Thursday, October 21, 2010

Update: Netherlands

Visiting the Netherlands was a real treat! The majority of my time was spent in Amsterdam visiting Maddie and Karlijn my best friends from my exchange to Singapore. I also go to see other friends from exchange which was fantastic. I also saw my good friend Linda who was with Karlijn and I for the majority of our wanderings in South East Asia. On the weekend in Holland I drove with a rented car around the the country and even to Belgium to visit family and my friend Madavine.

I don't like to just write out exactly what I did like this. I find that stories about individual events are much more interesting than a synopsis of places visited. However, it gives context for what I was doing I suppose. My trip to Holland seems like ages ago now and I am having trouble recalling any interesting stories. Here are the ones I can remember:

In Turnhout my great uncle, Heeroom, tried using my i-pod. He put one ear bud in his ear and then the i-pod to the other ear, sort of like how one would use an old fashioned telephone. I have a great picture of this. I cant get to it because my camera is broken, incidentally my i-pod is now broken too.

One night in Amsterdam we stayed on a one hundred year old sail boat that used to be used to ship spices or some other good. Now it is the house of Karlijn's friend. This isn't really a story so much as a cool fact.

After returning from vising my family I went to try and find Karlijn at her work because our plan for me to email them had fallen through because the computer was broken. I really thought I knew my way around the subway system. I went to four different stops and walked our of each exit at each stop. I couldn't find the cafe where Karlijn worked at. Every exit I walked out did not look familiar to me. I was seriously lost. All the while the security guards would stare at me suspiciously. I'm sure I ended up on a large number of security cameras. I became nervous some huge investigation be started to discover the identity of this young male scoping out the Amsterdam subway system carrying a mysterious red package (my rain coat). To clear myself of any suspicion I asked a security guard where the cafe was, and he was so incredibly helpful!! I found the cafe with no more problems after that. Unfortunately Karlijn wasn't there. She wasn't even working that night. I returned home after that having spent over two hours on the subways.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Catch-up: India

My trip has been split into two parts. I initially went to the Netherlands and visited friends and family there for about eight days. After I flew to India to begin the two and half months of wandering around with my sister Laura.

This is to catch you up to speed on India since I am now starting this blog in the middle of the trip. I will write about Amsterdam and Holland in another catch up post. So far I have been in India for about ten or eleven days.

(Some of this might look familiar to some of you because I just copied some parts out of facebook and email messages)

Only been to three cities so far. Laura and I made a loop starting in Delhi, then to Varanasi, Agra and now back in Delhi.

Delhi was my first experience of India. It is busy and crowded, I was super overwhelmed at first. On my first day we got in a small fender bender (which is uncommon, Indians are great drivers).

Varanasi was a good change of pace, relatively laid back compared to Delhi. It has so much incredible/perplexing religious ceremonies and happenings. This is the city where many Hindus come to be cremated on the Ganges river. Seeing it gave me mixed feelings, it was super interesting but it also broke my heart when I saw a young boy sobbing and I was reminded that this is someones funeral.

Agra is quite touristy, people are very persistent when trying to sell things to you here. The Taj Mahal is here it was very impressive, and even though it was quite expensive we had to see it because it is one of the things in India that everyone sees. If you don't see them I expect people will say: you went to India and you didnt see 'X'? Then they will laugh at you. I dont want that. The evening before seeing the Taj I ate dinner with my sister and a Belgian we met on a rooftop cafe where you could see the Taj Mahal. It reminded me of Aladdin where he can see the Sultans castle from the window of his hideout. In India it is quite common for kids to fly kites, they even do battle in the air by trying to cut the other kite's strings. On the rooftop we made friends with a kid, and he let me fly his kite for a bit. So it was more like a mix between the Kite Runner and Aladdin. And someone cut our friends kite out of the sky. Too bad.

Back in Delhi now. Resting. More to come soon.

Start at the beginning

After a very long talk until 2 am, the three of us all decided that we will probably never understand this place and accepted our state of discombobulation (thanks

I've really debated with myself about writing a blog about being in India. For the most part I have been very confused about what's going on in this place. A lot of times I say "What's going on in this place?" I figured, since I was so confused that writing about my travels might not be very interesting. It could even be confusing for the reader. Obviously I decided to write something about India in the end. I wont be making sense of it, I think I will never really understand this place.