Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hey everybody

Sitting here inside the house, my leg on a pillow, laptop on the lap, just read out my book, don't want to start another right now, games on the iPod and actually feeling bored at the moment. It’s all because I so much want to go outside, explore the area, go to the beach and just WALK around. Simply walking normal seems for me like the best thing in the world right now!

The garden in this house is very small and there’s no good chair or something there. There is a hammock actually hanging there, but the owner told us that it’s only hanging for the look…strange but ok…. the trees here cannot hold a person. So I don't dare to try it. So then I sit inside, but inside here is actually partly outside.

The house is typical Indonesian style, just surrounded by a cement wall with a door, the house is for the rest open to just walk in. There are walls and rooms, but the wind can blow freely through the whole house. Also in the bathroom, between the wall and the roof you can look outside. The owner told us that from the back there had been a robbery here once, when the bathroom wall was less high. But in the front the wall is not high at all from the neighbours side, but the social control (keeping an eye on each other) here in Bali is so strong that nobody will get in that way unless getting killed (owners words). We are living here in the middle of a sort of big backyard with around 4 Indo families, the houses are only separated by walls. It’s very cosy and I think we will feel like home here!

At the moment we are living here together with the owner, there are 3 (2 ½) bedrooms and it’s no problem living together for a while. He will travel some the following weeks so will also be here alone. From October 15th we will move to another house until December 9th. That is cheap and okay place for that period. Finally from then we are living here by ourselves ☺

Rino started working/internship yesterday and it’s going well so far, relaxed colleagues and a good feeling about what he is going to do there and for them. So that's a good start. Working mon-fri from 9am-5pm. So that's already better then he had hoped. Maybe he will tell about it later.

We have taken one trip to Ubud together to visit the foundation Sjaki-tari-us, were I will be doing volunteer work. Because of my foot I cannot start yet, but it was nice to see the place and get to know some of the people working there. I am excited about how it will be! The scooter ride there is also interesting, it’s badly signed here in Bali and there are many many roads and small villages. So that will also be a challenge the first times. Last time we drove wrong both ways ;-) Must also admit that I also am a bit scared driving at all here on the scooter… the first week I was only sitting on the back of Rino’s scooter, now I have tried and I’m not that tough on my own, haha. But it will come and I just have to take some short rides in the area in the beginning I guess.

Weather-wise it’s actually strange these days, its supposed to still be dry and sunny in September, but it has been raining every morning from around 5 and for a few hours, yesterday it was actually cloudy and rainy almost the whole day (I was happy of course sitting inside). But for the rest it’s a lot of sun and it’s HOT! I know, it’s going to be a lot worse in the wintertime… but still, this is a ‘getting used to face’ for our bodies. We are trying to sleep without AC now for some nights, it’s hot but it works, so we are really trying our best as you can see to acclimatise! ;-)

The food is sooo nice here! We now know that we should not go to all the restaurants here, that's for tourists and it’s expensive (relatively of course). We have discovered the warungs around here. A warung is a small, often family owned business. It is a partly outside, cosy type of restaurant, serving Indonesian/Malaysian/Chinese food, and it’s always cheap! At one we had a meal each for 2 euro together. Mostly till now we eat for around 5 euro together. And you should all try it, because here they can cook, that's for sure! ☺ Its impossible to cook inside for this prices, so we eat outside for the next 10 months, witch is NO problem for us! ;-)

Rino just came home so now we say good evening to you all from here and wish all of you a great day! ☺

Thursday, September 16, 2010

stay in touch:-)

Btw we want to give everybody our Indo phone numbers. Now we dont use our Dutch and Norwegian mobiles at all.

Rino's number is: 0062 821470 46853

Iris number is: 0062 85237 189482

E-mail and comments here are of course always welcome:-) :-)

We found a house today and we totaly happy!! Will tell all about it later:-)


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Legian, September 15, 22.30

Bali, we are here! J This is already our 4th day, it goes fast at the moment. We are staying in Pelasa Hotel in Legian, a district in the north of Kuta. Rino’s hotel is in Seminyak, the next district north of Legian. Monday he had an introduction meeting, we were both meeting the management team and Rino gat an idea of what is expected of him. Monday (20th) he will start, Monday-Friday, mostly 9-18, depending on the division. So it’s exciting how it’s going to be! It is a big and good-looking hotel next to the beach and the management made a good first impression.

This first week we are fixing as much as we can and enjoy our days off here before Rino starts his internship. Unfortunately Iris gat injured already on Monday…surfing can be dangerous, haha. We took our first surf lesson down at the beach here and jumping of the board (FIRST time standing) she gat the toes under the foot in very ground water. AU AU! Impossible to walk on and the foot got blue and swollen. Luckily nothing is broken. She gets a massage every day here in the hotel, they say it is good and we trust them…..but the massage hurts like hell!!! But then again it is actually getting better, today she can stand on it again and walk very slowly. Don't know if maybe time without the massage had done the same… Rino surfed that whole day, and it’s actually simpler to learn the basics then we had thought, so this will for sure be our main activity here in the beginning.

Yesterday we rented a scooter each, a real must have on Bali, and it’s the easiest way to get around the island. It is also essential for Iris who has to go to Ubud, 30 km away. Today we drove around the area, we have to get used to the traffic here, that's for sure! Driving left, busy roads and less structure and regulations than in Europe. But lucky for us we had been travelling in India were we got used to driving left and a LOT more chaos and crazy driving then we have seen here, so we actually are feeling pretty safe.

We are searching for a house every day, already engaged a lot of people to help us find or to let us know if they know something. Most people here are very willing to help. The problem so far is that it is surprisingly expensive for houses in this area. Tomorrow we are going to look to 3 different houses, hope one of them will suit us.

Until next time ;-)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rishikesh september 6th

It has been some days now since we have been writing here. Since Jaipur we have been in Pushkar and now we are in Rishikesh, arrived here yesterday. We are taking it really easy for some days now, not doing much. Rino was ill some days ago. Has had high fever (39,6°) and having no energy. We just were in the room and did nothing (Rino slept), Saturday we had to go with the night train (15½ hours!) to Haridwar. Rino felt better and we went to the train. The next morning in the train he had a fever again. Iris was worried and didn't want to go to Rishikesh before we had either seen a doctor or/and bought antibiotics. Haridwar is a bigger city than Rishikesh. In Haridwar we luckily could buy reliable antibiotics witch Rino now is using, started yesterday evening. We don't know exactly what he has, but it probably is a respiratory infection, Lonely Planet says 25% of travellers in India get this and he has been coughing a lot every evening.

Before we left Jaipur we visited Jantar Mantar, an astrologic observatory build by Jaipur founder Jai Singh in 1728. We were amazed by the gigantic sculptures that can tell everything about time, altitude and measuring positions of the stars. It was recommended to take a guide and so we did. After the visit to Jantar Mantar it was a 3 hours drive to Pushkar. A holy Hindu city, which surrounds a lake and lies in the middle of the mountains. It was a relieve to come in this city after the busy cities Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. The prices of food, drinks and clothes were very cheap, the people were more relax and the shop owners were less pushy. We enjoyed some nice rooftop restaurants and experienced to do a Puja (prayer) at one of the gaths (a place where pilgrims bath and pray in the holy water). Unfortunately we could not visit any temples or take some trips because Rino got ill. In Pushkar our driver went back to Delhi and arranged a taxi to the train station, we were on our own again.

The taxi our driver arranged was a very crappy car that would have been rejected by the annual control 10 times in The Netherlands and Norway, but we got to the station alive luckily. Our coupe was an air-conditioned sleeping coupe with 8 beds. An Indian family slept on the other side of us and the person above us left the train in the middle of the night. Iris could sleep very well, but Rino unfortunately not because the bed was too small and halfway the night he got his fever again. Even though the train delayed 2 hours the complete journey wasn’t that bad. Everything is an adventure for us here!

So now we are in the famous yoga capital Rishikesh. Still have to discover most of it here, but luckily we still have 2 full days and 3 nights. It's a small city and we are up in a village in Swargashram between beautiful mountains and the river Ganges. It’s really a beautiful place and totally quiet and peaceful, only a lot of cows in all the narrow streets/allies here, sometimes so narrow that it’s hard to pass a pregnant cow! We are now in Narayana Kunj Hotel, we have chosen a bit more luxurious hotel because of Rino being ill (still costs less than €20 per night). It is a comfortable hotel with good AC, friendly staff members and nice hot water. We can take yoga classes in the hotel, 1½ to 2 hours for only 200 Rupiah (€3,33) for both. If Rino feels better we will try it.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jaipur, 1st of September 19:30

Sitting in our fine hotel in Jaipur, capital city of Rajasthan. We have been here since yesterday and will leave for Pushkar tomorrow. Our travel route has changed a bit, so we were in Agra already yesterday and have seen the Taj Mahal. What an experience! Having heard and read so much about it and how beautiful it is, we were wondering how great it actually would be. But it was even more beautiful and special then we could imagine. Such a great peace of art and architecture! Symmetric, majestic and dreamlike. You just have to see it yourself to understand, the pictures doesn't earn up to what it really looked like. Iris immediately had to think about the fairytale or the picture of Soria Moria slott by Asbjornsen & Moe. It looked like something unreal or artificial standing in front of us. We were there a little after 6 in the morning, very early, but the Taj has its own colour at sunrise and it is not that crowded in the morning. Unfortunately its still end of rain season and cloudy, so the special effect of the sunrise we didn't see, but still it is worth going early. We had a private guide coming with us, this is very normal here in India, having a private guide. Almost every couple or family we saw had their own guide. Funny to see, this would never happen back home;-) So tip to you all, visit the Taj Mahal once in your life! ☺

We already mentioned private guide, we also have a private driver at the moment…we would also think it is crazy if we heard it before we left. But to buy train tickets here you need at least 72 hours before departure, and when we wanted to book by a tourist agent it was even 4-5 days to wait. We really wanted to leave Delhi, so we heard out other options. And that was booking a package were we had our own driver for the first 5 days, to Agra, Jaipur and Pushkar. From there we have train towards Rishikesh and we have a train back to Delhi 4 days later. The last night in a hotel in Delhi is also included in this deal. So this package includes: 6 hotel nights with breakfast, 5 days private driver, guide to the Taj Mahal and train tickets, and this all for 260 euro pp. This is a good deal, the guy from Kilroy also confirmed this. Important to know always bargain about this kind of packages or say that you think it is to expensive, they will drop the price a bit or/and give a complementary hotel night.
The driver we have is our private and drives us were we want whenever we want, this is a rather unusual luxury to have but also really nice and its very safe. He drives us to good and cheap places to eat, knows all the cities and places worth seeing, and he gives us a lot of good tips.

We are enjoying this luxury a lot and its perfect for now and the places we are seeing here. But we also look forward to go to Rishikesh on our own and have some days without planed hotel and a driver to make appointments with.

We will tell you some info also about the hotels we are staying. Can be good information for those of you who plan an India trip in the future. But that will come in a next blog report ☺

The city Jaipur is also called the pink city. The old part of the city is painted in a kind of pink and there is a nice walking tour in the Lonely Planet and that is one of the activities we did today. The tour was not only through tourist places, but also through bazaars/streets for locals. Lots of cows, shops, traffic and not so many tourists (which surprises us, we could count them on two hands). In the afternoon we went to the beautiful Amber Fort, which used to be a big army fort in the middle of the mountains. It is clear to us that the former Indian emperors had, liked to or just did spend a lot of money on remarkable buildings, monuments or palaces like a palace in the middle of the water just as a summerhouse.

We are looking forward to go to Pushkar and Rishikesh, because they are both smaller, relaxer and known for their hippie/yoga culture. This also means no meat and alcohol for the last week in India. Hopefully we will pickup a lot from this culture and come back as relax hippies ready to join the ├╝ber relax culture of Bali ;-)


photo's will come later