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Chillin' in Goa and on to Nepal

Hello all - Lynette writing here.

I'm writing from the legendary city of Kathmandu in Nepal! The air is cooler here and a lot less humid than India which is a nice change. We flew here yesterday very early in the morning - so early in fact that we had to wake up at 2:30 a.m. to get to the airport on time. But more on Nepal later - let me tell you a little bit about Goa, India which is where we spent a little less than a week.

India overall was one wild ride after another. We were excited to go to Goa because it is known for its laid back atmosphere and less conservative culture - meaning I could actually wear a tank top and Dave and I could hold hands in public. We thought it would be a great way to recover from the nonstop touring we did in the Rajasthan area of India. After arriving in Goa we were picked up and taken to our hotel in Calangute. Right away I did not like Calangute. It is the busiest beach town in Goa and since we were there at peak season it was packed full of Indians on vacation with there families etc. The beach itself was disgusting. There was trash everywhere and it was completely packed with people everywhere - mostly groups of Indian men laughing and playing. As soon as we saw the beach we turned right around and went back to our hotel. The hotel itself was ok but our room was right next to the kitchen and so we heard loud kitchen noises way into the night, and then in the morning we were greeted by loud noises by children in the reveberating marble lobby. This was not the relaxing time we were hoping it would be. I was very unhappy to say the least and we called our travel agent and asked to be changed to a different hotel. Due to the holidays (Easter and Holi - Hindu holiday where they throw colors on each other - fun!) and this being India our travel agent wasn't exactly responsive to our request.

This was definitely a low point on our trip. India is a very trying and challenging place. Foreigners are treated basically like walking ATM's and you are constantly harrassed by beggers, sales people, and touts. The daily confrontations with poverty is overpowering and the materialism that exists here is unreal. People offer help without being asked and then expect to be paid. You absolutely can trust no one who wants to help you or give you something which is sad because you have to have your guard up constantly. The sales people know to play on our emotions and are skilled at making you feel like you hurt their feelings by not buying something. We had one incident where a woman asked us if we wanted to buy a sarong or blanket and we said no. Later we actually bought a sarong and blanket off another woman. The first woman came up to Dave and I and said in this pathetic hurt voice - "hey do you remember me? I asked if you wanted something and you said no." This is a tactict to play upon the western guilt tendency. We are are all rich in the eyes of the Indians. It was getting to us and we were both ready to move on. We had been looking forward to Goa because we had heard it wasn't like that. It was supposed to be relaxing and laid back but seeing that Calangute was just as busy as other parts of India our spirits sunk. Then there was the "sunscreen" incident.

Dave and I went to a pharmacy in Calangute and bought what we thought was a major brand "Banana Boat" of Sunscreen - SPF 30. We used it the next day and spent just a couple hours in the sun. It didn't take long for us to start seeing the effects of sunburn on all exposed parts of our bodies when we got back to the hotel. We just couldn't understand how we got so burnt. My shoulders got hit the worst on me and are still a bit sore and now are starting to itch. Dave figured it out - we were sold bogus sunscreen. Someone filled Banana Boat Sunscreen containers with generic lotion and sold them. We bought two bottles of it and both were filled with the same lotion. It said on the bottle unscented and ungreasy which was not the case as the "sunscreen" smelled like flowers and was pretty greasy. This is what I mean by not trusting anyone - you can't even trust your local pharmacy in India.

We eventually took matters regarding our hotel in Goa into our own hands and found a cheap resort in a more remote beach north of Calangute called Vagator and ended up having such a wonderful time we didn't want to leave. Goa was made famous by the hippies in the 60's as a place to take drugs, dance all night, and then zone by the beach all day. In parts there is still this kind of vibe but we also saw lots of European visitors and families here. It is extremely cheap in Goa - even cheaper than the rest of India. Dave and I would eat at a restaurant and both get something to drink and a meal and the total cost was under $6 dollars. The resort we moved to was awesome and relaxing. It was a short walk to the beach and many off the wall shack restaurants. One night we went to this bar called the Nine Bar which overlooks the ocean and plays trance music while the sun sets over the Arabian sea. It was magical and we both had a thought that was surprising - we didn't want to leave India!

The other really fun thing we did in Goa was rent a scooter and drive to a secluded beach called Aswem and eat at this great french beach shack restaurant we were told about by a girl we met earlier in our India travels who lives in Goa. The roads are not well marked and Dave and I were driving all over the place and drove in a circle at one point. A friendly man (did not want money - yay!) on a motorcyle ended up showing us how to get to this beach. At one point he pulled over and told us to go over a bridge and turn left. We thought we went over something bridge like and so turned left which was wrong and we ended up lost again. But by some strange coincidence the man we had followed earlier showed up on the street we were lost on and again we followed him to the correct turn off. The bridge that we were supposed to go over was a very large bridge, in fact it was the bridge used in the Bourne Supremacy movie where Matt Damon's girlfriend is shot and the jeep goes into the water. Dave had never driven a scooter before but after a bit of practice he was a pro and drove us around safely. It was a great day. We ended our Goa trip by spending several hours before heading to the airport bargaining for stuff at the Anjuna flea market. It is sooooo much fun to buy stuff because it is so cheap.

Although we were sad to go, we left Goa on Wednesday March 26th and flew back to Delhi. The next day early in the morning we flew to Kathmandu, Nepal. The flight was only 1 hour and 30 minutes from Delhi to Kathmandu so that was nice. Kathmandu is the biggest city in Nepal and there is a developed tourist area called Thamel which is where we are staying. It is really fun and packed full of cafes, internet places, adventure companies, guest houses, hostels, cheap hotels, restaurants serving all kinds of cusine, shops, and on and on. We liked it here immediately and because we had just come from crazy India - we were barely affected by the traffic and pollution of Kathmandu which you read about. The sales people are no where near as pushy and we just feel better here. We are not sure of our plans but plan to do some sort of trek and tour. We are here for 28 days which is quite a bit of time.

Take care and until we write again!

Lynette

Hi. - Dave here. In a few days I'll have tons of photos from Nepal to show, so here's one last batch of shots from India. They are in no particular order.

You can take photos of people in India, but they usually want money afterward. Like this woman did. Just a small amount though so its worth it.
india_womancarry.jpg
india_waterpalace.jpg
india_wallboy.jpg

Here's the hallway on the train from Mumbai to Goa.
india_train2.jpg
This is our cabin area.
india_train1.jpg

Indian spices
india_spices.jpg

I love the bamboo scaffolding.
india_scaffolding.jpg
india_pipeman.jpg

Paints
india_paint.jpg

We went to a fabrics shop and bought some things, including Lynette's outfit seen here which they made from scratch in one night from material and pattern she selected.
india_lynette.jpg

A holy cow
india_holycow.jpg
india_doorwaylady.jpg
india_building3.jpg
india_building4.jpg
india_building5.jpg
india_building6.jpg
india_building7.jpg
india_sculptor.jpg
india_tajlynette.jpg
india_tajdave.jpg

Some of the trucks have these huge loads strapped to them. They dwarf the truck and fill the road. And they look like at any moment they will bust.
india_truckload.jpg
india_braceletlady.jpg
india_musicians.jpg
india_bowl.jpg

The trucks in some areas are painted with very decorative and colorful designs. - Even including trucks with hazardous chemicals!
india_acid.jpg
india_whitetemple.jpg
india_candles.jpg
india_details.jpg
india_detail2.jpg
india_doorstatues.jpg

Here is the place where Ghandi's body was cremated.
india_ghandi1.jpg
india_ghandi2.jpg
india_grafitti.jpg
india_juicestand.jpg
india_headcarry.jpg
india_lynettedoor.jpg
india_manbike.jpg
india_metalshop.jpg
india_mosque1.jpg
india_mosque2.jpg
india_nighttemple.jpg

In many towns there are streets of tiny shops with people making all kinds of things.
india_papershop.jpg
india_streetshop.jpg

india_schoolgirls.jpg

our email:
lschimpf@gmail.com
dbuck242@yahoo.com

Posted by schuckley 21:05

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Comments

HI DAVE & LYNETTE ITS THOSE PEOPLE FROM ROSS RD. WRITING AGAIN TO LET YOU KNOW HOW HAPPY WE WERE TO SEE YOUR NEW ENTRY. WOW! WHAT A VERY INTERESTING STAY YOU HAD IN INDIA. YOU MAKE IT SOUND SO SIMPLE TO GET AROUND IN THESE COUNTRYS. WE GET LOST IN COLUMBUS. SOUNDS LIKE SHOPPING IS A LOT OF FUN. LYNETTE I LOVE YOUR TOP THAT IS NEAT YOU CAN PICK OUT WHAT YOU WANT AND THEY WILL MAKE IT. DAVE WE ENJOY YOUR PICTURES SO MUCH THEY ADD SO MUCH TO YOUR ENTRY AND WE CAN SEE THE BEAUTY AND SIGHTS OF EACH COUNTRY. SO HAVE A WONDERFUL STAY IN NEPAL. LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING MORE TO COME IN THE DAYS AHEAD. HAVE FUN BE SAFE AND CAREFUL.
LOVE, D&M

by jwrossrd

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