I have to admit I love traveling and also I love photography.
There is no other explanation for my two month trip to India and Thailand beginning of this year.
Thailand is on my top ten list of the countries I love to travel to quite a lot. India is a photographic paradise and Incredible country with cultural and religion diversity.
My trip started on 23.of March in Vienna where I took my train to Munich from where the trip continued by plane through Abu Dhabi to Jaipur. On the road to India I got the idea to use my new Go pro Hero3+ to document the whole journey and to make myself a selfie panorama video.
Arriving to Jaipur I discovered there was a swine flu outbreak in Rajastan and that they suggested us to wear a medical face mask. Fun begun.
My top places to visit in Jaipur are Hawa Mahal (wind palace), Amber fort, Jal Mahal (water palace), Monkey Temple, Royal Gaitor Tumbas, Jantar Mantar and for photographing people on the streets Johari bazar. If I had more time I would definitely go to visit Panna Meena ka Kund also.
We found exceptional hotel in Jaipur, thanks to my friend sculptor and photographer Nikhil.
Aryaniwas , in the hotel they have great restaurant and a pleasant garden, where one can rest and drink hot ginger honey lemon tea.
Beware of scammers. When you buy your bottled water make sure that the bottles are sealed. Check the top and the bottom of the bottle for unusual shapes in the surface.
Traveling to Agra from Jaipur with first class train was very comfortable not necessary but comfortable.
I have a saying…You see when you just arrived to a foreign country you better treat yourself good. When we were in Agra last time with Pali we were accommodated in Taj Plaza hotel with a beautiful view to Taj Mahal, so that was my choice again.
Taj Mahal was beautiful again and again, but I wanted to have another kind of experience so I took my friends to the bank of Yamuna river next to Taj Mahal.
There is Manuge, boatman, who works there for 40 years as he sad. He took us to the middle of the Yamuna river to see the reflection of Taj Mahal in the water.
I met there an officer who was head officer of the military defense of Taj Mahal. He asked me some questions I guess more because he wanted to talk to a stranger and practise his english.
Last time I was there with Pali, we broke the law. We entered the restricted area the opposite site of the river to get closer to the bank, because I wanted to take pictures of the reflection from the other site of the river. There was an officer who came to say its not allowed. My friend Raju sad, its ok because you didn’t know. But I was not sure about that. So when I met this head officer I just apologised to him also in the name of Pali and other maniac photographers who just cross the line. He laughed and sad its ok.
Traveling by train in India during Holy festival is very difficult. There are so many people on the train each day as is the population of Australia and every day there are as many people on the waiting list waiting to get tickets as the whole population of Slovakia. So you can imagine its a real adventure to get the tickets on indian trains.
When we arrived to Varanasi I asked the guy sitting in the tourist info kiosk at the train station to help me call Raju with the local phone. He was on the phone with him for a while, keep asking him thinks. When I finished talking to Raju he asked me how do I know him. I just sad: cause he is very famous. Raju Verma was our tourist guide in Varanasi again. This time he was also my model for my photography as well he helped me asking permissions for photographing people on the streets.
Thanks to hospitality of him and his family I had a great time there and felt like I was local not a tourist.
Holy festival is a festival of colours celebrating spring and love. In Varanasi they celebrate mostly young people with colours and alcohol. Girls are not welcome outside.
There are young men showering water mixed with toxic colour in the morning and colour powder in the afternoon. After that they wash in Ganga river.
In the evening the families come together and visit one another in their homes. I had a chance to visit Raju’s family and a family of his best friend. Thanks to Raju I experienced Varanasi not only as a tourist but rather as a local. I was all the time surrounded by Raju and his friends. We were hanging around the Ghats and had tea time all the time as the locals usually do.
I got an idea that I could do a little music video with all of them as a present for them and something to remember for me.
I don’t know if you have seen the indian movie “Queen”, if you haven’t you should. The title song “London to Mukuda” became my favourite one from this film. I thought its funny for an indian music video. So here it is:
At the Varanasi airport I saw a couple, I heard them talking and I realised that they are from a neighbour country, Czech republic. This will be important to remember, because we met them week later and 4000km further away on the Andamans, Havelock island, in the resort with is on the remote part of the island. Funny coincidence.
From Varanasi we travelled to Chennai, because I wanted to see the southern part of India and also because it was one the the option to fly to Andaman islands.
Kristin who bought a cheese sandwich at the Varanasi airport got food poisoned. So the first day and night in Chennai I spent at the hospital with her. The first choice was the public hospital of Indira Gandi, hope non of you will ever got the first hand experience.
Mimmola my italian 84 years old friend told me that the best snorkelling she experienced was on Andaman islands. I was anxious to arrive to Port Blair. After a day of exploring it we decided to go to Havelock Island. The town which is close the ferry was interesting but the hotels by the shore were not. Tuktuk driver whose name was Shiva, took us to the other part of the island, to the beach number 7. Remote part of the island with one resort in which luckily they had a free room. The next day I realised that in the restaurant I saw the couple from Varanasi airport.
First think I asked them in their mother language was how they enjoyed their stay from Varanasi until now. They were in shock. After I savour my little joke I explained them I saw them at the airport in Varanasi.
Had a nice couple of days with them. I enjoyed the grilled tuna steak we ate at the beach restaurant.
Beach number 7 is famous also for they old elephant which is taking bath in the see. After I came back I realised that it is “famous” also because in 2010 an american tourist was killed by see alligator on beach number 7.
If you are lucky, you can meet an elephant on beach nu. 7 and if you are even luckier you can arrange an 15 minute photo session with his owner. If you do so please don’t sit on elephant.
From Port Blair there is no straight connection to Bangkok so the route took me back to Chennai and from there to Bangkok.
to be continued…