Tag Archives: tim fisher

A Review of Mexico City After One Week, Part 2: Registering for Spanish at UNAM

Hola from mexico
The title is some­what mis­lead­ing because I am writ­ing this post while I’m well into week 3, but for the sake of non-fiction I’ll just write about the first week.

In my last post, I talked about how get­ting from the air­port was, sur­pris­ingly, easy. Here I’ll tackle Mis­sion 2 — Reg­is­ter­ing for school on day 2. But first, a short review of the hos­tel we stayed at. Con­tinue read­ing

Our New Year’s Eve 2012 trip to India

About a year ago, Tim and I were plan­ning to take a vaca­tion.   We had the money, we had 3 weeks of vaca­tion to use, but we didn’t know where to go.  Should we go to Argentina or maybe to Ecuador and see the Gala­pa­gos Islands?   After much time and con­sid­er­a­tion an after­noon, we set­tled on India.    I had set my hopes on spend­ing New Year’s Eve in Goa. So from Dec 26th 2011– Jan 15th 2012 we trav­eled through south West­ern India.

Let’s talk about New Year’s Eve in Goa.  Every forum, blog, and arti­cle I read said that you needed to reserve a room in advance or you’ll be sleep­ing on the beach.    While I do agree that it is high sea­son and you can’t expect cheap rates, we totally just showed up on 30 Dec straight off a 15 hour bus ride from Mum­bai and found a taxi dri­ver to help us find a place around Baga Beach.  The cheap­est rate we found was $75/night and we stayed in a really nice bun­ga­low right off the beach. This was not a sur­prise as we fully were aware the prices would be inflated and we were will­ing to pay.

In my mind, I was expect­ing some sort of beach party rave full of hip­pies.   I can tell you it was exactly the oppo­site of that sce­nario. Baga Beach/Calagunte Beach dur­ing New Year’s was basi­cally a very large gath­er­ing of Indian Men hop­ing to let loose for a cou­ple of days.  At first I was bit off put by this, but did I really travel to India to hang out with a bunch of hip­pies? Or was I there to expe­ri­ence Indian cul­ture? To this day, Tim and I still refer to it as “Indian’s Gone Wild” and I can with­out a doubt claim it to be the most mem­o­rable New Year’s eves of my life.  Hardly a letdown.

After spend­ing New Year’s Day in a veg­e­ta­tive state, we hired a cab and spent a cou­ple days in a more chilled out atmos­phere in Palolem beach in a nice beach hut for $12/night. The beach was beau­ti­ful and we were finally sur­rounded by other back­pack­ers and like-minded peo­ple, but after 2–3 days we for­got we were even in India, so it was time to move on.

The rest of the trip was great; with some really awe-inspiring moments and few I wish I was home moments.   My favourite thing about our trip was actu­ally some­thing that most peo­ple dis­like.  Every 5 min­utes some­one comes up to you and wants to shake your hand and meet you.  I can’t even tell you how many grade school class pho­tos I am in.   While most peo­ple find it annoy­ing and stop allow­ing peo­ple to take their photo, we embraced it.  We really enjoyed chat­ting with peo­ple.  One night we ended off the beaten path at a busy local restau­rant in Mysore that I am pretty sure very few for­eign­ers have ever seen.  One by one every sin­gle staff mem­ber came to meet us and say hello and take pho­tos of us with their phones.  A few min­utes after we left, one of the bus­boys came run­ning after us down the street.  Appar­ently he had not had a chance to say good bye to us and had wanted to shake our hands good­bye.   It was a really endear­ing moment, and it really left a last­ing impres­sion on me.

Imme­di­ately the first ques­tion peo­ple ask us, when they hear we went to India, is “Did you see the Taj Mahal?” The answer is no.  The Taj Mahal is in Agra, and would have involved at least a 3 day com­mit­ment from us.  We were also try­ing to escape the cold Cana­dian win­ter, so the idea of going any­where even remotely cold did not inter­est us.

Would I sug­gest a trip to India for every­one? Def­i­nitely not!   Noth­ing runs smoothly in India, every­thing takes a lot longer than it should.  If you are a con­trol freak, you’ll likely have a break­down at some point. The garbage and pol­lu­tion is tol­er­a­ble at best.  At night before bed I would blow my nose and it would come out black.  There are ani­mals every­where.  When I saw my first cow on the beach my mind was offi­cially blown.  And let’s just not even men­tion the var­i­ous smells.

But once you get past all of that, there are some incred­i­ble things to be seen, and the food was out­stand­ing.  I wish some­body had told me about Indian Chi­nese food sooner.   After 3 weeks we barely even scratched the sur­face.   I’d love to go back one day and explore the rest of the coun­try.  Maybe even see the Taj Mahal!

High­lights:

  • Rid­ing a bike through ancient ruins in Hampi
  • See­ing the Mysore Palace light up and hear­ing the crowd all gasp in awe at the same time
  • Long dis­cus­sions with Ajish on the rooftop ter­race of our guest­house in Kochi
  • Coin­ing the term “Indi­ans gone wild”
  • Look­ing out the win­dow and see­ing all sorts of new things dur­ing our var­i­ous long bus rides
  • Going through a haunted house and then watch­ing a 3D Indian action flick in a Ban­ga­lore shop­ping mall

Low­lights:

  • Some fright­en­ing rest stop “bathrooms”
  • 20 hour long bus rides with no idea when the next bath­room break is
  • Coin­ing the term “shit alley”
  • The feel­ing that you are con­stantly being scammed out of money (albeit never much money)

Here’s a video we made with a com­pi­la­tion of all of our pic­tures from the trip: