Saturday 30 May 2015

Goodbye India

You've been quite a ride.

The last few days we've been kicking back in Delhi, shopping, eating and working (well I have; the Animator has been swanning around the swimming pool).

The heatwave shows no sign of abating and today we almost melted while visiting the beautiful Lodi Gardens, a huge oasis of green in the middle of the melee which contains several 15th Century tombs. Sadly that is all I can tell you about them because I was too busy trying not to die of heat exhaustion to pay too much attention to the gardens' historical significance.

We also hung out in Khan Market, which is apparently India's most expensive retail locations, but where I still managed to snag a gorgeous hand-made quilt for the princely sum of 30 bucks. And had the best Goan fish curry I've eaten in my life.

We are now packing and hoping our over-enthusiastic consumption won't challenge Singapore Airlines' weight restrictions. We have an early start tomorrow for our 5-1/2 hour flight to Singapore, then three hours in Changi and another 10 hours to Auckland. And then a couple of hours wait for the last leg to Welly.

See you on the other side...

Today's visuals are of the last few days in Delhi..a bonkers, frenetic city that somehow manages to slide under one's skin.

Hilariously, we also both the cheapest haircuts ever yesterday. Having run out of time to get to the hairdressers before we left, when we spotted a place yesterday we both submitted ourselves for the chop. Admittedly, I was a little more hesitant than the Animator (you can't really go wrong with his hair), particularly as the hairdressers looked as though it hadn't been painted, or cleaned, since Indira Ghandi was Prime Minister. But the owner was a laugh and at NZ$8 for two haircuts, who's arguing? Happily, it ended well: they're both pretty good haircuts.  


Thursday 28 May 2015

Fancy staying in a 16th Century palace?

Don't mind if I do.

We spent Monday night at the gob-smackingly beautiful Samode Palace, about an hour north of Jaipur. Built as a Rajput fort by the local royal family, it was converted into a luxury resort in the 19th Century. Today, its marble floors, mosiac walls and mirrored ceilings give themselves up to anyone with deep pockets and a desire to be utterly spoiled.

I've never stayed in a palace before, and probably never will again, but holy crap it was stunning.


Later, when it got a bit cooler (as in 38 instead of 44 degrees!) we did a tour of the tiny Samode Village. There wasn't much to see but we  met some of the locals and joined in a game of cricket with the village kids. The colours in Rajasthan though are outstanding - a clash of bright yellows, reds, greens and pinks that could only work under an Indian sun. So from a photographic point of view, Samode Village was truly an over-achiever.


Tuesday 26 May 2015


Reports from home tell us that New Zealand is currently shivering under a polar blast, but here we are sweltering in what the local media is calling an "unusually ferocious heatwave".

More than 500 people across this vast land have been killed by the heat so far and it is all anyone can talk about. But that's perhaps not surprising given the temperatures are nudging 50 degrees in the south of the country.

We are coping by drinking our body weight in water, mango juice and the highly addictive sour lime juice. That and worshipping at the temple of air conditioning whenever possible.

The Adventure World sponsored trip of the Golden Triangle has now come to an end so we are kicking back in Delhi for the next few days. I, of course, will be stuck in the air conditioned luxury of my room at the cool Metropolitan Hotel and Spa which, given the heat, is probably the best place to be but there will also be time for a dip in the pool, a ride on the Metro and a last bit of retail therapy.

In the meantime, I'm playing catchup with photos. Today's visual delights are from Saturday and Sunday when we explored the stunning 'Pink City' of Jaipur and its Wind Palace (Hawa Mahal), the Amber Fort, Maharaja's Palace and the Janta Manta Observatory.

Confession time: I wasn't totally comfortable about taking the elephant ride up to the Amber Fort. But chatting to the mahout (elephant wrangler), he assured us Samma, his 26-year-old pachyderm was his "best friend". And, to be fair, none of the 106 elephants who take visitors up to the Fort looked skinny or ill. So, you know....

That aside, Jaipur was fantastic and certainly an over-achiever when it comes to visual delights.            

Monday 25 May 2015

More tiger love

I promised the Animator's pics would be better than mine, and so they are.

He wants me to tell you that he hasn't got his usual editing software on his tablet, and so hasn't played around with these as he usually would.

But they're Pulitzer prize-winning, compared to my tragic efforts...

Saturday 23 May 2015

Tiger, tiger, burning bright

Warning: excessive pictures of tigers follow.

We are now in Jaipur the "pink city" but in the last few days we clocked up three, count them, THREE tiger safaris in Ranthambore National Park. And unlike the British couple we met, who'd done 17 safaris and hadn't seen one tiger, we saw FOUR tigers, one on every safari. It was fricken unbelievable to be this close to the largest cat species in the world and I have been drunk on tiger love ever since.

NOTE: the Animator, as my official photographer, has way, way better photos (and a better camera) than me BUT the internet in our hotel room keeps cutting out (welcome to India!) so it's far easier for me to bung my pitiful pics on here in the meantime. Apologies as they in no way do justice to these incredible animals. One of the most amazing experiences of my life...

Although tigers were the main attraction, there was also lots of other wildlife to fill our cameras' memory cards: the park is teeming with wildlife, such as bears, leopards, Nilgai deer, peacocks (the native bird of India, in case you didn't know) and, of course, the adorable langur monkeys. I could so easily have taken one of those wee monkey babies home...


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