Delhi and Agra

Friday, 2 January 2015

Jumped on a train again, and this time, to Agra! You know how usually, you're not allowed to use the toilets at the station when the train isn't moving? Well in India, you're allowed to. There was so much shits on the rail when you're standing there waiting for your train, haha.

Taj Mahal! It's so beautiful and well-preserved, and it's clean...but there were still people pissing in public. The experience itself was not so great because there were so many people, and there was actually not much to see inside. From the exterior though, it's quite impressive; it's perfectly symmetrical, and it represents many cultures...I can see why it's one of the seven wonders in the world.

The next day, I took the train to Delhi, which is the capital of India. Most roads are paved and there are traffic lights here! I went to a market in Old Delhi, which is one of the busiest and oldest in India. I've never seen so many people, animals, cycle rickshaws crammed together like this in my life before. I was in this little streets, and it was impossible to walk forward....and I enjoyed it!

Some shops in old Delhi. I like how Indian people are cool with me taking pictures of them. Only a minority will give you a dirty look, but most people just don't care.

I visited the Hamayun's tumb...which looked similar to Taj Mahal, only with much less people. There are some nice architecture.

This is Qutab Minar, another nice place with so much history. The size and age of this tower is quite impressive. You really got to wonder how did people built this without the equipments we have today. India is awesome!


Wednesday, 31 December 2014

It's the last day of 2014 and I'm in Orchha, and I slept in a king's palace!

Orchha is a charming little place where much of the ancientness is well preserved. Not many people know about it, but it's such a little gem waiting to be discovered!  It's situated in the middle of a forest in which life goes at its own pace without worrying about the rest of India. I spent two days here to rest, recover from my cold, learn to cook a few Indian dishes, and visit some of the main attractions.

Here is Orchha in pictures!

Train to Orcha

So, I've been on trains in Vietnam, China, Thailand, Uzbekistan...and now in India. Trains in India are never on schedule. Sometimes, even if it picks you up on time, it doesn't mean that it will get you to your destination on time. As for me, my train was 2 hours late.

I've always been scared because of the dirty factor. Some people say it's not that bad...and after that experience, I can say that it wasn't actually that bad, except for the toilet smell, and a mouse.

Something funny happened on the train. As you know, I was very sick and I didn't have enough water with me. I met this British girl on the train who wanted some food, and we wondered if we could get off at a station to get some. The train would stop at some stations for 15 minutes, and for 2 minutes at other stations...and we had no idea how to figure out when was time to get back on the train. An Indian lady next to us said that the train will stop for 30 minutes at the next station...which sounds believable.

We got off the train and started walking, and bumped into a little kid selling water at about 300 meters further. While we were trying to figure out how much the water was, the train started moving. We were so terrified to miss the train because our baggage was on the train, so we ran and jumped on the moving train.

I was so glad we made it, but then we realized that the wagon started detaching from the rest of the train...we were like, no way! So, we jumped off the moving train and ran back to our wagon like two crazy people....which didn't start moving until 30 minutes later.

Jumping on and off a moving train? check!

Varanasi: Last day

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

I love Varanasi, but I have to keep going. I've gotten very every sense of the word. I have a bad cold and my stomach isn't feeling well. Just breathing the air makes me sicker and sicker.

I had to make the most of my last day of course, so I went to a huge market to buy some silk scarves for myself. After that, I walked along Ganges...which was probably one of my best moments on this trip. It was relaxing, yet surprises were found around every corner. I even got charged by a buffalo! Also, it was one of those rare moments that the sun came out, and it was warm enough to wear a t-shirt.

I finally had to go back to the hotel to pick up my stuff for my next adventure; the Indian train!

Varanasi: Exploring

Sunday, 28 December 2014

People often tell me about how dirty India is, and I didn't quite believe it...until I came here. I've been to many place in my life, and I've never seen a place as dirty as India. I used to think that Africa is dirty...but Africa is actually very far from being dirty, it is however very dusty. I like India is wild, and full of energy! There are endless things to do, endless things to see!

After coming back from the sailing trip, I went to do some shopping and some more picture-taking. I went into a saree shop, and the shop owner sat me down on the carpet and opened every drawer and pulled out every saree he had. I felt so bad, because I was definitely not going to buy one, haha

Then I took another boat to watch a ceremony whereby small offerings are given to Goddess Ganga. People placed a small candle inside a cup made of leaves and flowers and float it down the river. You are supposed to make a wish and it will supposedly come true...but I can assure you that it doesn't. It was quite special nonetheless; there were so many boats and people watching.

Varanasi: Ganges

I just came back from two days of sailing in the biggest toilet in the world; Ganges! It's the holy river where you can see cremation...2 meters further, you can see people washing clothes...2 meters further, you can see people bathing...2 meters further, you can see people shitting and pissing.

Here's the guy doing the rowing. He was quite nice, although he didn't speak English. There are blankets and pillows on the boat. It was relaxing...

There is so much going on as the boat passed through villages and communities. I saw a group of dogs feasting on a dead cow, which is quite crazy.

At other times, there wasn't much going on, so I read. I'm reading "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed, a girl who walked 1100 miles across the pacific crest trail. I do hiking often, but I've never been on a long-distance trekking trip like this...and I'm thinking that I should do this someday.

I got off the boat on a small deserted island. It felt like I was exploring another planet. The fog was thick, and it felt like I was alone in this world. There are pages of religious book on the ground...which made things even creepier.

Here's my little tent for the night. To be honest, it was quite cold and uncomfortable, and I had weird dreams.

I finished reading the book "Wild", and somewhere I read that you have to be strong enough to break your own heart. It can mean many different things, but to me, it's saying no to toxic relationships, saying no to liars, saying no to poisonous habits...

Varanasi: Intro

Friday, 26 December 2014

Varanasi is my favorite city in this trip. All the things that is representative of India can be found here. It reminds me a little bit of China, because people are easy-going, they are fun, and they don't mind you taking pictures of them.

This place is indiscreet, crazy and colorful. It's a place where you can express yourself 100%. It's a place you will love if you're open-minded, because this can be a mind-challenging place...and it is what I'm looking for! If I wanted something easy and comfortable, I would've gone to a museum in Europe, but no, I wanted something ugly yet beautiful and that's why I came to India!

Varanasi is the city of prayer and yearning, life and rebirth, decay and waste, hopes and dreams, lights and darkness, holiness and perversity, everything and anything. There are cows wandering on the streets just like humans, poop and piss are everywhere, it's simply awesome!

Here's Varanasi in pictures...

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