map of places visited
|Sun 10-Nov Singapore (Arab St)
Flew to Singapore. Very fast processing at immigration and customs
Transport to Hotel Golden Landmark Village Bugis cnr Victoria and Arab sts
Wandered about area with fabric, dress shops and some carpet shops, restaurants and day spas
Good cheap meal at Malaysian restaurant
Saw outside of mosque
Could see Gotham tower building and Singapore flyer sky wheel from out room
|Mon 11-Nov City tour and Jurong
Morning city tour by bus
Chinatown, financial district, merlion statue facing former sea front, view to three towers with boat on top. now reservoir, chinese taoist temple, public housing concrete jungle, semi-precious stone sculpture factory, past embassy district, national botanic gardens (orchid gardens), little India (no photos),
Lunch at Indonesian near hotel, 2day public transport pass MRT, Jurong bird park by MRT until closing time. 1st show parrots , macaws hornbill, toucan and flamingos, 2nd show falconers
Flamingos, Tram to birds of paradise, hornbills, lorikeets, largest aviary, including highest waterfall in an aviary
Dinner at MRT station at Boon Lay.
|Tue 12-Nov Museums and Marina Bay
National museum of Singapore
Peranakan peoples museum ( had to create a race for. People of Singapore)
Red line MRT to Jurong East , J cube shopping centre with ice skating and shuttlebus to other outlet shopping centre
Then MRT to Marina bay, view across fresh water reservoir to merlion, light and water show and vortex fountain
MRT to hotel for transport back to airport for 2:30AM flight to India
Arrived Indira Gandhi airport New Delhi.
Huge queue thru immigration (one of our tour feinted waiting in queue)
Freeway to Royal Plaza Hotel.
Cows, slums, monkeys by the road. No concept of lanes or give way, just avoid crashs
President's house and many other buildings are in guarded compounds
Nothing really works. Look out window to factories that look abandoned, but have cars parked outside.
7:30 pm 90 mins to get to restaurant a couple of km away because of traffic jam on multiple roads in multiple directions. Bikes ridden in middle of it all incl right lane, motor bikes with woman and child passengers. Sidesaddle passengers. Motorbikes riding on footpath thru bus stops with people waiting.
At 10:30 pm it took under 10 mins as the jam had cleared. Huge load on a bicycle.
Multiple rollers in car park
Hotel is in guarded compound
More madness in traffic
Barricades dragged on road - no trailer
Tuk-tuks everywhere (auto-rickshaws). Larger ones later in day
Gas is delivered to homes by bicycle
Red & white Jain temple opposite fort
Fort with moat
Very heavyweight bike wheels repaired and manufactured as you watch
Dodgy electricals incl vines growing high on hv towers
Mosque. - largest congregation but mostly the crowd is in a courtyard because there is no big under cover area e.g. under a dome.
Cloth is hung over frames to provide shade of friday in ramadam
Women to wear coat worn backwards (hospital gown)
Goats on street
Chickens in cages and apparently slaughtered
Horses on road
Mahatma Gandhi memorial
Elephants on road
Past many major govt offices (all guarded)
India gate WW1 memorial
Huge parliment building with 240 columns
There are a few metro stadtions
Tall tower at mosque qutub complex
One double the height was started but abandoned we he died
Mosque built from stone from demolished jain and hindu temples hence the non-islamic decoration.
The iron tower has been in this location for 800 yrs, but is 1600 yrs old from carbon dating.
Some of the arches are shaped as arches but not structural because the indians ha d learned arches and domes
Service station where an attendant does your tyres
All the dogs look alike except for colouring
Mongul emporers Humayun's tomb (inspiration for Taj Mahal)
New Delhi to Jaipur
Just driving New Delhi to Jaipur - 8 hours elapsed, though a couple of stops
Smoggy even early morning
Statue of Gandhi leading a march to the coast to break salt monopoly by british
Ganesh on bus dash
First of many cows by the road
Commercial vehicles have to pay a tax as they move from state to state.
There is a new satellite town of Delhi where the new buildings and housing are
Children very close to the freeway
People wander across freeway and stand in middle of road near toll booths
Monkey on back of motorbike. Also saw some by side of road. Black faced monkeys are employed to scare away other variety of monkey in some hotels.
Buses and cars are very overloaded, here inside is full, so stand on bumper and hold on, at freeway speeds.
Cars go the wrong way on the freeway - just to the next turn, or to avoiding crossing the traffic. Then you also see u-turns, reversing, stopping on the freeway, and just pushing across at right angles.
Donkeys pulling carts, also saw horses and bullocks and others.
There are some grand looking housing / unit developments advertised, but reality seems to fall short. Also impressive gates to large house blocks or small estates, where nothing inside.
Crops are wheat and mustard. Mustard oil is used a lot for cooking where we would use olive oil.
There seem to be a lot of brickworks and you see a lot of bricks being transported, but they look crude bricks
Oil refinery in the middle of nowhere.
Power pole covered in vine.
Goat herd with goats.
Herd, not just individual cows in middle of road blocking one lane.
Green carpets being washed in preparation for the marriage season.
Some trucks and cars do have major bingles.
There are small standalone houses presumably surrounded by their field.
Many trailers being pulled by camel.
Jaipur is the pink city, but the pink in brochures is not the pink the old city walls are coloured which is much darker and is the original cause for the term.
After lunch our bus drove the wrong way down the freeway before heading left at rightangles to a gap in the fence stopping traffic in both directions.
Rajasthan has mountains, but these are very old unlike the young Himalayas.
There seem to be old forts on the hills
The couple are showing they have voted by the dye on the finger.
Family of 4 on a motor bike.
Concrete buildings seem to have wood framework prior to pour.
Pigs also through the slums (kept by the lower caste).
Donkeys also pulling carts.
Old city gate and walls and ochre colour.
Diggi palace where we are staying has marble floors and bathroom (no fridge though), lovely grounds and courtyard for the rooms.
Ancient (or 1910) entry doors in arched entry.
Palace in city (palace of the winds)
Then Amber palace for in hills with large walls along surrounding mountain ridges and lake fortification
To which we get by elephant ride from the valley to the fort at the top of the hill.
The domes held water reservoir piped through the copper pipe with an air hole in the right dome. The water was run over a feligree with air from behind providing cooling
Hall of mirrors
Camels parked across street from water palace
Block printing with 4consecutive blocks of different colour and fixed with vinegar
Carpet weaving, loop cutting, trimming, finally the back is blow torched to remove loose fibres
Some silk carpets are 1600 knots per sq inch
Snake charming at fort and later in old town. City palace
Donkeys and monkeys
White horse drawn carriage e.g. For a wedding
Bus to Agra
Fruit , veg stalls and bread stalls in the Jaipur suburbs, but similar in many towns passed thru and in Agra, though the towns looked less slum
Sandstone carving factory after factory
Small subdivided fields many worked by hand, some tractors, I only saw one ploughed by animal
Disk shaped briquettes of cow dung used for heating
Most trucks say "horn please" or "please honk", and "use dipper at night"
Also saw palm fronds being gathered, mostly see long straw perhaps from pampas grass?
Some trucks on the road are village made (unregistered) from a truck frame wreck but an engine from a household electricity generator as the truck motor
An even more crowded jeep travelling faster than the bus, so 90kph
More brick works
Jeep stopped to drop off and pick up passengers
Maharaja Palace hotel for lunch
Peter joining in the social cricket, and took a wicket
Puppet show with drummer with 20yr growth 2m wide moustache, coloured with henna, followed by puppet show of disco dancer and head loose michael jackson
Another world heritage fort with surrounding wall. The building with central pillar and 4 beams out was where emperor took audience. He accepted all religions and tried to make up his own with the best bits of islam, buddism, jain hinduism, but the muslims thought he was trying to be a replacement for mohamed. The pillar has carvings from all the religious styles.
One of the wives was christian, and her house had paintings of people inside, unusual in a muslim emperor's house
Women carrying earthenware pots on heads
Cricket is played in any vacant lot
Taj Mahal and Agra Fort
Mausoleum for persian wife. He is beside her. To left is mosque and right is guest quarters. Also there are buildings for other wives before main entrance. She was pregnant 17 times over their 19 years together, 3 miscarriages and 7 died young. He was imprisioned last 20 years by his son.
Built on wooden piles to absorb shock of earthquake, but the falling water level of the river is exposing the wood and may cause rotting
- the towers surrounding are angled out, so in an earthquake they will fall away from the main dome
- decoration of semiprecious stone inlaid in marble
- a horseman escaped the fort by riding his horse off the wall (killing horse), but emperor was impressed he had the gate below built saying, next time ride through gate instead
- english plastered over old walls
- emperor who built or was building taj was imprisioned here, but could see it
- note the layers of plaster allowing the frescos
- swimming pool
- note the cannon ball hole fired by british?
- grave of british governor who died during uprising when they couldn't leave fort
- marble inlay factory and our piece
Train to Varanasi
- traffic jam on way to station, lots of police everywhere, police climbing into freight trucks pushing passengers over rather than stopping the truck?
- ate into our hour of leeway by half, luckily train was 20 mins late
- fellow passenger lost her shoe down onto tracks
- crammed passage ways
- dutch girls who also had tickets for our bunks, ended up in adjacent corridor bunks
And videos (1, 2)of the service
Varanasi (on the Ganges)
- train arrived hour late
- Hotel toilets disgusting, no included wifi
- rooms won't be ready until 11, but arrived at 6:30
- front of hotel is a compound, but could get in side road where bus came
- walked down street before most shops opened
- streets have been swept with small piles of dirt and a little rubbish, but disbursed by traffic
- a larger pile of rubbish was being shovelled into a truck
- several motorbike repair shops were open
- their work is done on street, not in shop
- oil seems to just end up on street or in the open gutter drain
Varanasi is the holiest city in Hinduism and Jainism, and important in Buddhism.
- Kerry visits Ganges
Travelled by rickshaw from the Hotel Hindustan to the ghats (river terraces) at the River Ganges.
Walked along the ghats seeing groups of pilgrims (wearing orange hats organized into tour groups) an individual devotees washing in and drinking Ganges water and riding on the river in boats.
saw the cremation ghat with "traditional" cremation.
Returned to the central ghat for sunset service ceremonies. the ceremony has no clear start and devotees came/went/prayed/chatted and bought snacks from vendors.
Had a seat ($1) on a balcony, a lot cleaner and comfortable than the ghats.
Ceremony involved several priests at several altars.
There were offerings of food to the gods, and lots of music, bell-ringing, incense-burning, etc.
People also floated lighted candles down the Ganges
- wedding at hotel - arrival of groom on white horse
Dawn on Ganges
- in hand rowed boat (2 younger men at front, older man on rear like on gondola)
- candles left on the river in memory of family members who have died
- Ganges flooded in last year, note colour change on brickwork on 1444
- laundry done by hand in river
- people bathing in Ganges and drinking water from river
- man meditating
- pinkish building is the electric crematorium - for people over 3 to burn their sins, but babies are just put in the river, this one is upstream of all we have seen to date, the traditional wood one is downstream of most
- guy with TV in rowboat is selling DVDs, powered from an inverter
- Varanasi is on 2 rivers, second runs through city
- Budda gave his first sermon here, under a tree
- story of his enlighenment is inside
- the tree under which the statues of the first sermon was grown from a cutting of a tree cut from a tree that was grown from a cutting from a tree under which he gave a/the sermon
- prayer wheels
- archealogical site where several monastries, 2 stupas one of which remains, the other used as bricks for the floor of a factory in 1700s
- surviving stupor contains work from 3rd century with the outside being from the 12th century
- buddist devotees from thailand i think believe pressing gold leaf is an offerring to budda
- water tower in town is surrounded by pool of stagnant water
- silk factory
- jacquard loom is machine assisted hand woven can do 12cm per day and can change patterns easily
- full manual loom uses 2 men, can do 3cm per day but can do very much more complex patterns, but very difficult to retool. It can do many more colours.
- with both it is 'easy' to do the same pattern with different colour combinations
- dressing a sari
- shawl over head when married
Flew to Mumbai (city of dreams)
Slums less like slums than 3 storey narrow dirty looking houses with satellite dishes
Fewer motor bikes, bikes, tuk-tuks, more small taxis and many (exclusively) new cars
Walked to india gate and shopped at a local supermarket
Hotel has included wifi, bliss
Mumbai (city of dreams)
Hotel Taj which was blown up, note different brickwork
Hotel built 1903
India gate built 1911
Ferry to Elephanta island
Not allowed to take photos of naval area
Odd looking vessel is oil rig drill
Offshore oil unloading facility
Carvings of Shiva cut from granite rock
Deck hands went fishing while waitning for american tour group to return to boat 45mins
Exotic building is train station (gargoyles and white statues)
Mumbai has beaches on Arabian sea side and water frontages on the bay side
Cricket played a lot
Building with tall arches is a hospital
Park built on water reservoir
Next door to tower of silence where pharsee bodies are left in the open on death, and eaten by the vultures, who corcle, and were picking up bones and dropping in reservoir until covered
Billion dollar building that the billionaire doesn't live because it doesn't fit with his religion and needs modifications
Laundry village where people live in village where town's laundry is done cheaply with subsidised water supply
Vikram Singh (our North India guide).
Bangalore -> Mysore
Fly to Bangalore, bus to Mysore
Bangalore traffic madness
Traffic cops in cowboy hats
State govt buildings
Kids and adults marching
2nd phase of the metro
Rubbish is burnt on the street here too
Through town famous for wooden toys esp rocking horse
Lunch at maccas (veg & non-veg kitchens)
Coconuts are grown a lot locally and this is a local coconut market
Also sugar cane and rice
A garden house of a sultans palace with history of battles between French and english with india in between painted on walls
Coconuts being served
Timber products speciality of area
Spot where sultan murdered by English
Gate they bribed their way in through
Arrive at Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel built for guests who were non-veg or boozers
|Sun 24-nov Mysore
Fruit and veg, spices, flowers and worship.
Bright colored powders are for painting your face or your elephant, not spices.
Banana. Leaf prepared and sold as wrapping
Preparation of incense sticks from ingredients all from trees
Big melons are sweet and served at breakfast
Mysore palace, where court elephants are walked for exercise
Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel
Sugar cane crushed for drink
Sri Mahabaleshwara Swarmi temple, busy because of pilgrims so police closed main road and carpark so climbed 97 steps into back of town to get there.
New houses on ridge line
Coconut, lotus and other flower for devotion
Cow trying to eat corn cob
16m bull elephant carved from rock
Palace and hotel at night
Drive to Kerala
overloaded truck tipped over
Lake near Mysore with waterbirds, egrets, pelicans and fruit bats
Piles of coconut shells
Herd of cattle. Kerala eats beef
In national park
Giant malabar squirrel
Black faced monkey
Bamboo in an area flowers at one time, then dies. This area it is all dead.
Dried fish shops
Christian churches have a huge cathedral size front facade with small church behind.
Resort in rainforest
(truck stop had pet rabbits)
Kuppady, Edakkal Cave
Safari through national park in Indian jeeps (Mahindra)
Domestic working elephant
Tiger footprint, quite large, then later a smaller one
Believe it or not there is the top of a black elephant in the next 2 photos
Woman and perhaps driver are 'tribals'. The driver was on lookout for elephant after smelling something.
Bus breaks down.
Autos (auto-rickshaws, Tuk-tuks) to next town where got another coach for the day
Climbing up to Edakkal Cave
Many century and thousands year old carvings. Writing is only a few hundred years old
Runic carvings are people, eg dancing
and video of boredom behaviour (1, 2)
Drive to Thissur
Chain tree- british soldier begged directions from a tribal to get to sea port, then killed him and claimed he had discovered the route. Ghost entered tree and causes accidents on the road
9 hairpin bend descent
Monkeys at every stopping point
Rubber plantations all down side of hill 4th largest producer of natural rubber
Notice the skirts worn by the men. When too hot they turn up the hem and tuck into top
Temple elephants - all tied up only able to move a small distance
300 kg of fishtail palms per day
When one was about to get a bath he lay down to be scratched by mahoot, and moved his ear so he could be scratched there, then hurried off for the bath
Most of the elephants were swaying and rocking and moving head from side to side indicating boredom
Big temple, with big pool for washing beforehand. A school dance I think. Old painting
Hotel has a tank with doctor fish who nibble at your feet
Drive Thissur thru Cochin to Alappuzha passing many billboards
Our local guide is Joy, though not his palace being advertised
Cochin has huge showrooms for all car makers, toyota, chevy, vw, tata, mahindra, renault, citron,
Many christian churches, including a very early 4th century Syrian which established here long before Portugese form of Roman Catholic
Past Cochin is wetlands, there is a huge lake area behind a narrow piece of land to Arabian sea. Brackish in parts but mostly fresh because gates at exit into sea to control flow. Much of lake reclaimed for rice production, with canals throughout.
The Tata Neon costs INR130000 (A$2600) and is cheaper than a tuk-tuk at around INR200000 ($A4000)
Largest shopping centre is in cochin 6 football fields owned by rich muslim
Ambassador is a Morris Oxford unchanged almost since 1950s and still manufactured. Now has an Isuzu engine instead because so down on power, not selling as well as in the past, but comfortable
Buying wine and spitits requires special visit to state controlled liquor shop, where you transaction is hidden, and people furtively queue to pay, then pick the liquor. You come out with a bottle wrapped in newspaper
Many houses have an open top floor where clothes washing and entertaining done
Picked up houseboats in Alappuzha
Boats used to be used for transport, but now roads, many lost jobs. Still fishing. Now boats derived from these are tourist houseboats going through canals. 1000 in operation, and actively being built. Some traditional building techniques, but for example have plastic lining now.
Ours are 3x houseboats, each 3 double cabin, with 3 crew
Rice is grown and currently being harvested
Sun was strong this afternoon, so our helmsman used an umbrella
People wash themselves and clothes in canal
Houses are below water level and rice is below that.
Waterbirds, cormorants, egrets, kingfishers
Huge flocks of ducks for eggs and meat
Lake is 12-15 feet and can be punted
Though local fishermen prefer to hitch a ride on powered boats like houseboats until they paddle off
Govt ferries run quickly and frequently 5am-10pm
Water hyacinths are a pest, but ducks like
Bridges and ferries, even take on a tuk-tuk
ECG centre available on-canal, and ATMs
Church built 427ad by very early christians dating st Thomas
Syrian christian churches have a flagpole
Being washed when we were there
Traditional medicine doctor office
School kids ferried by hand rowed canoes, costing 2 IRP
Hardware, food, sweets and DVD stores amongst tourist shops
Houseboat being built, or fitted out in the canal
Woman taking her goats for a walk
Guy in hand paddled canoe on mobile phone
Rowing along backwaters.
Dawn, many black birds diving to water surface. Fish seen jumping
Boat was prayed for and incense burnt
Early morning traffic
Some bit of shoreline are sandbagged, wave damage?
Black birds, and a kingfisher
Canals open up to the north to lake.
Dykes here are higher
Enter the main part of lake
Mussel fishermen, run a leaf scoop along the bottom and bring up a bag full. Water is shallow they can reach with scoop and can punt. In one spot fisherman was in water, not sure if was standing shoulder deep
Backwater ripples resort
Indian wedding, bride had arrived by elephant
The elephant raises his back leg to let you step/slide down
Reception hall has undercover boat wharf
Wedding being filmed
Harvesting coconuts, note rope around trunk of tree. Actually was cutting the frond, then collecting the sap in bottle (or coconut shell?). Each day he pours off the collected sap, then shaves the cut on the frond for a new surface and replaces the collector. The collected sap ferments very quickly to alcohol (toddy).
Coconut palms near hotel have nets
Drive to Spice village near Periyar national park
Rubber plantation. 1mm of bark is shaved from top of existing shaved area. 100-150 ml of sap is collected. This is done once per 2-7days
Climbing up you can see the end of the treeline
Waterfalls on opposite side of canyon and one closer
Tee plantations. Note a few trees spread through plantation to give a little shade
People washing clothes in river
Spice village resort has thatched rooves on cabins
Pheasant? In grounds
Tata Nano - cheapest car in world
Spices for sale in main street
Making banana chips by slicing fresh banana into huge pot of boiling oil
At spice plantation
Pepper is a vine. Green is pickled green berry, black is dried 3month from green berry, white is fermented green until outer falls off then inside is dried. Red is either ripe berry dried, or another variety of pepper
Cocoa inside are beans
Nutmeg is a fruit with male seed inside and red female part. Inside of seed is what is used, kernel is grated for use, but oxidizes to a white poison
After fruiting banana plant dies and new growth from suckers
Cinammon tree. Leaves with 3 veins is called bay leaf in south India and is bigger than leaf called bay leaf back home
Robusta coffee beans
Tumeric is a root
As is ginger
Very hot chilli
Cloves are same family as tumeric and ginger, but fruit is used instead of root
Fish curry being cooked
Traditional dancers 2nd dance on brass plate with flask of water is famous
Thekkady (Periyar national park)
Dry day in Kerala (no alcohol)
Cruise on reservoir in Periyar national park
Otter dens on bank
Monkeys in resort
Afternoon trek through Periyar tiger reserve
Flying ant nest
Monkeys blackman or le.... Monkeys. Large black monkey native to the area.
Plant that curls up on touch
Malabar giant squirrel
Where elephant slid down slope on its backside
Elephant tracks in mud and wild boar
Tribals collected wood
Tribals collecting and then carrying wood on their heads with green pillow
Millipede like creature
Woodpecker holes, and hornbills
Descending through cloud
View from Crowne Plaza Kochi (err Ernakulam)
Traditional dance with stylized movements. Full performance starts early evening and runs to 4-5AM.
Lake in Kochi
Bridge to man made island (around 1900)
Public laundry and ironing. (Bus driver made us stop here to drop off his laundry).
Coconut shells used as fuel.
Heavy non-electric irons.
Old cochi - Portugese, Dutch, English
Pruning coconut trees (crash)
Oldest latin catholic church in India, where Vasco da Gama was originally buried, adjacent to the house he was living. Has pukkas.
Chinese fishing nets
Original bastion (Portugese)
Deploying chinese fishing net, and bringing in the catch
Santa cruz bascilca church
Jewish quarter, though only 7 left in congregation, and only synagogue for 1000km
The world pepper exchange where prices of pepper are set
Kathakali dance, starting with 1hr of makeup
LuLu shopping mall
LuLu is largest in India.
Has escalators, but with an attendant on each end to assist (possibly problem with sari getting caught). Also has good set of stairs between up and down escalators, and a glass sided lift.
All the 'name' western brands are there.
Electrical store has many
- fridges some quite small, many brightly coloured
- many compact washing machines including twin-tub and washer drier
- 2 very small vacuum cleaner models
Owned by wealthy Muslim who bans sale of alcohol from all his centres.
|and brought back wonderful foot, hand and mouth disease to
complese the experience