Well, this is it. Far from the end, but currently the end of Asia for me… at least this time around. I’m sitting in the Taipei, Taiwan airport right now awaiting my transfer flight back to America. By the end of the day I will be in Los Angeles, and doing my best to deal with the culture shock of returning home.16 months have past since I sold my house and set off on my grand world adventure. It has been quite a ride, with more twists, turns and unexpected excitement and revelation than I could have ever expected. There are no regrets to be found, and if anything my dread of the end is the most prevelant. Alas, now my goal is to settle back into a quasi-American lifestyle and find enough income to get back on the road again. It is hard to begin processing all the stimuli I have encountered, but I’m sure I will gain more clarity and words of explanation as time goes on. I’m also sure that the massive game of catch up, copying about 100 pages of hand-written journal and uploading the last 5 months of photos will give me quite a refresher. So, luckily for all of you readers who have been unfortunately neglected, there will be some new content flowing onto this site in the next few months.
Archive for the '- Transport & Travel' Category
A Moustache Contest?
As the first words of the Jaisalmer Desert Festival fell upon my ears, the interest had already been thoroughly implanted. Along with a series of other bizarre events and a good share of camels, this event is too atypical to pass up! With the information that the gathering begins tomorrow, I don’t hesitate to pack my bags and board an overcrowded bus leaving in the early evening. [read on]
After a late lunch I find my mechanical mount and start back towards civilization. I leave the limits of the camel fair and into a brewing sandstorm. Long distance visibility is down a bit, and the stinging sand against my skin isn’t pleasant, but I can still make out the road safely. It is on this road from Naguar to Jodhpur I run into my first of motorcycle problems, where only a few minutes into the desert I run out of gasoline! [read on]
It only took two days in Jodphur before I found my self on a motorcycle again. The opportunity to simulate one of my youth-grown dreams gunning a bike down a desert straightaway was too hard too pass up. Conveniently, the nearby village of Naguar is hosting a camel fair. [read on]
Hey kids: Have you ever tried a shaking public squat toilet on an overcrowded train. It’s like an extreme sport! It makes all other comodes feel dull and boring! And hey parents… it’s actually more sanitary too! [read on]
So my fate brought me back to Mumbai, just a little early than anticipated. I made my way through the uncharacteristic cold dawn air and mist on a local train towards Chembur. A short time later I climbed the flight of steps to Ratnadeep’s door and rang the doorbell. Surprise; I’m early! He unexcpectedly but warmly welcomed me in, and for the next week I was at home again. [read on]
All sleeper tickets to Mumbai are booked for a solid week, but I must escape the magnetism of Gokarna before I become a permanent fixture in the wave kissed sand. The beach of Arambol in Goa sounds like a nice stop on the way north, and it happens to be home to a reputable Tabla instructor, so I board a second class train headed there. Even if people are packed in so tight that I’m left hanging out the door, it’s only a two hour trip so it shouldn’t be that bad. [read on]
After a pleasant week in Hampi, full of exploration as well as paying work, my long deserved vacation from travelling is at hand. I plan to waste away on a beach somewhere in Gokarna until my spirit for adventure fully recovers. [read on]
In a couple hours I am leaving for one of the Gokarna Beaches in India. I will be staying in a beach hut far from any computer and taking a well needed holiday from all of this crazy travelling. Please don’t fret if I don’t respond to any emails for the next couple weeks… I am still alive, and will be very much taking advantage of the fact by doing nothing in particular.
For your envious enjoyment:
I’ve been in Hampi for five days already. Alas, only one day was allowed for exploring on motorcycle. The rest have been consumed with work on the article in an internet café. While it is earning me a few weeks of travel money, it is also eating away at my chance to explore Hampi. So on this fifth day, it’s time to crawl away from the glow of a computer screen and let natural light grace my eyes again. I mount the motorcycle and speed out of town.
I make a quick stop at the Krishna Temple, which I missed on my previous expedition, but quickly leave when I find nothing unique or impressive compared to yesterday’s wonders. Another beautiful ride along the same road from a few days ago brings me past the Vitthala temple. I arrive at the Tungabhadra River and find that the bridge has been left half-constructed and there is at least a ten-meter gap over the water below, so I ride down a rough path and ferry across in a shaky circular coracle boat. On the other side I am greeted with a more lush landscape than that around the Bazaar and ruins of the Royal Center. Here the omnipresent massive boulders are surrounded with a healthy compliment of bright green rice paddies and looming palm trees.
After a mere five minutes on the other side of the river I hear the sound of approaching drums. Rounding a corner I spot the source: a lively festival parade accompanied by the cacophony of five different drum-lines banging away different rhythms at different tempos. An assortment of characters colorfully dressed as the divine legends of Hindu lore escort gypsy women, sadhus and Lakshmi the elephant through the rice fields aroundthe Durga Temple. I pause my journey for a short while to revel in the merriments of the slow progression, but after a while my eardrums begin to bleed from the excessive noise and I continue down the road.
Eventually, I pull into the parking lot of my destination and through the scorching midday heat, climb the five hundred of steps up Anjanadri Hill to the Hanuman Temple. The famous monkeys, probably trying to escape the blistering sunlight, make them self sparse and the building is nothing worth mention, but the vista found up top is spectacular! This landscape I’ve grown accustomed to riding trough takes on an even more extraordinary form from this height. Aside from the joy of beauty, the climb lends some inspiration to explore a few uncharted paths only visible from this bird’s eye view. I waste no time and descend to the motorcycle and back into gear.
A short trip along the paved road brings me to a small village where I turn onto its dirt roads and forge deeper off the beaten track. Eventually the trail thins out to nothing and I pave my own path across an unkempt field. This brief excursion off-road brings me to an unexpected oasis in the countryside of Karnataka; tucked behind the fields of rice and palm tree walls is an ideal cottage hidden from the world. The minimalist structure reeks of chic elegance. The multi-hued flowers spilling onto its broad wood porch frame a perfect view of the Hampi landscape. Across the well-tended lawn and a cerulean-tinted river are gracefully stacked boulders and the ruins of the Vitthala Temple. A stylish stone path leads off through groves of varied flowers and across a trickling stream. Butterflies and bumblebees are the only populace of this secluded and currently abandoned haven of tranquility. The doors and windows are all locked tightly, but that doesn’t stop me from lingering a while on the porch and appreciating this hidden grove of serenity.
But alas, the bike is due back today and the peace must be broken. I climb back on the motorcycle and set off to further explore this side of the river. The traffic here is sparse, the pavement is intact and the scenery spares no beauty from its repertoire. The experience is fantastic, and I forgo any other tourist spots to simply ride for the next couple hours. I eventually run short on time and make one last stop in the village of Anegundi before unenthusiastically returning to the other shore.
I think I’ve run out of praise for motorcycling. To avoid being redundant, I will merely let the multitude of unique experiences speak for themselves. Meanwhile the desire to purchase my own bike and avoid limitations of constant rentals is tugging stronger with each trip.