INDIA AT LAST + THE 3 MONTH ROUND-UP ...

Trip Start Nov 13, 2006
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Trip End Jan 01, 2008


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Flag of India  ,
Sunday, February 18, 2007

Well,
Its taken 3 months of venturing about the middle east (a trip in itself) but alas, the feet have landed on the streets of Mumbai. They say that with any trip to India the first thing noticed is an 'asault on the senses' and i can see where they are coming from. But having been on the road through the M.E. it less an assault than 'another pinch'. The last 3 months (seems like a year already) have been great, a trip unplanned, a trip that started really with an aim of going to Egypt for 10 days (Enda reckoned 7 was enough) to see the country and book flights, which we knew would be quite inexpensive onto India. It didnt quite happen that way.
Not having any further plans or booked flights we were free as much as we wished. We met numerous people on our path, and the path is there from Egypt to Jordan to Syria to Turkey. It is route well travelled in either direction by the lonely planet huggers. You meet the people coming in the opposite direction more ferequently that the ones traveling the same route as on one of those, airport travelators. Many of the people we met in Egypt who had come from the other side, Jordan plus less so Syria and said to us its a must see. We travelled our way up through Egypt to the Upper Nile (which is in the south) from Cairo. En route we marvelled at most all sites, each unique and fantastic in their own right, from the Pyramids at Giza and Saqqara, up to the temples at Aswan and Luxor, up further to the re-elevated Temples at Abu Simbal 20km from Sudan. (it was an interesting continuation from tha ruins seen at Rome and Athens, working back in Civilisations) From there we cut across to the Rea Sea coast at Hurghada, and its Ministry of sound. Here we took a rest for 4 days having covered most of Egypt in 10 days. After 4 days we took the ferry from Hurghada to Sharm al Sheik, a beautiful costal area, but commercialised as to be anywhere on the world, with prices to-boot. We stayed 1 day as 30 euro a night was not in our budget, but 1 euro 20 cents was and thats why we stayed approximatly 28 days in Dahab that tiny little 'backpacking hostage taking' coastal retreat. Its only 2 hours up the coast from Sharm, but seems a million miles it started of as somewhat of a hippy comune in the 70s-80s, and hast developed much over the following years until the last decade, although its still nicely underdevelloped. Here in Dahab, we windsurfed, and did diving courses, getting my Basic and advanced diving certs. The diving here was superb, and although i have nothing to compare it too you'll just have to take my word. It wasnt like the canal as a kid when youd be lucky to find dirty welly.
Along the way we met more people who directed us towards Jordan , and two places in particular Petra and Wadi Rum. Im not going to describe them just look at the photos or better still get your ass over to see them, they are a hickers heaven or a painters paradise. Two weeks were spent in Jordan, also including the dead sea, some craic. Amman was a disapointment, just another city. We trailed forward up towards Damascus, hitting a couple of towns along the way including Jerash an ancient Roman city.
We were not sure about visas going into Syria, but all was OK as the Irish visa has quite a good rep around the world although Iran have recently put us in the same boat as the US & UK, unfortunatly. During the 4 weeks in Syria the following months plans changed like (knickers after a Vindaloo) quite frequemtly. We blazed a trail across syria in 3 weeks catching most of the country, (and what a country) a mass of intermingled historical ruins, that will blow your mind, none as awsome as Petra, but the sum of all parts was incredible. We passed within a whisker of Iraq 10km which was too close for comfort, as some of the local kids, started to say 'lets sacrafice the american' who was with us. We made a swift departure and hitting a few more ruins along the way at Dura Europas and Palatial Palmyra. During this time the plans progreesed to see Lebanon, (when a recent bus bombing put that on hold) and a further add on to the middle east to include a trip to the gulf states, Qatar, UAE, Oman, and Yemen. If this little add on was to have come to fruition it would have taken another 2 months at least, by which stage the title of this blog trip (Chindia 06-07) would have become totally useless. And soo ... here i am in an internet cafe in Mumbai (sweating like a Phaedophile in a Barney-Suit) getting ready for the next stage, the bones are slightly weary but the appetite is still here, so im off to get a samosa, a chai, a smoke and a head massage on the beach, and hope to get the energy to face another day.

Enjoying Life,

Jimmy
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