"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

Posts tagged “Travel

Packed And Almost Ready…

My bags are packed.
My shoes, which have not seen daylight since they walked the streets of Washington DC, four months ago, have been brought out of storage.
My scarf, in case of cool weather and cooler aeroplane cabins, is readily accessible.

My recollection, from a couple of years back, is that evenings in the Sinai desert can prove difficult to predict…

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New Vistas

This morning Anu, my houseboy, packed my bags.
This afternoon I  printed my e-tickets and checked-in online.
The taxi is due at midnight; take-off scheduled for 04:30.

A four and a half hour flight, a ninety minute transfer, then a second flight of almost fourteen hours.

I may be gone for a while..

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Picture taken in Sri Krishna Cafe, Fort Cochin.


Journey’s End

Then, almost suddenly, our amazing tour of Ladakh was over.
It was time to say thank you and goodbye:
to Norvo, our supremely unflappable driver;
the kind staff at our “base-camp” hotel in Leh;
and to our excellent peripatetic cook.

It was also time to rest.

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Picture taken in Delhi, on our way back to Cochin.


Wanderlust..

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I have been home for less than a month but this afternoon saw young Anu packing my bags once more.
Vishu approaches:
one of Kerala’s two biggest Hindu festivals.
Festivals, I’ve promised he can enjoy with his family.

I shall enjoy it too – but not in Kerala.
When Anu goes home,
I go on my Indian travels.

Charlie, my agent, has been busy;
Robin, my travel-buddy, is ready.
Flights, cars, drivers, hotels, and perhaps even tents, are booked and confirmed.
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From Sea To Shining Sea

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The previous day’s journey had been hard and tiring:
Over 350 km (more than 200 miles), which is a
 long distance on Indian roads.
But our week of meandering travels had taken us from my home on the Malabar coast to the beaches of Tamil Nadu.
We had crossed a narrow southern portion of India’s great diamond, from the Arabian Sea to the Indian Ocean

Today the journey would be easier and more leisurely.
We began by driving from Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry:

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A route punctuated by rock-carvings, sea-salt harvests and an ocean promenade. 

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Embarking On Adventure

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When setting off on any trip from Fort Cochin, first you must reach the mainland.
The ferry can cut miles of congested city roads and bridges from your route.

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Local ferries are small and invariably there’s a queue of cars, 2-wheelers and auto-rickshaws waiting.
The first boat to arrive usually fills well before it is your turn to embark.
Twenty minutes of gently excited anticipation are part of the conditions of travel.
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It’s a romantic beginning to any adventure.

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Time To Go

I am almost ready.

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Transportation is booked and confirmed.

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Sir is once more off on his travels:

This time across the Western Ghats to our neighbouring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu .

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The ancient city of Hampi is on the itinerary.


The Raja’s palace in Mysore will be experienced.

An excursion to exotic and mysterious places.

I may be gone some time.

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Other than the first picture, images have been taken from the web.


The Road To Calicut


“The journey is the reward.”   Taoist saying

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We set out.

Mindful that these are times of great austerity, I travel light: just my driver, Babu, and house-boy, Anu, will attend me.

They sit in front. I recline sideways across the back seat, with the aid of two specially purchased cushions.

It occurs to me that I have adopted the regal posture of  H.M. The Queen, sitting side-saddle, as she reviewed the Trooping of the Colour. Such are the indignities of age and infirmity.

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We take our food in road-side restaurants.

Kerala vegetarian lunches

 

Meals are eaten with fingers.

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The roads are largely unsigned and often deeply pot-holed after the recent monsoon.

Babu and Anu chatter quietly but excitedly in the front, while I take in the sights or gently snooze.

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Indian driving is unlike that in the West. Even if the Highway Code is known, it is seldom followed.

Fortunately Babu is calm and measured. When forced to brake suddenly he does not shout or curse, but looks ruefully at me through the rear mirror, saying  “I am sorry, Sir”.

Similarly, Anu regularly turns round to face me and enquires, “You are alright, Papa?”

Dalila and Shaji, my other house staff, call Anu from time to time, checking on our progress and ensuring that “Sir is OK”.

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We are starting a five-day tour of Malabar. I hope to meet a couple of friends on the trip but the main purpose of our journey is just the joy of travel.

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“to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive”  Robert Louis Stevenson.

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