26 November 2008


Seit heute früh, ca. 6:45 Uhr MEZ ist es amtlich: wir sind daheim und es ist kalt (letzteres war vorher schon offiziell, aber für uns erst jetzt spürbar – Ju hustet nebenan).

Auf unserem Rücken haben wir gut 20 gelesene Bücher, etwa 12.300 Zugkilometer und 9.400 Flugmeilen sowie reichlich Erfahrungen, deren tiefergehende Analyse und Auswertung noch das ein oder andere Weilchen dauert. Folgende pseudowissenschaftlichen Erkenntnisse seien dem geneigten Leser an dieser Stelle jedoch gegeben:

  • Bestes Lassi (Joghurtgetränk) – Lassiwalla in Jaipur
  • Gefährlichster Ventilator – Hotel Oceanic, Goa (Zimmer 3)
  • Höflichste Gastgeber – Südkorea
  • Abwechslungsreichster ÖPNV – Hong Kong
  • Fetteste Strassenköter – Mumbai
  • Höchste Menschendichte (gefühlt) – Indien
  • Bester Buchladen – PageOne, Taipeh
  • Größte olfaktorische Belästigung – Varanasi
  • Arktischste Klimaanlage – Causeway Bay Guest House, Hong Kong
  • Simpelste Konvertierung zum Euro – Nepalesische Rupie (zwei Kommastellen nach links rücken und sich freuen, dass es noch weniger ist)
  • Eben klingelt Frau Mutter durch und berichtet von Beiträgen in der Tagesschau, in denen von Bombenanschlägen in Mumbai die Rede ist. Vor zwei Tagen sind wir noch am Luxushotel Taj vorbeigelaufen, in dem sich jetzt Terroristen verschanzt haben sollen. Es ist schön, wieder daheim zu sein.

    PS: Unser Maskottchen Söt ist auch wieder aufgetaucht. Nach weiteren vier Wochen in der Mongolei ist er über British Columbia, Kanada nach Hause gereist und schon seit ein paar Tagen im Hause. Sieht irre schlank aus, das Schaf!

    Auf dem Annapurnacircuit konnte man einen gesunden Querschnitt des Rock- und Popuniversums auf T-Shirts der locals beobachten. Abstossend oft zu sichten waren T-Shirts mit dem Konterfei von Britney Spears. Die Hip-Hopper kamen verhältnismässig kurz und verbuchten mit 50 Cent und 2 Pac lebende und verstorbene Vertreter. Rockmusik dominiert auch den Himalaya und konsequenterweise waren nicht nur Ikonen wie Kurt Cobain und Sid Vicious zu sehen, sondern auch der allgegenwärtige Bob Marley, dessen “Buffalo Soldier” ständig irgendwo gekräht wurde (war auch unser Lieblingsohrwurm während des Treks und noch lange danach). Das Mainstreamrock der Marke Limp Bizkit auf T-Shirts umhergetragen wird verwundert nicht, die Sichtung von Bandshirts von Cradle of Filth und Six feet under dagegen schon eher. Abgerundet wurde das Ganze von Logos von Dinosauriern wie AC/DC und Led Zeppelin. Die dominanteste Vertreterin jedoch war eine gewisse Avril Lavigne. Ich dachte, das wäre Mädchenmusik…

    Sorry, but this post won’t be available in English, unless we get very bored

    …and counting

    11 November 2008


    We are in Udaipur now. It is a little more relaxed and a little cleaner than what we’ve seen so far.
    Nevertheless I got the runs again yesterday. 3rd time – and counting… Maybe I shouldn’t eat anything at all here.
    My cold/flu is pretty persistent. But with the degree of pollution an average indian city is blessed with, that is no surprise.

    Basically we are hanging out here in Udaipur. We plan to visit the city palace and watch traditional dancing in a haveli. But that’s it. In some days we will hop on the train to Mumbai, kill some hours there and hop on the next train to Goa. Hopefully without any illnesses.

    Runs after the Taj

    3 November 2008


    Our train to Agra was the worst train ride I had in my life. So far – no idea what is still to come…
    We were on the waiting list for 2AC from Varanasi to Agra. 2AC means that there are 2 lower and two upper berths in each compartment on one side of the train. On the other side there are only one upper and one lower berth which are in direction of the train (side berths). The compartments are not divided by doors but by curtains. To get a better impression, take a look here. We were on the waiting list and had the big luck to be the last ones getting a place on the train due to cancellations. But we did not get 2 berths. Nope. Tom was on a shared berth with another person (said to be entering the train in Lucknow – that’s 5 hours after Varanasi), which means he would have had to share the berth in day-time mode (two seats) wich a stranger. I myself was still waitlisted. But as we were booked on one ticket I was allowed to enter the train.If all passengers would have been there, I would have had to wait outside (next to the toilets). So, we spent the first 6 hours sharing the two seats that Tom should share wich the stranger from Lucknow on. Sleeping? Not really. After everybody boarded the train in Lucknow opening curtains, switching on lights, getting stuff carried into the train by porters or family members and having a big and loud good bye, the train attendent moved us to a compartment where we got one upper and one lower berth. 4 hours to go to Agra. That might have been a bit of sleep. If there wouldn’t have been a middle class Indian that balanced his prosperity belly onto the upper berth. Half an hour later he was in deepest dreams of cutting wood – people that snore should not be permitted on night trains. We tried to drown the noise with the fan. I got around 2 hours of sleep, the rest of the time we talked. When Mr.Belly left the compartment for a pee, his mobile rang. He came back, got into the lower berth and started to snore again. I switched on the fan again. Immediatly he woke up, switched off the fan. Just a split second later I switched on both light and fan, looked him into his face, switched off the light again and lay down. He did not touch the switch again. Half an hour later he left the train and will be baffled for some days, I think.

    After arriving in Agra 1 1/2 hours late, we walked to our hotel, had breakfast on the roof top terrace and then entered our room. The next day we got up early to queue at the Taj Mahal. We queued around 45 min for the tickets and then again queued 45 min to get through security. Men and women have seperate queues there, so that we could not even talk. It’s unbelievable how inefficient people can be. I had to open my camera bag, get the camera out of it (nothing else fits in there), was asked not to use my pocket knife inside (“No Ma’am, I won’t.”) and was also asked if I had an iPod in my bag. No, they will not take over the world.

    The Taj Mahal itself is stunning. Only if there were less people. I hate people. Well, if they come in quantities more than 20 or so. It’s reallt hard to get good pictures there as there are hundreds of people all over the place. I tried my best and will upload some pics later
    After a nap and a movie (never expect to see a ful movie even on indian HBO – there will be a power cut, the central receiver will fail, HBO magically disappears for another channel) we visited the

    Agra Fort. The fort is big and plump, as a fort should be I suppose. It’s nice to have it seen, but having seen the Taj Mahal before the fort was a bit disappointing. Then we had dinner. This dinner was disastrous. It was yummie (we both had the same Thali), but something must have been wrong with it. During the night Tom was plagued by the runs and vomiting. Great. I rebooked our train tickets to go a day later. I was not feeling too well either, but could go outside to get water and coke. In the evening when Tom got better little by little, it was my turn then. Thank God we had an attached bath.
    Today Tom is quite fit again – I’m still not too well, but am happy that it got better during the night.
    We try to pass the time until our train departs blogging and having tea and will be happy when we arrive in Jaipur this night. And this time we will have ear plugs handy. It’s only 4 hours, but you never know…