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James & Carma's Travel Page

Welcome to James & Carma's Travel Page. Here is where we will be keeping a record of our travels for all of you to read. Please feel free to leave a comment for us. If we have time shopping at all the markets we have yet to discover and in between discovering new places and meeting new people we will reply to them!

Diary Entries

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Location: India

Still holding on to those memories and recollections of our travels. it seems so long since we have been back. Well, this is our excuse for being so bad in updating the website, anyway. India was our favourite place for its richness in colours,culture organic smells (good and bad) food and people. We wish we had had another 6 months there and it felt like only a taster of what we could really discover. Maybe next time, hey.

We have never visited such a country that is so varied in climate. The whole world is in India!

Prior to leaving Bangkok, we met twins from the USA and they informed us to be prepared for the difference in standard of living to that of thailand. well we did not think much of these comments because we had already visited Goa and seen television documentaries. Well, seeing is believing and Goa does not represent India. We landed in Delhi, which was suffering from a very hot summer this year according to the news and we will have to agree. Nonetheless we met a Swiss man called Johannes who is a movie producer. Well he got us into a lovely hotel at an even lovelier price and we in turn, accompanied him to Delhi's movie festival. This festival is not bollywood stylie because these movies have very little, if any singing and dancing. Very reflective of the conservative Delhi but reflective of the country as a whole. We were able to meet producers and directors where we could ask questions while eatting together. Delhi is divided into 2, the haves and the havenots. The poor are extremely poor which is visual in old Delhi, where people sleep outside and some make tents for cover. Unfortunately the children like many other countries are used to beg and exploited in many other ways. In the heart of Delhi, its very crowded, well most of India is crowded. Whereas the rich indians live where there is very little traffic, basically in a cleaner part of town where there are wider roads and pavements. They shop in malls where they are subjected to the same fashion outlets as the west. Its a shame it appears that they are embracing the west at the cost of their own rich culture. We returned to Delhi about 3 times and on each occasion the temperature kept raising.

We initially intended to visit Rajistan but was told by locals that it was too hot. Bearing this in mind we instead decided to visit the North of india. We were reccomended Rishikesh. For those that are Beatles fans you will know that the Beatles visited this spiritual place back in the 60s where they enjoyed as you can today, yoga and meditation and various substances. We decided to visit at the busiest time of the year so needless to say the crowds were challenging especially when we had to cross the long bridges. Our experience here was quick and off we went to Shimla. Shimla, is called little England as this was where the English retreated to, in the height of summer for obvious reasons. Therefore the architect is very English, you feel as if you are in Norfolk. The striking feature here though, is the height of the town and the sudden temperature drop at night. Oh yeah we felt as if we were in England alright. While we were here we met a spiritual man who does retreats, a very interesting man or should i say what he told us was interesting!! We did not stay too long before we were on our way again to Manali. Manali is definitely a travellers haven, this is where you glimpse the Himalayas and where you buy or get clothes made for the long and cold journey ahead. It was not long before we were off again and the intended destination, Leh. to get here you have to travel through the Himalayas. One snag, the road is closed for a further few weeks for buses to pass through so the only way to get there at this time of year is by an 18hr jeep journey!!! Sore batties let me tell you, thank goodness for the tea stops and the challenging toilet stops. In this neck of the woods they meaning men do not think of women, i mean at all. as we try to find a discrete spot, the men are already there. On numerous occasions we ended up in peoples home uninvited to use their toilet,luckily they were not at home, yes we were intruders in a friendly foreign way. When we finally arrived in Leh it was bloodyy freezing, we were in hats, gloves etc and this was for bed time. I could not wait to leave and to return to sweaty Delhi. Delhi was welcoming. Time was of the essence so we took ourselves to Tamil Nadu, Chenai and more interstingly to Pondicherry which was a french town. the french influences are still pleasantly there. This was my favourite town. The raining season was just preparing it self and this meant it was time to go. We returned to Delhi and from there travelled to Agra to see the Taj. well, what can i say that has not already being said about this beautiful building, nothing. However I must say this, as soon as you turn the corner to see this beauty, you do say wow!!

This visit was drawing too quickly to a close, we were already planningour next visit, Mumbai, Kashmir which is suppose to be more beautiful than Switzerland, Kerala, Hampi and Culcutta, just to name a few. This country took a little time to warm to but when you get warmed up, be it by the sun or the spices its easy to fall in love with this interesting and diversed country, you come away refreshed, balanced by the spirituality of this place and more appreciative of what we have which is often too much in the first place. Needless to say there is alot of begging but apparently it is better than it has being for years andthere are many orphanages, some are ran with good intentions and some , not. This country is about business and every thing is business, be it they send you to the wrong place to purchase over priced tickets that includes a commision for them, is just business, do not take it personally! For those simple minded, India will be a true wake up call, a PHD in fast business and living. Lastly I must say the best food i ate on our travels, is here in india.

Monday, 09 July 2007

Location: Thailand

As James stated in the previous entry, that his photos and entries are not in chronological order. Therefore I intend to set the record straight by commencing from the beginning.

We left on our journey on the 22nd February 2007. Our first country was Thailand. We arrived in Bangkok and stayed in the DD Inn down the Koh San Road, a backpapers haven. This is the busiest street, its as crazy as Oxford Circus during sale time, and this is every day. On arrival you are tired or you should be, and then you are greeted with this madness. I must say that you never get used to it unless you are truly crazy.

Q:What does that say about us?

Please send your answers on a postcard addressed to Blue Peter.

This street,is also the home for many hotels and guest houses and equally restaurants. We left this area after a few days and headed down to Koh Tao to learn to dive. We travelled by bus for 7 hours and a boat transfer of 3 hours. Unfortunately our camera went on its own holiday and did not return until we arrived in Koh Samui!! Nonetheless, Koh Toa is certainly worth a visit not just for the obvious reason, that its one ofthe cheapest and best places to learn to dive( recommended by my yoga guru, Stefan), to enjoy challenging yoga and treatments but to also chill on Sai Thong beach and resort. This resort is a must, truly paradise.

We hopped to Koh Samui and you get a flavour from the photos. A pleasant island but commercial and its the most expensive of the islands. If you ever end up on this island, make good use of the spas, ladies!!!

We moved on to numerous islands, namely Koh Lanta where we ended up in the midst of a wedding, very enjoyable. Krabi, where we visited the James Bond Island and a fishing village. Koh Phi Phi, which does have some of the best Thai beaches but is now commercial because of the movie, The Beach. Koh Roc, fabulous for snorkelling as well as Koh Lipe. We also stayed in a few cities such as Hat Yai near the border to Malaysia, one of the larger cities, and consequently many Malays visit to shop, Trad and Trang both small towns and special in their own way.

While in Hat Yai we took the opportunity to visit Malaysia in particular , Penang. This city, is heavily influenced by the Chinese and the English. This is definitely my favourite city on this trip because there was lots to do. We visited grand homes, temples, a fruit farm, a spice garden, Penang Hill via cable car. Penang Hill is about 30 degree gradient and back in the day they use to carry people up on chairs and subsequently donkeys, according to James.

Was he there as another lifeform?

Once again, answers on a postcard please.

Penang is a very humid city and according to locals, the weather is very english, unpredictable!!

When we returned to Thailand we decided to visit the island that the locals frequent, Koh Sumet. Unfortunately the rainy season was raising its head, nonetheless you could acquire a flavour ofthis island and conclude that its a relaxed island with a bit more culture.

Overall Thailand is a beautiful country, chilled, cheap and plenty to see. More so, if you and squatting toilets are friends. Truly, you get over this, because the beaches and clear warm water are beautiful.

Our next venture,Cambodia. You will recall that James covered this country in the previous entry.

Vietnam followed. Most unfortunate, we lost our photo disc. Any way we visited Ho Chi Mingh/Siagon, where we visited the war museums, where you see graphic pictures of the chemical damage to human bodies during the war. Tanks and war weapons are also exhibited. The Palace of the Re-Unification is partially open to the public, worth a visit for their bunker in it cold war state.

James visited the Cu Chi tunnels used by the vietcong during the war with the USA. Luckily he had been on a crash diet for ages, training for this very experience.This diet, way better than Atkins, for you slimmers out there, meant no beer for four days and thinking about strenous exercise for 20 minutes every morning!!!! It paid off because he managed to get his m*****ve bottom down the tunnels and it only took the guide, and a crane four days to get him out!!

On a serious note, the ingenuity of the vietcong was truly amazing; fetching unexploded US bombs from the battlefield and then making their own to use on the US soldiers. There were 3 levels of tunels starting at 5 metres and going as deep as 15 metres, with hospitals, canteens and shelters.

We took the opportunity again to travel along the Mekong. The area was very peaceful. We were able to go cycling with some new found friends from Singapore and eat fertile boiiled eggs. Ummmmhhhhhh!!! Not me though. I got carried away and tried to cycle back to Cambodia. Sorry folks, we lost the photos of James and the python which got carried away by wrapping him/herself around James's neck, rather the python than me!

We did not have alot of time in Vietnam so we moved on rapidly to Dak Lak where we stayed 2 days and viewed a few waterfalls and a lake. We moved swiftly on to Hanoi. Hanoi was the capital city of North Vietnam during the war. This is a lovely city, greatly inflenced by the french and surrounded by many lakes and coffee shops as well as many lovely silk shops and historical sites. We visited the prison which dates as far back as early 20th Century during the French Occupation. Visited a few temples, Opera House, Ho Chi Minh's museum, home and mausoleum. One of the highlights of our visit to Vietnam is Ha long Bay. We stayed on a barch for 3 days. We visited Ha Long Bay which resembles James Bond Island but far more spectacular. Just imagined lots and lots of monoliths. Apparently there are 1500 islands in this region. Some inhabitated and others, not. We were fortunate to visit a a large limestone cave. We were also able to kayak through some of the caves and trek. Everton, we know that you are gutted that we are not able to provide any photos of Vietnam so we strongly recommend that you refer to the Rough Guide or The Lonely Planet.

Vietnam is certainly worthy of a second visit, so Everton we will bear you in mind when we return.

We did return to Bangkok for a few days and then headed off to India. So please tune in, in a couple of weeks for our India entries and photos. India is a fascinating country with a varied climate. From Himalayas to Delhi to the south. You get every season here. A very colourful experience.

More soon.

James & Carma


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Recent Messages

From Annabella,Grat & Eli
We all so dearly loved the photos and loved seeing all the different places you visited ! Never guess what annabelle recieved her english results and out of 350 students out of her year only 6 recieved level 7 which is the highest level you can get and annabelle was one of those students !!!! i cant believe it she couldnt wait to tell you

see you soon
love
Annabella , Grat & Elisaxxxxx
Response: well done and i am glad that you enjoyed the photos. look out for india,coming soon.
From Penny
Dear Bohemians,
many thanks for this news, which is really cheering me up during the rain-soaked summer that I'm spending, mostly working, in England. I'm sure all your friends are as grateful as I am!!!! Have a good trip

Penny xxx
Response: dear Penny, it was lovely to hear from you. I am sure you had a good summer regardless of the rain. On a sunshinny note please log into our web page for the entries on India. i hope you enjoy this entry.carma and james xx
From Amanda
Hello Beautiful and James
Wow - what a nice surprise! Good for you - I am truly inspired by your attitude and motivation. I think that to travel is a wonderful thing to do (although i'm not sure about squatting toilets) and would like to think that I, too, might travel further afield than London and New York one day! (Actually I have a week in Cornwall booked for October half-term!).
I shall look forward to the next instalment of your journey.
Take care of yourselves and each other.
Love Amanda xx
Response: Thank you for your lovely email. At long last our last entry is available for viewing as I type, i hope you enjoy these photos too and it encourages you to travel more. Must say the squatting toilets are challenging, but when you have to go you have to go! Carma and james xx
From Des
Hi guys,

Hope all is well!!

Carma as requested these are the details on Seville:

Airline: Click Air (division of Iberia)

Hotel:Un Patio En Santa Cruz Hotel, cl. doncellas 15, sevilla, seville41004.

The hotel rooms are very basic and very small, although very clean and well located.

LOL xx
Response: Des, will drop your skirt to mers by friday also please log into our web page for the indian photos and entries.carma and james, enjoy!xxx
From Beatrice
Hi Jamie and Carma,

Your pictures look awesome! They brought back some nostalgic memories. I hope that you are having a truly amazing time and that you are enjoying India as much as I did. It offers some truly amazing architecture, colourful characters too!

I also hope that the washing line is actually useful to you rather than a hindrance to carry around.

Yes, I could definitely distinguish Carma from the other fairies in one of your photos, so don't worry Carma.

Anyway, I shall wait for you next entry in anticipation.

Beatrice x
Response: dear Bea, at long last we have completed our indian entries, so i hope you enjoy them and take good care.carma and james xxx
From Komal
Hey guys....am jealous like crazee! Can't believe that you are still travelling. looks as though you are having a fantastic time. Looking forward to reading all the rest of your travel stories, and catching up when you're finally back in town.
Stay safe, and out of trouble (Carma!)...and see you soon!
xk
Response: Troubles, at long last we have just completed our indian entries, tried to keep you in suspense,hope it worked. enjoy and will speak soon, will be in jamaica from 20.11.07 for 3 weeks.carma xxxx
From Lee-Anne
Guys, the pics are FANASTIC! I'm heading to Thailand at the end of year I think, and you just got me even more excited. Miss you! Happy Belated Jamie!!!!
Response: Lee, at long last we have now for you the indian photos and entries, so please log in and hopefully will see you soon.carma and james xxx
From Tonia
lovely to hear from you both!!sounds like you're havin an amazin time and seeing amazing things. happy 40th jams!!! i'm not far behind (plannin a party next yr) - life here is good. keep in touch and take care xxxxxxxxxxxx
Response: At long last we have for you, yes for you, the indian entries, so please tune him and enjoy sweetness.carma and james xx
From Des
Hi guys!!

Whenever I ask Mer where you are in the world I get 'I don't know'. At least know I can find out for myself.
Loving the stories!
Keep well! Des xxx
Response: Des, i am sure that i have already sent you a reply but you are greedy, yes greedy, please log in to india.carma and james xxx
From jellyfish


I want to see you both in a photo. I hope you are in good health and having fun. Keep updating your travel page.
I received the package sent from India. (Addressed to your flat)
Did you see any she men?
Mum & Dad send their love.
Jamie are you doing your yoga?
Here's a joke from a year 7 pupil.
Three men sitting in a pub talking about the birth of their sons.
Man no1
My son was born on St. David’s day.
Man no2
What did you call him?
Man no1
David
Man no2
My son was born on St. Patrick Day
Man No3
What did you call him?
Man No2
Patrick
Man No3
My son was born on Pancake Day
Man No1
What did you call him?
Man No3
--- ----
It made me laugh
Ok. You had to be there.
Response: Mer,
Glad you like the photos will update them today so take another look. Did you leave the package addressed to us in the flat.
Love J & C
From Ponnywinkle
Happy Birthday Little Jamie. 40! Maturity & good looks still await you.

With love

Ponny

PS - Carma, give him what he wants.
Response: New photos put on the website today so take a look.

See you soon.
From Everton & Valerie
Hi Guys,
Great to see that you are having a wonderful time. Everton was excited about some of the places that you have visited, and immediately proceeded to give me a long talk about history of these places, as he does so well with times and dates! The photos are so much more interesting! May God continue to travel with you on your journeys. James we are debating if it is your Birthday today, anyway Happy Birthday....
Love Valerie & Everton
Response: Valerie you make me laugh. I can just imagine Everton doing that. Brace yourself because there will be more historical phots for eg the boobie traps used in the vietnam war and pics of the tunnels. This part of the world is very much eves, so you have now come to realise. I hope god blesses you on this one becuse i do. Take good care and love to you both.carma nd james xxx
From Stephan & The Radian
Hello babes! Great to hear from you both and cool website. brings back memories. London is insane, don't come back too soon. baby is getting bigger only 4 months to go!! make sure you go to Kerala, its beautiful with loads of holistic schools offering treatments and if you like ex-French, check out Pondicherry. Take loads of piccies in Leh of the moon over the himalayas, on your way back if you have time, go to jaisalmer in rajasthan, you will love it, it is very cool! very indiana jones, and varanasi is a wicked holy city that will challenge all your senses of being, here the ganges will wash your sins away! you get me carma...lol! if you have the time get to nepal since you alreaady on its doorstep. have a great time. miss you both but don't come home until you have found the meaning of life LOL... our love and blessings are with you both. Family Radiant xxx
Response: Dear troubles,
thank you for your words of wisdom. We have taken some lovely pics of Leh and we are now in Tamilnadu. So keep watching this wed page for updates. We intend to go to pondicherry in 2 days time and if we have time,then to Kerala. However its monsoon so we may leave it for a nother time . i intend to visit india again and i have worked out my itinerary already. we have met some cool people along the way and avoided and got rid of quickly the not so cool troubled souls that give me a headache. I dont believe that we will have time to go to Varanasi. However I believe spirtually its for my next visit. I met a very interesting holistic man similar to you and he informed me of some interesting things and how to over come my ailments etc and improve my well being and also told me about myself and my family,things that only i and i, i thought knew. Well thats what i thought but it looks like Hello mag also is in the know!! We will be back before the baby is due. Is there any thing that you would like!!!!

Love to you all

Carma and james xxx
From Debbie
You guys appear to be having an amazing time! Take care of yourselves and continue to enjoy and hopefully relax. Please upload more pictures as the pictures so far have been super.Dominic says hello as he is looking at the photo's also! I will continue to keep you both in my prayers for safe journey. All the best x
Response: Debs and dom you are both sweeties. We will update every 2 weeks and we have met some interesting people along the way. You both take good care and look forward to seeing you soon.Carma and james xx until
From Ponnywinkle
Hi There - The two of you. Photos look interesting, and what a great idea this website. Why are there no photos of you? Do you have something embarassing to hide. When are you due to return? I am planning to take a trip away for 6 months a day or two before you come back.

Love you both, sort of,

Ella & John,
Response: John, what are you like!! We are not sure when we will be returning. No pics of the 2 of us cos we stole these pics from a travel website! We dont love you but we do love Ella cos you are naughty!!
Until the next contact lv to u both.carma and james xx
From
Hi Jamie.....
Got a fairly good price for the CBR.......
Response: We may be able to get a better price in india. Send us the pic and we will put it on indians webpages cos the CBR has not yet reached India yet, only Enfields. Hope you are well and taking good care of your self.Carma and james xx
From vomitarium
Hey Jamie where's your magic torch!
Response: Is this mer or tasmin?? Further pics will be on the web site in 2 weeks time so watch this page.Carma and james xx
From Dad
Just got your e-mail and photos. Marcia rang us to say she had received an e-mai from you. So when I went to my desktop there it was.
Hope you are enjoying the experience and being careful.
Have had a very good time with Jill. She is very busy but we still have had time with her and Judie. Work starts on Judie's flat to-day and they should be finished in 7-8 weeks.
Luv
Dad and Mum
Response: Dad, we are both OK and being careful. We are travelling to Leh tonight which is about 4000m above sea level so we havew been buying some outlandish warm clothes for the trip which will take 15 hours. Send our love to everyone. J & C
From Marcia
How clever of you to be able to do this . it is facinating.
Thank you.
Take care
love Marcia
Response: Marcia, glad you like the photos. We are travelling to Leh tonight which is about a 15 hour trip by jeep. We will put more photos on in the next couple of days. Love J & C