a transplanted life in China 

Home 2010 August
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photo of the day

Smile for the camera: sadhu, Kathmandu Durbar Square

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My travel itinerary – a recap

A general view of my travel route, Summer 2010 [click to view larger]   A detailed view of the Lhasa-Kathmandu “Himalayan Journey” route with SnowLion Tours [click to view larger] My itinerary: TIBET: Chengdu to Lhasa (by plane) Lhasa-Yamdrok Lake – Gyantse – Shigatse – Everest Base Camp – Tingri – Zhangmu (by 4WD Land Rover) NEPAL: Zhangmu – Kathmandu (by car) Kathmandu – Sunauli (by bus) INDIA: Sunauli – Gorakhpur – Varanasi (by bus) Varanasi – Delhi (by train) Delhi – Dharamsala (McLeod Ganj) – Manali – Chandigarh – Delhi (by bus) Delhi – Singapore – Chengdu, China (by plane) TRAVEL TIME:  6 weeks WEATHER / CLIMATE:  high altitude, blinding sun, heat, humidity, monsoon rains, mud, dust, pollution, clean mountain air

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Delhi redux

Published on August 27, 2010, by in India, Travel.

President’s Estate [Rashtrapati Bhavan], New Delhi, designed by Edwin Lutyens From Chandigarh, it was a six-hour bus ride south to Delhi. On the way, we passed through a blinding rainstorm, but Delhi was relatively dry, after days of rain, flooding, and horrifying traffic pile-ups that had been all over the news. On arriving at the Delhi bus terminal, I headed straight for the Metro, and took the train to my favorite stop, Ramakrishna Ashram Marg (try saying it 3 times while clicking your heels together). My last three nights in India were spent at the Hotel Krishna Cottage, close to the Snow White where I’d stayed the last time, but nicer and less expensive. The Krishna was practically perfect – almost clean, and with an air conditioner that was neither too hot nor too cold, and didn’t blow directly on me. It also had a great television mounted on the wall directly in front of the bed, so I could watch hours and hours of the Travel and Living Channel when it was raining outside. Pahar Ganj district – a street near my hotel Thursday was spent slogging through the mud and construction sites at Connaught Place, where I hung out at the air-conditioned Barista Lavazza coffee house, then went shopping for spices and bottles of lime pickle to bring home. The good book shop that I’d found on the previous trip was closed, and the area was too dirty and hard to walk through to look for other shops. I

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Manali to Chandigarh

Published on August 25, 2010, by in Architecture, India, Travel.

Chandigarh’s central city at 6:30 AM: bleak and lifeless   To resume my travel story, I left Manali on Monday evening, August 16, bound for the city of Chandigarh on the overnight bus. For my farewell lunch I’d visited one of Manali’s better restaurants, and ordered a half tandoori chicken. Instead, the kitchen gave me a whole chicken, but I ate it – every bite, along with naan and a plate of vegetable rice biryani. What a glutton (but a happpy one). I decided to go to Chandigarh for two reasons: 1) it wasn’t Delhi, and I wanted to avoid Delhi because it was inundated with rain; and 2) I’d read that Chandighar was developed according to a master plan by visionary architect and planner Le Corbusier. Le Corbusier sculpture, Chandigarh Architecture Museum   The first half of the bus ride from Manali to Chandigarh was uneventful; we followed a different route than the one coming from Dharamsala, a decent paved road that went through a long tunnel and emerged into a dreamscape of mountain gorges and rivers. Too bad it was night; the dreamscape must have been spectacular by day. After a dinner stop at 11:30, the trip disintegrated into a nightmare. On a tight curve in the mountains, there was a sudden loud crash, the bus lurched slightly to the left, and a couple of passengers screamed. We sat in stunned silence, not knowing if the bus would move again or not.  Eventually, when we got off to investigate, we saw

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photo of the day

Red Fort, Delhi, exterior at night