Just reached Ahmedabad (Gujerat region) after a 17-18 hour bus ride from Aurangabad (where I visited some awesome caves).
Sorry for lack of updates, I’m working on it but haven’t had much writing inspiration lately and outside of Mumbai, the internet (and computers at cyber cafes) hasn’t been stellar.
I’m currently in Mumbai, India. Today, I saw lots of security (police + commandos) near the area I’m staying at. I found out President Obama is visiting this Saturday. And I later realized, the hotel he will be visiting, the Taj Mahal, was the site of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. I walked past it just now, it’s all fixed up but wow, THAT was the place?! Did not realize it. The (edit : Not true) USA is spending $200 mil/day for his visit and he gets the ENTIRE hotel (570 rooms) to himself. Just last week, a suicide bomber killed himself in Taksim Square, in Istanbul. I was there many times while in Istanbul months ago. It’s probably the same feeling people who have visited the Twin Towers in NYC get.
Also, Divali (Deepavali) starts tomorrow. Good timing. I’ll go check out President Obama this Saturday too. Quite excited.
Other things of note:
1) I saw some albinos in Tanzania but at that time, didn’t think they were actually ‘albinos’…
2) Thank goodness I got out of Zambia in time before this happened.
3) I’ve said all along, Malaysian cooking is #1. The world is realizing it now (hopefully!).
4) More Malaysian stuff on CNN, on front page.
It’s Monday, October 25th 2010 4:21 pm as I type this up. I am currently in Arusha, northern Tanzania. I signed up for the single most expensive portion of my trip today; an African safari. Hope it goes well and I’m not ripped off, as I had to do a bunch of safari shopping this morning. The company I went with has a few bad reviews online from a few years back but hopefully they’ve improved since.
I will be gone for 5 days 4 nights so I decided to include this short update now. I have also posted up my entries for a couple of Tanzanian cities I’ve visited previously. Sorry there aren’t a lot of pictures to accompany the words.
It’s time to see all those wild animals with my own eyes instead of through TV or National Geographic magazines.
In Nkhata Bay, beside Lake Malawi. Internet sucks BUTT and picture uploads are impossible so I can’t really post any new updates. Will head to Tanzania either tomorrow or day after.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll be flying out to Cape Town, South Africa. It’ll take 22 hours as I have to fly to Abu Dhabi first, then down to Johannesburg before reaching Cape Town. It takes the same amount of time flying from Texas to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). At least no overly-long layovers, as the longest is about 2 hours.
I don’t know what to expect. In my head, I feel things will be more challenging from here on out. I started out in Western Europe, like being on a bike with training wheels, with an adult holding onto me. Then I went to Eastern Europe. The adult let me ride on my own but I was still on training wheels. Then I went to Turkey, and Egypt, and much later, Morocco. One wheel was removed and I had to learn how to balance myself although I could lean one way and still be all right.
Southern Africa (I’m thinking of starting in Cape Town and making my way up to the Serengeti in Tanzania and Victoria Falls in Zambia), then India+Nepal will feel like the training wheels are going to come off and I will have to balance myself. I will probably fall a few times but I’ll just have to lick my wounds, get back on the bike and keep on riding. But I’m sure it’ll all turn out ok, and that I will find it easier than I initially thought it would be.
Catch you all in ‘real’ Africa!
In Fes, Morocco at the moment. No internet at the places I’ve been staying in so far so here I am in, in a cybercafe, posting an update. Will post blog entries when I can find a place where I can get internet on my netbook, where all my writing and pictures are stored.
Got in to Tangier a few nights ago by ferry from Algeciras. In Fes now. Going to Marrakesh tomorrow (9 hours on the bus!)
I am in good health, in good spirits, filling my belly with Moroccan foods. Hope everyone out there is fine as well.
MAN UTD 3-2 LIVERPOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So I arrived in Florence and decided to get my ticket to Nice while I’m at the station. I ask for an overnight train to Nice for Sept 2nd and am told the price is €83.50. I gawk at this but pay up anyway. Cognitive dissonance (cheapness or financial savvy, call it what you will) sets in soon after. I get to my hostel, check in, then decide to head back later to check if that was the cheapest option available.
I get to the station, see a very long line, head to check out bus ticket prices at Eurolines. The guy tells me it’s €65 for an overnight bus to Nice. I think, ok, that’s about €17 in savings but the cons is that I’ll have less freedom of movement on a bus. Anyway, I go eat lunch, head back to the station, find out the cheapest option only costs €28! But it’s a day train and I’ll have to get off twice at two different stations to change trains. But I get all excited that I’ll save €50. Then I find out I came back 3 hours after I purchased the tickets from earlier and can only get 80% refund (2 hours is the cutoff for a full refund). So that’s €15 lost. And factor in that I have to get a room for the night in Nice for €20-25, that’s another “loss”. So in total, all that bloody trouble and I ended up saving €15.
I then proceed to blow it all on pizza lunch (hand-made dough, oven baked), High Fidelity (I GOT IT at this awesome bookstore with many English books but it was €11.60 FFS…) and PASTA DINNER (read rant in ‘Venice’ about my annoyance at buying pasta in restaurants). But I justified that hey, I’m paying for great sauce. Which is true.
My God I feel like an idiot sometimes lol.
When wanting to get a haircut in a foreign country…
1. Always bring a good printed picture of what you want.
2. If option 1 is not available, never let a drunk Serbian guy who speaks ok English translate what you want to a stylist that speaks no English whatsoever.
I can’t upload pictures on these crappy internet connections so here’s a short update.
Was in Cairo for a few, went to Luxor for a few, then Aswan/Abu Simbel, and am now back in Luxor. About to leave on the 6:30 pm overnight bus to Suez Canal where I’ll be catching a connecting bus to Dahab where I’m ready for some Red Sea diving.
I have an annoying cough now and bought some cheap cough syrup from one of the many pharmacies around here in Luxor. Pharmacies aren’t like the USA ones, they’re just a place full of medicines and toiletries and some (probably) unqualified person working the counter, randomly prescribing stuff. Hopefully cough will go away before Dahab because I don’t want to be coughing 30 m under the sea.
Been quite crazy and eventful the past week or two and I’ve been trying to find some time to sort out my Istanbul photos. I’ll post up Istanbul soon, as well as Goreme.
I’m in Cairo, Egypt now. It’s been quite a ride to say the least. I’m hoping to catch a train to Luxor tomorrow.