A Travellerspoint blog

Dharamahsala

Was woken up early by all the noises outside but decided to look on the bright side and think that gave me extra time to enjoy the day. Had a pretty ordinary breakfast at the hotel and then hit the streets of dharamashala. Kim and I fell in love immediately with this place there are gorgeous little shops everywhere selling everything from jewellry to backpacks to prayer bowls. You could go crazy but I managed to restrain myself and bought a necklace and did my first barter session which was loads of fun and managed to save 150 rupees :-)
We found a great little cafe with this very cool Tibetan girl and we ordered some tea and something to eat kim ordered banana pancakes and I ordered chocolate cheesecake and they were both delicious, we then wondered down to the local Buddhist temple which had the most peaceful vibe..interesting side note there was a security check to go into the temple where they searched our bags for knives and lighters. The temple was beautiful with gorgeous altars, thankas, and offerings. There were lots of Tibetan people, tourists and monks doing their thing. We all had a go at spinning the prayer wheel to generate good karma and then moved to the Tibet museum. This was very moving and incredibly sad as we read stories about torture and the decimation of the culture of the Tibetan people.
We then went back to the hotel to meet up with the group and they said we were to meet them back at the temple for a teachingg. We decided to find a massage place and have some lunch. After searching down streets and alleyways we foundnthe massage place that had been recommended to us I cant even begin to tell you how tricky it was to get there but I had to face my fear of heights to get there and when we got there he was closed! So we went and had lunch at the same cafe we had been to this morning we ordered the quiche but it was pretty ordinary the cool Tibetan girl told us she hoped we would come again so we are making friends in town!
We then went for some Buddhist teachings in the temple and that was lovely and just what I needed and was kind of cool to be instructed by a Buddhist nun in the same place his holiness the dalhi lama teaches :-)
After the teachings kim, Julie and I spotted a massage place and went into enquire, we met this lovely Indian lady who didnt speak much English who told us the different types of massage available and said she was free so kim went in to get her massage while Julie and I went to a cafe. I went back and had my massage and it was wonderful although it was a big cold and very different to western massages as she also massaged my boobs which was kinda confronting lol. Afterwards she was trying to talk to me about cricket I didn't have the heart to tell her I don't follow cricket but I did mention Shane warne and she thought that was great.She then tried to teach me some Hindi which was lots of fun and had them in hysterics with my bad pronunciation although they were impressed I knew how to count to ten and knew how to say 100. I love this country! I then came back to the hotel did a blog entry from yesterday, had a shower and we headed out to dinner.
We found this cool restaurant and were seated next to an Indian family that were completley fascinated by us we tried to talk to them but the language was a bit of a barrier but had fun trying, they taught me how to say thank you properly after laughing at my attempts which was good by the time I leave I might have a bit of handle on how to speak Hindi. It was a lovely way to end a terrific day.
I am very excited about tomorrow as we are meeting Tenzin Palmo who is a British nun who spent 12 years in a cave. I read her book about 3 years ago and was so impressed by her story I cant believe I am going to meet her.Cave in the Snow
Oh and we saw monkeys today and kim and I had a very weird experience with dogs today, when we went to the cafe earlier a dog just came up to me and tried to nuzzle and the went to kim, later at the teachings a different dog came up to me again and then went to kim! Have no idea what that was about :-)270_IMG_0365.jpg270_IMG_0350.jpgIMG_0352.jpg270_IMG_0353.jpg270_IMG_0357.jpg
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Posted by sonya13 09:55 Archived in India Comments (0)

The bus trip!

What a ride...

Another early start yesterday to get to Dharamsala on the bus. We ate breakfast waited around until everyone was organised, travelling in a tour can be a challenge and is certainly testing my patience at times but that is something I should be working on anyway! We get on the bus and I am excited to see the sights of India and it was exciting for the first 9 hours :/ along the way we stopped a couple of times. The first stop was at this dingy looking roadside cafe that had the worst toilet - no toilet paper and didn't flush and 20 odd women all wanting to go haha it was interesting. Most Indians we have come across have been very friendly and curious and the guys do check out western women I found it a bit cheeky rather than lecherous though so I didn't mind lol. One of the girls in the group bought a chocolate and it looked yummy so I said how much was that and she said 10 Rupees which is about 20c and so I went up to buy one and the cranky guy behind the counter said that will be 20 rupees!!! I said hang on you on charged my friend 10 and he grumbled something to his mate and charged me the same haha if he hadn't been so grumpy I would have given him 20 :-)
Watching India from a bus is truly fascinating you get to see all different aspects of Indian life the business owners, beggars, stall holders and farm workers. The traffic alone is an endless source of fascination, you see whole families on scooters (the funniest one I saw was a baby squished between mum and dad!), trucks with blow horn painted on the back ( This is how Indians drive they don't use mirrors you just honk so they know you are there), horse and carts, lots of little cars (usually packed with people), took tooks and the occasional tractor. The driving is crazy it is just like what you see on those crazy TV shows and this kept us amused for most of the trip. Despite it being a very hairy ride I never once felt scared or worried.
We stopped at a vegetarian restaraunt for lunch and I got to sample a traditional Indian meal (see photo below) I am not a fan of Indian food and am a big sook when it comes to hot food so I struggled a bit but it was OK and I learned the secret to eating hot food is to use you hurt and eat something sweet after.
The bus driver took a wrong turn and so we ended up being on the bus for 16 hours and with only 3 stops it was pretty bad, there was one point where I thought I was going to burst into tears I was so bone shatteringly tired but I had a nap and moved past that and when we finally arrived I managed to see the funny side to the whole thing, especially when the bus parks in this area and our guide says it is now a 15 min walk to the hotel..meanwhile it is freezing we just all looked at him, luckiy this is India and so there were a heap of taxis there and so 4 of us just jumped I and I can tell you it was the best 100 rupees we ever spent!
We get to the hotel which we all agreed was ore like 1/2 hr walk away and the poor staff are asleep on mattresses waiting for us! They give us our keys, tell us there is no hot water and we head to our rooms. The rooms are clean, run down but quite large and we are happy and ready for bed. The noises outside are pretty bad - dogs barking, horns blaring and people talking but I am so tired I don't care!
Interesting tidbit for Gary I turn on the TV and big brother India was on I took a photo for you lol
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Posted by sonya13 06:25 Archived in India Comments (0)

New Delhi

we have arrived

we woke up at 4.30am to catch the flight from Bangkok to New Delhi Kim and I had taken a sleeping pill so we were fairly refreshed and ready to get going. After breakfast at Starbucks we made our way to the boarding gate and hopped on the plane where I managed to watch two more movies.. I never get to watch movies much because I am so busy so this for me is a treat and certainly made flying less of a chore :-) we finally arrive in India and my first impresson is I can't get over the smog it is sooo thick it is crazy! We got through customs with no problems andwhile waiting for the rest of the group to get organised we had a bit of a look around the airport is like every other airport in the world except for the couple of guys we saw in army uniforms and machine guns who were casually patrolling the place!
We met up with the world expeditions tour guide who us a lovely Indian chap who introduced himself to me and shook my hand and I immediately forgot his name :/ we went outside with our luggage and there was a sea of people behind barriers just staring at us I assume they were taxi drivers or porters hoping for business but it was an odd feeling. .
By this stage I am just so happy to be here but frustrated because my phone isn't working and I don't know why! Forgetting about the phone I look out the window at India as we travel to the hotel. The city is certainly dirty wth lots of rubbish and broken buildings and crazy wiring but the people and cars are dynamic and colorful and interesting. I saw a lot of hawkers, a few beggars and some homeless people that just broke your heart but I also saw happy children waving at the bus, gorgeous women in beautiful outfits and fierce Sikh dudes in turbans. I am already in love with India. We get to the hotel and give up our passports, get our photo taken (not sure what that is about lol) go upstairs and dump our bags before heading down to lunch. I did my first tip even though I am apparently not supposed to tip but the guy saw me struggling with my bag carried it to my room, opened the door and set us up to me that was worth 100 Rupees ($2)
After lunch we headed on the bus to humayans tomb which is supposedly the prototype or mini version of the Taj mahal and is interesting in that it was built by an empress for her husband.
After the tomb we were taken to this carpet store where a very interesting gentlemen explained to us how carpets were made, this was fascinating stuff folks and we were all spellbound by the process and attention to detail..like he said this is no just carpet but a work of art. Unfortunately we had to leave early to meet some guys who hand make pashmina shawls but by this stage the day is catching up on me and I need to have some down time before dinner.
Dinner is a buffet at the hotel and was delicious, there were plenty of non spicy choices and I really enjoyed it.

Interesting side notes: You don't fluh toilet paper down the toilet you wrap the used toilet paper and put it in a bin!!!
We use bottled water to brush our teeth and to make cups of tea

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Posted by sonya13 08:56 Comments (0)

Bangkok

The stopover

After hanging out with my little bro for his birthday in the morning he drove us to the airport where we struggled with our luggage (we really miss our husbands at times like these) check in went smoothly and even the customs guys were in a good mood and smiling! For those who know me well they would know I hate airports and all the stupid rules but it was very easy and pain free.. I wonder if it is because we are travelling with a Buddhist group and so are generating good karma :-) We got to meet the rest of our group and discovered we are the babies of the group which should prove interesting.. most of the group seem truly lovely and we are all so happy to be on a trip of a lifetime we can't stop smiling even after a 9 and a half hour flight and the prospect of a 4.30am wake up call!! The flight was great highly recommend Thai airways I watched 4 movies Snow white and the huntsmen,Rock of ages (which I loved!), Chicago(again) and what to expect when you are expecting, also received a blanket and a pillow and two 4 course meals that were delicious and free drinks the whole flight.. love international travel. Arrived at Bangkok and have checked into our hotel and am about to head to bed so I get some sleep before our 4.30am wake up call.

Posted by sonya13 07:50 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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