Posts tagged: Fireworks

India: India’s Cricket World Cup Win From New Delhi

By , May 3, 2011 5:42 am
Pride For India's Big Win

Pride For India's Big Win

Half awake in the early morning, we arrive in New Delhi by train. There are many budget accommodations nearby the train station, but prices overall are higher and hotels are filthier here compared to Varanasi.

With roaring stomachs, it is time to get some lunch. We are not in the mood for any tourist restaurants so we start walking away from the crowds and somehow after taking many left and right turns, we find a tiny restaurant serving dosas, something we had not tried yet. Watching Boris eat this dish is entertaining, as he looks so happy after each bite. Dosas look a lot like a French crepe that you dip in different spicy sauces. If you are in New Delhi, stop by Udipi South Indian Food restaurant.

New Delhi is a chaotic city. Being here while India is hosting the Cricket World Cup doesn’t help either. Whenever there is a game, all eyes are glued to the television screens. On our last day in New Delhi, it is the semi-final game between India and their biggest rival, Pakistan. Shops close early and there are large projector screens in the middle of the streets at every block airing the game. The moments leading to India’s win, the crowds start to get crazy. At the final win, fireworks go off in the streets, flags are out and people are jumping on top of the large crowds. For us, it is great to see all this energy and pride and be part of a historic moment for India.

Cricket World Cup

Cricket World Cup

Win For India!

Win For India!

Celebration Time

Celebration Time

Calls For Fireworks

Calls For Fireworks

During lunch one day, we meet a very nice local. He is in Delhi to do some shopping for his shop. After some talking, I ask if we can join him and he is more than happy to have us along. The next few hours, I am ecstatic as I follow this local man around as he shops. He has great taste for things and we discover the various shopping areas for decorations and local handcrafts. Since he is a shop owner, all these places he takes us to have wholesale prices.

Shopping Time

Shopping Time

There are many sites to visit within New Delhi. I honestly didn’t enjoy many of them as there are lots of construction work going on and the entrance fees are a little steep. However, there is one place I really like, which is the Jama Masjid Mosque, within the Old City. Admission is free but there is a large fee for having a camera, which most tourists will have on them. As we walk around the mosque, there is a good amount of locals as well as tourists. In the middle of the plaza is a watering hole where many locals come to drink or wash in. I enjoy just sitting in this sunny spot and do some people watching. Boris leaves me and goes up one of the towers to get a great view of the city.

Jama Masjid Mosque

Jama Masjid Mosque

Inside Mosque

Inside Mosque

Old Delhi

Old Delhi

The Red Fort Complex

The Red Fort Complex

Watering Hole

Watering Hole

One of the things that shocked me the most in New Delhi are the public toilets for men. Besides being in the open in random alleys, the best way to describe it is a wall designated for peeing. It turns out to be very common so just be careful what you walk into as you roam the streets.

The other thing to be aware of is the tourist train booking office inside the New Delhi train station. This is a great perk of being a tourist as you can book same day train tickets for the same price without waiting in long lines. However, there are people that will try to stray you away by telling you the office is somewhere else or it is closed, don’t believe them.

Red Fort Or Lal Qila

Red Fort Or Lal Qila

Courtyard

Courtyard

Pavilions In Courtyard

Pavilions In Courtyard

Much Ornamental Work To Appreciate

Much Ornamental Work To Appreciate

MuiMui Completely Covered From The Dirt

MuiMui Completely Covered From The Dirt

Humayun's Tomb

Humayun's Tomb

Design

Design

MuiMui

MuiMui

Lotus Temple

Lotus Temple

Girl With Beautiful Blue Eyes

Girl With Beautiful Blue Eyes

Kids Playing Outside Of Mosque

Kids Playing Outside Of Mosque

Local Shop Owner

Local Shop Owner

Frenchie & Me

Frenchie & Me

What We Paid: INR USD Euro
– Train from Varanasi to New Delhi in 2nd class sleeper with AC 1045/pp 23.65 16.20
– Private double room at My Inn [private bathroom, AC, free wifi] 600/double 13.5 9
– Lunch @ Udipi South Indian Food restaurant 25/pp 0.55 0.40
– Lunch @ Sarvana Bhawan South Indian chain restaurant 90/pp 2 1.4
– Dinner 80/pp 1.8 1.2
– Coffee in the street 10 0.22 0.15
– 1L water bottle 10 0.22 0.15
– 10 minutes on an auto rickshaw 25/ride 0.56 0.38
– Entrance to Jama Masjid Mosque 0 0 0
– Camera fee @ Jama Masjid Mosque 200 4.5 3
– Entrance to the tower @ Jama Masjid Mosque 100/pp 2.25 1.52
– Entrance @ Red Fort 250/pp 5.6 3.8
– Entrance @ Humayun’s Tomb 250/pp 5.6 3.8

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

Australia: Cairns & Outer Great Barrier Reef

By , February 14, 2011 4:00 am
In The GBR For New Years

In The GBR For New Years

“Guess who’s back, back again?” To celebrate New Years, we head out to Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Our friend, Zhi, who we visited while in Sydney, joins us.

There is not much charm to downtown Cairns with a few bars and restaurants. After setting our resolutions for 2011 over dinner, we join the crowd in the Esplanade for fireworks. At the stroke of midnight, we cheer with our Champagne-filled McDonald’s paper cups and end the night with a group hug.

Happy New Year 2011

Happy New Year 2011

Fireworks On The Esplanade

Fireworks On The Esplanade

Early next morning, we board The Encounter for a 2-day/1-night trip to explore the Outer GBR. We are told that the deadly jellyfishes are mating so it is best to wear a wetsuit. Zhi tries diving for the first time and loves it. MuiMui sticks to snorkeling and I decide to do an advanced diving course.

Onboard The Encounter

Onboard The Encounter

Boris Snorkeling In The GBR

Boris Snorkeling In The GBR

Millions Of Small Fishes

Millions Of Small Fishes

Live Coral & Fishes Everywhere

Live Coral & Fishes Everywhere

On the first day, we visit Norman Fingers and Norman Playground. Snorkeling is pretty awesome as we are right above the colorful coral reef. But diving is even better. During my deep dive, I see a family of 7 lionfishes and a sting ray over 3 meters wide.

Underwater Landscape

Underwater Landscape

Feels Like Swimming Through A Colorful Screensaver

Feels Like Swimming Through A Colorful Screensaver

Beautiful Lionfish But Dangerous

Beautiful Lionfish But Dangerous

Clownfish AKA Nemo

Clownfish AKA Nemo

On the second day, while diving at Saxon Turtle Bombie, I observe a baby shark, sea turtles, and barracudas. MuiMui has a blast chasing a turtle and it doesn’t mind as she touches its shell. Zhi accidently touches a poisonous soft coral and as he comes out of the water, it looks like a sea monster attacked his knee.

Live Coral

Live Coral

Giant Sea Anemone

Giant Sea Anemone

Enormous Clam

Enormous Clam

Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle

Zhi's Coral Attack

Zhi's Coral Attack

At nightfall, the divers onboard start getting excited for their next dive while someone outside on the boat screams “Shark!” A few black-tipped sharks are hanging around the boat because the light helps them hunt easier. I start to feel a chill in my body, but it is quickly overpowered by the excitement. We are given flashlights and a short briefing: Large Trevally fishes are going to follow you because your light makes it easy for them to spot small fishes. We know it is fun to see them hunt, but please try not to get more than two fishes killed.

I am the first one to jump in the water and there are about 10 or more sharks less than one meter away from me. The fear gets to me again so I shine the flashlight on me to make sure the sharks don’t mistake me for a turtle or a big tuna fish. When I reach the bottom of the ocean and look back up, I can see all the sharks circling the boat.

While back on the boat and telling the non-divers about my night dive, we suddenly see a flying fish jumping out of the water and then 50 sharks rushing in its direction. If one shark had mistaken me for a fish, it would have been the end for me.

After a total of 6 dives, I am exhausted and join MuiMui for one last snorkel. While trying to get a good picture of a Nemo (Anemone fish), MuiMui points between my legs. A leopard shark swims right by us and it looks mean.

Snorkeling Right Above The Coral

Snorkeling Right Above The Coral

Coral Sea

Coral Sea

Leopard Shark

Leopard Shark

While our boat trip was pretty pricey, it was totally worth it. We learn there is an option where you can work onboard (cleaning, etc) in trade for free diving, lodging, and food. This is a great option for backpackers or anyone on a tight budget but eager to see the GBR.

For our last day, we rent a car to visit Port Douglas. It is a small little beach town, but we can only swim in one area with nets because of the deadly jellyfishes and the salt caimans. During our drive back, we spot a few Wallabies in an open grass field so we pull over to take photos. There are hundreds of them hanging out, eating grass, or boxing each other.

Wallabies

Wallabies

Boxing Each Other

Boxing Each Other

Thanks again Zhi for joining us; we had a memorable start for the New Year. You will now be known for surviving a sea monster attack.

Port Douglas

Port Douglas

Beware Of Deadly Jellyfishes

Beware Of Deadly Jellyfishes

Little Holes On The Beach

Little Holes On The Beach

Coral Arch In The GBR

Coral Arch In The GBR

Orangespine Unicornfish

Orangespine Unicornfish

Coral Rabbitfish

Coral Rabbitfish

Don't Bother Me

Don't Bother Me

Blue Lined Surgeonfish

Blue Lined Surgeonfish

Zebra Fish

Zebra Fish

Interesting Coral

Interesting Coral

Puffer Fish

Puffer Fish

Blue Green Damselfish

Blue Green Damselfish

Yellow Mask Angelfish

Yellow Mask Angelfish

White-Tipped Reef Shark

White-Tipped Reef Shark

Giant Clam

Giant Clam

Down Under With Divemaster

Down Under With Divemaster

Boris Going Down

Boris Going Down

Parrot Fish

Parrot Fish

Wrasse Fish

Wrasse Fish

Nudibranch Sea Slug

Nudibranch Sea Slug

Spotted Sweetlips Fish

Spotted Sweetlips Fish

Prickly Red Sea Cucumber

Prickly Red Sea Cucumber

Our Buddy, Zhi

Our Buddy, Zhi

What We Paid: AUD USD Euro
– Virgin Blue Flight From Brisbane To Cairns 234/pp 234.50 173
– 2 day/1 night onboard the Encounter for a trip out to the Outer GBR 300/snorkeling 410/diving 301 / 411 222 / 304
– Private room with own bath at the Best Western in Cairns [AC, clean, up to 3 ppl per room, pool, 10-15 min walk to Esplanade, book online for better rate and when they say they’re full] 89/room 89 66
– Private double with shared bath at NJoy Hostel in Cairns [fan, basic, pool, 10-15 min walk to Esplanade, free early morning transfer to airport, recommend only if on tight budget or if everything else is sold out] 50/room 50 37
– Underwater camera rental 33/day 33 24.50
– Average Breakfast 7.50/pp 7.50 5.50
– Average Lunch 15/pp 15 11
– Average Dinner 25/pp 25 18.50

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

Sweet Lavender In Provence

By , October 13, 2010 5:00 am
Lavender Field And Senanque Abbey

Lavender Field And Senanque Abbey

For Bastille Day, celebrations called for fireworks during our visit to Aix-en-Provence to see Boris’ graduate buddies, Damien and Coralie. They recently purchased a very cute home inside a small village, which we love, especially the water fountain right outside.

Bastille Day Celebration

Bastille Day Celebration

I was very excited in the drive to Lubéron to see the lavender fields at Senanque Abbey. I’m not sure what it is about lavender, but I had been waiting to see the rows and rows of purple. It was very tempting to pick some of the flowers but with the many bees guarding it, I refrained. When the fields were semi clear of people, I felt the need to skip along do my impression of the Estee Lauder advertisements. I probably didn’t look as good as Gwyneth Paltrow but whatever.

Mui Skipping In A Lavender Field

Mui Skipping In A Lavender Field

About 30 minutes away, we arrived at the French Colorado of Provence. After a short enjoyable hike, we were on top of the cliffs and got a spectacular view of the area. It was random to find this kind of bright yellow and deep orange landscape in the middle of a green mountainous region.

The Colorado Of Provence

The Colorado Of Provence

Back at the house, I got my first crepe party experience. The crepes were made on a special grill and then we added various toppings to it. While you can add what you like, I was advised to go from sour to sweet toppings. I am not sure if it is tradition or for taste, but we drank apple cider along with our crepes. I thought it was a very fun and interactive meal. However, the highlight was when Boris tried to get whip cream from the automatic whip cream maker and it basically exploded all over. It’s usually me that would do something like that but it’s much more humorous when someone else does it.

As always, we had a great time with Damien and Coralie. Thank you both of you and congrats again on the new home. We can’t wait to see you both soon!

Village Of Gordes

Village Of Gordes

Me & Frenchie

Me & Frenchie

Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise

Lavender Field At Senanque Abbey

Lavender Field At Senanque Abbey

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

Panorama Theme by Themocracy