A Travellerspoint blog

February 2011

Thailand: Ao Nang Beach: Hot Sunny Searching

February 28, 2011

sunny 90 °F

We arrived into Krabi Town around noon and after a quick lunch and some internet research we decided on Ao Nang Beach as a good place to stay. After a short trip on the local bus (truck with seats in the back) we arrived to the small beach town of Ao Nang. We talked to the local Scuba shops and got an idea of pricing and times. Ruby stayed at a local pub with internet while Tony walked around in the hot sun looking for a room for the night. We are on a tight budget and didn’t want to spend more than we had to. I think Tony must have walked around to just about every hotel in town until we found SeaWorld hotel for $20 a night. After a long night and day of walking all over, the cost was worth it to have a hot shower and clean clothes! The food on the main road was a little expensive compared to what we have been paying but then again we’ve been to some of the cheapest places on the planet! I don’t know what we’re going to do when we make it to New York and have to pay over $20 for an entree? After a dinner of pizza and salad we went back to the dive shops and decided on three dives on Sunday with Scuba Addicts and called it an early night to try and recover for all that traveling!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 02:10 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Thailand: Crabby On Our Way to Krabi

February 27, 2011

sunny 88 °F

We woke up today frantically packing and running out of our room at 7:30am . . . oh but we forgot that we’re on Cambodian time and 7:30am really means 8:30 am when you’re taking the bus back to Thailand! Everything was running smooth until we got to the Thai border and had to switch to a minibus. . . .oh yes, there’s a reason they call it a MINI-bus! A 4 hour ride with 17 people packed in along with all the HUGE backpacker backpacks and of course our small carry-ons--this ended up being a very uncomfortable ride :) Not to mention the fact that these bags weighed a ton and the mini-bus shocks seemed to be shot since Tony’s head nearly hit the ceiling every time we went over a bump in the road! Thankfully we got back to Bangkok in enough time to do a fitting check on Tony’s new suit before catching a tuk-tuk to the train station. Now we find ourselves chatting with an Italian guy living in Berlin but here to learn Thai massage. He’s been living in Thailand for a year and we don’t think he has any plans of going home soon. This has to be one of the best parts about traveling. We love meeting new people and chat about their life experiences! For the moment the train looks pretty empty with lots of legroom. We are making our way down to Krabi which should take about 11 hours on the train followed by a 2 hr bus ride ($23/pp total), it’s funny, at the start of the trip that might have sounded like a long time. . but nowadays that’s just an average day :)

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 01:00 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Cambodia: Siem Reap: A Concert at the Bayon Temple

February 26, 2011

sunny 88 °F

With our newfound fear of sharks and lions (thank you very much Discovery Channel) we decided to stay in and do some research on our next destinations. . . We ate another delicious bowl of noodle soup while sitting over the laptop looking at pictures of Krabi. Time passed by really quickly and soon it was time to head out to the ruins for the concert at the Bayon Temple. We thought we’d be sneaky and see a few ruins first (at no charge of course) so we left at 3pm even though the concert didn’t start until 6pm (that’s 7pm Cambodian time) and explored some more of the Angkor Tom before the show. Katharina and Andreas met us and we found got great seats. What a unique experience for all of us---we got to see the Bayon Temple (smiling Buddhas) lit up at night—something most locals don’t even get to see! The Cambodian music concert got better towards the end when they added traditional dancing to the music :) Andreas actually went INSIDE the temple at night. . of course no one was guarding it. . this is Cambodia! Tony was a little too nervous and didn’t want to end up on “Locked up Abroad”. . see I told you we’ve been watching waaaaaaay too much Discovery Channel! :) We headed back into town to grab lychee martinis and some good Chilean wine (a luxury in SE Asia) on our last night in Cambodia. Tony and I experimented with the free “fish spa” at our hotel where the fish come up and eat the dead skin off of our feet. . before meeting back up with Andreas (who hadn’t been eaten by a shark or locked up for sneaking into the temple). We exchanged photos and said our sad goodbyes and wished them well on the next 8 months of their trip!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 01:51 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Cambodia: Siem Reap: Talented Orphans and a ---FOODIE ALERT

February 25, 2011

sunny 90 °F

We were feeling a bit lazy this morning so we leisurely ate noodle soup for breakfast while working on the blog. By the way, prior to this trip I don’t think either of us had EVER eaten noodles for breakfast . . . it turns out its pretty yummy and not as gross as it sounds! Afterwards we headed to town . . . Siem Reap is great because you can really get just about anything you need here at a reasonable price, when the French colonized this area—they definitely left their influence behind. We’ve found great imported wines, cheeses, and pharmaceuticals (hadn’t seen the brand name Advil anywhere else). We had the MOST TERRIFIC goat cheese, pesto and mushroom sandwich-YUM at a French influenced place called Café de La Paix.

It really makes us smile to think about the real highlight of our day which was visiting an orphanage where the kids actually perform traditional Cambodian dances every night at 6:30pm. There are other traditional dance shows in town but of course Ruby wanted to visit the orphanage. It was great! There were kids as young as 5 years playing roles in the show . . . so cute as little monkeys in the tale of the Ramayana. The ACODO orphanage which was created to assist disabled kids and orphans in Cambodia is a terrific cause! We are no connoisseur of traditional Cambodian dancing but the kids are really talented and we were really impressed with their dance moves and costumes! They performed a section of the Ramayana as well as the traditional “peacock dance”. Afterwards all the kids came by to play with us and say thank you for visiting. If and when you go to Cambodia, we would like you to promise us that you will visit this orphanage. They accept any donation for the performance; it is such a terrific cause and an amazing experience which I don’t think either of us will soon forget! After all the fun we were definitely hungry and met up with Katharina and Andreas for a BBQ dinner and Ruby tried the green mango salad (YUM!). Don’t forget to ask for red chillies though because it’s not as good without them. We all indulged in acupressure massages before walking home!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:14 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Cambodia: Siem Reap: Angkor What?

February 24, 2011

sunny 88 °F

Getting up when it’s still dark outside isn’t easy . . . but we had seen some amazing photos of Angkor Wat at sunrise (thanks to Tony Do and Hong) so we were motivated to roll out of bed at the ungodly hour! The four of us met our personal guide Wandy at 5am ($25/day total including the premium for sunrise) and we all hopped on a tuk-tuk ($12/day total) out to the temples. We definitely needed a flashlight because of the uneven ground! Once we arrived we sat down and Wandy told us about the history of Angkor Wat and how many of the temples in Cambodia have wavered between being Hindu or Buddhist temples depending on the reigning king. Inside we would later see evidence of statues/carvings being defaced if they didn’t belong to the “right religion” of the time. Angkor Wat itself was originally a Hindu temple devoted to the god Vishnu. We spent hours exploring the temple and hearing stories. Wandy is a terrific guide and even walked us through the epic tale of the “Ramayana/Ramakien” which is intricately carved on the first level of Angkor Wat! Tony and I knew the story from Bali and India but both Andreas and Katharina were really impressed because they’d seen so many murals/carvings in Myanmar about it but hadn’t heard the story yet. After climbing some extremely steep stairs to explore the third level of the temple we headed off to one of the eeriest temples ever. The huge tree roots which seem to be slowly overtaking the temple! Ta Prohm is also known as the “Tomb Raider” temple because there’s a scene where Angelina Jolie jumps out of the water at this temple. The next temple was fairly simple compared to the others but there were TONS of stairs to climb to reach the top—of course we couldn’t resist climbing to the top as you can see.

By sunset we were at Ruby and Wandy’s favorite temple—The light was just beautiful at the Bayon Temple aka “smiling Buddha temple”, there are 54 towers with a smiling Buddha face on all 4 sides—216 faces in total! Each one was different and we had a fun time playing with pictures and exploring the complex. In our last few minutes of daylight we explored one more temple and had the whole place to ourselves :) After that long exhausting day the four of us had some Mexican food with refreshing mango margaritas (not bad for Cambodia). We had made a “date” with a fun group of people that we kept running into. We picked X Bar because they had a skateboard ramp on the roof. Tony skated and played pool for a bit with the boys while Sinead (a real estate agent from Dublin) and Ruby had a blast drinking delicious (and affordable) white wine while trading travel stories! We were thinking about heading back to Thailand but kept seeing signs for a concert coming up in a couple days so we decided to stay!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 04:20 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Thailand-Cambodia: Welcome to Scam-bodia –FOODIE ALERT

February 23, 2010:

sunny 88 °F

It’s a good thing we packed our bags last night because we’re up at 7am and in desperate need of some bad coffee to wake up. We’re leaving Bangkok heading for Cambodia so we’ll have to try and meet up with Nancy’s friends from Bangkok and aunt Jackie’s cousin Annouchka when we get back! Our research on crossing the border into Cambodia via bus talked about all kinds of scams, people trying to charge excess amounts for the visa on arrival, crazy long waits for buses and the whole process taking as long as 18hrs. The bus was great and it took about 4 hours to reach the Cambodian border and we knew the scam games were about to begin when the bus turned right even though the sign said the border was to the left. The bus pulled into a restaurant and the driver told us that they would be doing our visas as we had lunch and it would cost $40. We had been reading up on this and knew that it only cost $20 (and bring US Dollars to avoid a terrible conversion rate). It was a little confusing but we meet up with a couple named Andreas and Katharina who also knew about this scam and agreed to split a cab to Siem Reap. The border was a little crazy and everyone from the employees at the window to the person in the bathroom expected a tip to do the most basic of tasks. There was a man in a uniform pointing at a small post-it note on the desk asking for an extra 100 baht ($3) each just to hand your passport in a window. We didn’t give him the extra 100, they weren’t happy but at least we didn’t have to pay and still got our visas on arrival! After crossing the border we were then told to take a small bus to another bus stop to get a cab. They also try to get you to exchange your money at that bus station—don’t do it! The exchange rates are terrible and U.S. dollars are widely accepted in Siem Reap. The cabs may have been a scam but since they were the same price people talked about online $45 total to Siem Reap we decided to book one. We don’t really know if this was a real cab because as soon as we pulled out of the parking lot he stopped and took off the magnetic “taxi” stickers. The cab made several random stops on the way into town trying to get us to buy overpriced stuff but we already knew the scam and told him to keep going. We arrived into town and the taxi stopped at a tuk-tuk location where they told us about their great deals on hotels. We had been talking about Andreas and Katharina about their hotel and decided we would go check it out. The Palm Garden Lodge was great—friendly service, clean, 5-10 min walk to Pub Street, free breakfast and at only $9/night we couldn’t beat it. After settling in, the four of us took the free tuk-tuk down to Pub Street for a traditional Khmer dinner at “Traditional Khmer Food” restaurant which is an the main alley off of pub street—by far the best Khmer/Cambodian food we had during our time in Cambodia. The food is similar to Thai food but not as spicy. The fish amok, Khmer chicken curry and spring rolls were super delicious. Don’t forget to ask for extra red hot chilli peppers like Ruby and Andreas always do!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:14 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Thailand: Bangkok: All Budda-d Out---FOODIE ALERT

February 22, 2010

sunny 93 °F

We started our day off with a trip to a travel agent to plan our trip to Cambodia tomorrow. We agreed on a bus going to the border then a taxi into Siem Reap (cost $25/pp total). Bangkok is famous for custom made suits and Tony really wanted to get one made. We had a good idea of price because our tuk-tuk driver took us to just about every suit shop in the city yesterday! We picked out a color, style, and after a quick sizing the suit was in the process of being made. . it looks like Tony’s picking out a new Jedi Master Outfit but he’s actually just picking between different colors of fabric! :) We definitely wanted to go see the Grand Palace today and on the walk over the tuk-tuk drivers would tell us that it’s too late and the Grand Palace is closed today or that it’s a “special religious day” and the Palace is closed. This is a big scam and we’re not falling for it twice! :) After walking around the walls of the palace we found the entrance and realized that all Tuk-Tuk drivers are full of it and just want you to get in with them to go get a suit made. The Grand Palace was amazing albeit expensive for SE Asia, with more detail than the photos can capture! There are too many buildings and chedis/spires to count. We had a lot of fun exploring the complex. We also visited the Emerald Buddha which is supposed to be the most revered Buddha in Thailand. Ruby loves that he has 3 different outfits made entirely of gold and they are changed depending on the season. Just around the corner was Wat Pho (home of the Reclining Buddha). It was 4pm and we again stopped to ask directions from what looked like a city employee and she told us that it closes at 4:30 and there is just not enough time to see it . . . but she would like to recommend a city tour with a tuk-tuk. We told her “it’s ok we would just like to see the gates.” She pointed us is the direction, told us to hurry and off we walked. If you plan on going, the temple is open till 5pm everyday and the massage school is open till 6pm. Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest wats (monastery or temple) in Thailand. The gold-plated reclining Buddha is 46 meters long and 15 meters high and is designed to illustrate the passing of the Buddha into nirvana. The feet and eyes are engraved with mother-of-pearl decoration, and the feet show the 108 auspicious characteristics of the true Buddha. Tony’s feet only show 108 characteristics of why you should get monthly pedicures! :) The complex has over 1000 Buddha images and after walking around we can safely say that we are totally Buddha-d Out! We were only a short boat ride from China Town so we watched the sunset in a crowded river ferry and made our way to explore some more of Bangkok. We walked around town “following our nose” until we found a street vendor (Mung Korn Khao Noodle) with a long line of locals waiting for their noodle soup with pork and dumplings. All we can say is YUM! Afterwards just down the street we found what we consider to be the best mango with coconut sticky rice in Thailand, mmmm yellow mangos from Thailand are not fibrous at all and super sweet!! Then local bus number 53 (cost 7 baht p/p) back to Khao San Rd where we got asked if we’d like some “ping-pong” of course Tony is always down for a good game but. . . we misunderstood that the taxi drivers weren’t talking about “ping-pong” . . . they were talking about “patpong” which is the red-light district and not something either of us is interested in! Tony’s Uncle Joey cracked up when we told him the story and knew exactly what we were talking about which we hope means he’s well traveled! :)

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:09 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Thailand: Clearly Newbies in Bangkok

February 21, 2010

sunny 92 °F

We wonder if the phrase “being taken for a ride” comes from our experience today. After breakfast we really wanted to head off the Grand Palace which is just a short walk away from our hotel since we’re staying in the Old District. On our walk over we encountered a nice tuk-tuk driver that told us the Grand Palace was closed during lunch (12-2pm) and to come on a tour of some other great temples with him for only 30 baht (that’s less than $1 US). We thought he was great and felt like smart travelers, having just saved ourselves a long walk on this HOT and humid day. We were taken to several beautiful Buddhist temples including one with a Buddha statue over 30 meters tall as well as the Sitting Buda Temple located near the flower market. This was a small complex of buildings, one housing a golden Buddha sitting with his legs crossed. You can buy gold leaf at the temples to apply to small Buddha statues—which makes for neat pictures. As part of the deal he took us to the T.A.T. Government Information Office to talk about travel around Thailand and over to Cambodia. The prices there were a little high so we decided to do a little research and come back later! We also went to the Marble Palace (mainly white and orange colored in the pics) which was our favorite for today. We could have admired the architectural details, gold gilding, and endless Buddha statues for hours. Ruby was inspired and started reading Siddhartha which is the story of the spiritual journey of a boy known as Siddhartha from India during the time of the Buddha. Aha, now for the catch---we were hungry and exhausted from the heat and instead of taking us to dinner like we requested, our tuk-tuk driver insisted on taking us to some shops that make custom suits and jewelry . . . he would be getting a large commission if we purchased anything. Of course these shops have inflated prices to compensate for the commissions they pay drivers. So we didn’t buy a thing! He was unhappy and so were we. Lesson learned: Do not accept any unsolicited advice in Bangkok. You’d think we would know better after all this travelling but this just proves that there’s always room to learn! We’ll tell you more about that tomorrow. . . Finally he dropped us off and we were ready for dinner followed by our daily foot massage. We had a delicious dinner of Thai street food: pad-Thai and a spicy noodle soup which was JUST PERFECT! :)

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:40 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Thailand: Bangkok: Tuk-Tuk, Tuk-Tuk, Tuk-Tuk?

February 20, 2010

sunny 92 °F

Our flight landed and we were starved—especially since Ruby hadn’t really had any food (that she could keep down) in about 24 hours. Despite Ruby’s attempt to be restrained and order something mild/bland since she was recovering . . . we ended up eating delicious pad-thai sprinkled with crushed red chilies. . YUM! We love Thailand already. After that we were on the hunt for the perfect hotel . . . it’s terrible but several different people tried to steer us into a tuk-tuk to the “T.A.T.” Tourist Office to book a hotel through them with threats that the Khao San area was not safe and the we would get robbed or something worse. Of course that put us on high alert but Tony went all around the Khao San district anyway and we decided on a place for $16/night including air conditioning, hot water and a cable television just a few blocks off of Khao San Road?! That’ll save us $$ for all the massages we plan on getting :) On our walk over to the hotel we saw a muay-thai boxing studio. . maybe we’ll do some sessions later?? After relaxing in the air-conditioning until the sun went down we noticed our stomachs growling so we headed out. On our way out we were again bombarded with drivers asking us if we needed a tuk-tuk. This area of town is really busy with vendors and massage spots but we like it already because the vendors are not very pushy and we find Thai people to be very “friendly, smiley and happy”! We ate some spicy som-tam (unripened papaya salad), sautéed morning glory and yellow curry with rice for dinner while chatting with Sharon a French-Canadian woman who is visiting Thailand for the 5th time. She gave us lots of great advice about her personal favorites and we did our best to convince her to visit India sometime . . . she’s still a little nervous about the hygiene issues there since she gets sick really easily. We couldn’t resist stopping for foot massages on our way back to the hotel—especially when a Thai guy started to speak to Ruby in Hindi—well, actually he’s from Nepal (if you ever see an Asian looking person speaking Hindi, they’re usually from Nepal).

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:52 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

India: Mumbai: Paying for the Sangria

February 19th, 2011

sunny 88 °F

Today we ones again packed all of our stuff and checked out of our hotel room. It made packing a lot easier now that we sent some stuff back. Well, Tony didn’t even have to stand on our bags to close the zippers! Tony hopes Ruby will not think of the extra space as “room to buy stuff”. We then took a walk down the crowded street to Falafel’s restaurant near India Gate. It was good but it wasn’t Falafel Drive-Inn (San Jose Restaurant). It’s our last day and we wanted to see a little of the city before our flight so we started a walking tour listed in the Lonely Planet India book. There are a lot of amazing buildings in Mumbai and if you didn’t know you would think you were in Europe. Ruby hadn’t felt well all day and as we walked around she started feeling a little more ill. When Ruby started throwing up on the street we decided to rethink our plan of staying out all night and going directly to the airport from the bars. We checked back into our hotel so Ruby could take and nap and try to recover before our flight. Other than a mild upset stomach this is the first time either of us has been really sick from food. Tony got some dinner at FoodInn and went on the lookout for BRAT diet items (Bananas, Rice, Apples and Toast) for Ruby. We had come prepared and Ruby medicated herself with some cipro and compazine. By 1 am she was feeling much better and the nausea was under control. We took a taxi along the water to the airport and headed off to Thailand. Luckily Ruby didn’t have any further episodes but we think it was probably the fruit in the sangria!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:12 Archived in India Comments (0)

India: Mumbai: Lightening the Load—FOODIE ALERT

February 18th, 2011

sunny 82 °F

Soapy water in bucket works well for hand washing clothes! It’s so hot in Mumbai that we were confident they would air-dry quick. Then we packed up everything that we don’t need or that we accumulated on the trip and took it to the post office to send to Tony’s brother Jeffrey in France. YAY! It turned out that we had been carrying an extra 26lbs for the last few weeks. It felt so good to get rid of all that stuff and we know it’s going to make packing tomorrow so much better. Feeling like we accomplished something we rewarded ourselves with the crispy treat chicken again at FoodInn. If you ever get the chance to eat there please do because it was just as good as yesterday and maybe as good as tomorrow? :) Once you’re done with shopping and you’re still walking down shopping streets you need to learn how to avoid the persistent vendors, our advice: look straight ahead, do not make eye contact, and ignore all requests to check out their wares. There is nothing wrong with this and it is not considered rude so don’t feel bad :) We stopped off at a small coffee shop to update our blog but Tony started a conversation with Tony and Sara from Amsterdam so drank beer and talked instead! He’s makes independent films and was planning on doing a project in Goa. They had just arrived in India so we exchanged stories and gave them some suggestions. We returned to Moshe’ for a pesto chicken salad dinner, just up the road from India Gate. We met up with Tony and Sara again at a small bar called the Woodside Inn. The two Tonys and Sara had beers and Ruby had her first sangria in months—and if you recall Mendoza Argentina you know how much she likes sangria! :) It was pretty good, red wine with fresh fruit in it, but you would be surprised at how many countries can mess that up! Tony and Sara called it an early night and we decided with our late flight out tomorrow we should too. We hope you they have a great trip in India and we hope weill see them in New York?

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:10 Archived in India Comments (0)

India:Mischievous Monkeys in Elephant Caves--FOODIE ALERT

February 17th, 2011

sunny 84 °F

After an 11 hour train ride we arrived at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Train station in Mumbai around 6:30am. Walking off the train we instantly realized that we were back into the hustle and bustle of the city. As we got into a taxi we were surprised by all the European influenced architecture. It was Kirk’s last day in India and we had no idea where to go but Kirk had stayed at a cheap and clean hotel called Al-Hijaz ($18/night) in Colaba the last time he was in town. This turned out to be a great location, just around the corner from the Gateway of India and the boats going over to Elephanta Island. We all showered and had an amazing brunch with french toast and a pesto chicken salad at Moshe’s. It sounds like a crazy combination but when you’ve been traveling around India for the last month and so excited just to see some of your fave non-Indian food on the menu. We then hopped on the “locals” boat to Elephanta Island which takes about an hour from the docks. The island is famous for the rock carvings inside caves on the hillside. This place was amazing and we felt like it looked like a smaller version of Petra, Jordan but we haven’t been there yet so we’ll let you know. The main attraction is a large open room about 200’x200’ with detailed wall carvings on all four sides: one featuring a huge beautiful three headed Hindu God Lord Shiva, as creator, protector and destroyer of the universe. Tony was not having luck with monkeys, first he nearly got mauled by a papa monkey when he was taking pictures of the babies and then later another monkey ran up and grabbed a coke bottle out of his hand. Tony tried to chase the little bugger but the monkey hissed and showed his fangs. We thought it would be best if the monkey got away with it since Tony never got his rabies shots! After practically having to drag Ruby down the steps through the gauntlet of sales booths we made it back onto our boat. We decide it had been a long day and why not treat ourselves? So we splurged and spent the extra 40 cents to upgrade to the nicer boat. Kirk still had some shopping to do before the trip home so we walked down Bhagat Singh Road which is another gauntlet of street vendors and small shops selling you everything from shawls to saffron. Ruby got the most amazing shiny sparkly flip-flops and Kirk finally got his elephant inside of an elephant inside of an elephant :) We then stopped for lunch at the FoodInn which Kirk recommended. It was sooo good and the crispy treat chicken appetizer was amazing and definitely something we will have again before we fly out! We continued to shop, haggling for clothes, jewelry and things that we didn’t even want. Bargaining tip for the bazaars in Mumbai: always offer 50% of what the vendor says first. You will usually get at least 30-40% off of their initial offer . . .and if they’re not willing to budge, there’s usually a vendor with same exact product just at the next stall over! It was fun but out of money and with Kirk waiting for us back at the room it was time to call it a day. Back at the room, we watched as he tried to stuff everything he’d just purchased into his overstuffed bag and thought “maybe we should ship some stuff home?” . After sending Kirk off we walked around town enjoying the people watching and stopped to get some pani-puris and fresh fruit for dinner. For the record: Yes Tony ate pani-puris off the street multiple times in India and no he did not get sick.

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:27 Archived in India Comments (3)

India: Goa: Epileptic Flamingos on a Train

February 16th, 2011

sunny 88 °F

We started our day with yoga at a small studio (more like a shack) on the beach with Lola. This time she was teaching Vinyasa Flow. The class was great and but some of the moves were a little advanced for us. Ruby tried not to laugh since Tony was standing in front of her trying to do one of the poses. She thinks the name was “The Epileptic Flamingo”. .well at least that’s what it looked like! He blamed his bad ankle but I blame over 3 months of traveling and eating well. :) We then grabbed a great breakfast with Kirk and started packing. Tony managed to somehow get all of our stuff into the bags but he practically had to jump on them to get the zipper closed. We had a long taxi ride to the train station. . . there was no way we were going to take 4 consecutive non-A/C buses again! We decided with the long trip that we would get some food at the train station before boarding. Don’t do this if you come to Goa! The food was horrible and we’re lucky that we didn’t get sick. The train was running an hour and a half late so we sat on the grass, shared photos, and talked to Kirk about what food he was looking forward to when he gets back to Oz. We had reserved great seats in A/C second class that turned into beds. This is a totally different train experience than the last one we took and we don’t think we can ever go back! We chatted with a family from Mumbai that were in the same cabin. They were so nice to share some of their homemade matis (salty snack) and ladoos (sweet sugary balls) with us. The hospitality in India is like no other. . . except Lawton Oklahoma says Tony :)

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:23 Archived in India Comments (0)

India: Goa: Yoga and Yummy Food---FOODIE ALERT

February 15th, 2011

sunny 88 °F

Ruby was up bright and early today excited about going to do some yoga. She woke both Tony and Kirk up just in time to run down the beach to Magic Park to catch a Kundalini yoga class. The class was taught by a really sweet young woman named Lola. Kundalini combines meditation with several poses. All of us are essentially beginners so it was really funny to watch. Ruby enjoyed it the most and her favorite was the “elephant walk” while Tony hated the “Dragon’s Breath” which involved panting like a dog with your tongue out , he thinks it should be called “Dog’s Breath” instead . . good thing nobody was recording this! Afterwards we found a great German breakfast place called Pum Pernickel and Tony tried some of the honey lemon ginger tea that Kirk had been drinking . . . really gingery! It was nice to find some good baked bread after all the rice and naan we’d been eating. We showered after lunch and of course Tony had to go boil water outside for Ruby's hot water. . that's love I tell you. Afterwards, we caught up on the internet for a few minutes before heading to the beach to read and drink our vodka-spiked Slice (a delicious mango drink available everywhere). Kirk met up with us on the beach and we did a little shopping. Tony sat and watched the sunset while Ruby decided she wanted to try an ayurvedic massage . . . it was wonderful. The woman massaging Ruby used jasmine scented oil, and hot poultices made of Indian medicinal herbs to relax the muscles. On our last night in Goa we went back to Ajay’s Mango Tree restaurant and tremendously enjoyed some more fresh seafood—Ruby got her masala prawns again while Tony and Kirk both shared a grilled tuna as well as two red snappers. . . and of course we all had a Hello to the Queen!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:17 Archived in India Comments (0)

India: Goa: Valentine’s Day—FOODIE ALERT

February 14, 2011

sunny 88 °F

We had a pretty mellow day today, doing exactly what you would expect when in Goa, NOTHING! Arambol Goa is not really India at all, you can wear skimpy clothing without being judged, there’s ample amounts of alcohol available (for cheap) and it’s mostly westerners.... so we took advantage and slept in, walked around and looked for places to eat and did some day-drinking. Not a lot to blog about when you do that. The Arabian Sea is warm and the sand is nice with a soft breeze and not too many skeeters (aka mosquitoes). Walking and relaxing on the beach, just the way we like our Valentine’s Days! As a mutual V-Day present Tony finally shaved his furry face--well technically he got a straight razor shave :) Ruby barely recognized him without the fur. We watched the sunset on the beach with all types of crazy performers: jugglers, fire throwers, hula hoops and dancers that you would expect in Goa. We meet up with Kirk for dinner at Mango Tree on the beach, Ajay the owner was super nice and is a professionally trained chef and it showed in the food. The masala prawns were DELICIOUS. . they were so flavorful along with a simple fresh salad ! Kirk and Tony really enjoyed the fresh red snapper that had been caught that day. We may be eating here every day in Goa? It is truly a gift to have the opportunity to travel and to be eating on the beach with the love of my life . . . it is truly something we will never forget!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:09 Archived in India Comments (1)

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