A Travellerspoint blog

Quick hop over the border to Nepal

30 hours without sleep...

sunny 23 °C

Okay, so after an amazing time in Varanasi we departed for the over night train to Gorakpur and our 1st class cabin. We have become pros at working the indian rail system without assistance!! Get in! So we enter our carriage which I would best describe as a prison cell with bunkbeds, mirror and drinks holder but nethertheless it has a bolt on the door so we are looking forward to a goodnights sleep... How could we be so stupid, we have no blankets delivered, so our silk liners are our only source of warmth along with our gloves. We lay huddled in balls trying to sleep eventually opting for curling up together for body heat but this fails to work... we fear phnewmonia will set in. All in all a horrible experience but we arrive safe and sound in Gorakpur managing to find the local bus to Sonauli which costs us a mear 60 rupees the equivilant of 80p. So we are bumbling along some hardcore rap playing through the iPod's having a relatively nice time with our bags safely beside us. We seem to have mastered the bag situation everything is neatly in freezer bags all sorted for easy access but some major bruises on Blins hips. :( We get dropped at a random town and told to walk down the road to the border so off we treck, imediatley being hounded left right and centre by sales men, nepalise money exchangers, rickshaw drivers offering directions and to take our bags for us when we can clearly see a big sign saying 'Welcome to Nepal' about 200 meters ahead. We do however spot the immigration 'table' on the side of the road so get our passports stamped and fill in our leaving cards with ease. Then it was just a straight wonder across to the nepalise counter to purchase our visas and discover we need to visit the indian embassy in Kathmandu otherwise will not be able to fly back into India to get to Thailand which would have been a total palava... More money to spend however on nothing!! We meet a girl from Israel who is pretty knowledgable on Nepal and is heading to Pokhara by bus so tag along... Our journey starts amongst 29 people to be precise in a landrover with our bags on the roof, to then get stopped by the Nepalise Gurkas and have all our bags searched before getting onto the actual bus which is parked our of town (this minor detail was never mentioned to us) After 8 hours overheating, snacking on crisps, listening to Eminem, erratic driving and women with dreadful BO and no sleep we arrive in pokhara. Not to mention the weird creepy boys who keep asking us If we are married as they hop on the bus at various stops, needless to say both of our boyfriends are now coming to visit us next week and Blin actually already has a child back in England. We also have to endure Lord of the Dance on repeat down the speakers with a sitar player hanging out at the front who is half playing along and half singing, we wanted to die! We experience some pro bartering from Gail from israel and a free taxi down to the lakeside which was nice. However Blin's bag gets slung on top with the driver insistings it's fine. Blin makes it very clear that it is not and hops up on the roof with her chain! (thank you very much Nick, it is coming in handy for many things, sooo versatile!) Bearing in mind it is now 9 at night and we have not slept for around 30 hours we find ourselves a hotel and don't care that they horrendously over charged us, all we want is sleep... The fact there is no electricity, hot water and the bed is definitley not clean does not seem to bother us untill we woke this morning. We quickly depart in search of a better place to stay stopping off for full English breakfasts on the way, nepalise style. The lonely planet guide book or the holy Grail as we now refer to finds us the most amazing hotel which is spotless, has hot water and wifi and is cheap! What more could you want?! They are doing my laundry for a small charge aswell, Blins clothes are airing around the room currently after their deodorant blitz! Lol.  Basically in heaven after the hotel experiences we have had in India apart from the Hilton. Nepal is by far our favourite place we have been to so far, Pokahara is beautiful, calm and clean which is lovely in comparison to India, we've both decided that we wont be making a return trip there any time soon but we did have an amazing experience! Today has consisted of a lakeside walk (we are staying away from trekking) a great deal of shopping buying worthless things we think are good deals! :-/ who wouldn't want a t-shirt saying 'top of the world -everest Nepal' with a picture of everest embroided on and hand made coasters are definitely the operative thing to have along with Blins watch that doesn't really like to tell the time. Blin's new money saving tactic is trading her belongings for Tibetan goods, she has managed to acquire a womens wedding ring and i have been asked to take any clothes to her shop to exchange for jewellery before I leave. Her shop is a rucksack on the lackside with very good deals. I have decided this means a bad deal and upon stating this managed to get a bracelet for bargain prices!  Hilarious but all in the fun of travelling! To add to our love of Nepal there was a Bryan Adams tribute band with a mosh pit in the street and the night clubs of Pokhara are blaring 50 cent so we are rather in the party mood, especially after my attempt at having a cocktail which was so strong we were both nearly on the floor after 2 sips. We feel it will be safer to continue with the tea and sprite! Back at the room keeping you all updated we are somewhat disturbed by an animal noise at our window that appears to be making the curtain move. Using the torch due to a power cut I quickly establish there is a beetle trying to break into our room whilst Blin assists by slamming the window shut into it. We now have squashed beetle outside our room which is not lovely but we should both be awarded points for our manly handling of such a traumatic experience. Blin is currently waiting for more hot water ... as she has since we were at the Hilton which is rather ming but I seem to have stolen all the hot water before she gets a chance on the 2 times I have showered since the luxurious start to our vacation. Hopefully we shall both be rather cleaner tomorrow in time for our 2pm paragliding session! We therefore would both like to say how much we love you all even if you only happen to be casualy glancing at this detailed description of the recent events of our travels. Also anyone with a phone compatible with whatsapp or skype please add us or download it! :) 

Much love Gaby
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P.S Nepal seems to have a love of power cuts so this has only been posted now despite being written last night. :) 

Posted by Bensten 20:44 Archived in Nepal Comments (3)

Varanasi

Burning bodies..

After two days in Varanasi, we've really come to love it.
Last night we ventured into town (with our driver) to see the Festival which was pretty amaaaaazing. Loads of burning stuff floating around in the air smoke and stuff and people covered in red paint powder.
Basically when someone dies the family build a shrine and pump the bass up HIGH and drive through the town busting their moves and going generally wild. (women dont feature they stay at home and cry)
Yeah there are also lots of Ghats down the river bank which are fires where they burn dead people. So graphic and pretty intense. Nearly cried but held it all together.( im getting good)
We are both getting good at ignorning begger people.
Has spicy vegetable exciting treats for dinner and are just passing the evening while waiting for our overnight train to Gorakhpur and then the Nepalese border.
We are mega tired from a giant hike round the back alleys of Varanasi for fun. Also think we went to buddahs birth spring but that's not confirmed.
Been in temples, taken our shoes off and washed our feet and mouths in the holy water to become pure.
Considering Buddhism.
Lots of love and we'll update you from Nepal!!! \
B
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Posted by Bensten 06:33 Archived in India Comments (2)

Agra to Varanasi

3 tier sleeper train intermingled with the locals.

sunny

Seriously do not know how we are still awake/alive after the last 24 hours.
Malaria tablets seem to have taken a giant disliking to both of us, and i managed to throw up in the Hotel Kamals rooftop restaurant the other night. Feel totally mingers but at least Malaria will be off the list of my 400000 illnesses.

We got up at 5.30 from our 'Alpine hotel' to visit the Taj (apparently it's amazing in the morning) so off we trundled. First thing.. Never expected the Taj Mahal to be in the middle of the Agra slums. Literally out the gate and you're in Taj Ganj which is where the locals live in their little shacks it's pretty cute but somehow expected giant lawns and lush greenery. The Taj itself was a beauty, got lots of photos and wore the sexy red shoe covers when we went inside it.

After that we went back to the room for a little sleep because obvs we were feeling tired from the early get up, ha. Then we got going to see the Agra Fort ( best fort so far, and we would know.. after visiting every fort in the Rajhastan/Delhi area )That was nice.
Then, that evening (yesterday i think) we went off to the train station to catch our overnight sleeper train. THE MOST STRESSFUL SITUATION EVER. The train station was packed out with people, and it was all locals so yet again we're getting the stare treatment. Then we had the issue of deciphering the Hindi train ticket to see where we had to get on. Anyway we hunted down some fellow backpackers and all clubbed together. Not that we were all going on the same train though..
Anyway after we left the two guys going to the tiger sanctuary down south and the american couple who'd contracted worms at the beach last week we boarded our train.
Like nothing you could ever imagine.. Crammed to the rafters with 3 tier bunkbeds. Soo daunting but we loved it.We were seat 49 and 50 and so were with this Indian family who had managed to cram 5 of them onto this 3 storey bed. The baby hanging in a pashmina hammock getting swung big time. Anyway 9 hours later and we get off the train at Mughal Sari (there are no stop information call outs you just have to guess where you are, no signs either, but we love asking the locals). I managed to make friends in the toilet with a Indian Soldier who was on his way home to marry his fiance in Varanasi and he somehow got in our (chauffer driven) car and demanded a lift. Anyway the driver was more than happy and off we went.
So we arrived here in Varanasi this morning at 5am Local time. 5.5hrs behind England and have been dead on the sofas for 2 hours. But they just let us in their computer room. Which stinks of BO. But we're just waiting to get a room allocated and we can go and sleep and wash in the bucket.

Oh yeah and Varanasi is where they burn dead people in the street then float them down the holy ganges. Appaz you get arrestred if you take photos but we'll try and sneak a few. Off to that at 5.30 tonight.

Can;t remember much more i feel like a zombie.
We'll keep you posted,
B
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Posted by Bensten 17:56 Archived in India Comments (3)

Jaipur

the city of jewels....

sunny 35 °C

So the man did turn up to collect us in his hilarious minature car, not a mini bus and no such thing as air con and half an hour late! Anway his name is Vikki and he kept us entertained on the 5 hour journey from Delhi to Jaipur with 90's boy band classics. ha. We think he may also be a lepar :-/ but we are avoiding any physical contact and lots of sanitiser! So we get dropped of at our 'hotel' Ghoonghat and needless to say are least impressed. We have a bucket for a shower so the 160 baby wipes and dry shampoo are coming in handy as is the chain and lock (thanks Nick) and not a white person in sight we suspect it is a local drug compound.
we have however adapted well to dirty life and managed to get a few hours sleep despite a bolt either side of the door so were afraid we may be locked in never to surface again. All is fine however, out silk liners and squidgy pillows have saved our lives and we were up ready to depart for the AMber Fort at 9 this morning.
Jaipur is absolutley amazing, so much nice than Delhi, we also seem to have got the nack of the beggars, Blin hands out pens ( thanks to Carol) where as I tend to sit and scream and give them dirty looks.
Snake charmers also seem to be in abundance here along with camels, elephants, stray dogs and pigs, not forgetting the sacred cows!
Rather entertaining when the Snake turns round and bites his charmer, dont think he quite sees the appeal of getting his photo taken for money.
Blins explore card originally thought to be the biggest waste of luggage has actually been enabling student discount which is nice seeing as nobody seems to believe us when we say we are poor, the diet is going well, weve only eaten one meal since arrival on a roof top garden, recommended by the londely planet book and is our Bible!!!! The locals and our taxi driver do not appear to like it however telling us to get rid of the book and listen to their knowledge instead. :(
Rickshaws are our new favourite mode of transport and the bartering is becoming slowly easier but we are probably still being conned. We can not deal with our hostel so stay out 24/7 Vikki does not seem to like this but we thought the central park for a bit of sunbathing would be lovely. BIG MISTAKE. We seem to be thought of as animals in a zoo and probably now feature on every indian porn site. not cool and is beocming rather distressing.
We have also been to visit every factory possible. The fabric one was amazing and aparently the supply all the duvet covers for habitat and clothes for monsoon. Anyway we got forced into buying pashminas which will no doubt arrive home in the post shortly as our bags do not allow for shopping.
We have also adapted well to not changing clothes to avoid having to wash anything, pretty minging but all in the spirit of travelling. Lesbian shoes are still not warming to us however they have accompanied us every single day.
Currently in the most ancient internet cafe imaginable, the screens are minature and concave. Probaly get a disease off the keyboard hence Belinda is staying well away.
We have yet to get up to anything life threatening besides crossing the road... Did see a bike go under a bus and a person die because of the reckless driving in this country, but they do apparently have to take a test... which requires not driving!?!

missing you al will keep you updated when we next find internet so probaby in a few weeks as i dont think our budget allows for constant updates and our hotels/hostels probably wont have wifi. :(

lots of love form Gaby xxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by Bensten 02:15 Archived in India Comments (4)

Friday updates

3.20pm

Tomorrow morning we're supposed to be off on a minibus to Jaipur at 8.30am, although after spending alst night reading the Lonely Plant guidebook gaby has become increasingly more suspicious over the legitimacy of our travel company we booked our excursions via yesterday.(although we have so far got a free cup of chai tea from him and a working telephone number) anyway, fingers crosses the minibus turns up and transports us out of luxury life and into backpacking mode. ( i have full faith)
Last day of definate internet access too but we'll try and keep you all updated by using the locals computers.
Just wearing my bikini in the computer suite as we were meant to go swimming but that fell through due to the language barrier. ( not the first instance this has been a problem) But our Hindi's developing well. Namaste to you all!
Our last day in Delhi today but we've been making use of the VERY comfortable beds so far (3.24pm now) just off to explore more so keeping it short and sweet.
My cough has developed beautifully into a goose type hacking. and the pills the Indi medicine man gave me don't appear to be doing a whole lot of good..
No complimentary plates of goodies have arrived yet today..
SENT OFF POSTCARDS TODAY SO BRACE YOURSELVES FOR THOSE! Heard the indian postal system takes 6 weeks to get them transported on thier little pilgrimage to England.
Love to you all, B xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by Bensten 01:50 Archived in India Comments (1)

Ghandi

sunny 22 °C

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Posted by Bensten 11:41 Archived in India Comments (2)

slumdog millionaire

sunny 24 °C

For all the thousands of you reading this, today was supposed to be a casual stroll around some bazaars and then a bit of sightseeing at the Red Fort... So after embracing the Delhi metro which was unbelievably clean, cheap and amazing sitting in our woman only cart we get dragged into the Delhi tourist office by some postcard seller, about 2 hours later we emerge after having skimmed tea and lengthy chats about trains and buses in India, total waste of time, on the plus side we are now going to visit dead people in a river somewhere. As we leave the postcard seller grabs hold of us again and offers to take us to the chemist to get Blin some special indian medicines as she appears to have contracted swine flu from Ravi Kumar with his wedding gestures on the plane here. Testing out are bartering skills we nab an autorickshaw for 90 rupees to the red fort but end up taking what can only be described as the scenic route... a photo has been uploaded to aid your imaginations of what we have been through!! Chickens in cages, meat and fish hanging round on the street, men learing and the smell of human faeces but evemntually we get to the red fort which was absolutley amazing!! Felt like celebs with hundreds of school children wanting to have pictures with us and people shouting 'there a different colour'!!? never felt so much like an outsider especially as we then thouht it woulf be a good idea to walk on foot into the neighbouring bazaar street 'Chandi Chowk' very famous but yet again we were the only white people in the entire place so we thought it best to hop on a rickshaw and get it to take us to the nearest Metro. We end up at a mosque with a lady and her naked baby strocking Blins leg for money, never wanted to scream at someone so much in my life, so i did. absolutley minging but all in the spirit of learning the Indian culture :-/ so we get another rickshaw to take us to the Metro he drops us off about a 1000 miles away from it but eventually after much effort we arrive back to our life of luxury to which i am beyond gratefull for. We are greated by a new selection of tasty fondant snacks... soooooooo exciting and the cleaner has rearanged all our things, could only be dewscribed as a 'babe' - nothing is missing. Now absolutley dead after having about 3 hours sleep last night. We can both say we have definitly had our full taste of indian slums and never wish to return despite it being one of the most amazing experieinces of out lives! Now off to the fitness centre to burn off the indian snacks we have yet to try...

आप सभी से प्यार है और अपने ब्लॉग पर टिप्पणी कृपया
love to you all and please comment on the blog
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Posted by Bensten 05:11 Archived in India Comments (2)

Arrival in Delhi

2am and the wrong hotel..

Just a quick update to inform you all of our current status, i'm in the hotel 'atrium' which is so so lovely using the free laptops they have on offer. I fear that we're getting too used to this life of luxury (thank you so so much Mark!!!) Feels like we're on a spa weekend away but i'm sure reality will hit when we delve into the city centre tomorrow.
Our plane got in at about 1.30 am this morning and after reading the guide books we decided to book a pre pay taxi (so they don't rip you off, and thank goodness we did). So we showed the taxi man our hotel booking at the Hilton Garden Inn piece of paper and he was all up for it and off we went. Half an hour later we turn up at the wrong Hilton on the other side of Delhi. Anyway we managed to get him to take us to the correct one eventually (after a terrifying car journey in the most hilarious 1920s car ever) dogs roaming the streets and no women to be seen anywhere.
So we arrived at the hotel at about 2.30am and check in is at Midday. They had no rooms so we dossed on the sofas in the lounge and i managed to fall asleep. next thing i know 5 men standing around us waking us up at 7 saying they'd managed to get us a room. Up we went to find our beeeeeeeeeeaut of a room and clambered into bed promising ourselves we'd be up at 10 but woke at 4.
Then hit up the local shopping mall which was so so weird. could have been cambridge
delving into the dirty depths of the slums tomorrow which i am eeeager for.
just got moved by a man into the 'buisness suite' which is beautiful. but no webcam so i can't show you all my new tattoo..
can think of anything else i am SO TIRED. did just have a bubble bath though.
yet to see a spider..
B xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by Bensten 09:10 Archived in India Comments (0)

Chains and other unexpected essentials..

4 days till departure,

Final goodbyes to my dad this evening.. so horrible. But on the upside he has supplied Gaby and I with a 2m long chain and padlock. Our bags shall be chained to us and never leave!
B x...

Posted by Bensten 14:33 Comments (0)

T-9 days

Packing

overcast 7 °C

SO, after much effort, the bags are have packed, can barely walk or stand up in our rucksacks and pregnancy bags. haha. medicines for all eventualitys are unfortunatley taken up all space. :( much love, hopefully more intresting things to update you all on soon xxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by Bensten 14:22 Archived in England Comments (0)

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