This is the most exhausting travel I've done. Indians are... I'll be short and clear : I don't like them. Specially because they make me acting like an asshole at least once a day. The funny thing is, I don't like them but I still like the country. What I've seen in India is amazing. I usually know what to write about my travels, but for India, I still don't know after 2 months. Maybe because I might spend 2 days writing about it (colours, landscapes, palaces, forts, Taj Mahal, ...) or either not saying anything but 'get fucked !'. As many travellers who had experienced the country, you must have left it to sort out the good of it.
If you guys want to come to India then I would recommand to come for a short period with plenty of money. Over a month stay ? Keep breathing and take an extra 2 weeks off to relax.
India is incredible. They spent millions making ads all over the world (have a look on youtube they are quite nice) saying 'come here it is nice' and if you need a bus going to somewhere a little bit unusual, no one is able to tell you how to do. And if you do get a bus or train, then be ready for a very long trip. In two months, we spent over a week time in the transport.
Here are my advises for India : No need to go to Delhi. Nothing to see there. Or you can see better somewhere else. Varanasi is an amazing place, Khajuraho is another one. Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer (and is open air rubbish bin Thar Desert), Pushkar are also to be seen. And if your up for a 30 hours of dusty road trip with filfthy Indians sleeping on your shoulder, do not miss Ajanta and Ellora Caves. From there, you'll go to Bombay (so british ! My favourite big city in India) before to go to Goa having a grilled fish on the beach (please do not have those little sharks... It might be good, but they are far too small to be in your plate !). If you feel brave enough, you can have a swim and get tanned on the sand. For myself, I was there during Christmas and too many tourists were spitting on the sand. And I can't avoid the fact that every year, the rain bring the rubbish into the sea...
I'm really happy about what I've been doing here and I'm even happier because I'll be soon far away from the mess and those auto-rickshaws fuckers or these awfully non-heartbreaking robotized children beggars (all over India, all the kids will always come to you doing the same hand to mouth gesture as there is a king of school where they learn it. Most of them ask you just because you're white - I guess this is fair enough - but they seem to be happy and healthy).
Read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, Holy Cow by Sarah Macdonald and Are you Experienced ? by William Sutcliffe if you want to learn more about the idian experience.
That's it, Nepal done...
When I arrived first in Kathmandu, I didn't know that it was the second most polluted city in the world (after Mexico). Now I know and you also know.
For me Nepal was about fresh air, mountains, temples and nice people. Of course there is those things around here, but I must mention Kathmandu itself as well. Weird city, taste of anarchy, disgusting city... Don't sort your garbage anymore, it's useless as long as you see an entiere population dumping their shit everywhere like Nepali do. And the KTM valley look the same, the Terai (south of Nepal) look the same, and soon the mountains will look the same (they are already but less). It look like Reunion Island 20 years ago when my grandma used to send me dumping the garbage in the nearest ravine.
After 4 days in KTM I was starting to become a sort of oenologue for pee and poo. I can tell if it's a cow, dog or man, and what millesime it is. Only with my nose of course, because I'm not tasting. And next time I'll go skiing, I'll be good at slaloming because I practised a lot here trying to avoid some green milky spit. Nepal is far above Marrakesh, Thailand or Laos speaking of dirtiness.
Then I went to Bandipur and for the first time, I could take a deep breathe watching some green stuff called trees and wlaking around without a bloody thousand of horns polluting my ears. Thanks God for that ! Bandipur is a piece of paradise... I did have some pleasure there. I was leaving it ! First time in Nepal... I must say that my day in Paris was great (theatre for the first time since a while, Louvre and Japanese restaurant with Pierre) and our stop-over in Abu Dhabi quite interesting. We (me and Jenny as usual) even had the chance to fly to KTM from there in first class (which is wasn't planned and was a big slap in my face when I got up in my confortable seat to take a Nepali cab 20 minutes after).
After Bandipur, we went to Pokhara with the intention of going to trek. For me Pokhara looks the same as St Gilles (Reunion Is.) in a mountain version. It's a strange feeling. The atmosphere is similar, the vegetation and the food are also similar. To be silly I'm also gonna say : and after 7pm, there is no chance to see a local sobre.
A couple of day there and it was time for us to wear our shoes and try to reach the Annapurna Base Camp. 8 days shitting my ass off ! With my 15 kilos extra on my Apollon body and 8 on my back, I was pretty much doing the same job as a porter without be paid for it. That's a shame ! Landscapes were nice but I spent more times looking at my shoes and asking my feet why they don't want to go faster.
But everything has a end and a good pizza was waiting for us once we've been back in Pokhara. We stayed there few days spending most of the time eating and reading... Then we tried to go rafting for 2 days. And for this we had the garanty that "everything will be provided". I know now that means "vaseline is provided, get your ass ready". As you guessed, rafting wasn't good. And I don't say that because I fell over the raft... When we arrived at our base camp, we could actually fish in the tent we were supposed to sleep, and we are still waiting the minibus supposed to drive us to Narayangarh after the trip. At least the staff was nice. But this isn't the issue in Nepal. People are great... It's hard to find nicer than them, but those people needs rules and learn how to behave in certain situation. Specially with tourist.
We are now in Darjeeling (that's another story) in India. I don't expect from it to be better. We know it might be worse. But so far, Nepal makes me loving Laos more than ever !
That bloddy city doesn't stop... Never. It has to move. Always. But what a magic place !!!! I spend 5 days in Marrakesh and move around for a bit, and I think I could have stayed there for months, years maybe. I loved it ! Marrakesh is amazing. Whoever you are, you must go there and see how welcoming can be the people, how charming is a riad and how funny it can be walking with donkeys, motobikes, bicycles, horses in the world famous "souks". I could write a novel about it, but it is quite late and I can only say check my pictures and go there. Done !
That's it, another 6 months gone. I'm finishing in 2 days and then, bye bye Verbier and Switzerland. I was working at the Farinet Hotel, a complex with an after-ski bar (with live music), a lounge bar, a night club and a hotel... Jenny worked at the same place as last year, the Fer à Cheval.
This winter was cold but not good for the quantity of snow. Well, good enough to make progress in snowboarding, which was lot of fun for me... Specially because I'm officially finishing the season on my 2 unbroken feet (this is another progress).
I worked an average of 50 hours a week during 6 nights a week, and I did not have many chances to party. I had drunk people around me every 10 minutes but I wasn't partying myself at all. Apart from once, with Charlie Winston's musicians... I've never been soooo drunk in my entire life.
In February my sister and boyfriend came for 5 days to visit us... It was the first time ever for them in such a cold and snowy place. They loved it... They even tried snails here.
A month later, Jenny's parents came and they also loved it... We tried the famous Lavey les Bains, an open air hot bath with them, before going to see the world famous motorshow in Geneva.
Since then, we've been a couple of days in Gruyères (yes, where the cheese is made) where we visited the very old castle and the Giger Museum (Alien's father).
Now, it's the closing season, time for everyone to be in a good mood around few drinks. At this time of the season you can love someone you hated few days before, like your own brother. Weird feeling. The last closing party will be the 2nd of May. Until then, I'll have to drink more than I've drank the past year. Fortunatly I'm gonna have a rest for 2 days next week when I'll go to Paris to visit Lidwine and Pierre (my favourite French couple met in Port Douglas) and see the Takeshi Kitano's exhibition.
The 3rd of May Arnaud is going back home (OZ) and Jenny and I are going to Marrakesh the following day (4th) for 4 days. We should be back to Bordeaux around the 15th. And we will stay there until end of august. During this period, we have Jen's friend wedding, my dad's second wife and younger brother coming, many things to do and prepare our next trip.
The next trip will be in middle-Asia with Nepal and India planned for september. Then if we can find a job in Japan, we might stay there for while. If we don't, we will probably go earlier to N-Zealand where we should be for the main part of 2011.
And I swear, this blog will be full of new post during our trip there.
This is it, the winter is coming, snow is falling again and I'll start my new job in 2 weeks. A month ago, it's was still sunny and we went to Croatia with 2 Jen's friends from Bordeaux.
Croatia is quite charming, with some nice villages or cities. Split is on of the best I've visited in my whole life. I enjoyed Dubrovnik as well but it was too crowded of tourist to seem "authentic". To be honnest, Croatia seem to be exactly like Italy. But I prefer Italy. Specially for the "beaches". To be clear, the beaches in Croatia are disgusting. People are cold but kind and always speak few words of french. We saw few bullets impact in Karlovac but this is pretty all about the war.
Actually, Croatia was nice, cities at least, but there is nothing to tell about it. Go there for a week end, 3 or 4 days, but this is enough.
After Croatia, we went back to Bordeaux and my 10 yo sister came from Reunion Island for holidays. She stayed 2 weeks. We went to Disney, Futuroscope and visited few things in Bordeaux (and around) like the zoo or the famous Pyla Duna. On our way to the airport we saw Laura Flessel (Escrime Olympic Champion). Now, we are waiting to go back to Verbier.
Sorry for the way I'm writing this post but I kind of lazy and in a hurry. Cya guys !
Spring was much more interesting with a travel to Roma, London, Bordeaux and a visit to my family in Reunion Island, 2 years and 5 months later... Then, I came back in Verbier and followed my ankle rehabilitation (after my fracture last winter) with a physio and few walks around (not enough I would say). I'm spending my time drawing, reading and watching movies, waiting september and my next travels. The 20th I'll go to Croatia and after welcoming my young sister in Paris for a 2 weeks trip, I'll probably take a week off and go to Poland to visit Auschwitz. I should have done that already few days ago but I'm still waiting to get pay by the insurance. I'll probably have much more to tell you in automn. Cya...