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Bex’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 30 Jun 2007

Location: Bombay (Mumbai), India

MapSo! Lukla... Despite the fact we managed to get there a day before our flight, due to cloud cover we couldn't actually get out for 3 days! And i tell you we were going stir crazy- there aint a lot to do in Lukla! I just about managed to persuade our lodge to put on a video (after them telling me there was not enough power and then watching TV themselves, I was so angry!) unfortunately instead of My best friends Wedding we ended up with 'Daniel and the Superdogs'. I tell you its a classic... we were so bored we would have watched anything though! Eventually we got out and back to Kathmandu and we were SO looking forward to it. We'd lie awake and talk of seeing Vinny at De la Soul, our local, having Quesadillars at the Northfield cafe, and swimming in Vintys pool at his hotel. AND we were not disappointed. A hot shower and a nice room with TV (I love HBO) topped it off. We were not happy about leaving Kathmandu then, we were settled. So we did some sight seeing... well the monkey temple (Named because it attracts monkeys not a temple for monkeys...) and a lot of partying, live bands and good food. Then our travel agent a Mr. Chhetri at Metro Everest near Via Via cafe, (by 7 corners) i tell u this because if you go to Kathmandu STAY AWAY! We got rinsed but you never know it till its too late do you. Anyway he told us the first train through India he could get us on was a little bit later than we had wanted so we were stuck in Kathmandu for a few extra days. What a shame! We said with big grins on our faces. And we got to stay for Vinny's and Alex's, Opening party of De La Soul. ( Vinny had revamped the menu and they hadnt had one so far so..) Kathmandu is basically city of the Sunrooms!
It was crazy but brilliant, never seen the place so packed! And vinny kitchen staff were doing free samples of the new menu, so me and nick got free dinner! and Alex is british so they had big jugs of Pimms, lovely! Anyway we had a few more crazy nights and some free swims thanks to Vinty! (And Vinny if you're reading this I hope you got some sleep!heehee)
Then we had to leave for India, so got a bus a bit late, to Sunauli the border between Nepal and India. Stayed one night there and then headed to Gorakhpur in a 'share taxi' aka a Jeep with as many indians as you can fit in it. And us. The Sunauli border is crazy you could so easily smuggle stuff across, you just walk down the road under an arch and your in India. You really have to serach for the immigration house/hut/thing... Though they are friendly. Once we got to Gorakhpur we had a train to catch. Unfortuantely we were a little unsure of which train it was and there seemed to be delays, we were pretty much the only westerners there too. We ask some guard who looked like he was in Authority and he pointed at a train not coressponding to any information that was on our ticket or on the info boards. So we asked someone 'Lucknow?' They nodded so we got on. We have a feeling now it might have been the wrong train. We were meant to be getting a train to Agra from Lucknow but the train to Lucknow was so slow it didnt get there in time and we missed it. Some indian guys who where sitting with us and spoke very little english said ''no problem'' and made gestures to sit down where we were saying that this train went to Agra and jsut to stay put. Anyway the ticket inspector came round and said 'No' basically but we had left Lucknow by then and was travelling through the Indian countryside with no one who spoke English surrounded by many Indians (they sure know how to pack them in!) at 1am. So the ticket guy gave us a spare sleeper bed so me nick and the bags tried to make ourselves comfy. We did have a little panic, were i nearly cried but we realised we couldn't do anything and we were really tired. So we went to sleep.. ish and hoped we were going the right way! Then at 9am about 19hours after we got on the damn train we saw the Taj Mahal in the distance. Thank god!
We got to a guesthouse recommended to us by some people we'd met and crashed out. (With HBO!) Then the Taj Mahal at 6am. Got up early because the same people said that as the sun rises over it, the Taj is beautiful and changes colour. We didn't see any colours just white. Unfortunately i'd woken up and decided that i was going to get malaria if i didnt take a Doxycycline pill so took one at 5am on an empty stomach. At 7am i was sick in the Taj Mahal gardens! Most romantic place in the world and Nick wouldnt kiss me (nick- She had sick on her beard). We got some pics and left. Next day off to Delhi. We'd changed our ticket at Agra with a man who was not very understanding about the fact the ticket we'd paid 2000 rupees for was actually not valid. When he told us we had to buy a new one the actual price of which was 300 rupees. Hence our hatred for Mr. Chhetri in Kathamndu. Then when we got on the train thinking just get to Delhi, when the ticket inspector comes round and tells us the date on our tickets are wrong. We look and indeed its for 2 days later, despite the fact the man changing them never said anything he just agreed the form for the 20th and gave us tickets for the 22nd. Thanks! So he tried to charge us again and a fine. 600 rupeees please. I had had enough of bloody conning indians. So i tried to explain about the first ticket, 2000 rupees and the second, 300 rupees and that i was not paying another 600 rupees for a journey that cost only 300 rupees. He didnt understand. This was the point i burst into tears. As it turns out Indians dont like that. And the man's saying to nick "Make her be quiet." Then he ran away and some lovely indian comes over asking what the problem is and gives me a hanky. Nick explained and the guy told the ticket inspector who let us stay on at no charge, then he said him and his wife were getting off next stop and we could have their seats. Bless him.
After all that India hasnt been so bad! Apart from the beggars. And disease.
We stayed in Paharganj in delhi the backpackers place, like Ko San Road in Bangkok. But dirtier. we had a nice room in a good cheap hotel though. In Delhi we wen to the National Gallery, A tomb, saw India Gate and wen to Lodi Gardens. The gardens were so beautiful i even prefered them to Taj Mahal but I wasnt ill in these ones... Lodi is like a massive park with a lake and ruins of temples in the middle, it has many species of wildlife and even ducks! All the Delhites go jogging through and couples are conudaling. Its my favourite place in Delhi- such a haven! They have some fabulous restaurants in connaught place too not far from where we were staying too, even got to go to TGI fridays! Lol! And Piccadelhi a London themed plaza of restaurants e.g.Soho and pubs 'The drunken Duck.' The entrance is made up of red london phoneboxes! and the doorman is dressed as a beefeater! heehee
Even our train from Delhi to Mumbai was lovely and we met a singer who was performing that night and invited us to her gig.
So really we have had a good time in India for the past week it was just the first week that was a pain. But every travellers moto seems to be 'the worst times make the best stories!'
So up to date finally and we are looking forward to going to Oz tomorrow and New Zealand in a few days. Especially as the monsoon has started and it hasnt stopped raining for days! We have been mainly going to Galleries in Mumbai because they are dry and theres not else to do! But i cannot figure out why a city that has monsoon season has so many marble steps- i've already slipped down far too many!
love N&B xxx
P.s. Photos soon!