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Craig & Jeane 2010 Trip Report: Varanasi, Udaipur & Aurangabad + Bangkok

Craig & Jeane 2010 Trip Report: Varanasi, Udaipur & Aurangabad + Bangkok

Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 02:28 PM
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Thanks for the great report Craig. Looking forward to the pictures. It was wonderful to meet the two of you and we recall fondly our time together. If you are ever up here in our neck of the woods, Vancouver Island, give us a shout!!! May meet up again in Asia sometime too, you never know!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 08:07 PM
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fantastic all around....looking forward to the personal details when we meet up next month....

when will the furniture arrive?? 2-3 months?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 09:13 PM
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I'd like to get together with you live42day .....heading to the Island Mar 25. I have enjoyed your posts on you tube and your trip details. Staying in James Bay. Is that anywhere near you?
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 03:54 AM
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Well, I think you've turned a corner, Craig. Discovering the homestay phenomenon is quite an eye-opener. Bravo you two for being brave enough to take that Udaipur punt. I thought you'd like it.

The one thing that stands out about you both is your interest in others. Of course, if you are insulated, the only 'others' you meet tend to be tourist-approved 'others' or scam-meisters intent on those Hartford millions.

But if you jump out, as you've discovered, you can find yourself with the most interesting people. My enthusiasm for heritage hotels in odd places in India stems from this too - they are basically a home-stay with history.

But you get unique, rather than cookee-cutter. And you have to be ready to talk AND listen, be enthusiastic and play your part - somehow, I don't think these skills were beyond our intrepid travelers.

Looking at the pic of Madame in the website, I came to immediate conclusions about her and the house. I bet you did the same. Was she what you expected? I get the feeling you all got on famously.

You were very much separate from the normal tourist beat of Udaipur. Did you feel that was a disadvantage?

I guesss I've always thought that your Aurangabad journey was a decision made in haste and maybe some panic. To me it was kinda strange but no matter. That aside, would you recommend your experience at Lemon Tree? Was it too downmarket for you? Me - I think that chain is great. Particularly when I hear about that $400 for a night at the Delhi Radisson.

Uprading to business class is absolutely worth it in India. I'm amazed at your run of bad luck with timings and flight hassles. I've never had anything like that ever. Maybe it was Lord Shiva telling you something.

This is the key sentence:
'...I am struggling with the fact that we probably spent as much for our 2½ nights and 2 days in Bangkok as we did for Varanasi, Udaipur and Aurangabad combined...'

This is the corner, Craig. Inside your words is a whole different way of traveling. I can tell that trip wasn't quite your ideal one, but I think you were very intrepid going off market in search of the experience - and, to my delight, all three of those 'hotels' worked for you. It's a devil's bargain, isn't it? Swap safety and comfort for uncertainty, a 'unique' host and location.

I think it pays off.

Next time you go to Bangkok, maybe we should discuss a hotel change? lol. And pigs might fly. lol lol lol.

Thanks, of course, for the report. I've been waiting till you got to your conclusions. Very interesting reading, my friend.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 04:02 AM
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dogster, I could not have said it any better myself!!

(I'm heading down to SYD on Monday... how is the Aussie weather about now?)

Carol
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 05:11 AM
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Thanks, Dogster for the feedback - I was wondering if you had been following along...

To answer your questions:
1. We did get on well with Hemant, out hostess in Udaipur but I really had no pre-conceived notions about her before staying there. I think she put far more thought put into the furnishings than I expected to see - all those nice homey touches throughout added a great deal of charm to the place.
2. I remember looking down from City Palace at the folks hanging around the Lake Palace pool and thinking "So that's what the 'normal' tourists are doing in Udaipur..." Other than having to take an auto-rickshaw back and forth to town a couple of times a day, I saw no disadvantage to being off the normal tourist beat.
3. We stay at chains similar to the Lemon Tree in the US all the time - Marriott Courtyard, etc. We didn't find it to be too down-market at all. The Lemon Tree's restaurant in fact, was far better than we would find in similar properties at home. I didn't find out about the Lemon Tree near the Delhi Airport until the last minute. By then I had already told our exchange student's mom that we were staying at the Radisson. So I was reluctant to switch. The $400 included about $50 for the ladies' drinks.

Thanks again for reading.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 07:27 AM
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Great report Craig...I bet Jeane in anxious to get her furniture. Was it made or did she have to order it? We will wait patiently for the pictures...well..sort of.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 08:32 AM
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Thanks, Karen. The 3 pieces she bought in Thailand will be made-to-order.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 08:36 AM
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RIVET
James Bay is in Victoria which is about 2 hours from here. I am in Coombs, (our claim to fame is that we have goats on the roof of our local market)
We are heading for our place on the west coast that weekend, Ucluelet. How long are you staying in Victoria? Perhaps the next week sometime
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 08:48 AM
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Oh, I've been tracking your progress very carefully, all the way, Craig. You were always under Dogster's evil eye, just in case... I knew you were safe.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 10:12 AM
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The thing about wonderful travel writing is that you really don't notice how good it is until you're done reading. And then you realize that that you've got a crystal-clear image of what the writer has seen and heard and tasted. Thanks, Craig (and, of course, best wishes on the blue team's One-and-done event.)
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 11:15 AM
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Live42day,

We have been to Coombs on previous trips to Tofino and Uclulet... it's great market and we always stop for a snack and have a peek around. I particularly love Pacific Rim National Park and all the West Coast Art and architecture. I almost decided to join a friend for a trip to Tofino in April but am taking my daughter to Santa Monica that month instead.

Too bad, I am going home on Mar 28th so won't connect with you this trip. Just a quick Island fix for me - lunch at Red Fish, Blue Fish, drinks on the patio at the Oswego, Inner Harbour walks, yoga at Moksana, latte at Habit, tea tasting at Silk Road, dessert at Murchies, shopping at Munro's Bookstore, and if it rains then BC Museum or the aquarium in Sidney.

It's easy to get an itinerary for Victoria....I remain baffled about India and Burma though as I read the forum I find myself craving curry and wondering how to even begin to plan a trip. I think Kathie has the right idea. A ten year visa for India.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 12:22 PM
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Thanks for your report, Craig. All of the various flights and moving around made me tired - you and Jeane must have been exhausted!

I appreciate your comments about your less typical adventures. The homestay in particular sounds great.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 03:09 PM
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Very well done Craig as usual. Thanks for taking the time and effort. Sounds like you had an interesting time to say the least. Hope to see you in BOS this year.

You will be happy with the furniture from RTH. Every day I look at ours I think of Thailand.

Aloha!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 03:37 PM
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Craig, your last comparisons are very interesting. It's difficult to rate vacations and journeys in different countries, but you have given us some things to loll around. I have only done one homestay - in Honduras - enjoyed the family, not the food, and would have felt uncomfortable staying at the only upscale hotel with a pool in that particular town.

I might not have tried staying with a family in India, but you have certainly changed my mind.

Great insight!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 03:40 PM
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Wonderful -- and inspiring -- report. We thoroughly enjoyed our heritage hotel stays -- climbing up lofty stairs notwithstanding. We stayed at Lemontree for one night in Delhi. It was okay -- not stellar. Staff very solicitous.

Thinking about our next Indian trip. Dogster: are you there? Should we do Kolkatta, Bengal, East India?? Or south to Aurangabad, Ellora, Meenakshi, Goa, etc.?? Thoroughly confused. Ram suggested Kashmir, but MP will be unlikely to go to a place with active battles underway. He has strong instincts for self preservation.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 04:53 PM
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Start in Kolkata, indiana. Great city for those with eyes to see. This links you to Ganges, Hoogli river, Darjeeling, Sikkim, Assam, Bhutan, Kathmandu - let alone Orissa and Bangladesh. It's a very different glimpse of India.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 05:03 PM
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I like that Dogster:
Great city for those with eyes to see
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 07:00 AM
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I'll do some research and come back with questions. The political situation in AP is something to be concerned about. And I'm looking for palaces, temples, and forts.
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 07:32 AM
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Craig: Do you feel this trip was a good substitute for Nepal?
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