Thursday, August 30, 2012

Planning India

PicMonkey Collage indiaframe

India has always been in my travel radar for years, except that I couldn't find the time to go all the way there and visit. This time around though with the Bangladesh travel already finalized, we thought that a side trip to India would be possible.

However, India wasn't really the only choice we had. We were considering China and Thailand in addition to India. In the end it just boiled down to which country would we be saving more if we choose to visit it. And India won by a few measly dollars.

I googled India package tours and found a few choices, mostly travel companies based in India. Then I found Exotic India Journey. They offered the Golden Triangle Tour (New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur). Since the price wasn't indicated on their website, I emailed them to inquire for a price quote. I immediately received response and the guy/agent who responded to my email was very reassuring (we exchanged copious emails in a 2 month period) and flat out told me that the tour was private. Just me and my husband. Although, I never really believed him, until I got to India and experienced the "private" tour they promised.

Needless to say my experience with Exotic India Journey was a positive one and I have no qualms about referring them to friends. In fact I already did. I think my friend will go next year and she's considering this travel company.

I'm still sorting the many many photos that I took during the trip.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Little Bit of Summer

2012_06_16 bolinas 015

June 16, 2012 was a hot day in my neck of the woods. Great excuse to head on to the beach. But which one?

There are quite a few beaches an hour or so drive away. We chose to find Bolinas after seeing it featured in a local travel show. Funny but we've been around that area many times over the years and have missed going there. We found out why. The travel show shared a simple secret - the road sign that points to Bolinas is missing. The locals removed it and put it in the museum. So if Bolinas is not your destination, you'd not just stumble upon it on your drive to someplace else.

Because we knew where we were going, despite our lack of GPS, we found it quite easily. Actually, we passed by the turn once then immediately took a U turn when we realized our mistake. Then what we found was a charming little coastal town, very relaxed.

It is a one road town that comes in thru the main street then loops around halfway before it ends in the beach. You have to turn back to return to the "town".

PicMonkey Collagebolinas
The beach area is not as "clean" as other resort beaches. The sand is not white. But the beach was jampacked with people, naked babies playing in the sand, bathing suited beauties soaking up the sun, wet-suited surfers carrying their boards towards the water, graffiti artists hard at work. 

PicMonkey Collagebolinas2

2012_06_16 bolinas 020

2012_06_16 bolinas 019


2012_06_16 bolinas 025

It was a total "California" scene if I'd ever seen one. Then what makes it more California that one lady coming up to me and asking if she can have a hug. Of course you may, was my bubbly reply and found myself in tight bear hug while she mumbled something to the effect of her praying for my safety and that God may bless me. I was obligated to say, I pray the same for you.

S asked me what the lady wanted, while behind me she was hugging my husband. Obviously, the lady has some mental problems, although she was clean and tidy and well groomed and did not smell at all. So, she's not just one of the bums in town. On the drive out, we spotted her walking along the road. To where we don't know.

We spent a good amount of time on the beach. We walked from the parking lot to the end of the beach, or at least we think it's the end of the beach, stopping to watch a dog and his owner play catch, then a little squabbly chihuahua who's smaller than a rat came in and picked a fight with the retriever who was catching frisbees on the water.

Anyway, R who is a strong swimmer was aghast at the fact that how can we live here and not know this place existed? We consoled him by saying that the locals really don't want to advertise the place. It's really charming. There are a few restaurants/cafes where one can grab a bite. There's a little hotel and a museum, a grocery store. That's about it. Nothing to keep the visitor except one who like water activites, surfing, swimming, kanoeing, boating, kayaking. It is a perfect day trip spot though.

IMGP3990

IMGP3988

IMGP3998

IMGP4023

IMGP4043

IMGP4046

IMGP4055

IMGP4060

PicMonkey Collagegraffiti

~ It's been a week since I've been back from my month-long vacation to India and Bangladesh, but my body clock is still trying to adjust to the difference in time. Jet lag has taken a hold of us really bad this time around. The entire week we've been battling it. I've also started to sort the many many photos I took during the trip. ~