Bye Bye India

Our 16 day India trip is over now, Uzi is in Finland and I continued my trip to Nepal. But here are still some beautiful India memories.

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Mumbai bridge by morning light.

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India changes and this picture tells about this change: a mobile phone and showing affection. 10 years ago you wouldn’t have seen any of these. Holding hands would have been something unacceptable and only a few had a mobile telephone. I got buying offers for my old Nokia almost every day.  Now no one notices my Samsung 🙂

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Traveling is fun but can be very tiring. I am lucky to be a good sleeper and I take a nap in an Indian way almost anywhere… in the plane, in a car or on the boat, as it seems in this Uzi’s paparazzi picture 🙂

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Mumbai harbor is crowded. Our boat tried to make its way to Elephant island between these cargo ships.

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Indians love movies and action movies are a new Bollywood genre. We went to see the latest hit Bang Bang which didn’t lack exaggerated scenes, dances and tricks!

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A family making a puja, a holy ceremony, for the memory of their passed away grandfather.
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In India you can’t avoid some amount of hassle. Our night train was cancelled but luckily the railway station manager was generous and gave us a ticket in a VIP quota on another train so we didn’t miss our flight but only then the bigger hassle started. Air India cancelled our flight from Mumbai to Delhi and it took us five (!) days to sort that out!  All the flights were full booked because of the coming Diwali, the biggest Hindu festival and  we would have missed our connecting flights to Finland and Kathmandu. Finally we flew one night earlier to Delhi in the executive class which had even golden pillows. Even Uzi slept on the plane on these comfortable chairs – his record for sure!

 

Tiger(less) safari and other highlights

_MG_1080 The tigers were hiding on our Rathambore safari but we saw a lots of other animals: antelopes, deers, crocos, monkies, kingfishers and other birds which I can’t even name!

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A cute bambi in the forest.

_MG_1151Our engine driver dreamed of his profession already as a child. Also his dad had the same occupation. The love for trains seems to be universal among the young chaps 🙂
_MG_1159Dinner time.
_MG_1175Train schedule.
_MG_1180A red carpet, an orchestra and dancers that awaited us in Jaipur was a bit too much for me!   _MG_1249Our Californian fellow traveler with her beautiful dress.
_MG_1262School kids posing at Jaipur fort.

_MG_1282People here love to be photographed. We also appear in hundreds of local home albums. 🙂
_MG_1328 _MG_1381Elephant polo to finish with. I made a goal!

Traveling Maharaja style

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A welcome ceremony to the Maharaja Express – a luxury train journey through Rajasthan. Left from Delhi to Agra and going next to Rathambore tiger safaria and from there to Jaipur and Bikaner. The others are going to continue to Jodhpur, Udaipur and Mumbai but we need to go on to other assignments.

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This morning we arrived to Agra and headed to see the classic Taj Mahal which took 22 years to build!

After the visit  we had a champagne brunch overlooking to Taj Mahal. _MG_0727With sitar and tabla players..
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On a luxury train you live in a luxury cabin. This is from our Jr. suite. Each cabin has its own butler that asks you every other moment if everything is ok. I and Uzi joked  if they will come also in the middle of the night to ask “are you sleeping well, Ma’am?” (as they address us here).

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A moctail (a coctail without alcohol) is always waiting when you come back from a trip.
_MG_0831Golden plates, naturally!
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Preparing deserts in the kitchen.
_MG_0933   Agra Fort. Our lovely hostess (right). _MG_0985
_MG_0959I wonder how one returns to everyday life after this? 🙂

Maharaja Express homepage. 

Very different India – Lush green North East

India is a place of contrasts but also a country of diversity. When you think you have already know what people eat or how they dress, you will learn that everything can be just the contrary in the next state.

 

Shillong India

I wouldn’t have imagined these landscapes!

We are now in the state of Meghalaya, in the North Eastern part of India just between Assam and Bangladesh.

Waterfall Meghalaya

Nohkalikai waterfalls.

Nohkalikai waterfalls Shillong

Now it is a holiday season here and also the locals are on a vacation. Big families pack into their cars, no matter how many seats there are. I saw a small car with four people in the front seat and at least 5-6 people in the back seat, all adults! And 15 people in a jeep is normal.  Wonders of India 🙂

 

 

Cherrapunjee Shillong

Sisters taking pictures at the Cherrapunjee view point. The place is the most rainy place in the world but the monsoons are over for this year and they get rainy only once in a while. Still the humidity in this area is often almost 100 %!

 

 

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Ziplining Cherrapunjee

I also got the chance to try this fun ziplining. You pass 130 meters in 15 sec and continue to another 150 m long cable. The views are amazing.

Our guides in the picture.

Cherrapunjee ziplining in Facebook.

Honey from jungle Meghalaya

Honey seller. This cute Khasi boy sells the honey his dad collects in the jungle. The men go to the jungle in the night time and climb to the trees and collect wild honey from bee nests. A pity I don’t have space for honey in my rack sack. Would be nice to sip tea back home with jungle honey.

 

Khasis Shillong

 

Khasi darts game Shillong

Khasis playing a gambling game, a game similar to darts.

Shillong India bus

Tomorrow our trip continues to a Khasi village!

 

 

 

 

This time from Delhi…

This nice Sikh driver waited for us at the airport. For sure feeling safe with this peaceful giant!

Delhi with our sikh driver

Hard to describe the feeling – we are in Delhi! We have been planning this trip for over one year and I couldn’t believe my eyes the other day when I realized that I am actually sitting in the Delhi plane. It was such a big rush before our departure as I am going to be away for over one month that I simply didn’t have any time to plan too much or dream about the trip.

We landed here at dawn straight to 30 degrees Celcius. The familiar smoke and dust mixed smell together with the rising sun welcomed us at the airport.

I was in India  for the last time two and half years ago and feels great to come back and to make articles about new things and places.

We are going to tour around for the next two weeks and Delhi is going serve as our base camp. Tomorrow we will be flying to the Northern India to Guwahati and driving from there to Shillong. Afterwards we will take the luxury train to Rajastan and from there going down to Mumbai to spend the last days over there.

India is a huge country and one can enjoy it only piece by piece. This trip is going to be a big mouthful of new experiences – hopefully they will taste as good as the previous ones!

 

At Piccadilly hotel Delhi

Meeting the local representative at hotel Piccadilly lobby.

Hotel Piccadilly reception

The sweet receptionist girl in our hotel.

NRI market Delhi

Making a food article with Silva Paananen, a Finnish lady living in Delhi. Laughed a  lot with her. She has become so local that she drives her own car in the crazy traffic!

NRI market Delhi

At NRI market.

Vegetables India

 

NRI market India

Uzi or a goat?

Evening in Delhi

 

Istanbul food article – making of

Kodin Kuvalehti Istanbulin juttu Kodin Kuvalehti (issue 19/14) published last week our Istanbul food-travel article. We did it with Reeta Paakkinen, a young Finnish woman living in Istanbul with her family. We spent many lovely moments cooking and eating together of which I want to share some with you.

Market Place Istanbul

Selecting vegetables and fruit. Reeta gets everything from the nearby market place. The stock for one whole week costs around 20-30 euros.

Reeta, originally from Järvenpää, has lived abroad already half of her life and most of it in Istanbul. What differentiates her from a local is only the (genuine) blond hair 🙂

 

Istanbul tori Reeta Paakkinen

Reeta's kitchen From the market straight into the pot.

 

Dining Istanbul Reeta Paakkinen

Happy dining. Just the lense disturbs a bit 🙂

A memorable day with this lovely colleague and very tasty food. Thanks Reeta!

Reeta has written a book  Kotona Istanbulissa about her Turkish experience. It is both entertaining but also informative and gives the reader an insight into a woman’s life between the Eastern and the Western cultures, stories about work culture, dress codes etc. Very recommended!