I thought I would share some of the many pieces of art that I have created recently.
I thought I would share some of the many pieces of art that I have created recently.
Now I know its very unusual to write about the artwork in an airport but this was covered to the extent they gave tours to showcase it all. They were not happening then but you could still take a lot of pictures yourself to document the work.
When we got to Mumbai airport there were an astonishing amount of things to look at while we were waiting to board the plane and there were no crowds. I bought a scarf as I needed to get rid of my rupees (you can’t take them out of the country) having previously only bought a hat at India – Ranthambhore Tiger Sanctuary, a bottle of water and later on a KFC in an airport since we flew from Jaipur-Udaipur one day, Udaipur-Mumbai, Mumbai-Goa and then finally Goa-Mumbai after a couple of days.
Now this really is the end of the India series.
So now we are coming to the tail end of my trip. As we were all pretty exhausted from trekking across India we were all pretty glad to have a couple of days with nothing planned.
We went in the pool until it was closed because of Corona virus concerns. My mother in law had a pedicure but the next day the Spa closed along with the gym because of Covid 19 precautions. Me and my husband went to the beach but were pretty much set upon immediately by hawkers wanting to sell us massages. Unlike like in Lefkas where there all Chinese women with boards saying what they can do; these are locals with only a bottle of coconut oil in their pocket so you can’t pick them out at all and avoid them. After a 2 minute trial which was in fact a 15 minute leg massage I retreated to my hotel.I paid him but not what he was asking as it was too much and he couldn’t enter the hotel to argue. I got the impression that he frequently gave massages to people on the beach who didn’t have money on them and later they gave him money as they felt bad.
The next day we went to a cafe that was halfway between the beach and the hotel with some Americans we met that we had discovered had mutual friends with us. They were much more adventurous than us so had been checking out the local area but they hadn’t found much besides a pizza place. It was as the hotel said in its documentation, a resort they had created out of nothing. Since there kids club and activities like archery had both seen better days and closed for health reasons they were unsure what to do. They had initially planned to tour southern India spending a lot of time in Kerala but since this was hit bad and Goa didn’t have any they had decided to stay put for the time being.
I also tried to find out where the nearest shop was and was told that they would need to organise a taxi to take us the 10 minutes to its location, wait while we shopped and take us back again. I decided against this with my previous experience of shopping in a service station being full of unpriced items so you never know whether your getting a good deal or not. I could also wait until Mumbai which was a much bigger town. I was surprised that the hotel didn’t have a shop selling items it didn’t provide. In Mexico there was and in Berlin there were corner shops but no such thing in India.
After a couple days of reading the newspaper at breakfast and checking social media as you do, we left for Mumbai having explored the rest of the resort and had drinks on the beach.
For the rest of the posts in the series look here:
When we got here we stayed in the same place that Octopussy was filmed at. The interesting thing is that the Palace of the movie is in fact 2 different palaces that are very close to each other. They have patched it together so well that unless you have visited the 2 locations you wouldn’t know that they had done that. Roger Moore named the pond the Lily Pond when he was doing the filming.
While we were staying in the Lake Palace we would get the boat over to the shore to visit another City Palace
and to attend a Hindu temple
which had a service going on. We also visited the gardens that were very beautiful, shady and calming. Udaipur had a lot of construction work going on to build roads but it was still cleaner and quieter than Delhi. People didn’t tend to blow there horns anywhere near as much. Holi is celebrated over several days because there is the initial holiday then the policemen and so on so all members of society participate in all regions eventually.
There are always so many sellers of everything on the streets everywhere you go so its rather overwhelming trying to get anywhere or do anything. By being in a private tour you don’t get to see the real India but its close enough for my liking. I don’t like being hassled so India is not a place to go if your rather sensitive like I am. Which is why my parents had always told me not to go but my in-laws convinced my husband so we went.
This particular City Palace is all about coloured glass as its very vibrant. Its filled with many panels and designs through.
There are lots of temples, palaces and tombs through India all created with marble and inlaid with precious stones which are magnificent to behold but the input gets too much. I was quite ill the day we arrived here.
There are also many fabric and clothes shops as well as those selling tourist souvenirs. There was a tour that we could have gone on to see the local women and the crafts that they make but we were getting rather tired after our extremely long bus journeys around India. The early mornings and the flights were getting to us.
As was the fact that despite staying in 5 star hotels you still get Delhi belly. We started to avoid milk in all forms, dairy, meat even fruit because you most certainly can’t drink the water. We were wary about ice in our drinks too as it was starting to get hot on the west coast of India. Curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner does take its toll.
Its better than the international options when they were around but you just want some plain food occasionally. You do however realise how unsatisfying pastries are for breakfast as its just carbs. Also nobody ever eats the cereal in hotels abroad regardless of whether its India, Prague, Berlin, Tenerife, Mexico or Morocco.
Time for a beach break in Goa which is the next stop.
To check out all of the adventures see here
I have just been to the Indian subcontinent on a 2 week trip to take in many of the world renown cultural and historical sites that are spread around. I was extraordinarily lucky in that Covid 19 only affected the later part of my trip in Goa and Mumbai. I am now home having got what was perhaps one of the last planes out of India before they started to shut everything down.
I flew into Delhi to start my exploration. Our hotel was a heritage hotel (there called Haveli’s like ours was) in the centre of Old Delhi. Inside there was many pictures of the renovations that had taken place to turn the building from a wreck to the stunning place that it now was. Your greeted by refreshments, the red dot is applied to your forehead as a welcome and as a precaution due to Covid 19 you have your temperature taken. Then you have the forms and after being handed your key left to your own devices as the restaurant timings have already been explained to you. For yours and there entertainment in the evenings they fly kites which you can see being demonstrated on the roof at sunset. They also do pigeon racing which is explained to you. From the roof I got an excellent view of the city sprawl.
Later in the evening they have traditional music Life in Delhi is loud as you soon learn. The often repeated phrase, “In India you need 3 things, Good horn, good brakes and good luck.” is understood pretty quickly. On the back of every vehicle it says Horn Please! or Horn not OK to indicate the drivers preference. The streets of Delhi are narrow so walking is an art form as you have to dodge all many of transportation and people selling to you on the street. The roads are congested and there is no such thing as a bus stop or bus station. You just get on or off the bus at a traffic intersection. Pedestrians have little fear of death here as at every junction you will get children miming they want food for there younger siblings, people trying to sell you trinkets or most surprisingly lady boys trying to advertise there services. I didn’t think you would get groups of men dressed in Saris walking the streets. The guide told us that frequently European men who have had too much to drink can’t tell the difference until much later and then they have to pay to quickly get rid of them so it most be a thriving trade.
I visited a Sikh temple (there are approx 10 across Delhi), while I was there and you have to keep your elbows and knees covered as well as your head. This applies to men as well as women so they sell coverings just for this purpose. Alternatively bring a scarf like I did. You have to be barefoot as well but there is water later on to clean the dust away. You can’t take pictures of the insides of the temple but its marvellous.
I found the kitchens amazing in that they cook for hundreds of thousands of on daily basis. The poor of the region get there 3 daily meals for free as well as being able to spend as much time there in quiet contemplation as they liked since there were no set services. You can volunteer to cook there as my mum did and its open to all regardless of colour, creed, race, heritage, religion, age, wealth. The rich sit with the poor cross legged on the floor eating the same food but its funded only by those that can afford to contribute. They feed you until you are full and Indian food is surprisingly filling, allowing you to take your leftovers home with you as its like the Indian Welfare State they are providing here. There were several sittings a day and it was never empty. They never ran out of food and only rested for a couple of hours at night to make sure that they could complete there never ending duty once again the next day. We didn’t eat there as we didn’t have time to wait but the goodness of these people is astonishing.
Talking of kindness we visited the Mohandas Gandhi memorial gardens and they have a flame there that is tended so that it never comes out. Mahatma is a title that is given to Gandhi to show reverence to all that he achieved for India peacefully. Its lovely and peaceful which is a complete contrast to the bustling metropolis that is New Delhi. They are side by side with Old Delhi also being referred to as Shahjahanabad. This is because the city was found by Shah Jahan. He was a Muslim so the city has abad appended onto the end to indicate that its not only his city but an Islamic one too. If it was Hindi it would be pur on the end like Jaipur which I will talk about later.
We also visited Humanyun’s tomb which is a magnificent building in the Taj Mahal (Crown palace) style. This is a striking contrast to the rest of the buildings that people live in on a daily basis. The mughuls that lived there are descended from the Mongolians and its where we get the phrase media mogul from to indicate how much wealth someone has accumulated. The palaces are full of marble and inlaid with precious stones. They have gardens and fountains to replicate the heavens as the word paradise comes from a walled garden. They had more wealth than the average person could gain in a thousand lifetimes as the average life time income after 50 years was £2.
Chandri Chowk is a street that you will pass by often if you are exploring the historical district and it means Moonlight street. This is connected with the daughter of the ruler at the time. There were 5 Shahs that you will hear about when you are driving between the different attractions and if your guide is anything like mine was, it will be information overload. I loved hearing all the history and the word origins as I’m a bit of a word nut as you may know.
There are many temples (Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist etc) in Delhi as you might have guessed and as we were walking about we came across a Jain temple. These are strict vegetarians and have rather odd rituals for their priests during celebrations. They are in fact not allowed to wear a stitch of clothing and therefore the family surround them so that nobody is embarrassed by this. This parade happens from the temple to the family home so it can go on for quite a while. Luckily I didn’t see this but I was reliably informed by my guide who was turning out to be extremely well informed on everything to do with Delhi’s monuments and history.
We passed by the India Gate which was built by Edward Lutyens (who also designed the gardens in Sandwich, UK amongst many other things). He also designed many buildings in Delhi which were beloved by William Dalrymple but sadly are gone now. I read some pages of an amazing book by him (A City of Djinns) provided by the hotel but I didn’t get very far and it didn’t seem right to take it with me. I wouldn’t have had time to read it much anyway as the time was so packed with places to see. I got to read more about the East India Company later in a hotel magazine in an article written by him.
The Red Fort that acted as barracks for the soldiers in Delhi has apparently been hollowed out by previous occupants so we saw the one in Agra which is amazing. More on that later as the next stop is Agra which is home of the Taj Mahal!
In order to get the best photos when you visit the Taj Mahal you have to arrive before sunrise so that means about 6:15am. It’s worth it though as the crowds soon turn up afterwards. It’s never completely silent except now because of Coronavirus. I was lucky to go when everything was still relatively calm.
There is a lot of history associated with the Taj Mahal and some of it is much more recent than the rest. While you are there you will be shown the seat that is now famous as Princess Diana’s seat. There will also be professional photographers wanting to take a set of photos of you. We got some done and if you just want them digitally they can send them to your phone in seconds.
This is apparently Tom Cruises favourite shot of the Taj Mahal according to our guide. We had a different one for each place so they varied a lot in what they could tell us about each attraction.
Since I love series and Organization here is another one so you can easily go from one post to another.