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Through Chris's EyesThrough Chris's Eyes

India - Through Chris's Eyes

In spring of 2010 Chris and I flew to India for a six week adventures. I'd been before, and would be staying on after he went home - but this was Chris's first taste of travel. See how he got on by reading his travel journal below.

Monday, 22nd March - Dover, England
Tuesday, 23rd March - Benaulim, Goa
Wednesday, 24th March - Benaulim, Goa
Thursday, 25th March - Benaulim, Goa
Friday, 26th March - Hampi, Karnataka
Saturday, 27th March - Hampi, Karnataka

Sunday 28th March

Again we arose early for a coracle (round boat) trip down the Tundrabunda, we haggled on a price of 800 Rupees.

We agreed on a two-hour trip, half an hour there and back with an hour to visit a couple of temples along the way. Our boatman was a 12-year old boy called Memtesh, who surprisingly had also done the haggling on behalf of his boss.

We set off and took in some beautiful scenery on the way and eventually arrived at a shortcut to the Hanuman Temple, high on the hill overlooking the river. We walked through banana and coconut plantations as well as along the edge of a paddy field - where I had the misfortune to slip and end up mixing it with the rice.

We eventually ended up at the bottom of the big rock faced hill. 645 whitewashed steps and several breathers later we were up at the temple, seeing an abundance of monkeys on the way who looked to have developed a much shorter way up via sheer cliff faces. The views over the valley were breathtaking. Memtesh was now looking to head back, after we had stopped at the bottom for chai (tea) at a local's house back at the bottom.

Back through the rice (where I was a little more careful) to the coracle which had been moored up under a tree on the riverbank. We set off back upstream for the return journey which after a while looked a little daunting for the small boy, who shortly complained of a problem breathing and muscle pain in his stomach. I gave him a puff on my asthma spray to hopefully ease his problem and took over the oar for while.

After going round in circles for a while, I got the hang of it and started making a little headway, though going 2km upstream looked highly unlikely. Memtesh quickly made an amazing recovery something Serena was expecting after she had seen the look in his eye after I'd shown concern for his health. About a kilometre upstream we approached the rapids where we had had so much fun downstream - but it didn't look as if we were going to experience the same pleasure going back.

Memtesh steered the coracle to the side at what we thought was a short temple stop - but it turned out not to be. The little boy asked us to help lift the boat out of the water, which we did, then asked if we could carry the boat approximately 200 metres over rocks and all, apparently to escape the hard work rowing back through the rapids. After 20 metres Serena said no more as she couldn't see where she was putting her feet on the uneven ground, and feared an accident. In any case the thing weighed about 100kg in all. We put the boat back in the water from where it came.

Memtesh took another route and after another 500 metres pulled in again where we did lift the boat out again to drop back in 50 metres further downstream. Serena and I were now getting a little bit annoyed to say the least, especially as her trousers were covered in oil and tar. Memtesh realised he had made a bit of a mess of the trip upstream and he could see the tip - which he had been constantly after from the outset - was slipping through his hands. He tried very hard from there on in to do things the right way.

Our two-hour journey had escalated to four hours and well into the very hot sun, which we had been keen to avoid. Both of us were suffering a little sunburn. We told Memtesh that the Bossman was going to get a telling off, which he did, and we not exactly haggled, more like told him that he was only getting 600 Rupees not 800 as agreed for the trip.

Despite all the troubles we both agreed that the trip downstream on the river was all in all both an enjoyable experience and well worth doing. Time for a late breakfast/dinner now at another lovely location called the Mango Tree on the other side of the river.

Later that day we both had a massage at a place recommended by a guy that we nicknamed Dr Bookshop, who seemed to be the font of all knowledge in Hampi Town.

Rest time now before a slightly later lunch and bedtime, as we were having a lay in tomorrow as it is our last day in Hampi before embarking on a forty-hour journey to our next destination - Ooty in Tamil Nadu.

Monday, 29th March - Hampi, Karnataka
Tuesday, 30th March - en route to Ooty
Wednesday, 31st March - Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Thursday, 1st April - Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Friday, 2nd April - Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Saturday, 3rd April - Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Sunday, 4th April - Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Monday, 5th April - Kollam, Kerala
Tuesday, 6th April - Houseboat, Kerala
Wednesday, 7th April - Houseboat, Kerala
Thursday, 8th April - boat to Alleppey
Friday, 9th April - Kochi, Kerala
Saturday, 10th April - Kochi, Kerala
Sunday, 11th April - Kochi, Kerala
Monday, 12th April - 2625 Kerala Express
Tuesday, 13th April - 2625 Kerala Express
Wednesday, 14th April - Friday, 16th April - Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Saturday, 16th April - Wednesday, 21st April - Ranthambore, Rajisthan
Thursday, 22nd April - Jaipur, Rajisthan
Friday, 23rd April - Jaipur, Rajisthan
Saturday, 24th April - Pushkar, Rajisthan
Sunday, 25th April - Pushkar, Rajisthan
Monday, 26th April - Pushkar, Rajisthan
Tuesday, 27th April - Delhi
Wednesday, 28th April - Delhi
Thursday, 29th April - Delhi
Friday, 30th April - back to England

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