kisses
Response: Hi Dion,
The elephants are very large and will put me even further over my weight restrictions. I could try for a goat as they are more your size, but I suppose you can get ome of those in NZ.
X
From Jason
Sounds like you guys are having a great time. making me jealous with all the food you are dining on
Response: We have over indulged so much we are taking a break from the India for a few days and dining continental. Tell Sarah that we had the best Chicken Jalfrezi in the world while in Goa. Oh my, it was amazing.
From Geraldine George
I am re living the journey reading your blog, wonderful.
I didnt get engaged though!!
Keep having a great time and thanks for keeping me posted
Response: We are having the time of our lives. Currently down south and enjoying the beaches. Look forward to seeing you when we return.
From lisa and steve
congrats on the betrothal!!!!
Well well.

Enjoy India and don't drink the water from the toilets
Response: Thanks for that, we were considering it.
From Ronda and Murray

Amazing guys, look forward to the updates - we travel with you in spirit as we read about your experiences and adventures... the safari must have been amazing!!

xox

Response: Thanks guys, hope you are both well.
T&S
From Tony
Me again,,,,,, forgat to add Peter, Deearne (and family of course) congratulations to my previous message
Response: Hey,
Thanks for the congrats. We are having a great time, currently up in the mountains at Ooty and heading back down and to the backwaters in the next few days.
Give my love to everyone.
Suz x
From Radiata Fred
Great to hear of your future plans together. Looks like you are having a lot of fun. We had a great trip to Surfers and the kids loved the theme parks etc. Great to be home tho. Look forward to the next pics. Take care.
Cretney Family.
Response: Glad you had a great time. Thanks for the message. See you soon.
From Ronda and Muzz
Hi there guys

Thankyou so much for thinking of us - you are amazing.

You should be writing for a tourism magazine on promoting India as a number one tourist destination.

Congradualtions on your engagement - you make a wonderful couple so happy for you both - you can have a practice honeymoon - he he, looking forward to celebrating with you when you return.

Luv from us both xx
From Matt Grace
Hey Suz and Ted! Congratulations all round! Thats awesome news on your engagement! Sounds like you're having a fabulous time! Brilliant! Happy travels to you both!
Response: Thanks Matt!
From Chris and Todd
Well done you guys congratulations. On yu Suz for outdoing the boys! Look forward to going oohhhh and aaahhhh over the ring when you get back. Sounds like you having a fantastic time. Keep the updates coming and Chris is doing really well on the road to recovery.
Love and kisses
Response: It wasn't me, Ted was the star that day. Who would have thought the Taj would become such a special place for us?
x
From Betty&Laurence
Wonderful news,congratulations to you both, when do I get my new outfit???????? Love Us xxoo
Response: Hi there,

Hope you are well.

Terribly hot over here and I am a puddle of lovely sweat most days. We are thinking March 09 but nothing set in stone. Will be very casual you are def on the invite list. Hope to see you soon
Love Suz xxx
From NIcki
OH MY GOODNESS!
Such great news, I am sure you will be wonderfully happy together forever. When is the wedding to be? I want to come over!!
xxxxxxxxx
Response: Maybe March 09 doll and would lOVE it if you came. Please come!!!
From Jen
Hey Ted and Shoddy

Congratulations. That's very exciting news!

Love the outfit Ted, will you be bringing one of those back to wear for the marriage ceremony?

Bambi
Response: Cheers for your message. We are having a fabulous time.
Ciao
Ted & Shoddi
From Jayne
Hey guys

Great to hear you are having a great trip - keep the updates coming!!
Love
Jayne
Response: Cheers for your message. We are having a fabulous time.
Ciao
Ted & Shoddi
From Hils
Congratulations!!!!

fantastic news about the engagement. Wooohooo!!!!!!
Response: Cheers for your message. We are having a fabulous time.
Ciao
Ted & Shoddi
From Mark (Agent99)
Teddy/Shoddi

Hey guys sounds like a great trip and what a romantic surprise eh Shoddi ?!!

Super action Teddy - this calls for a Curry celebration, albeit that you'll probably be all over curries by the time you get home!

Congratulations to you both and enjoy the trip - I look forward to hearing more :-)

Mark
Response: Cheers for your message. We are having a fabulous time.
Ciao
Ted & Shoddi
From Leonie Curac
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR ENGAGEMENT - TRUST YOU TO DO IT IN STYLE!!! Leonie
Response: Cheers for your message. We are having a fabulous time.
Ciao
Ted & Shoddi
From Bex
Hi,
Did I notice a ring in one of the photos?!?
Congratulations
Safe travels and love to you both
XX
Kirk & Becs
Response: Hi doll,

Ring only bought they other day, Ted had a practice one ready. Looking forward to catching up for dinner when we return
XXX
From Jill
congratulations and celebrations aaaaaaaaaah so cool . .. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx nice work
Response: Was such a surprise petal, as you are probably aware! Very exciting and a great holiday so far. Off to Goa today. Hope things going well at your end x
From Hannah
Oh and I forgot to say, I made a fantastic curry yesterday in our slow cooker - it was sooo good - will have to have you both over to try it when you are back ... I was thinking of you both yesterday when I was making it and eating it, we pretended we were also in India - it was awesome!

H : )
Response: Ho doll,

Glad the curry was great. Nice to hear from you! VERY hot here, I am a constant puddle of sweat.
From robynn
Well done you too, fantastic news, cannot wait to hear all the other stories, have a great time rob
Response: Thanks Robynn. Very exciting!
From Moira
Ted wins the romance award!
Response: Ohhhh yeah.
From Angela
have fun guys!! good luck with Delhi belly! i'm sure it'll be worth it!
Response: Cheers for your message. We are having a fabulous time.
Ciao
Ted & Shoddi