Comment book - Vincent B.
“Another trip to India... I could stop counting now (it must be my eighth visit), but it is always good to have your head to the grindstone til the last day of work in France and feel some form of relief the moment you board the plane! And this time the program not really defined except for the part where I will rest rest and rest...
Except that in the end, I travelled from one end to another and most of it in an adventurous style!
I am just writing a summary, you can see some pictures online if you want because the sites I visited are kinda crazy crazy crazy and really worth the effort.
Travel route plan: arrival in Mumbai, journey to the Sundarbans, return to Mumbai and recovering from the West Bengal heat for a few days, then a couple of days in the middle of the week in Matheran, weekend in Ellora and Ajanta, quick stop between two planes in Mumbai and end of stay doing really anything in Goa!
And what to tell?? The plane from France was...
Click on Lire la suite to read more
...absolutely empty (or almost) and how I enjoyed having a whole row for me alone during the 9 hour flight! This was a good start! Followed by a more than warm welcome in Mumbai; it is the rule in exchange of about 2 kilos of cheese (it is a good deal! (Especially since the cheese has to be smuggledJ)).
Then the Sundarbans. I had been warned that it could be tough because of the heat but it was beyond expectations... a crazy heat (even if in the end I dealt with it better than my travelling mate who lives in India (see this post)), and we gave up on all the concepts of basic hygiene, etc... but a salutary scenery after so much work in Paris (and that is why I think I just keep coming back).
The Sundarbans is a natural Tiger reserve (that we did not have the pleasure to see) but also an agricultural area, relaxing, clean, organized... with people relaxed and smiling... the dream in India!
Subsequently the next stay, in Mumbai, was been very quiet, walks, pool, shopping, food... I will tell you about my experience of buying chicken for dinner. You start by going on the street to find the first chicken shop, choose your living chicken – they are not very cute but that will have to do – then the guy will pull the one you pointed at, behead it (on dubious block), throw it in a plastic bucket long enough for it to be drained of its blood and for its nerves to relax. Then he skins it and empties it at a crazy speed (the force of habit) and he hands the meat in a beautiful small brownish plastic bag with the most beautiful effect!
But well, in the end the chicken with vegetables we had for dinner was super good though no need to worry.
Then Matheran, two days organised at the last moment but I like this kind of break. We departed from the furnace of Mumbai for a cooler hill station (the British were no fool eh!). Relaxing in the middle of the forest in a nearly empty Neemrana hotel, it felt good to enjoy the (relatively) cool and a slightly old-fashioned charm of the place. We didn’t do much there (but this is what we wanted!) apart from walks in the amazing sunset.
We went back to the heat, squizzed in the toy train... but then again even if the harsh reality of the Indian heat in may hit me, it was really worth it!
The next step was Aurangabad to visit Ellora and Ajanta! One of the most beautiful archaeological sites of India in my opinion; you should at least take a look at the photos available on the Internet. It was again very hot but in exchange it was very quiet in this important tourist site. I went there by train with my host’s brother... the journey went just fine no problem except for the return: while we were on waiting list 6 and 7 at the time of booking, when we arrived at the station only one place has been confirmed. After some stressful explanation with the controller, we decided to share a bed. I slept off immediately (I have the ability to sleep absolutely anywhere that saved me more than once during my travels) but when we arrived I could see at the face of my co-traveller that he didn’t get much sleep…
To finish the trip I stayed in Goa for a couple of days... the beach, the beach and the beach! How good that was! And off-season Goa is really top: a resort almost only for me and a beach empty of Western tourists, only a few Indian tourists were present and really in a relaxation mode so I had the chance to enjoy a few encounters with a drink, sitting in the sand. A good end to this journey!
And now I have returned to Paris where it is raining... moisture is hard to fight psychologically after so much heat, sun and good time!
Vincent B., 20/05/2013, Trip: