Last November 19th another adventure in India came to the end.
Nine people, all so different and yet so similar, and among them a couple on honeymoon, that’s right, on their honeymoon! They decided to go live and explore India with the fantastic The Wanderlust and the awesome Fábio Inácio (I love this guy)! And the Result?! It was crazy! Yes, it was!
It all started in Varanasi, one of the oldest and most religious cities in the world. The first one to arrive was Silvia, she came alone, even her suitcase didn’t come along with her, it preferred to be independent and to stay in Delhi! Then it was time for Daniela, Julia, Paulo, Ricardo and Tiago to arrive. Together, we went for a walk along the Ganges and sampled some of the street food that is served as an appetiser for dinner, though in Tiago’s case it was a full meal – he was so fascinated by the spicy flavours that he did not stop eating! It was already night when the love birds, Isabel and João, accompanied by Carla, arrived just in time to join us for the first Indian dinner, Tali.
Everyone in our group was now in India – it was time to learn, share, feel… live!
We attended a yoga class to relax next to the Ganges (photo), watched the cremations and ceremonies, saw temples, walked the streets, took tuk-tuks, plus we ate food and took the train to Delhi.
In Delhi, more food, more tuk-tuks, mosques and us without money, India with no money. Total chaos among both tourists and Indians.
500 and 1000 rupee banknotes had been taken out of circulation from one day to the next, without prior notice. Banks had closed, ATMs had no money, no one accepted our money, or whoever would accept it asked for double or more as an excuse for not knowing if they could use those notes in the future. Two days later the banks opened, the queues were gigantic; the bureaucracy to exchange money even bigger, the confusion was total. The government put into circulation 2000 rupee notes and did not renew those of 1000 and 500, though perhaps in the future they would do so. On any one day you could only exchange 4000 of old money for new and in the ATM you could not withdraw more than 2500.
The truth is that it was a landmark in India and everyone I spoke to was happy with the decision of the government. To be honest I share the same opinion.
The truth is that India on a normal day is already crazy, so without money it is even crazier!
We didn’t stay in one place – far from it! We took a taxi from Delhi to Agra with a stop in Vrindavan, land where the Goddess Krishna spent her childhood. We were inside the Taj Mahal early, and after breakfast at the Agra Fort. We strolled the streets and then took a bus to Jaipur, the Pink City, or so it seems. We were waiting more than six hours to exchange money and we went to Amber to visit the fort of the same name. In Jaipur we went shopping, Isabel and Julia with eyes shining, and at one stage met an Indian speaking Brazilian, who began by saying he wanted to help us but ended up insulting us because we didn’t buy anything in his shop! In Jaisalmer, the golden city that lies in the Thar Desert, we rested, had a stroll, replenished our energy, and slept in the desert. A chai (Indian tea) for each of us, dinner cooked and juice that Daniela had brought from Portugal. We ended the night with a singing battle between Portugal and India. No one won, everyone won!
Jodhpur is the blue city, I promise that the next one has no colour, it was more of the same, but the same in India has another meaning. From Rajasthan to Goa. From an Indian India to Portuguese India. City of Pangim, Bairro das Fontainhas (Fontainhas neighbourhood). We spent the day at the beach and the next day we visited the old fort and churches, we went shopping and everyone had time to explore by themselves. Finally, dinner to the sound of our fado (traditional Portuguese music) …
A huge thankyou to Mr. Francisco, the coolest taxi driver in Goa, who is always there to help me.
I can only thank you for having the opportunity to travel and meet beautiful people. Since 2010 this lifestyle has been growing and during the next year new things will happen.
Anyone who wants to travel with me in 2017 has two dates available Here.
Anyone who would like to buy my book, Walking Around, which tells the story in words and images of an adventure of 20 months around the world, can do it in any bookstore in Portugal, or better, for the same price plus post, you can order by email and receive the signed book with personalized dedication at home.
If you find it interesting, the blog, book, photos, etc … feel free to share with your contacts, I will be happy to reach more people. 😉