Sunday, April 13, 2008

Some Things That Happened Since We Last Talked

- dolphin-watching on a formerly Portuguese beach in Goa
- sunrise at the southermost tip of India, which was about the time we began dripping sweat
- rode one of these through here
- tata makes tea! who knew? and they couldn't have chosen a nicer place to do it
- finally got the rats (and, we think, bats) out of our abyss-black treehouse in the central Indian jungle at about 5.00am... and then played cards on our mattress on the floor (by flashlight)
- swore never to sleep in a treehouse again
- struggled to find a language to describe just how hot it is on the plains
- nearly stampeded by a herd of spotted deer
- our hiking guide: "be careful, the elephants sometimes run through here"
- ran after our guide who bolted when the elephants we were watching (distance approx. 40 feet) did, in fact, make like they were about to run
- a little bit in love with Kerala
- seriously, it is so hot
- concretized pretty much all of our plans for the rest of the trip.

Here's what that looks like (wikipedia reading a google-image-searching provided by you):

After Cochi, where we are now, we're headed to the Wayannad Wildlife Sanctuary (which I'm praying is at least a few thousand metres above sea level) for a few days. From there, we're going to Mysore, then Madikeri in Coorg (coffee and cardamom plantations in bloom at the moment), then hopefully Hampi (though the heat is making that seem less and less attractive), then cutting across the continent to the Bay of Bengal coast for Konarak, and then a two day (minimum) journey up to the blissful 19C air of Darjeeling. We'll be there for about a week, including a 5-day trek. After that, we're cutting back West towards Uttaranchal to do the three day trek to the source of the Ganges (which also features some West Himalayan glaciers).

That will be about the end of E.'s trip, since her plane is leaving the third week of May. S. and I are still working out the details for the last leg, but I'm pretty sure I know how it ends.

Unfortunately I have to be back in Delhi by the 4th of June even though my plane doesn't leave until the 9th so that I can get my exit visa cleared up. Delhi, by the way, will be 43C at that time before adjusting for humidity. So for the week or so before that, we should be hiding out in McLeod Ganj, the home of the Dalai Lama and the center of Tibet-in-exile. It's also an extremely safe and popular backpacker's haven. To seal the deal, I found a highly recommended three-day cooking course there for Rs600 (about $16) - that's three days for North Indian food, and then you can attend random afternoon/evening courses for South India, Tibetan, and even Nepalese. And it's high altitude, so the temperature will be reasonable. I pretty much can't wait.

Have any of my postcards arrived yet? My faith in the Indian postal service is growing shaky...


mark said...

we received a postcard from you yesterday (in oakville). india sounds amazing! keep posting on here as much as possible; my pure jealousy needs fueling.

M. said...

sorry. i assumed you were having fun being in april "why must i do this while it's finally spring" exams.

welcome to academia, little brother. also, sorry that postcard sucked so bad.

Kate said...

I received my postcard in Oakville on Friday - thanks!! This looks like such an incredible trip, I am going to bundle Sumantra into a sac next summer and we shall go.