Sunday, February 28, 2010

Icebiking 2010

I wrote about the last time I went icebiking back in 2009. We went back in January and this time we had a much sunnier day.

Everything was pretty much the same as last year except this year there were strange little robots pulling kids around as well.
Here's a video of the freaky robots pulling the kids. Yes, that music is coming from the robot.
And once again, we went to the No Name Bar for drinks to warm us up.

More photos at flickr.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Back to Delhi - End of Three Weeks in India

When we arrived back in Delhi, we were surprised to see that the weather had changed so much. It was now chilly and very foggy all day long. On the way from the airport, we went directly to shopping at an area recommended to us by several people. At Dilli Haat, there were lots of little stands in a clean environment. We were very happy but we didn't buy much.

We stayed again at our friend of a friend's apartment and again it was great to have a place to call home while in Delhi - even for just a couple of nights. I looked around to see if I could figure out where I would hang out, shop, and go out to dinners if I worked at this school and lived here. I found a couple places but not the variety I have in Beijing. We found Delhi to be dirtier and had many more beggars than Beijing (where I hardly ever see any at all).

We tried to see the Qutb Minar, but it was pretty foggy. We could barely even make out the top. The Qutb Minar is a nearly 73m tower that was started in 1193.

Next, we went to the Baha'i temple that is shaped like a lotus. It was completed in 1986 and is barely seen through the fog in the photo below. The Baha'i philosophy revolves around universal peace and the elimination of prejudice. Photos were not allowed inside the temple (neither was talking), but I can tell you that it was beautiful and peaceful.

Finally, we went back to Old Delhi to have a rickshaw ride around the small streets to get some photos.

Later, we met up with a guy who knows a guy who Carol met in Vietnam. He was great and took us out to a restaurant in an area where I would definitely hang out if I lived in Delhi.

We woke up early in the morning to head back to Beijing. And thus concludes my India trip. More photos might be added when I get them from the friends I traveled with, especially ones of me.

More photos at flickr.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Back to Jodhpur

Back to Jodhpur. Jodhpur is called the Blue City because of the painted blue houses in the old city. The Brahmins were originally the ones who painted their houses blue, but now with it being a tourist expectation, many more are blue. I heard that Disney paid for painting and also underground wiring so there wouldn't be any lines blocking the view for one of their movies.

We arrived at 5am and were picked up by our new driver, Danesh. We slept at our hotel until 9am and then headed out for the Meherangarh Fort. This fort is still run by the maharaja of Jodhpur and its audio tour was surprisingly very good.

In the morning, we visited the Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum before going to the clock tower. The palace was begun in 1929 and took 3000 workers fifteen years to complete.

We said goodbye to our last hotel of India and left for the airport to fly back to Delhi.

More photos at flickr.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Jaisalmer - The Golden City

We woke up in Jaisalmer at 5:30am and took a rickshaw to our hotel. We went to bed and got a few more hours of sleep before having breakfast on the roof terrace overlooking the city of Jaisalmer. Our hotel was in the wall of the Jaisalmer fort - the second oldest fort in Rajasthan and the oldest living fort in India.

We walked to our friends' hotel to meet up with them before heading out to the desert.

Once in the Thar Desert, we met our camels and took a walk until sunset. We were about 70km from the Pakistan border.

Later, we were entertained during dinner with music and dancing. The stars were so bright and the moon was just beginning to wane.
Then, we went to bed in our little tents.

In the morning, we were brought coffee and had an early breakfast before heading out on our camels once more.

We said goodbye to our camels and headed back to Jaisalmer. Here's Lalu, my camel.

Once back in Jaisalmer, we did some jewelry and textile shopping and admired the Haveli.

I got one ring for free. It is a puzzle ring with four parts. Here's how the conversation went:

Man: "It's a puzzle ring. If you can put it together in less than ten minutes..."
Me: "I can have it for free?"
Man: "Uh, alright."
--About 3 minutes later.--
Me: "I did it! I can have it for free now."
Man: "Well, no..."
Me: "That's what you said."
Man: "Alright."

I did buy some jewelry from him as well so I'm sure he made his money back. It's a nice story to go with my ring though. I haven't been able to put the dang thing together in less than ten minutes since then though.

For dinner, we met up with our other friends again and had beers and momos before saying goodbye to them. They were catching the train south that night while we stayed on one more night at our hotel.
We had breakfast on the rooftop again before checking out more Jain temples and the fort's museum.

Later we took another rickshaw to the station to catch our overnight train back to Jodhpur.

More photos at flickr.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Narlai Village and Jodhpur - The Blue City

We left Udaipur to drive up to Narlai in the morning. On the way, we stopped to see a few sites.

A bat tree:

Some people and animals working:

And the Jain temples at Ranakpur:
Ranakpur is carved using milk white marble - 1444 unique pillars in 29 halls. The main temple was built in

We arrived in the village of Narlai and spent some time relaxing by the beautiful pool before heading out
for a sunset jeep ride. That little white dot at the top of the mountain is an elephant. The rock mountains
reminded me of the Flying Rock area my siblings and I used to climb around on in Riverside.
We saw Siberian geese in the lake and panther prints in the mud around the lake. After the jeep ride, we
climbed up a small rock mountain and had tea and cookies before heading back to the hotel.

In the morning, we said goodbye to this guy and headed up to Jodhpur.

In Jodhpur, we visited the Jaswant Thada. It is a white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II and
was built in 1899. It had a great view of the Blue City.

We also got to see the blue rooftops of Jodhpur.

By now, Carol had started feeling pretty lousy, so we decided to rest while we waited for our train to the
desert. While we waited, we stayed at this hotel:

More photos for Narlai at flickr here and for Jodhpur at flickr here.