Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bali Bits

The tiger character from a traditional dance

Wooden horses and cobras

Temple statues

Temple fish and coins

Harassed monkey

Monkey attack on Angie's pop. Uncle Mike was not amused.

Roundabout statue

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gili Air Breakfast

The fruit, the coffee and the view

The location

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gili Air

Rustbucket transportation

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oi! We ‘ome yet, or what?!? Bali

Shirtless, beer-clutching mobs of over-muscled males; shoulderblade Southern Cross tattoos accessorising Australian flag boardshorts; pink, over-fed girls overflowing from spaghetti strap singlets; coagulated accents inflecting around a vocabulary consisting mainly of unspellable sounds - ‘aahhh’, ‘whhhoor’, ‘yahh – hahAAAH’, ‘Tay-LAH!!! Get BACK ovr’ere!’. It’s good to be home.

Oh no, wait. There’s a wedding on (Angie’s brother, Eric and his fiancĂ©, Leah) in Bali, and that’s where we’ve just landed. Culture shock hit us hard; after India and its separation of the sexes, strange-uncle dress code and omnipresent air of devotion, it was a little confronting to find ourselves in Kuta amid a pre-drunken mass of holidaying Australiana; an alien, yet disturbingly familiar, uninhibited microcosm of home rarefied by Bintang and the Balinese sun… ya bastard!

We had two weeks leading up to the wedding booked in a nice hotel (with a hairdryer - a hairdryer!), a swish-ish way to cap off our nineteen months trippinballs. There was a week to wait before checking in, and rather than killing that week in Kuta amongst the shopping packs of braid-headed, flag swathed holiday makers and touchy-feely-grabby-and-ripoffy shopkeepers (plenty of time for that later), we went in search of something a little more serene.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bye Mumbai, Bye India.

Mumbai was out last stop in India, and it put on quite a show for us as we left. Ganesh, everyone’s favourite elephant-headed Hindu deity had his big festival and the streets filled with trumpet-blowing, statue-carrying crowds as we gobbled down our last Indian meal of paneer butter masala (cheese tomato curry), aloo palak (potato and spinach curry) and fresh lemon soda. The food, especially for my vegetarian self, has been amazing in India.

As our taxi banged its way to the airport, we passed dozens of celebrations in the street; throngs of dancing devotees trailing flatbed trucks carrying enormous speaker stacks and technicolour Ganesh statues. Most people, and passing cars, took on a dull burgundy tinge, thanks to all the red powder being flung about in celebration. There was music, colour and movement in copious, very Indian, amounts. It was a fitting final glimpse of a gloriously bizarre country.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Around Agra

Food map

One of the most spectacular architectural wonders of the world is surrounded by some of the most spectacular architectural failures. I'm talking about the hotels that have windowless walls, or teensy windows, facing the main attraction. View form our room (thorough cement grate).

The Taj and surrounds

Rooftop breakfast - Muesli, curd, milk tea and the Taj

Agra street

Behind the Taj is a river, and from there you can see the Taj for free (it costs over $20 to enter the grounds).

Offerings revealed by the low water level

Monday, September 8, 2008

Taj Mahal

Happy tourist

Tour group