IndyJunior © Bryan Boyer

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Change of Plans

Our India trip has been cut short and we are now back in Kuala Lumpur. We aren't sure if we will make it back to India or not so for those who were looking forward reading our experiences, my apologies.

The number of blogs will also slow down a bit as we will be busy here and not really doing any site seeing. Maybe when there's time I will do some "best of" blogs, or a recap of some of the trip so far.

Our decision of whether to go back to India will depend on how long we are here.

1st Train Ride

It had to happen sometime. We couldn't stay in Delhi forever so we decided on the next stop to be Jaipur (another corner of India's Golden Triangle) also known as the Pink City. Apparently their old city is a nice uniform shade of pink.

India had been so overwhelming since we arrived we thought that we wouldn't be able to do the cheaper trains where some are standing room only, jammed in with all the locals etc. We decided instead to go for the more spacious, air-conditioned Shatabdi Express train. Yes, we're wimps. :)

Our first experience with Indian train stations was frustrating (for me anyways). We had no idea which platform our train was on. We were told it may be on platform 10 but the sign didn't show our train number. Here we are at 5:50 am (our train left at 6:10) and we had no idea where to go. I went down onto platform 10 and saw a big sign saying "May I help you". when I got there though there was no one there. Nice.

At 6:00 there was an announcement for our train. Thank god it was in English and we figured out we needed to go to platform 2. I really didn't need that stress so early in the morning.

We found our car and seats and the train took off on time.

The train ride itself was very uneventful. We got a breakfast and free newspapers, the scenery was quite nice. Mountainous as well as with lots of farmland.

The other thing you see from the train is probably India's poorest people. Just as the train was leaving New Delhi station, you see hundreds of homemade shacks, barely big enough for a room. It made Toronto's Tent City look luxurious.

People were sleeping on old train station platforms as well, and everyone using the grass beside the tracks as their bathroom. It was really weird to see everyone squatting anywhere they could. J thought they were just squatting like Chinese people do but I don't think Indians squat for fun.

A very humbling sight to say the least.

we arrived in Jaipur without any problems. Got picked up by the owner of our hotel because there are so many touts outside the train station. He told us he always tries to pick up his customers because if we were to take a tuk tuk, they'd take us to some other hotel where they can get a commission.

I wish we could say we saw a lot of Jaipur but we pretty much checked in, had lunch, then went out to get plane tickets back to Kuala Lumpur (see next blog).

Didn't even take a picture.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Moving on from Delhi

It has been a week since we landed in India and we've spent the time mostly trying to get used to the way India works.

We did manage to get out and see Connaught Place, Red Fort and the Jama Masjid, but the majority of the time was spent near our hotel on the Main Bazaar.

There have been a number of demonstrations here in Delhi over the last week. Just as we arrived, the night before there was some rioting near the mosque over the Popes comments on Islam. Luckily that didn't go further than that area. And on Wednesday, there was a protest from the Traders Association over something called "sealing". Thousands turned out and some trouble came about causing the police to fire into the crowds. 4 people were killed. Luckily again, that was a day we decided to spend indoors.

Yes, it's time to move on.

But here are some pictures from our week.

The Main Bazaar...

Connaught Place...

Yes, we broke down and ate Pizza one day for lunch! :P

But we did manage to try Tandoori Chicken and Vegetable Korma with Naan and Rice...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Culture shock...

I don't think there is anything that can prepare you for the difference I've seen here in Delhi vs. anywhere else in the world. It is amazing.

While in Chennai, we saw nothing outside of the pick up drop off area in front of the two terminals. In Delhi though, once we got to the Main Bazaar in Paharganj it is extremely hard to explain.

The street is a main street in the area, yet it doesn't have sidewalks, street lines, it isn't even straight. It's just store front to street.

Pedestrians everywhere, tuk tuk's everywhere, cars everywhere, and yes, (we read about it but didn't really believe it) cow's everywhere! It's so overwhelming. I'm still not sure who has the right of way, but I do know the Cow's don't give a sh!t about anything! :)

The next thing that I haven't gotten used to is the rolling blackouts. I think every store and hotel here have back up gas generators. We went through one last night, and another while eating breakfast this morning. The street is so loud when the generators are going!

It happened at the Airport...

Ok, who would think anything can happen while you are inside the secure area of an airport? We were both watching our bags carefully and such but you don't think you need to watch out for scam artists just quite yet.

Well, we were wrong. And it was a good one.

We just picked up our bags and made our way to the "pre-paid" taxi stand so we would get a set fare into Delhi. J got up and told the guy where we wanted to go and the cost ended up being 170 Rupees. I wasn't quite ready with everything and thinking we needed to break all the large bills we got in Malaysia, I decided to pull out a 1000 ($25 CDN) bill. I gave it to J and she passed it on to the guy but we were both still busy messing with our stuff when the guy said, 170 Rupees... I was thinking "What?" and he handed us back a 100 bill.

We really weren't thinking and since we did just get some smaller 100 bills earlier in Chennai, I thought it was my mistake (was still getting used to the new currency). So I brought out another bill and apologized.

We got our change and ticket, got into the cab and off we went.

Once we found a hotel and checked in, we went through what we had and I found I was missing almost 1000 Rupees. That freaked me out and looking real close, it was exactly 900 Rupees. We couldn't think of where we would have lost that much, no one picked us, and to pick only 900 is quite a feat.

I was a bit pissed and it didn't leave my mind. I thought where could we have lost 900? The only thing that came to mind was the Taxi counter. It added up. Give him 1000, get 100 back. Buddy pockets 900! Son of a ....

What luck huh? If we didn't get small change while in Chennai, we wouln't have had any 100's in our pockets and we (maybe) would have realized he made the switch. There's no way to prove it in any case.

Lesson is that you've got to watch when you pay. Don't look away for a minute!

On a brighter note, we've stayed one night so far...looked for a new hotel this morning (ours was a bit worn down and loud) and found a nice place with AC. Hope it's ok anyways. Time to start planning to see the sites.

Jet Airways

We booked our flight in to India through Jet Airways. It was a very comfortable flight in and the service was quite good.

We had only one little snag again checking in and it was because we only had a one way ticket again. The lady at the counter kept saying they may not let us in and that they can't be responsible if we are turned away at the border, etc, etc...

After a bit of humming and haaing, she whips out this letter that we had to sign to say we wouldn't hold Jet Airways responsible if we were left behind. we signed, but reading the letter through, we basically said we wouldn't sue if we died on their plane or something like that...

Anyhoo, our itinerary had us going from KL to Chennai (Madras), then a small layover then to Delhi.

We saw nothing of Chennai, but when we landed in Delhi, that's a whole different blog...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Off to India

We have been in Kuala Lumpur for 3 weeks now and are starting to get a bit restless.

We have finally booked our tickets out to India for this Saturday.

After going back and forth as to where to land (it was mainly between New Delhi and Kolkata) we agreed on New Delhi mainly because flights to India from Malaysia seemed to land at night and we thought it better to land in the afternoon. There was only one flight that landed in the afternoon and it was in New Delhi.

I'm really looking forward to seeing India. I don't even know what to expect and yes, it's a bit unnerving but should be fun nonetheless.

We'll be back soon with pictures, experiences and thoughts....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


We needed to make another trip into KL for a follow up to J's hearing problem. I had my GPS tracking us when we were on the bus and found that we were just 500 m south from a Geocache when we arrived at Kota Raya (the end of the #10 bus from Subang Jaya).

After the appointment we headed out to look for this cache. I've been carrying around a Travel Bug since the middle of our Thailand journey and wanted to leave it here in Malaysia.

As we were walking along this busy street, the exhaust from the cars was trapped on the street level because of the tall buildings on both sides as well as a raised LRT track right above the road. Needless to say it was a bit hard to breath not to mention that I was having trouble getting a reading some of the time.

After a short 10 minute walk, we ended up coming out of the buildings and into an open area where we zeroed in on the cache.

It was at the side of Merdeka (Independence) Square just under an overpass. Not much was in it; a small action figure, used nail clippers, Alberta CDN pin (Canadians are just everywhere). I just ended up contributing another CDN Twoonie to it, dropped off the Travel Bug into the container and logged the find.

That's that....stay tuned for more finds (hopefully) in India....

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Just wanted to Congratulate our two friends who got married today in Niagra on the Lake.

We wished we could be there to help them celebrate their big day along with all our other friends but timing just didn't work out.

We wish them all the best in their future together. They make a great couple and we couldn't be happier for them.

Way to go you two! Have a great time on your honeymoon!

So when are the kids coming, eh? ;)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

It has been a week of family reunions, visa applications, doctors appointments and eating.

We have finally gotten around to going to an internet cafe to do some blogging and other stuff.

We've been staying with J's Dad who is out in Subang Jaya and we've ventured into the heart of KL a couple times since being here. KL is just like I remember it during my last visit in 2003. Although the public transport has been improved since the last time, it needs a bit more work here in Subang Jaya. To get to the train station, it's an hour ride on a mini bus and that's if there's no traffic. Apparently traffic here is the worst in the Greater KL area. Even cabbies from KL won't come out here because of the traffic!

We'll have to venture in again tomorrow to the Indian High Commision. Our visa's are ready and need to be picked up. We'll probably end up staying down there until the traffic dies down. Maybe do some shopping, pick up some more DVD's for J's Dad and our own enjoyment. ;)