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Showing posts from 2011

Some photos from India

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Finally I got down to editing my sets of photos from India! I started with the place that got me the most "Varanasi" with it's amazing views, people, scents, colours and more.

Here are some of the photos and more on Flickr..





More photos to follow soon!!

Goodbyes are hard, but as you used to say "life goes on & we need to face it with a smile"

As it all began it finished. One initial breath made you cry for the first time 88 years ago and announced to the world your birth. Surely little did you know that you would do so much in your life, you were just a simple girl, helping your mum, playing in the streets of mdina and busy growing up. Yes you grew up fast, you had to. Those were the times when kids had to grow and be useful and you grew up to be a beautiful and great woman.

You never had it easy. Life did send hardships your way, but you always were strong and tackled life with a strong will and a sweet smile, the same smile you kept sharing with me every time I came to see you these last few weeks. You never lied to me and whenever I was wrong you showed me your disapproval bluntly and always gave me the reason why and for that I thank you as you gave me a value I will treasure with me throughout time.

I will never forget how many times you sat down listening to me blabbering about something you didn't even underst…

Tricks of life

Life sometimes plays silly tricks on us, or at least we think so, what we don't realise is that we bring those tricks about.

We are engulfed in what we are doing, what we are working on, what we are achieving or desperately would like to achieve, we totally forget about something important - Us!

I am writing this not to anyone or to lecture whoever reads it, but I am writing it to myself as it might help me know me better. For sometime I have forgot about who is the most important person in my life - I had forgotten myself. I realised I was basically the shadow of myself - a badly made copy with only harsh black powdery stains showing blurring my actual image.

So I decided to step back and look at me - and trim out what's not working, what's in the way and start living.

My days won't be any lighter, they won't be any more easy, they actually might get worse - so it's a reason more I should strive for me to be better and aim towards happiness, whatever that migh…

Varanasi continued

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I am writing this quite sometime after I have been to Varanasi but I guess even if years pass I will still remember everything and every detail of it.

I remember the first early morning boat ride, which although it looks like being a tourist trap still offers a fantastic first glimpse of what life is near the Ganga. The lights, the colours, the scents and smells - all are imprinted in my mind or shall I say my heart.

I gladly remember the first rickshaw ride from the hotel to the ghats and the lazy walks up and down the river banks, turning down hand massages, enduring the endless call of "hello boat ride" and admiring the relentless and skilful washers and the guys cremating the dead.

I clearly remember the row of people begging on the steps leading down to the ghat and the colours of lord shiva on the column right when you walk down towards the river. I remember all, I do, but I simply wish to be there again and I am sure you will too if you're lucky to go to holy …

Varanasi

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We arrived at Varanasi at about 8 in the morning. The train journey wasn't bad, we actually slept and had no bugs infesting our bunk beds so all was fine.

When we walked out of the wagon in the usual river of people we found a guy asking if we were Wil & Daphne and he was the person who would take us to our hotel. We needed a shower badly but still wanted to start seeing parts of this holy city.

Our hotel was outside of Varanasi about 6 km from the ghats. It's actually a good thing as the hotels are nicer and more comfy, plus the area is a restricted are at night thus reducing the criminality rate. Our hotel was great Hotel Andana if I recall well and we stayed here for 3 nights.

So after changing and freshening up we met our driver in the afternoon who took us to visit some temples - one at the university and one in the centre of the city in which a priest, after giving me a blessing and tying a cheap string round my neck asked for a 100 rupees - I declined and when I off…

Jansi

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Finally I get down to continue writing this blog! Well after a great stay in Kajuraho with the kamasutra temples and all we left to Jansi. It's quite a long drive and we arrived in the afternoon and our driver took us to the main historical place - Jansi fort. Yet another fort but this time here there weren't so many people, was a nice stroll about and there are even monkeys to spook you a bit when they start looking a bit threatening!

After the fort we drove out of Jansi to a nearby village - the birth place of our driver. Honestly this was a real experience for us. The true India, the people, the faces, the richness of the soul and of the smiles. We were greeted by his family as if we ourselves were family and after a short viewing of the living quarters ( 3 rooms a court yard and a back yard with a cow & calf, which is a big dwelling for the standards of the village) and a drive and walk around the village, we were offered dinner before starting our journey back to Jans…

Working on new work

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After my trip to India and shall I say the thousands of photos I have yet to sort through, I have done some new work with the venere team and have some other new projects in the pipeline.

The latest two shoots were actually quite interesting and challenging and will be showing the results as soon as the tv programmes are aired else surely I would be shot by the producers ;)

So very soon will update the blog with some drag pics and hopefully first will publish some of the fantastic india too!



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Kajuraho - day 15 & 16

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The way from Orcha to Kajuraho is relatively short compared to other places so the ride was not as tiring, but on arrival at the hotel we found that were quite out of the city - this is a bit of a pain since you have to rely on your driver, but good as the hotels are much better than the ones found in the centre.

We checked in and went to the centre and after struggling a bit with the super pushy Vendors at the car parks we decided to eat a dosa at Madras Cafe - and what a dosa! This guy made the best dosa we had tasted till now! At least it was something to cherish.

After we went to visit the east temples which are not so famous since and well known as they are smaller and less known but still they are wonderful with loads of sculptures and surprisingly well kept! (plus you get in free :)



At the site of the last temple there is a nice small river pity that the vendors are also there and I even had one showing me the quality of a brass cup by hitting it next to my ear to check the res…

Orchaa - day 14

From the not so trilling Agra experience we headed to Orchaa and even the road started to look promising - green fields, rivers, trees - mmm this was looking interesting. We also passed through some small villages which appeared to be on the poorer side of what we have experienced up till now. Well seems that's the norm here but it's impressive that these people are more curious then just looking at you as a walking ATM.

We arrived in Orcha and found our hotel - well this was huge and comfy although again packed with nagging French groups - so we just dropped our bags and out we went.

We walked down to the river along with quite a large amount of people and when we got to the bridge we were told ( by some curious but nice locals ) that it was the Rama festival so a holi day as they say and the place was buzzing with pilgrims. That was cool with us so after some chill time near the river we went up towards the Rama temple. Here there was a local Market selling a lot of spiritua…

Agra - day 13

Agra the city of the Taj Mahal - and nothing much more about it!

We arrived in Agra after the protest ordeal I wrote about in the previous blog post and headed straight to the Taj. Here we were advised to either get a bike rickshaw from outside or just walk it as it's only 10 minutes on foot to the entrance. Don't let anyone fool you to take you to the best gate etc they just are tuk tuk drivers wanting easy rupee!

So we arrived at the Taj and went to the ticket boot and in a flash somone saying that is "special guide" appeared and told us he will be guide - don't fall for it wait in the queue with the locals. One thing that is normal here is that a ticket for Indians is 5 or 10 rupees - tourist ticket is always some 250 or 300 - for the Taj it's 750 but at least they include camera fee.

We got in the queue (female and male separate) and walked slowly until we reached the security officers. On checking my waist bag he started getting stuff out;

Cigarettes…

On the way to Agra

We left Jaipur at 8am since it's quite a long way to Agra and also a good thing to exit the city before the mass traffic starts. It was raining so was an even better thing to do!

After exiting the usual hassle an unrelenting horns of the city The way was clear and we drove easily on the good highway joining the two cities until we saw a van coming high speed wrong way. Well for us it's something to worry about but now we got used to it that in India this can happen quite normally so we just took it with a pinch of salt until the second and third car came by wrong way making signs to turn around as the road was closed! Thinking there was an accident on the road our driver turned the car and we drove back (wrong way as there was no other way) and followed the other cars which had already turned on the opposite side of the road thus going towards Agra on the wrong way lane against traffic. After a minute of driving we saw a large amount of trucks parked on both sides and we kept …

Jaipur - day 11 & 12

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After quite a long drive we reached Jaipur. This is the capital of Rajasthan and boasts over 3 million population. Our arrival was on a Sunday afternoon and we had no clue that a lot of shops were actually closed and there wasn't much to do! Eventually we went to eat something with our driver who to calm my nerves (since I felt this city was just a waste of time) took us to this great place (please note veg only) from were we tasted great parantas.

Nothing much happening we visited some shops and went to rest.



The next day we went to the Amber fort which seems to be the most important tourist attraction here since the queue was huge! Now here I had a dilemma - we had our own free elephant ride but I was sceptic of going since I love animals and I am against the use of such beautiful beasts for us stupid tourists. Anyways Daphne wanted to go so I accepted but half way through the ride she was of my same opinion. The large queue of elephants going up and down the fort was sickening …

Pushkar - day 10

The holy city. Here I don't want to offend anyone but unfortunately the impression this small city gives is of not holy at all! The city revolves around the holy lake which is the main attraction only that you can only walk around it barefoot (which is ok)

On arrival we went to the centre and there the fake priests started to appear with flower petals for us to throw in the lake. Obviously we didn't accept any since on acceptance you will be asked for money for blessing so we avoided these unholy beings.

The roads around the lake have been transformed into a Market place with fabric vendors, clothes vendors, incense and perfume whallas etc - this ain't a bad thing at all if you are there for just the souvenir shopping but we must say the place is filthy! Also the strangest looking people there are not the sadus or babas ( which you can't say who is true and who is fake!) but it was the tourists - the place seemed like the revival of the hippy movement gone 21st century.…

Udaipur - days 8 & 9

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The lake city and romantic city. Well as lake city it lives up to it's name immediately as when you arrive in the centre you will immediately realise the city circles a vast lake with ghats and monuments and palaces all around. Our hotel was just out of the centre (hill lake hotel) only ten minutes away but it was neatly tucked in the local houses. One thing to be said was the great view of the lake from the hotel room and from the roof!



The first evening we ventured in the centre which is very touristy with lots of people asking you to buy pashmina, tops, Tshirts etc and the occasional tuk tuk driver offering "want small joint?" - we kept on walking around until a made to measure tailor shop owner (just next to Edelvise cafe) managed to lure us in his shop. Daphne was intrigued to order a nice coat and (although I was sceptic that the owner's promise to have it done by the next day at 6pm) measures were taken and appointment was done for fitting.

The eve was dinner …

Jodpur - days 6 & 7

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Arriving in Jodpur's centre feels like you arrived in a mega Market place. The two gates that enclose the clock tower in the middle encircle a bustle Market in which you can find anything - literally anything!! From veg to clothes, to incense and spices, jewellery to welders and instrument fixers. At first it can be a bit too much to handle but after a while you settle in and absorb the colours, sounds and scents (which in some corners can be awful) and you start to enjoy it.

We popped by to a known spice shop (MV Spices - be careful of the many imitations of their brand) but unfortunately a group of about 30 French tourists flocked in the tiny shop like sheep and we had no other option then to leave and plan to go back the next day since the constant hum of "c'e Bon" was a bit too much to handle for me.

That evening we enjoyed dinner with our spanish friends we had met on the trip who were also at our hotel and enjoyed the view of the lit up fort (note at 915pm shar…

Jaisalmer - days 4, 5 & 6

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Coming close to Jaisalmer one notices a heavy military presence - tanks, trucks and you can even hear the occasional gun practise shots - but nothing to be afraid of although the long convoys do make you a bit late.

When you get close enough you will see the fort - an imposing structure on the main hill of the city. An amazing sight in the scorching afternoon sun (imagine at night when beautifully lit up!!).



Just time to deposit our backpacks in the room and we ventured out up to the fort city which is a max ten minute walk up hill (if staying in a hotel outside of the fort which we strongly suggest you do! Check out the lonely planet and you find all the reasons why to make this choice!). Tuk tuks will be calling at you to hitch a ride - don't it's nice on foot and not far plus usually they will want to take you to shops to get commission. The fort is littered with these small shops but a smile and a no thank you will do.

The next day we got a guide to show us around the fort …

Bikaner - day 3

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Before arriving in Bikaner a must see is the rat temple! Yes there are rats here but it's totally safe and for a tip the shoe minder actually provides you with fabric feet covers (leather not allowed in Hindu temples so mind your belts!!) which are good to avoid the rat poo.

The temple is small and very much frequented by devotees. Obviously the weird attraction are the milk bowls from which hundreds of rats congregate to drink from.

When we arrived in Bikaner we went straight to the fort which is the main attraction of this city. The red fort is impressive architecture wise, but not something I wouldn't live without.

After the temple we popped by a local artist specialising in miniature art with fab details and who (to show off his skill) even painted a small scene on Daphne's finger nail! Well we got ourselves a small elephant painting on camel bone (camel bone is derived from camels after their natural death).

Hunger took over and our driver suggested a street shop from…

Mandawa - day 1 & 2

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After a long car ride from Delhi, passing through small farming villages, trucking stops and fields, we reached our first destination - Mandawa.

The first impression was of a small village engulfed in a Market style life and we weren't expecting much, until we parked in the hotel yard - a charming Haveli nicely decorated and a porter with a huge smile. Our room was fabulous and later found that they gave us the honeymoon suite which was a relief after our disaster of a hotel in Delhi.




The next day we went for a short trip to a neighbouring village which is jam packed with Havelis and to be honest after visiting one we decided not to go in any other anymore - well at 200r a pop it starts adding up no? ;)




Returning to Mandawa we actually visited a Haveli in which a family (caretakers of the Haveli itself) still lived. After the real adventure for us started for us - venturing in the old Market in the city. Here we met a great guy making camel leather shoes and after trying about a…

No wifi no blog

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Finally found some wifi to use and update a bit the blog!! We have left Delhi 7 days ago and we visited Mandawa, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and now Jodpur! I am adding some pics here but more detailed explanations will be on soon and some great stories too!!















More to come as long as I have wifi!!!!

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Location:gucci internet cafe,Jodhpur,India

3rd day - Delhi old and new!

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This third day went quite well - we started off by visiting a great temple Lakshmi Narayan - great architecture, amazing statues of Lord Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesh and lots more. Was a wonderful peaceful 40min and the people there were great! Even the security - they treated us great and even for a donation they gave us a spiritual guide which is amazing.

Then it way old Delhi time - the red fort with it's vast area and red brick buildings quite impressive but nothing special (when compared to other places). After visiting the fort we went on a cycle rickshaw for a tour of chandi chowk. When we upload the videos of this ride I will place the link here as it's simply unexplainable in words!!

After that we went to Gandhi Smitri the cremation sight of Gandhi. This is a simple but great place - I feel it's a great memorial for a great person like Gandhi - the world needs more people like this little great man!!

Then hunger took the better and following loads of locals (who were visi…

Day 2 India - Dilli Haat and more

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Well started off the day getting scammed again but this time a bit of my bad side came out and after screaming a bit to the rickshaw driver he took us to the right place. Finally we seem to have got ourselves a good deal and the people we met were helpful and seem honest (god help us).

We actually went a bit around to Dilli Haat a nice Market with crafts and food were we also tasted our first thali which actually was very good. The crafts on offer there are quite nice and it's a great place to visit for last stop souvenirs - but not now for us as the journey has just started.










After that we went to Hamuyan Tomb which is an architectural marvel and it's easy to realise from where the idea of the Taj came about! I think it's a must see (by the way there is an unexpected huge amount of squirrels playin around in the gardens too!!







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2nd morning in India

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So I have to be totally honest - yesterday when we arrived in India the only thing that went ok was the guy meeting us at the airport to take us to the hotel and the hotel room itself which although not much was clean.

In the afternoon tried to go out here in Karol Bagh area only to be scammed by a rickshaw driver who took us to 4 different "tourist offices" at least we didn't move from his rickshaw and he was quite pissed off.

After speaking with the hotels guy in the eve he made us feel a bit more relaxed and showed us the way (on foot) to the actual Market - a street bustling with people selling virtually anything but was great! Well not risking food till now so ended eating KFC what a shame!

Before bed the last hurdle was to be surpassed - taking a shower - well look at the spacecraft style of shower we got here it's something not to take lightly!! But hey it works and has got hot water so I won't complain ;)



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Location:Ma…

And here we go!

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Here we go on Emirates destination Dubai - 1st part of our journey to reach Delhi! This plane looks actually quite cool indeed :)


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Location:Triq L-Industrija,Kirkop,Malta

Final Preparations India...

So I am at the final preparations for India...... Well seems a lot of stuff but the majority is more "precaution" stuff - pills for any kind of ailment, mineral supplement sachets, cause everyone says poop is the order of the day, toilet paper again due the poop factor, adaptors and chargers for my cameras etc... well the works - I just hope I fit all in the backpack!

But I think the most important is the mental preparation - reading lonely planet sometimes makes you scared shitless, then at the end of a really scary article they write... "this doesn't mean you shouldn't visit this place" - what the hell you just scared the crap out of me!!!

Well I am taking a different approach to this - I just want to just pack and go tomorrow and live it and in the process try to update here to leave a mark of what's going on.

Suicide terror attack in Moscow Airport ....cowardly act?

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Whenever I hear the words Suicide Bomber I tend to disagree with the term - suicide is something someone does when they are fed up of their lives or there is nothing else to do..... Is this the case with these people? I ask this since as far as I know these people do this act so that they get attention or they try to change something for others, their community, their race etc etc. Couldn't they do something else which they can live to see the effects of it all or are they too afraid to see the aftermath of an explosion and they prefer being the first to die in it?

I personally think that yes there are loads of people with difficulties in the world and some resort to extreme ways to get the media attention, but this is so NOT the way! I know a lot of you agree with me on this point, but I think we have a tendency of just condemning these people and don't take the time to try to understand what they are going through.

This morning I found this video on digg.com and was quite i…

Touch myself..... the song

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This morning I heard this song on the radio - and the question comes naturally - what does she really mean with Touch Myself? Is it a metaphor or the real deal?


And it seems that its about the real deal! Take a look at www.songfacts.com  where there is a good in depth explanation about the Touching elements of the song! :)

Well I actually love this - why not express yourself openly and fully no? So from my end they get full points!!

So what about our life?

Our life is all full of "wants", "wishes", "hopes", "dreams"..... sometimes these are so strong (and for some real) that seems that some people loose the sense of reality. I am not saying it is wrong to do anything of these but look a bit around you, look at nature does anything else do that? Do dogs (just to give an example with just one animal) dream of having a new kennel or a new owner or simply dream of a nice juicy bone for dinner?

They don't! And that I think is simply because they have a purpose in life. Their purpose is living. Us humans on the other hand try to make the purpose, or simply strive to look for that purpose in life and I guess we simply miss the bigger picture, that our purpose is to live.

I say this because I do that all the time. My mind is constantly thinking, churning up new ideas, trying to create something new and getting pissed when I realize it's already been thought of. I sometimes find myself wasting a da…

Setting up this blog!

I decided to create a new blog so that I can freely share (as the title says) my thoughts, my travels and some of my tantrums and thats exactly what I am doing here now - the first post to get this going. It may not be so fascinating, but I think thats the great thing the internet is offering us nowadays - the ability to share - even the most ridiculous and stupid of things - which although we might think might not be so interesting for some might be amazing to read, or simply great to follow or even more a realization that someone else no matter how far or near feels or is experiencing similar moments in his or her life.

So here I ask you, do comment on the posts and leave feedback even if its negative it can be of help to me or someone else!