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Off to Établissements français de l'Inde

overcast 25 °C

Here comes some promised updates in color! First one is from Madurai, rest from Kodaikanal.

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Here's the temples I was on about back in Madurai!

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Tonight George is leaving for Bangalore, I wish him safe travels and smooth landing back home!
Tomorrow me and Mila are heading off to Puducherry, a former French colony on the east coast just south of Chennai.
It's in the same state ( Tamil Nadu) as Kodaikanal. The french had quite a piece of India apart from the British Empire and the Portuguese, back in the days (wikipedia).
New for me is that even the Danish had a piece of the subcontinent.

We're probably going to stay in the post French Puducherry for a couple of days. After that the plan is to head back to the west coast (this time to explore Karntaka state).

Posted by Patrick_K 11:51 Archived in India Comments (3)

Freezing in the Ghats

sunny 30 °C
View Kickin' it solo in Asia on Patrick_K's travel map.

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As usual a lot has happened in a week. After leaving Arambol, I met four guys on the train. George (the English bloke), with two Russian ladies (Carina & Mila) and this polish girl Marta. So after hangin' out on the train, we decided to rent a place in Varkala together. And man what a place we found! Two small flats connected to each other, totally about 70sqm. A fridge and a porch outside. In the garden they had this giant swing connected to two palm trees. For this we payed like rs200 each (3 euro). Unfortunately Carina and Marta left after two nights, heading for new adventures. Varkala had some really stunning views, basically all the restaurants lie on this huge cliff by the ocean. The beaches in front of the cliffs are really clean and beautiful with powerful waves.

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So me, George and Mila continued together to Kanyakumari. This small town is at the most southern tip of India, a place were the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet. It is considered as a great tourist attraction for Indians, especially due to the Gandhi memorial witch is located there. Apart from the touristic parts, there was an entirely different world in the neighborhood around the docks. People were doing everyday stuff and didn't have time to give you attention. This is rarely the case in India. Normally people come in groups of ten wanting to take picture of you with their mobile cameras. And they even call you things like "master" and "boss", when they don't use the frase "sir" of course. If you want to feel like a rock star, it can easily be done. Just catch the next flight to India.

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After doing the extreme south we headed up to the Western Ghats, which is the second highest mountain region in India (after the Himalayas). Apparently it contains world's top 34 hotspots of biological diversity. In order to go to Kodaikanal, the village up in the Ghats, we had to make a short over night stop in Madurai. When we got there, it felt like being back in Delhi. An awful stench of piss and petrol, beggars, dodgy rickshaw drivers trying to rip you off. After seeing like ten different hotels that were full of cock roaches, had broken toilets and smelled awful, we finally found the least dirty place for a reasonable price. Actually we didn't know anything of Madurai until we went up the roof and saw these huge temples that had resemblance to the Maya ones, but a lot more colorful. These pictures will come up shortly, stay tuned!

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After Madurai, we took the bus to Kodaikanal yesterday. The place we're staying at is truly brilliant. For being Indian standards, it's amazing. In our mountain cottage(!?) we have 24h hot water (very unusual in India), open fire place (yes, it's freezing cold at night), cable TV and a nice little garden. It's rs500 each per night including wood, which is a bargain. George has had a lot of issues with his stomach, which is the reason of him leaving India earlier than the 30th. He's flying back to London from Bangalore on the 22nd. After that it's just me and Mila.

//Patrick

Posted by Patrick_K 13:51 Archived in India Tagged me mountains trains train_travel Comments (1)

Leaving for God's own country

semi-overcast 28 °C
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There's been some great times here in Arambol. Been hanging out with some amazingly warm people the last couple of days. We did some scooter trips around the area, all from all day trips to short two hour rides. Great fun!

The coolest place was a stunning "secret" fort in the jungle that somehow (it blows my mind why!?) has been forgotten by tourists as well as travellers. It's not in the guide books nor on Google. The place is big, about two square km, with amazingly intact ruins. The Jungle Book feeling was overwhelming! A gold mine for photography.

But as every good story it has to come to an end. I'm leaving for Varkala tonight, it's only a 20h train ride! :) The state of Kerala is one of the richest states in India, the roads are great and people come with a smile. Since there's a big community of Christians, it's often referred as God's own country. I thought I'll bomb you all with a summary of the trip in color so far.

Big up!
// Patrick

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Posted by Patrick_K 16:54 Archived in India Tagged lakes beaches buildings people animals Comments (5)

Monsoon Arambol

semi-overcast 27 °C
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I start to feel at home here in Arambol. Since there are so little tourists here, everyone seems to know everyone. There's been quite a few parties, nothing big of course, with the guys here. A lot of Israelis here as well as British, Spanish and French people. Today I met the first two Swedes on the trip. They looked a bit "beaten up" in some weird manner.

The monsoon season is really enjoyable, even the "three showers a day" is a good relief from the heat. The best thing however are all the colors the monsoon brings, everything is so green and healthy. If you can stand the showers, it's a great time to visit Goa.

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Another good thing of visiting the beaches of Goa at this time of year is the price level. I now pay 100 rs (1.5 euro) for a room by the beach, I also rented a scooter for 150 rs per day. Not bad, ey? Of all the people I've met that has been in other parts of Goa, they all say the same: Arambol is really cheap and there is some people here at least, the contrary with many other goan beaches.

One thing that has been bothering me for quite a while now is the advertisement you get to your phone. I got an Indian sim card in Mumbai and ever since the operator keeps calling me. When I pick up the phone, there's just a stupid advertisement song in hindi. This happens at least four times a day. This however is not all! If it wasn't enough with those calls you rush to pick up and there's no one there, they send you text messages. Five times a day you get stuff like: "Dahi ki Handi Barish ka fuhar Makhan churane aaye Nandlal Mubarak ho aapko janmastami ka tyohar Happy Janamastami". For free? No! Since I'm out of Mumbai I pay a roaming charge. In India you pay roaming between states. Imagine if it bothers you! :)

So it seems that I'm gonna be here for a while, with those words here is the cliff side of Arambol:

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Looks pretty scary, doesn't it? :)

Posted by Patrick_K 05:37 Archived in India Comments (1)

From the craziest city of all times to an almost empty Goa

semi-overcast 29 °C
View Kickin' it solo in Asia on Patrick_K's travel map.

I will start off with saying that it takes for ages to upload the damn pictures, here in Arambol, Goa. I arrived yesterday night with the 13 hour Mandovi Express, so I haven't really sorted out the Internet issue.

So, Mumbai... Well I actually stayed at the same place during my stay in Mumbai, since it revealed it self to be a really cool hang out place for travellers. I met a hell of a lot of people the last couple of days actually. There were two hardcore guys that really stood out from the rest.

First out was David, the Hungarian guy that walks the earth basically. He's been walking the last 6 months from Budapest with a little cheating over the Arabian Sea, since he didn't get any Pakistani visa. The guy is somewhat special, he's energy doesn't seem to fade. The hungarian press wrote an article about this guy some months ago, however I can't seem to find it online.

The other guy, Travis is crazy cool in a way. The guy actually wrote a book about hitchhiking freight trains in The States, highly illegal activity over there... He's only been to jail for a couple of days though :)
Check out his website http://www.asailboat.com.

The train ride was truly brilliant, the views were stunning. I met a young german couple which I eventually ended up in the same hotel with in Arambol. Me and Philip, the german guy did some indian style train surfin'. Good fun, I can tell you! :)

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So here I am in Goa which actually was a Portuguese colony until the sixties . I'm staying in Arambol wich is is up north in Goa. It's really off season so the price level is ridiculous. I'm paying 150 rupees per night for a double room which is about 2,5 euro. I actually found a place next to the beach for 100 rupees, and the standard is better too. A classical win-win situation, thank you! You get really delicious food at the restaurant for about one euro.

Furthermore I met Phil, an English bloke in his mid 50s. We met last time I was in India, down south in Kerala. He runs a hotel and restaurant here in Arambol, the place was closed but the guy was there. Tonight I'm gonna hang out with the locals here.

Big up! / Patrick

Posted by Patrick_K 16:21 Archived in India Tagged train_travel Comments (4)

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