Delhi and Agra Photos ...

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Follow the leader ...

I am in Kolkata, 41°. The hike from the airport was an interesting one. The airports, train and bus stations all have prepaid taxi counters. It's a service run by the government in order to allow fair rates rather than having to haggle with the drivers.

I went to the prepaid booth at the airport to book a taxi to Sudder Street. This street is famous for having cheap hotels. The trip cost 230Rs. As it was rush hour, it took about one hour to get near the area. I was amazed at the pollution especially having just come down from beautiful Darjeeling.

At some point, I began to realize that the driver wasn't sure exactly where he was going. I guess I should also add that he didn't speak a word of English. He pulled over to ask for directions and it was me that did most of the asking.

We must have stopped ten times. It seemed that people didn't know the street or they couldn't be bothered to help. The few that offered directions didn't seem to help the driver out any as it wasn't very long before he stopped again.

I finally got out my guide book map to lead him to the street. He seemed hesitant to follow my hands but I'm sure he could see that I wasn't overly happy. I had been in his taxi for two hours.

I was able to get him on the right track but due to it being rush hour some of the streets had changed to one way to allow for the traffic. That means I had to take him on a detour. He had no idea what I was saying but I saw where we were on the map and was trying to make him understand that. I was very anxious to get out of his car and I'm sure he was ready to be rid of me, too.

Two and a half hours later, I was hot and tired but where I wanted to be. I got out of the car, collected my things when the driver says 'two hundred' in English. I shrugged my shoulders. I know he spent a lot of extra time driving around but isn't it his job to know the city?!

It's hot, noisy and polluted here. I am trying to force myself out of this chilled room to head to the market. I'm not sure it's going to happen. I am very looking forward to getting home knowing that's my only option for the moment.

Not long now!

Sunday April 12th, 2009

I now find myself at a tiny beach resort in the south of Sri Lanka called Unawatuna. The guest house offers free internet which is a good excuse to write another post. It seems I don't have much to write about.

The food has gotten much better now that I am on the coast. Fish is widely available and it's ever so tasty. I spent the first two months of my trip being a vegetarian as meat isn't available so much in India ... especially in the north. It's been hard to keep the trend going here.

Cheap beer is widely available and it's nice to be able to drink it in the open. Most places didn't serve it in India and the ones that did, served it hidden in teapots or covered glasses. One of things I look forward to the most is a nice bottle of red wine. The first sip will be ever so sweet.

I leave Sri Lanka in about one week. I will, no doubt, stop at the duty free on my way back into India. I plan to head up to Darjeeling which will probably be somewhat of a cold mountain town. Some red wine running through my body will be a nice way to keep warm!

My tummy is starting to rumble at the thought of tonight's dinner. With that thought, I am off.

Tuesday April 7th, 2009

I am terribly behind in travel posts. It's hard to believe that in three weeks I'll be back at home. I suppose I'll be left with ample time to catch up on stories. And I'll finally be able to upload my photos! It will be nice to relive the trip through different eyes. So much has happened since I first touched down in Delhi.

Sri Lanka is a stunning place. I've been smack in the middle doing lots of hiking through mountains and tea plantations. I had no idea what a treat I was in for!

First stop, Kandy, a great town set in the mountains around a big lake.

After Kandy, it was an early trek starting at 2am up to the top of Adam's Peak. It was an amazing sunrise! It best have been after 5200 steep steps to the top.

It was then off to Nuwara Eliya for a day of rest. The tiny town sits 1200m about sea level and was a bit chilly for my liking!

After some rest and rain, a group of us awoke at 4am for another early start to
Horton Plains National Park. Another stunning place.

I now find myself in a place called Ella. Another very tiny mountain town where there isn't much to do. I am leaving on a bus tomorrow and heading out of these wonderful mountains, making my way to the coast.

More will follow at a later date!