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Each journey begins with a single step... Two kiwis escaping from the island to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where thousands have gone before... . .

India 1 - January 30 to February 13

INDIA | Thursday, 1 February 2018 | Views [181]

Kent and I travelled to India for 5 weeks from the end of January this year. India has been at the top of my "I loved travelling in this country' list since I travelled there for 5 months in 2004. The trip came about because I introduced my friend Pragya, whose family live in Kanpur (about an hour south of Lucknow, India) to my son's friend Andy and they ended up wanting to marry. The marriage was to be celebrated in Kanpur in the middle of January.

So, yippee, I've wanted to return there at some stage and to take Kent. We organised for him to have 6 weeks off work and I booked the flights well in advance. I stuffed up and booked the return date after 5 weeks and as it costs to change the dates we were happy with that. More good news was that our good friend Gary who we have travelled with before in Central America said he was going to be there too and we could travel together again.

We flew via Singapore and had a whole day there. They have free tours to those who are there for more than 5 hours so we went out to see the city and sights by bus which was awesome! We were also given a voucher for a meal while there so definitely a great stopoff and another country to add to our 'visited' list.

We flew on to Delhi and stayed a few nights catching up with friends I met while travelling in Pakistan and India with Domingo. Jennifer and Simone live in Delhi and now have 2 lovely boys who stole our hearts. We easily found our way to their home via the metro and got to be expert at getting here and there by that, uber, taxi, tuktuk (now called autotaxi) and rickshaw. The pollution is massive, both in the air and on the streets, more than there ever was 14 years ago. Then I used to excuse it as I thought the country had not long been invaded by western culture which brings with it all sorts of pollutants without any responsibility for its collection or care. But I thought something would have been sorted by now even if only to teach people not to throw rubbish everywhere. But no, rubbish is dropped wherever you are, out vehicle windows (trains, buses, cars etc)

We visited several tourist sites in Delhi: Jama Masjid, markets in Old Delhi, India Gate, Humayuns Tomb to name a few. We went to visit the Red Fort but it was closed, next door though they were having a textiles and culture of India festival which was really interesting and included food from lots of different areas, music and dance and floats.

We bought tickets to fly to Kochi, Kerala to spend some time by the sea and meet up there with Gary. We rented an AirBNB house by a waterway just out of Kochi then another in Mararikulam a bit south. The scenery was lovely but the pollution continued. The cost of travel was very reasonable as was the accommodation costs and food. The harder thing to get used to is the number of people, the population appears to have doubled since I was there and the noise... It used to be funny that the buses used to toot all the time in Pakistan and India, even when there was no-one on the road! but having ALL the vehicles tooting and there being so many of them it is really annoying.

Kent and I spent a couple of days in Alappuzha (said Aloopra) and we went on a days trip on the waterways there that was very interesting. We also met other tourists there, both foreigners and locals. Alappuzha used to be rich city where ships docked at a pier and unloaded cargo to be transported throughout India through their canal system. This is now all defunct and the port is north in Kochi and the city and it's canals going to rack and ruin.

Another couple of days in a place right on the beach with Gary, walking to little shack restaurants down the beach in the evening for some fabulous food. The beaches where the tourists come have rubbish strewn about and the fishermen who head out every day to fish shit at the waters edge before heading off. Still both Gary and I swam there, heads firmly out of the water which was lovely and warm.

Back to a nice hotel near the Kochi airport before saying goodbye to Gary and flying north to Lucknow and on to the wedding.


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