Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Trip To India

Before I ramble on on this weeks post, I would like to wish all my Muslim readers and clients “Selamat Berpuasa”. For those who are wondering how to stay fit during the Ramadhan period, do hop over to Kasey Brown’s blog (fellow fitness blogger) as he did an excellent post on keeping fit during the fasting month. You can check it by clicking the link below:

Anyway, I just got back from my 8 day trip to India and boy… am I glad to be back. Do you know how to tell when a holiday sucks? When you can’t wait to come home – and that’s how I felt about this trip. OK, please don’t get me wrong. Its not like the trip was an absolute nightmare where I was sitting in a 1 star hotel with no water and food to eat and a mat for a bed. No, all that was fine. But as a holiday destination? That gets the thumbs down from me. Here are some things that I absolutely hate

Horn Horn Horn – Anyone who has been to India, the first thing you will notice when you step out of the airport is people love their car horns. If your horn doesn’t work, then your car is not fit to be on the road. Whenever you drive, please feel free to horn away at will to tell everyone and anyone – Hey I have a car with a horn. Beep beep. If you want to cut into somebody’s lane, blow your horn first. If somebody is trying to cut into your lane, horn at him. When you are coming to a stop at the traffic light, horn at the traffic light. If you are behind someone (which will be most of the time when you are driving), please horn to tell them you are behind. And even when there is no one else around, please check and re-check your horns every 30 seconds or so… to make sure its still working, so when you do get into any one of the situations above, you are sure your horn works.

Dust & dirt in your lungs – Yes, you read it right. The roads are amazingly dusty, sandy and dirty and the best part is, everyone (ok maybe 99.99% of them) like to drive with their windows down and no A/C – in an effort to save petrol. So any taxi you take will have the windows wound all the way down. I am perfectly fine with windows rolled down except that the air is so dusty and filled with sand particles that I kept breathing in sand and dust all day. I am not joking. The air there is really bad and you are constantly smelling dirt and exhaust fumes all the time. Go to a shopping complex and pick up a shirt wrapped in plastic…guess what, the damn plastic is covered in dust. No wonder they have to plastic wrap everything… even when its in an air conditioned shopping complex. It’s that dusty.

Kiasu-ness – Pooh, you thought Malaysians and Singaporeans are kiasu, try going to India. Everyone is always in a hurry and want to be first they will do anything. Look at the way they drive and you know what I mean. Its like a chaos in perfect symphony. Why? Because they weave in and out of traffic and you are absolutely sure you are going to bang someone or something, but yet you just never do. Its amazing. Driving the way they do takes skill. No pun intended here. I really mean it. They are some really skilled drivers. But people are just kiasu even when walking and queueing up to buy something. Enough times, people just cut my queue when I was lining up to buy stuff.

Here is what my itinerary looked like. I spent 2 nights in Bangalore (now called Bengaluru), 3 nights in Goa and then 2 more nights in Bangalore again before returning to KL. Bangalore is a big city and well known as a destination for shopping. If you do go to Bangalore, make sure you check out Commercial Street. It’s the Petaling Street of Bangalore. Besides that, there really isn’t much else to do in Bangalore. Do also check out their fast food joints like KFC & McDonalds. KFC has both a normal Zinger and a Vege Zinger. McDonalds doesn’t have a Big Mac but a Maharaja Burger, which is similar to the Big Mac, except the patties are made out of chicken. Besides that, I really couldn’t find much else to do around there. Oh yes, they have a Taco Bell in one of their malls. I sure miss that.

When we first arrived, we stayed in this hotel (it does not deserve the title of hotel - they should call it Rumah Tumpangan) called Sabari’s Inn (formerly known as Nilgiri’s Nest. This hotel was on the main road so we could hear all the honking all night long. YES, we didn’t get much sleep on the first night. Oh yah, and hot water in the shower ends by 8pm. If you want hot water after that, give the bell boy a call and 30 minutes later, he will be at your door step with 2 pails of hot water. The floor was so dusty (since it was on the main road) I actually wore my slippers everywhere. Check out the pics below. Doesn't this look like a rumah tumpangan?

Anyway I was totally disgusted with the service of this place, so the next day, me and wifey scouted around for another hotel. We found this small boutique hotel called Raintree and it was a real pleasant welcome. It was tucked away in one of the smaller roads, so no honking sounds in the middle of the night. Hot water 24 / 7 - yeah unlike the previous hotel, hot water here is not entitled to public holidays and nights off…and of course, they had Wi-Fi. For a nation that prides itself with IT, I am surprised how hard it was to find a decent internet connection. But this Hotel was far better and cheaper than our previous hotel. So we moved all our things over there and that became our base in Bangalore.

Goa – Oh Boy… here it comes. As most of you know, I am a huge fan of the beach. Before going on this trip, everyone told me things like:-

Goa is the place to be”, “You are in for a treat”, “It’s really happening man”, “You are absolutely going to love it”

To all my friends who suggested these quotes, sorry to disappoint everyone of you, but I actually thought Goa sucked. OK, sorry to use such harsh words, but the beach was filthy and covered in rubbish and that automatically gets a thumbs down from me. The so called happening bars weren’t that happening at all – I had the picture that it would be like Kuta Beach in Bali, but it was nothing like that all. There really wasn’t much to do. We stayed in Calangute area and we first thought that maybe we are in the wrong area. We checked the local newspaper and there were advertisements for Bars and Restaurants in Baga Beach. Did a quick map check and by road, Baga beach was about 4km a way, but if we walked on the beach, it was just 2.5km. So me and my wifey decided to trek it on foot trhough the beach. OK, sure enough there were many bars and restaurants around, but I dunno, the whole area really lacked the beach feel. It looked and felt like I was walking down Masjid India and not some beach area. Do you know what I mean? So that was a thumbs down too.

Despite the beach being filthy, I just had to dip my head in the water. The waters were really rough and they had life guards available. But we were only allowed to venture in knee deep. But yeah, I tossed and a turned in the water quite a bit but kept getting called back by the life guards who thought I was going in too deep. Oh yeah, one thing I did notice, the sea water in Goa is not as salty as some of the other beaches I have been too. I have no point with this statement, just thought I would mention it. Check out the size of the waves behind me.

One positive point to Goa, was that the hotel was beautiful. Check out the pictures below. The hotels name is Resort Terra Paiso.

So anyway, after Goa, we headed back to Bangalore and spent the last 2 nights there doing some last minute shopping we needed to. By this time I was just counting the hours left before we could head back and like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I am glad to be back home in Malaysia. Home Sweet Home.

All in all, I would not recommend Bangalore / Goa as a Holiday destination, unless you are into:-

1) Shopping for Indian themed items like sarees (other items are cheaper back here)

2) Going on a religious pilgrimage of some sort

3) Fancy breathing in dust and dirt

4) Enjoy analyzing the different types of rubbish that wash onto the beach

If you are not into any of the above, I really don’t think there is much for you to do in Bangalore & Goa. If you want good beaches, go to Bali, Krabi, Tioman. If you want to shop, go to Bangkok… its much cheaper to get there. Overall, this trip was a thumbs down for me. Of course, this is just my opinion, so I am open to hear everybody’s feedback on India even if you disagree with me on any of the points I made above – would love to hear your comments on this. So please share your opinions.


Aizan Suhaira said...

Welcome back!!

Yeah, I think my next beach destination will be Krabi.

And I have trouble imagining people cutting in front of you in a queue. I mean with those muscles... and they weren't afraid you might just thump them?

Rajan said...

aizan: yes krabi is a much better beach destination. You can go island hopping and stuff, which was not available in goa.
As for cutting queue, they dont care. Main potong je.

KevL said...

Oh my god, Rajan

I'm just half-way through your post and I just can't help but to say it again..

O.M.G. ..

Rajan said...

KevL: I hope you didn't just book tickets to Goa. :-P

Kasey Brown Fitness said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kasey Brown Fitness said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anfield devotee said...

Typical of a Lankan to complain bout everything on the mainland. Ye sounds like a whinging s'porean in malaysia!

(*snigger . . . cabut!*)

Rajan said...

Kasey: i think it comes down to peoples attitude and their culture as well. Do you know people still pee by the side of the road in india? So their attitude is that it is ok to do so and also culturally accepted.

AD: just presenting the facts macha. What me see is what me reports. :-P

azmy said...

Rajan bro,

Glad that you've came back.

From your description, I can see that 70% of your experience were quite unpleasant. My mother went to Calcutta a few years ago, & she too, had quite an uncomfortable trip.

The first half of your description really got into my attention. After reading it, I can almost immediately reflect on our own beloved country, Malaysia.

We, too, will end up like India, if these buggers in our Govt administration maintains the same working rate as today. Corruption will be at every nook & corner. Law enforcement? Certainly heard of that before. Chaos? Part of our daily routine. Civic-mindedness is gonna be just another thing that we used to learn in schools.

I'll be really dreaded if our future Msia will be leaning towards today's India :(

Rajan said...

Azmy: Gosh... i hope we don't become like that. But you are right... if we continue down the track we have been going, we might end up there too.

Kasey Brown Fitness said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ian yusof said...

I kinda like the country per se. Was there for two weeks and covered the golden triangle of agra, jaipur and delhi. Then spent another week in Kashmir. No doubt the country is dirty, but they have such rich culture.

ida said...

OMG! takutnya dengar cerita you...we will be going for 6 days trip to delhi, jaipur and agra next week...dunno what to expect...hopefully me and hubby make a right decision to visit that country...hehe...

Tejtara said...

Ganeshmal Tejraj ranges aid us in preparing a wide range of idli in most convenient manner. These are fabricated using finest quality raw material and customized as per the requirement of clients.

For More Details Visit