“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes….”

AuthorVictoria

Splashes of gold!!

Amazing peaceful day in Pokhara walking along the lake beside little blue boats and daisies!!! The mountains appear to dip into clear blue waters as wooden paddles ripple it’s surface!!! The broken reflection of the glowing sunlight shining down from above…is….ahhhh heavenly!! The only interruptions to these moments of peaceful serenity is the sweet cracking voices of grandma’s calling out “Namaste” and jigging some hand crafted necklaces when you turn your head to respond!!! But it sought of brings an extra charm to the place as they ponder along the lake path with their shawls and little backpacks!!! This, next to the triumphant shouts of the local soccer team “MMC” partying on the top of a moving bus after winning a international soccer competition, gives a little chilli and spice to this relatively quiet city!!

After a early morning wake-up with Andy thinking it was 9:55 but in reality was 8:55, we slowly wandered down past the touristy shops towards the foreshore!!!! Glimpsing white deck chairs and sunshine lit gardens, how could we say no to a lakeside restaurant called “Boomerang” to remind us a little bit of home!!! With grumbling tummies there was little left of our trekker’s breakfast, omelettes and Marsala tea. Afterwards we decided to organise our walking trip into the mountainside wilderness and rested in the gentle breeze blowing across the lake waters!!!

Tomorrow the adventure continues south-west of Pokhara to Panchase a little country village with spectacular views of the Annapurna range and it’s snow capped mountains!!! As the sun sets over the World Peace Pagoda and splashes of gold slice across the milky clouds, you could say we were falling in love with Nepal, a rugged mountainous country of colour and pure wilderness!!

Sailing on waters of tranquility!!!

By Victoria

Driving over broken cobbled stones, we hustled our way to the calm waters of the Ganges with the soft waves pushing the green sailing boats closer to our reach. Clambering down a small cliff to the banks, we shuffled off our sandals to be welcomed in a warm hug of blankets and pillows and the golden sun shining on our faces!! As swift hands hoisted the green sail cloth in the crisp air, we ventured off into the river, the sand banks and FWD bus waving us goodbye!!!

With our feet touching the cool water, we lay down amongst the tartan blankets as sand banks, goat herds and little children waved us past until a toilet break or lunch brought us together to shore!! With only room for the rowers, four passengers and backpacks, there was no place for bathroom facilities!! Going to the toilet was as easy as signalling towards the bank, digging a small hole if need be and squatting down out of view!! Our first toilet break of course was rather out of place in fact it was in the wide open!!! It was a perfect patch of sand dunes, where anybody could be seen even if they tried to hide!! So us girls utilise some initiative and used the blankets to obscure ourselves from view of the other sailing boats!! Ahhhh……such a relief!!

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As river dolphins splashed in the water and ibis’ glided over the surface the peaceful paradise left a dreamy haze over us all until we arrived on the platform of sand dunes which was to be our camping home for the night!!! With Phil and Matt snapping photos at the gorgeous red sunset over the incoming fog the chilled night set in and we huddled around a small citronella candle!!! Playing a game introduced by Scott, “Where is my button?” we yelled out locational questions to figure out where exactly was the button once someone had thrown it!!! Scotts button was on the tip of a unicorns horn in the core of the earth and with only 20 questions who would have guessed!!! Diving into our delicious dinner of pasta, hot potato chips, spicy cabbage, banana custard and pomegranate seeds!!! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm………heavenly!!!

From the green sailing boats past the mustard seed growing past we entered the chaos of the back streets of Varanasi with honking horns and swishing cars, auto took-tooks, bicycles, pedestrians and cows!!! It wasn’t all chaos though as the university village we entered with ordered lanes and smiling students strolling down the road gave us some hope of the peaceful side of Varanasi!!!! Once rested we wandered down the Ghats (steps into the water) we were meet with the spectacular beauty of the city facing a mighty river and sand dunes with no building in sight!! As little children sold candles in little wooden baskets ladder with flowers we ventured into the maze of intricate alleys where cows wandered down, little shop keepers sold packets of chips, tourists clicked thousands of photos of doors which opened around our knees and temples of orange statues of Shiva dabbled in flower necklaces!!! As our tour guide said India is the Italy of Asia, well Varanasi is the Venice of Asia!!!! Ahhhhhhh…..utterly indescribable!!!!

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After rowing across the tranquil waters of the Gandji on small took-took boat we scuffled into the jumbling market to find some magnificent cotton shirts and sari’s which ended up as a 3 hours sitting down on comfy cushions and admiring the majestic patterns and fabrics draped across our legs!!! After careful thought and consideration plus two chai’s the boys of whom were the main buyers selected their shirts, specific cuts, sizes, colours and fabrics and paid the money needed to tailor the shirts!!! With a short break for lunch, Phil and I jumped into sari shopping with our mind on the prices, colour and fabric we finished all our delegating in 20 minutes with extra time for bangle shopping!!! Perfect timing!!!

Lighting candles and making a wish we said goodbye to Varanasi, the chaotic streets which so welcomed us and protected us!!! And now as we bump along the highway to Lumbini, Nepal with the Bollywood music blaring it’s time to Bollywood!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Republic Day!!

As military calvary, camels, three huge tanks, over a thousand red hat army personal, brass bands (one even on camels) and military aircraft make their way down to the magnificent Indian Gate, it is hard to believe we were looking down the same road only yesterday!! Watching the Republic Day celebrations on television, the seats which were empty, are now filled with thousands upon thousands of people stretching from the beautiful Presidents Palace and Government buildings decorated with a million lightbulbs all the way to the Indian Gate near Rajpath!!

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Yesterday was an amazing adventure of discovery as we ventured on the yellow metro line to the Indian Gate which holds a very similar role in Indian society as our own Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne!!! However upon arrival the sand bag bunkers and yellow barricades labelled Delhi Police gave us an overall feeling of anxiety as we began thinking the Presidents Palace (Rashtrapati Bhavan) was closed!!! But thankfully it was OPEN!!! Yeah!!! We walked up the slight hill which was undergoing hectic preparation for Republic Day, with gardeners putting extra flowers into plant pots and speakers being set up alongside the road. From each ministry building there was a military box which coordinated all the white ancient Ambassadors (an english ar) containing Ministry leaders down Raisini Hill. Monkeys balanced on the edge of buildings scurrying around, as fountains sprouted from the clean cut grass gardens. When we arrived at the elephant fence, our eyes jumped with awe at the majestic palace up ahead and red dust drive way adding to the beauty of the front garden entrance which held elephant shaped hedges!!

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Heading back onto the yellow metro we jumped onto the violet metro line to stride amongst the wonder and excitement of the Humayun’s Tomb an Emperor of India over a couple of hundred years ago!!! Jumping upon an automatic yellow and green toot-toot we braved the crowded roads, honking the horn to indicate we were overtaking or pushing past another truck or car!!! LUCKILY we SURVIVED!!! After paying our 250 Rupee we wondered down the spectacular path of gardens to the marble and red sandstone tomb, a precursor for the Taj Mahal it’s roof was the same tear drop shape and inside held over 100 tombs!!! The grand magnificence of the structure was enhanced with a surrounding float and fountains all encompassed within the oasis of gardens with little squirrel like creatures scuttling up and the trees!!! Ahhh…so peaceful!!!

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With grumbling tummy’s we walked past a chaotic mix of taxi’s picking up school children and parents dropping their children in their yellow and green uniforms to a luxurious Italian restaurant!!! From the oven baked pizza to the handmade gnocchi……mmmm…balisimo!!

Back on the violet train us girls trying out the women’s carriage we screamed onto the Lotus Temple of the Bahai Faith!!! From afar the white roof petals could be seen, Up close they resembled the beautiful white tiles of the Sydney Opera House!!! Walking peacefully down the garden we took off our runners and felt the cool stone beneath our feet!! Underneath the petals were light blue pools of tranquility, we walked up the stairs to be briefed before entering the place of prayer!! Inside the wooden and marble chairs welcomed us to sit and pray in the silence!!!

Now as the celebrations for Republic Day are closing with traditional floats and dances (plus men standing up and balancing on bikes) it’s time to relax and enjoy the festivities!!!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes….”

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