Yup, you heard me right. I did not miss it, because I wasn’t really away from it and was reading it regularly & religiously. I agree, I am a miser when it comes to commenting; prefer to be a silent reader.
Here I am again treading softly & cautiously ….
But before I start with something, won’t you be interested in knowing what I was upto the whole of last year ?
Okay, so let’s talk about how the year 2010 was for me in terms of travel.
I think I will skip some of travels since a few of them happened in a jiffy and I am in no mood to recollect the details now. Also, I am not counting the local exploration of lesser known places of my neighbourhood such as watching Flamingos at Sewri fort.
Flamingos enjoying their meals.
Well, the year 2010 had started with a trip to city of gardens, Bangalore in January.
Lal Baugh, Bangalore.
Next was Mauritius. My husband happened to go there several times and I accompanied him once for a week. What we all knew till now that Mauritius is famous for its beautiful beaches but believe me, it has some of the most wonderful locales if you are interested in other outdoor activities.
Who would not want to live here?
After that it was my 48 days solo backpacking trip to Malaysia and Thailand which started in late February and ended sometime in April. Physically I was not at my best and my doctor had advised against this trip. But the magnetic force of my tickets to Kuala Lumpur was so strong that everybody including me had to surrender to the charm. :)
It was tough and sometimes daunting being a woman and travelling alone in a new alien country exploring islands with no knowledge of its culture or language. Wandering on roads with a backpack with no fixed destination or agenda was both fun and challenging.
Those readers who followed my posts at that time would definitely agree with me.
Majestic Petronas. You can’t visit the skybridge if you don’t plan a day ahead.
Everything about Thailand is just amazing.
Month of May saw me in Delhi for a short trip and I could visit some places. I had a great time there. When you are alone, your observation skills also shoot up. I noticed, my eyes could see many more trivial things which I couldn’t notice earlier.
Majestic Red fort at Delhi.
Come June and July and I was in Bangalore and after that again on a solo trip to interiors of Tamilnadu. Started from Chennai in sleeper class (last minute decisions during summer vacations do not leave you any other option really!) I travelled in local buses, rickshaws and on foot. The experience was amazing. I wanted to know how different and safe/unsafe it was compared to other places. I have many small & beautiful memories of this trip. Again, language was a barrier. The most common question I was asked by the locals (whenever they could speak English) was which country I belonged to. People even requested (read embarrassed) me to have a photo with them !! Not once or twice but almost everyday of that trip.
Surprising enough, I do not look like a foreigner from any angle. Perhaps my cargoes, cap with a Kangaroo on it, a camera hanging from my neck and my solo status spoke otherwise.
BTW, this had happened in Thailand as well. I mean, people wanting to get photographed with me when they came to know that I was from India. True, they had not seen any insane Indian woman venturing out alone. Really, they made me feel like an extinct animal of a zoo !
Entrance of Bragatheeswara or Big temple, Thanjavur.
Anyway, towards the end of this Tamilnadu trip, mosquito bites in Kumbakonam gifted me Dengue which I thought was a normal fever and kept suppressing it with Paracetamol pills and continued the trip.
Sriperambadur was my last stop before I flew back home from Chennai. Once home, tests revealed it was indeed Dengue and I was advised immediate hospitalization because of my condition. It took more than a month to fully recover.
I hate this travel bug ! It started bugging me again and I could not restrict myself for long. August end, and I was at Aurangabad exploring the world famous caves of Ajanta & Ellora and neighbouring places before moving towards Lonar lake.
Sculptures at Ellora attract people of all ages.
Again travelling was fun, it became my teacher…. had to stay in a dingy room in a very small place by compulsion … thanks to heavy rains which had washed away all roads of onward journey.
But at the end of it, this is what was waiting for me.
The emerald green was so inviting that I couldn’t resist myself from hiking down the whole circle of the lake.
In the month of October I was invited by Club Mahindra to fly down to Sikkim. One of the major achievements of this trip was visiting Nathu La Pass, interacting with Indian soldiers at the Indo-China border (Chinese soldiers didn’t want to talk, they were content with a photo with me :P) and first meeting with eight hitherto virtual people.
Near Kyongnosla, one of the check points at around 10000 ft.
In November it was again a Delhi trip to attend some family functions spread over 8 days but I made it a point to take a day off to visit Khurja, a small but well known place for its pottery industry. Again, I met another friend in Noida who was virtual for me till then. :)
Bahai’s temple, Delhi.
In Khurja it was quite difficult to convince somebody to show me a factory and how things are made from scratch to finish. People are very down to earth here and they were very curious why I wanted to see that. “There is nothing special, madam”. “जैसे मिटटी के बर्तन बनते हैं बस वैसे ही बनते हैं “.
What they did not know was that this woman had not hired a private car from Delhi just to see their shops with final products on display. Poor them and mean me. They had to give in.
They also reconfirmed my belief that I am supposed to be in a zoo. You don’t agree? See the expressions and shouts on their faces in this video that I captured while coming back from one such factory.
In one of the factories in Khurja.
Come December and on 20th I flew down to Kuala Lumpur on way to Philippines to celebrate Christmas and New Year in a new country. These 3 weeks were full of outdoor activities such as extremely difficult trekking, moderate hiking to volcanic crater & mud springs, rowing, camping, and relaxing on beaches.
View from my window at Batad, Philippines. Yup, I hiked to all those terraces.
Sunset at Port Dickson beach, Malaysia.
And thus treasuring the reminiscences, I bade farewell to year 2010 …