A Travellerspoint blog

Some good things must come to an end

I guess this will be the last entry of this wonderful journey I've been on. I am back home now, but India is definetally still on my mind.

Thinking back, it seems like I've done so, so much since I last wrote. After we sat on the beach in Varkala, we went up to Kollum and did an overnight houseboat trip through the backwaters there. It was expensive (for India) but well worth every rupee. The boat was made of bamboo, and there were three staff on board. One driver, one cook, and one I don't really know what he was suposed to do. He always looked busy though. The backwaters are basically canals that connect most places in the area. Half of the year, they are salt water, and half of the year they are fresh water. We first went along the bigger canals. As we went along, the kids would clap and yell to get our attention, and a wave. After a lunch (possibly the best lunch I'd had in India) of fish, 4 different kinds of vegetables, and fresh pineapple, we went to a village inland from the main cannal. We went on a small canoe through all of the local waterways that are used for local transport. We saw them making boats, rope out of cocnut fibre, and where they harvest prawns. I really liked the village - it's a self-stustainable community, and everyone there was really friendly and happy. That's something I noticed about people in the south in general - they seem to be much happier, and more relaxed. Maybe that environment is where humans are suposed to live. After the tour, we went back to the houseboat, and parked for the night. After a wonderful dinner, we spent the night playing gin rummy with the guys on the boat. We knew differnt rules than them, so there was alot of confusion, since we knew only a small bit of hindi, alot of arguing, and alot of laughter. In the morning, we headed back to the port and I took a train to Cochin. From this point on, I was travelling by my self. In Cochin, I went to fort Cochi, full of old buildings from when the Portugese and British were there. I really enjoyed walking around there, and wish that I had more time to wander the old buildings. This was my first day traveling my myself, and it was, well, different than travelling with other people. I seemed to be able to attract every strange male in the city. That night, I went to go see a Kathakali performance - the traditional dance in Kerala. I went early, so I could see them do their make up, and they explained what each colour means. Kathakali dance is so expressive. There are hundreds of different facial expressions used to tell the story.

The next day I flew up to Goa, and went to the capital Panjim. I spent the day wantering the city, while was facinating with all of it's european influences. There are beautiful churches and government buildings in Panjim. The next morning, I took a bus at 7 down to the very south of Goa, to Palolem beach. It's a beautiful cove with a white sand beach. I met another backpacker from Switzerland on the bus, and I spent the rest of that day with him, sitting on the beach reading. That afternoon, I had a flight back up to Delhi, and the next day, a train back to Chandigarh. I had planned to spend 2 nights and one day in Chandigarh visting all the people I met, but I just ended up staying at Anu and Naveen's house since I got really sick.

I am back in Vancouver now, and although I really miss India, I am happy to be here. I have made wonderful friends in India, and feel like I still have so much more to see. I am sure I will be back there at some point in my life.

Posted by jchapelski 04:51 Comments (0)

Evening out the tshirt tan

You see, most of India dresses quite conservatively. Shoulders and knees are quite provocative. Needless to say, I've developed quite the tshirt tan.

We, being Kristen, Caitlin, and I , arrived safely in Trivandium a few days ago, and decided to train up to Varkala because it looked prety, and it seemed like a good place to stay before we go on our houseboat cruise. It turns out Varkala is like a little tripocal town with cliffs, and beautiful beaches. So, for the past few days, I've been sitting on the beach, eating delicious pineapple, and playing in the 3 foot waves. That's really all I have to report right now!

In 2 days, we're going on a house boat in the backwaters of Kerala, then i fly to Goa for 2 days. It's going to be hard coming back to freezing cold tempreatures after this hot spell. Oh well, I'm still looking forward to seeing you all.

xoxo jess

Posted by jchapelski 03:22 Comments (0)

Time to go south

Namaste everyone!

I arrived back in DElhi this morning after a long over night train from Varanasi. We spent 3 days in Varanasi, a pilgrimage site for Hindus. It is right on the Ganga, and is a crazy busy city. It's also the oldest constantly populated city in the world. I think they told us it's been inhabited since 2000 b.c. The buildings there are a beautiful mix of really old, sort of old, and new-ish. We spent alot of time just wandering the city, and the ghats (the stairs down to the river). One morning, we went of a row boat on the river to see all the ghats. It was beautiful to say the least! We also went out a few nights to see the burning ghats. That's where they have the "dead boody fires" as the guy told us. It is considered very good if a hindu is cremated on this ghat. I thought I would be completely grossed out by the smell at this ghat, but it really wasn't bad at all. I found it quite interesting. Also, we found a really nice little restauraunt when we were there, that was a world away from the crazyness that is varanasi. They served great homous, and made fantastic salads. Finding safe raw vegetables is rare here, so we went back all the time. My stomach wasn't quite used to raw vegetables and wasn't too happy with me last night.

It was hard leaving Varansi, because Amber and Nate were continuing east to Calcutta, and I was going back to DElhi to catch my flight to Kerala (tomorrow). it's really weird being away from them. I hadn't been away from Amber for more than 5 or 6 hours for the past 2 and a half months. At the same time, I know I will see both of them in Vancouver, so there is no need to be sad. The train from Varanasi to delhi was ok - but i almost had my bag stolen - ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. i was on the top bunk, and a pushy old man insisted on putting my purse up there too. he made me really unconfortable, so i let him do it just so he'd go away. As soon as he took 2 steps away, i stood up to get my bag and saw it wasn't there. i looked on the next bed, and there it was. He was walking away laughing. argh. Some people...i tell you. Besides that, I felt quite safe on the train by my self. i made friends with a family. 2 of the ladies were teachers, and they had an adorable 4 year old who came and hung out on my bed most of the trip. we listened to disney music on my ipod.

well, that is all i have for you all right now. Must go pack my bags for Kerala! I'm glad I don't need my warm jacket anymore!

xoxo jess

Posted by jchapelski 00:17 Comments (0)

I love India...

...I really do. It is now December 2d, and I am getting sad about leaving. I am also excited to come home and see everyone, and have it be cold, and eat salad, and sing Christmas songs, and put up the Chrsitmas tree (please wait for me to get home before you put it up, ok Mom, Dad, Christine and Deb? I'll be home soon. You can pick it out without me, just don't decorate it).

Well, since I last wrote, which really isn't that long ago (I'm suprised at how often Im writing in here) I did the most amazing rafting trip ever (it was also my first rafting trip ever!) From Rishikesh, we drove up the Ganga and blew up the raft. There was 4 of us (Bal, Nate, Amber, and myself) and two guides. The trip was 16 km in total, with 6 different white water rapid spots. Some of the rapids were quite wild, and at one point I almost fell out of the boat!!!! Luckily, I stoped myself on Nate, who was siting infront of me. The rapid before I almost fell out, Amber fell into th boat, and couldn't get back up for a few minutes. The guide (who was really cool) was making fun of us for the rest of the trip. When there were no rapids, we jumped out of the boat, and floated along the Ganga. I never though I'd be floating down the gangese with 3 great friends, singing Om Shanti Om (most popular movie in India right now!!) and watching monkeys eat bugs off each other. I am glad we got to swim in the ganges then, because it is quite clean there. where I am going later toda (varanasi), the river is quite dirty. Varanasi is THE place to put dead bodies in India. That being said, in Rishikesh, the river was damn cold, and by the end of it, I couldn't feel my extremities. After a quick warm up in our bath tub, we went for a dinner on a rooftop over looking the river. Of course, we had to comlpete our time in rishikesh with some more chocolate and banana samosas. We also still had some firecrackers left over, and decided to light them off as a end to the time the four of us spent together. We made a little boat for a fountain, and sent it off down the river.

The next morning, we caught a train back to DElhi, and have been hanging out here since then. We picked up Amber's triend 'Thea at the airport, and said bye to Bal. He's gone back to Punjab to visit his family. In a few house, Amber, Nate, Thea, and I head on a overnight train to Varanasi. There should be some great stories to tell from there. After Varanasi, I leave the three of them (that will be a bit emotional) and go back to Delhi and meet Kristen and Caitlin to catch a flight to Kerala.

Namaste everyone!!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Jess

Posted by jchapelski 22:54 Comments (0)

Rishi-what?

Rihsikesh!

Namaste everyone,

Well, we had an exciting departure from Delhi. Nate, Amber and I had booked our train tickets to Rishikesh a few days earlier, but Balraj wasn't sure wether or not he really wanted to come. The night before he decided yes, so we all trekked off the the train station for 5 in the morning to get him a ticket. We got him one, and we all got on the right train (this was the first time we'd braved old delhi train station by ourselves. The train from DElhi to Harridwar went backwards most of the way, but i didn't notice because i was sleeping. We got to Harridwar, and took the bus an hour to rishikesh. We decided to stay in the same hotel the others from our group stayed at before. Since there are 4 of us. it was cheapest to get the big room at the top of the hotel. We're living like princes and princesses right now. i'll take a picture of the room for you guys to see. The day we got there, we went for a quick lunch around 3. then slept till 9 at night. We had some tea and nan at the resatuaraunt, then went back to sleep until 10 in the morning. We were apparantly a bit tired. That day, we spent some time exploring rishikesh, and went to the most amazing samosa place bal and nate had found when they were here a few months ago. Not only are their potato samosas great, but they make chocolate and banana samosas as well. It was maybe the most amazing thing I have ever eaten. We each had three of them, as we watched the ganga float by. That afternoon was spent wandering. I got headbutted by a cow, and watched monkey scare other people. Later, we went to the evening arti. Rishikesh is a pilgrimage place for hindus, and every night, they have a ceremony for the ganga. There is alot of singing, then you light a candle in a leaf bowl full of flowers, and send it off down the river. it was quite becautiful. We grabed some dinner from a dhaba on the way home, then went back to the hotel. There really isn't much to do at night here. so we spend alotof time just chatting, or doing handstands in our hotel room.

Later today, we're going rafting on the Ganga, then back for some more chocolate and banana samosas. I really like it in rishikesh. It's really relaxed and confortable, and there are alot of "englightened" pretentious white people here to laugh at.

I really can't beleive it is almost christmas time. This morning, as we were having breakfast, there were donkeys walking by with bells on and the room we were in would have looked spectacular with christmas lights. It got us thinking of christmas, and I made a snowflake out of the paper under my cup and we stuck it to the window with spit. Ahh, I hope there is snow on the ground wheni get home!!

That's all for now. Hope you are all well,

xoxo jess

Posted by jchapelski 21:33 Comments (0)

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