Vacation Recap: 500 Words Or Less

I had a really nice, photo-filled, post saved… and then my laptop got tea’d, and we’re evaluating if we can afford to repair it  now or if we’ll be waiting til June or later to pick me up a new laptop. I’m working with my Asus EEE netbook (5 years and still going strong!) for the foreseeable future.

We spent 21 days traveling through South India, with no more than 2 nights in any one place. It was a whirlwind through mostly Kerala and Karnataka (a day-jaunt into Tamil Nadu, plus a few days in Maharashtra vis-a-vis Mumbai and Aurangabad), and we covered a lot of ground… some of it very bumpy, and at 30km/hour or less.

I can see why Mumbai/Bombay appeals to so many: it’s more cosmopolitan than Delhi, cleaner (both in terms of street rubbish and pollution), more organized… and, frankly, it has Parsi food. Britannia & Company, Paradise, and others — but oh, the Parsi food will linger in the memory of my stomach for a good, long time! We want to return to Mumbai to explore at a less frenetic pace; even our guide observed that the itinerary we’d been given for viewing in a half-day was more suited to a full-day tour, or longer.

From Mumbai it was off to Aurangabad, our base to view the Ajanta and Ellora Caves, and then we flew to Thiruvanathapuram (Trivandrum), where we started our tour of Kerala; it included two wonderful days on a houseboat out of Alappuzha (Alleppey), up to Kochi and Kozhikode (Calicut), and a few days in the Western Ghats at a “resort” in the Wayanad area. From Vythiri we moved to Kabini Lake (one of the trip highlights – even if we saw no tigers, we saw an impressive array of birds, plus elephants and wild boar), and then up to Mysore, Hampi, and Bangalore before flying home.

Our highlights:

  • houseboat: good food, good scenery, birding opportunities, and a chance to recharge and prep for the remainder (~2 weeks) of the trip.
  • Kabini Lake: the wildlife safaris yielded 0 tigers, but were thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless. As Adam noted, “cheetal (spotted deer) are the Thompson’s Gazelle of India” – at first, you take a few pictures… and by the end, you’re glossing over them in favour of other critters.
  • Hampi: it was a several day trip to get up, see the site, and come back; it’s tricky to see the entirety in a day, but we managed the highlights, and count it well worth the visit.

We also saw several of India’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the trip – a post will come on those, too!

I unfortunately have no pictures at the moment, due to the downed Mac, but will be trying to grab a number off of Adam’s computer to post, hopefully finally getting the Photo Friday idea off the ground – Adam takes good photos and we want to show them off!

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