Thursday, February 5, 2009

Looking Back

We were gone from home on our Butt Buster journey for a little over nine weeks and now have been back for about the same number of days, so it is time to look back on this trip of a lifetime.

I'll cut to the chase: Would we do a trip like this again? The loud and clear answer is
NO! Riding a motorcycle in India is a very dangerous proposition, interesting, but a severe test of physical endurance and riding skill, plus it uses up a huge bucket of luck.

"It is written" is the final frame of the current movie hit
Slumdog Millionaire and sums up what many in India believe will guide them through their lives.

India is certainly a fascinating place with a history that will make your head swim, but it is difficult to look past some of he current day to day sights and smells to see the heritage of India. To say that India is a land of contrasts is an understatement; when we were riding through the state of Bihar where many things are done as they have been for over a thousand years or more, the Indian government was landing a spacecraft on the moon! Granted, the USA has huge disparities in its social structure, but in India the contrasts are so much greater. Considering the caste system that does not officially exist today, maybe they have come a long way in a short period of time, but with the population and pollution explosion there, I wonder what the place will look like in fifty years.

All of that said, one can have a very different experience than ours. We know people who have been there several times and can't wait to go back. Throw lots of bucks at the trip, stay in five star hotels, travel in comfy a/c coaches, and things take on a very different aura. On the other hand, we know someone who went to visit friends there and threw away all of her clothes and shoes when she returned home!

As I mentioned earlier, we would not do another motorcycle trip there again, but would we go back to India? There are several places we would like to see: Ladakh, more of Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Mumbai, Ajanta and Ellora, Darjeeling and Sikkim (maybe on a side trip from Bhutan).

We will be spending our retirement dollars else where in the foreseeable future, but will not rule out a return to the Indian subcontinent. Incredible India?....... yes it is!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Canadian Touch Down

Thirty-eight hours after leaving our hotel room in Delhi, we arrived home in Tweed. We didn't encounter any animals on the roads, everyone kept to their own lanes,and there wasn't any garbage burning on our front lawn.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Home Cold Home

We've just landed in Green Bay after canceled/delayed flights and changing airlines at O'Hare. We hope our luggage catches up with us later today. Good to be home despite the cold and blowing snow. Namaste!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

All Peoples Home Going

The remaining Butt Busters are whiling away a quiet Sunday afternoon before heading to the airport at 2000 (we are going to the airport earlier than usual due to reports of increased security at all international airports in India). RA and I will be departing at 0055 tomorrow morning while Ross and Jean leave at 0655. We’ve just gone for a leisurely walk in “our neighborhood” with a stop at McDonald's for lunch. We still have a couple of Kingfisher beers in the kitchen fridge to drink with dinner tonight before we leave the White House Hotel for the third and final time. We have survived Incredible India without too many scars (mostly mental) and will attempt a summary of our journey when we get home. See you on the other side................................

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lazing at the Lagoon


The Lazy Lagoon boutique resort was our home for six nights as we continued our R&R in the south of India. The days melted away in the heat and humidity of tropical Goa, a Portuguese enclave on the Indian sub-continent until 1961.

Goa’s pace is not as hectic as other places we have been in India with less aggressive drivers, less horn honking and people with a good sense of humor. When we weren’t sleeping, eating, or swimming in the pool, we managed a little low key sightseeing. The Saturday night flea market was quite impressive and we discovered where many of the British hippies have been all these years--living in Goa selling jewelry, crafts and tatooing the white tourists from northern climes. We also visited Old Goa and its fine collection of Portuguese churches, basilicas and the desiccated body of St. Francis Xavier. On Wednesday morning we did our last bit of shopping at the huge weekly flea market in Anjuna. If you want it, they have it there in spades. RA is still sporting some henna faux-tattoos and a few more bangles for her wrist. It is here that Ross and I had an impromptu competition. Men would approach us and tell us we had some soap in our ear and then offer to clean the wax out of our ears; Ross won with seven offers to my three!!

On Sunday night we went to a restaurant that that touted the music of Dr. Andy and his friends from England. Little did we know that we were attending the weekly “Gathering of the Clans”--all the Brit ex-pats in the area. The music was eclectic and enjoyable as was the people watching, The smell of ganja was thick in the air as we left the party around 2200.

A few days later Ross decided to check out the local Haircutting Saloon/Barbour Shop; haircut IR80 (US$1.60) and beard trim IR50 (US$1.00). It sounded like a good idea so RA and I walked down to the shop and were soon sitting in the chairs. RA got a hair trim and a head massage while I ended up with a haircut, beard trim and an Ayurvedic head and back massage with who knows what kind of oils and other liquids poured on my head. Total bill (with tip) for both of us: IR750 (US$15.00)!

Ravi, our room wallah, surprised us each day with some very innovative “towel art”--swans, palm trees, flowers, a tortoise. The Lazy Lagoon was the perfect place for decompressing--good food, comfortable digs, and a very friendly and accommodating staff.

Our last night/morning in Goa was tempered by the reports of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. We left a little early for the airport assuming stepped up security, but everything went smoothly and we were soon winging our way back to Delhi.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

In Delhi

We have arrived safely in Delhi--flight on IndiGo was fine on an Airbus 320A. We will be leaving on the 1st--RA and I straight to Chicago and Jean and Ross to Toronto via London. We'll be lying low here and repacking for the trip home.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Just a quick note to let you know that we are in Goa which is about 650 km south of Mumbai and are flying to Delhi today so we are out of the line of fire.

Flight home is scheduled for December 1st so will be keeping a low profile till then.

Can't help thinking that after surviving the perils of motorcycling, food poisoning and being crushed by crowds, it would be a real to be blown up on the last day here!