Saturday, 27 October 2007

Texture (9)

And so for the final installment of your favourite texture adventure (at least from this trip)

Kunming market, China

2 flash hotels in 7 months, and at both we get storms... At least the photos are nice! Ramada, Goa, India

Stairs at the Salvation Army accommodation in Bombay (Mumbai), India

The evidence of reclaimed land. Bombay (Mumbai), India

Street junk. Markets in Bombay (Mumbai), India

Monday, 22 October 2007

Concluding Sunsets

Perhaps it is appropriate that as our trip reaches its twilight days, so should we find ourselves admiring slow red sunsets again...
Looking west from our Houseboat in Kerala (Alleppey)
Another house boat sunset, Appelley, India

Palolem, Goa, India

And one sunrise in recognition of the new beginning that awaits us...

Victoria Gate, Bombay, India

Bond... James Bond

Udaipur. One of the most romantic towns India has to offer. Stunning architecture, a gorgeous man made lake, and of course there's Bond.

In 'Octopussy' James bond immortalised this town and the Island Palace that she (Octopussy) ruled with her all female staff of unspeakable deliciousness.

So how best to re-live this experience? Might I suggest this:

  • Seek out the highest building so that you can mix both fine food and views of the Island Palace with your Bond screening

  • Be lucky enough to have three different hotels compete for the award of best fireworks display

  • Conclude the evening in the passionate embrace of a harem of stunning bond-esq girls

Well I was lucky enough to have two of the above...

Signs to Make You Wonder

They make beer out of children? Jaisalmer, India

Every rock star wants to see their name in lights it seems. Australia's superstars of soft male vocal rock are branching out into the restaurant business in Udaipur, India

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Texture (8)

Nightclub in Hangzhou, China

Bangles on display, Jaipur, India

Apparatus to track solar movements, Jaipur, India

Jain Temple, Jaisalmer, India

Ceiling of a Jain Temple (notice the 12 statues), Jaisalmer, India

On the path to Mehrangar Fort, Jodhpur, India

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Taj Mahal


Oh, and a little silly...

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Bald Faced in India

Two months is a long time between shaves, but I'd promised myself I wasn't going to shave just anywhere, and the barber's in China were all to formal and enclosed, I mean, who wants walls, glass and fake lighting? I'm still staggered that I couldn't find a street side option anywhere in China, but that's okay - I did as soon as I arrived in Delhi.

The options in Delhi are endless, but this one I particularly liked - maybe you can guess why from the images.

Thursday, 13 September 2007


Yes, bad puns and more bad puns. Poor Ros... She has to put up with me on a daily basis!

A pause in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, provided us with the opportunity to visit the Panda Breeding Research Centre - a fantastically well run facility that houses many pandas (both Giant and the cute Red variety), and has a great track record for breeding pandas successfully in captivity. I think the photos speak for themselves. If you get the chance, you have to visit this place.

Some Chinese propaganda that I endorse

Chinglish (More Silly Signs)

First, I return to an old favourite, the street sign. Good to know that trucks that are on fire are not allowed down this street...

Dali City, China
Though I don't know what the intention of this sign is:

Lucky we were warned about this one. Lijiang, China (it was actually a cobbled road, so perhaps they had the 'antonym' function on when they sent this through Babelfish)

The term 'Chinglish' would be familiar to anyone who's visited China, much as 'Japlish' is to travellers to Japan. As these highlights show, this is a travellers delight - thank you Shanghai underground, for these gems:

This one reads more like a haiku...

Very sound advice

Hmm... Guesses anyone?

Yes, immediately!!!

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Nasty Wine

Okay, China isn't famous for wine, but I was still surprised to see this 'Nasty' wine while in a shop the other day...
Okay, so you might have guessed that this is actually short for 'Dynasty', but still the initial impression is lasting! Giving into curiosity, Ros and I decided to try one of their 'Dry Reds' (12% alcohol) - this is the bottle below.
Let me enlarge the text at the bottom for you:
Yes, that's right people "Constantly drinking this wine is good for your health!"

Friday, 7 September 2007

Size Matters

For some reason size matters.

Why is it that I love the small to medium cities, but find it hard to 'find my space' in the bigger cities? If I was a country boy, perhaps there would be some context, but I'm not. I've always lived in cities, generally always travelled to cities, and have never really had much urge to live outside a big metropolis.

After pondering this, especially in China, where I found the contrast so strong, I came up with these possible reasons:
  1. Big cities have more pollution - especially in Asia. Bangkok, Shanghai, and other cities with 3+ million people that we visited in China were all shrouded in smog most of the time. When you can look up on a clear day, and the sun is a hazy mess, you're dealing with some serious pollution. (I will make one exception for Hanoi, where the smog actually seemed to increase the ambiance)
  2. Nature is planned - I've come to love Sydney's pockets of wildlife, the by-product of an environment dominated by the harour and it's rivers, but not so in the cities I've been visiting in Asia. I've seen gardens so beautiful and meticulous that they can only be compared with Japan's (so I'm not saying that beauty isn't there - it can be in abundance e.g. Hangzhou), just they feel too man made for me to fully relax, as I can, say, in the grasslands of southern China, or a riverside in Laos.
  3. People appear to be in transit, rather than living - I love seeing people doing their thing. Selling at the markets or in the street, pulling a horse/goat/buffalo/yak; and displaying their personality through clothes, gestures, and performances. This is, in general, absent from the bigger cities to the casual visitor - that that I lament at times.
  4. Where is the tasty food? - An unfortunate outcome of city living is that there are enough people who require food, that it is tolerated when expensive and/or of bland taste. Eating in small cities (anywhere, everywhere in Asia) is usually so amazing that I have often rated my meals as the highlights of the day. Watching someone pull your noodles, slice your chilli's, or steam your buns can't be beaten for a total culinary experience.

So yes, this Blog entry is particularly self indulgent of me (it is my blog after all), but please excuse me, as I want to remember my feelings clearly when I get back and review this trip. I should conclude that it's not that I haven't enjoyed the big cities, I have, it's just that I often leave pining for smaller spaces where I am more in my element...

Friday, 31 August 2007

Texture (7)

Even more texture! From Tiger Leaping Gorge and Danba in China.

Corn drying at Naxi Guesthouse, Tiger Leaping Gorge, China
Bougainvillea at Naxi Guesthouse, Tiger Leaping Gorge, China

Danba, Sichuan Province, China
Danba, Sichuan Province, China

Sunday, 26 August 2007

A girly entry... (guest Blogger, Ros!)

Fireman Stu and Jane the ex-intrepid leader managed to get us motivated about more exercise, and while we were in Litang, we wandered up past the Monastery to a hill overlooking the town and mountains beyond. A few yaks and their seedy babysitter for company, plus an incredible array of mountain flowers, clinging to the steep slope, and no doubt hoping not to become yak dinner...