India








1/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
01 Feb 2006
35447 km

Today we fixed some things for the car. We got our temporary sunscreens edged and completed. Left an order to get custom made mosquito nets for all windows and the door. Bert made a permanent hold for the tripod that had been tumbling round the car since the trip started. Last but not least dismantled the roof hatch to clean it from dirt and sand from all of the dessart areas we have passed this far on our journey. Finally we are able to see the sky through out roof window!










2/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
02 Feb 2006
35447 km

Now we felt it was time to make plans for our next stage of our journey. Our plan is to travel south east towards Bangalore, head for the mountains and the nice old colonial hill stations and then continue the east coast up to Nepal.

Of course we tried to fit in as many of the worth while spots we got from Paulo Gokhale that we met at Camilssons and from Günter and Christine that have traveled the world for the last 15 years. Information about good spots from people like this is really valuable – it saves you from wasting time at the wrong places.










3/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
03 Feb 2006
35447 km

We got new neighbors today from Switzerland. They told us they were going to ship their car from Chennai to Malaysia, and that they had found a reasonable offer from an agent in Chennai. They did not have any references of the agent but he seemed to be reliable. They are to ship their car this spring and offered to send us an e-mail afterwards telling us the procedure, exact cost and if the agent did a good job. That’s super, because we plan to ship our car the same route in the autumn and we need to find a reliable agent that can offer a really good price for us to be able to afford it. We have herd that the cost can be as much as 3 000 Euro – and that is far too much for our budget.

In the evening we had an improvised party together with a bunch of out neighbors. It ended out to be kind of a cocktail cabinet clearance. And a party like that can only end in one way…












4/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
04 Feb 2006
35447 km

Bert had his worst hangover in 25 years today. Some of our party friends felt the same way we discovered…

We took the car to the work shop in Magao. In the beginning it felt like a kind of revival meeting with rituals and Yes chanting. You can read about the work shop at www.mpowermagic.com. But already after the first day we were really pleased about what we had learnt this far, even if we only had seen a glimpses of what yet to come.
















5/2 2006 Benaluim Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 15,90', Long E 73° 55,02'
Today: 89.6 °F ( +32 °C)
05 Feb 2006
35503 km

The second day of the work shop was in Panjim, the capital of Goa. On our way there we had to stop for a while to make our homework or “Fun work” as they call it. We had to memorize 20 new ”Pegwords” by dancing and screaming the words out load. We had to do this for at least one minute a word. The Indian people passing by while we were doing this made really big eyes and wondered why we were acting so strange.

The work shop in Panjim was a big group of 120 persons. It is clearly an event for the upper class. Most people were doctors, lawyers and thing like that and children of those. I have never ever herd a Swedish 10 year old say like; ”My major goals are to be a top student with the best of grades, a popular and reliable friend - and to read 100 books before this year is over.”

The revival meeting feeling continued today also, but we really like the teacher – he knows his things. Today we got 20 new pegwords to learn that was supposed to be combined with the ones we leant yesterday. We also got to learn two mind mapping techniques and how to build up a story to memorize 20 randomly chosen words. The key to success is to build the story on Action, Out of size and make it completely crazy.

The day ended with getting a lot of ”Funwork” that had to be done before next meeting in a week. The ”Funwork” will take us a lot of time next week.










6/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
06 Feb 2006
35503 km

Today we started our “Funwork”. As exercise we choose to do 30mintes of swimming. After that we crawled for two minutes at the beach, while looking at our neighbours puzzled faces. The trick is to crawl for two minutes a day; but not like an ambler as many people do. This exercise builds up the connection between left and right brain.

After that we read a book upside down for ten minutes. This we are also supposed to do every day. We also got loads of new pegwords to learn while screaming and dancing, they are supposed to be combined with the 40 words we already learnt. Our neighbours will definitely think we have lost it after a week doing all this. But if this is the way to get ourselves a super brain – we will do it!










7/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
07 Feb 2006
35622 km

Today we had a farewell party for Daniel. He has been here for two months visiting Christian and Elisabet who lives a couple of cars away. Christian and Elisabet stay while Daniel goes back to Austria. We ha a barbeque party at the beach with most of our neibours. Thank god this party was not as wet as the one last week…










8/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
08 Feb 2006
35622 km

The homework with the “Funwork” continued today. There are a lot of things that need to be done every day; dance the ”peggwords”, crawl at the beach, exercise for at least 30 minutes, meditation, do mind-mappings over different subjects, read upside down and juggle.

When they say garlic bread in India they really mean it.












9/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
09 Feb 2006
35622 km

We are hunting for an agent that will give us a fair price for a shipping between Chennai and Kuala Lumpur. We are trying to do this together with Christian and Elisabet. They also need a high-cube container for their car. A high container is also big in other senses, and we think that it would be possible to fit both of our cars in one high-cube container. The price we got in the e-mail from the agent today was 1100 Euro, plus the custom fees and the port fees in Kuala Lumpur that would approximately be around 600 Euro. Per car this would add up to approximately 850 Euro.

We had to phone the agent to ask him complementary questions. But to speak on the phone with some one speaking Indian English is really difficult – if not to say impossible!










10/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
10 Feb 2006
35622 km

Got an SMS from Bert´s parents. They were very worried on our behalf. The security situation had grown worse in India concerning the caricature of the prophet Mohammed. But we assured them that we were safe here in Goa. We had not run in to any problems at all concerning this matter. We had just heard some rumors that Danish and Swedish people are not that popular around the world right now. We also were told that people from Switzerland also got their share of the unpopularity, because a lot of people think Sweden and Switzerland are one and the same country.












11/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
11 Feb 2006
35622 km

Workshop again. Today we got some tips about speed-reading, refined our mind mapping-techniques and learnt how to use it systematically to make the studies more efficient.

Besides that we also got to EAT FIRE ! This was a way to get over our limitations to feel that noting is impossible. We got one cotton ball each that was on fire. We were supposed to stick in our mouth and then close it. After a couple of seconds the fire was out. Please, don’t get any ideas about trying this at home, now that we have told you how it works!
















12/2 2006 Benaluim Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 15,90', Long E 73° 55,02'
Today: 89.6 °F ( +32 °C)
12 Feb 2006
35686 km

Exam day; after four intense workshop days. Catharina was one of them who got to hand out the diplomas. We have learnt several techniques to improve our memory and how to remember very long and extremely difficult Indian names. But the most important insight was that our brain can not tell the difference from dreams and reality. This means we can program our brain with exactly what we want. We are now going to create our own Dream Album. An other important thing we picked up was to do one thing at the time, and completely focus on that particular thing.

In the evening we got invited to the house one of our classmates, Anupama. She lived with her daughters in a very modern and fancy, fenced housing area. Anupama works as an interior decorator, which was clearly visible in stylish apartment. But for the moment she had time off to write a book.












13/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
13 Feb 2006
35860 km

Today we took the bike in to Chawdi to visit the tailor, vegetable market, Internet café, hardware store, stationer, electronics store, carpenter and finally the grocery store. After a shopping round like this the day is almost gone.

But Catharina managed to a have a swim in the sunset. Suddenly a dolphin surfaced about 20 meters in front of her. Super cool!












14/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
14 Feb 2006
35860 km

On Valentines Day we wanted to do something special. We decided to eat our canned Swedish meatballs that Cina had brought us from Sweden.

We could not even imagine that Felix canned meatballs could taste that heavenly! The only thing that was missing to make this moment and meal complete was Swedish lingon berry jam.

When we sat down to eat our neibours Valter and Nicole from Austria discovered that we were having meatballs. Nicole just loves Swedish meatballs and goes to IKEA just meatballs.

After Nicole tasted one meatball she popped the medical question; ”Do you want lingon berry jam with the meatballs?”. What are the odds for meeting a meatball loving Austrian at a beach in India that have a jar of real Swedish lingon berry jam from IKEA?










15/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
15 Feb 2006
35860 km

We have decided to try to translate the English ”pegword” system we learnt to Swedish. It is more natural for us to use the system in Swedish. Today we have started the work to translate it and we fell that it is possible, but it will take a good deal of work to do it. This is something that we can plod through while being on the road. In about a week we will hit the road again.










16/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
16 Feb 2006
35860 km

Today we went to Pepper Valley to have lunch. A quite laid back place to stay if you want to get away from the sea fore a while, a few bamboo huts, plenty of hammocks and a small bar/restaurant with a view over the river.

On the way home we stopped to get our car washed. It is really hard to get the car properly washed in India. It does not matter how much you nag them about it. And when we asked them to wax the car they look at us like we were completely crazy.










17/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
17 Feb 2006
35860 km

Before going to Rudys work shop again Bert changed the glass in front of the light. This time to try to get the car properly washed, rubbed and waxed. The car finally got so clean and shiny that it looked like it came right from production line. But Bert got a bit scared when they started to go over the hood with sandpaper...

When he was at Rudy’s, he took the opportunity to get keys done for our back door. Up until now we have not even had one. And if the central locking would give up on us we would be in trouble.












18/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
18 Feb 2006
35860 km
.

This is probably the last day in a long time that we will have fresh bread delivered in the morning. Tomorrow we will hit the road again. The plan was to stay in Goa for a couple of months to relax and to digest all the experiences this far. Now we feel that we have relaxed long enough.

Today we have getting packed, cleaned and finished some of our unfinished projects. Now our car is cleaned up and polished on the inside and washed, rubbed and waxed on the outside and we feel eager and ready for the next part of our trip.

We have had a pleasant stay here at the beach with all the other travelers. And we have learned a lot just by talking to all of them. We have got valuable tips of where to go, how things work, and what things costs. Surely we will meet some of them again. Maybe in Nepal.
















19/2 2006 Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Lat N 15° 01,87', Long E 73° 59,43'
Today: 96.8 °F ( 36 °C)
19 Feb 2006
36085 km

After saying our goodbyes to the Agonda neighbors we left for Hampi. Entering Kanaka we could clearly see that we left Goa and entered another state. Now we were back in real India. In Karnaka they grow cotton and pepper fruits.

Right before Hampi we got kind of concerned about our situation as we drove slowly through the narrow and dark streets in Hospet. Again and again we had to drive through big groups of exited men jumping around in the streets accompanied of a suggestive drum beat. They were also carrying lit torches and a stuffed doll on a big stick.

We did not know what as going on and it felt kind of scary. As you probably understand we did not stop to take any photos this time. Arriving at the hotel we asked about the event. Not knowingly we had driven strait in to the crowd of the Muslim festival. Swedish people are not that popular among Muslims since the Mohammed caricature was published. And there we were in our car covered with Swedish flags and Sweden written all over it in big black letters…

Hearing that made us even more scared. This could have been a near death experience for us. If things would have gotten heated up we would not have been able to stand a chance against that big crowd of angry Muslims.














20/2 2006 Hampi, India
Lat N 15° 18,53', Long E 76° 28,71'
Today: 96.8 °F ( 36 °C)
20 Feb 2006
36461 km

Today we rented a guide and a Bajaj driver to take us around the 43 square kilometers Hampi area. There are lots of remains of temples and palace buildings from the gratest Hindi Imperia in India. But in 1565 a gang of Muslim Sultans went berserk, looted and destroyed most of it.

Our first stop was Queen’s Bath. At the palace we we came across a very well preserved water reservoir that was discovered as late as in 1984. In Vittala temple we listened to the music pillars. Our guide played us tunes. We also got to take a look at all the sculptures and relief’s that can found all over the Hampi area.

Finally we visited Virupaksha Temple were we both got blessed by the temple elephant Lakshimi. Very gently she put her trunk on our heads.














21/2 2006 Hampi, India
Lat N 15° 18,53', Long E 76° 28,71'
Today: 95 °F ( 35 °C)
21 Feb 2006
36461 km

Today we drove the remaining 300 kilometers to Bangalore. We went strait to the house our workshop leader Mr Murali Krishna. Already in Goa we promised him to give him the photos Bert took during the workshop.

We got to meet Murali´s wife Meera and their gorgeous daughter Mansi. In India it is customary for the family to live with the parents of the husband. We also got to meet Murali´s dad and brother.

They offered us to park in the street outside their house in one of the more posh areas in Bangalore. That was great for us, because it is always a bit tricky to find a good and safe place to stay in big cities when you have a car.

The Krishna’s are all vegetarians. In the evening Murali wanted to treat us for the best south Indian ”Idli” and ”Dosa” that Bangalore could offer. It was a street food meal that none of the fancy restaurants in Bangalore even come close to.
















22/2 2006 Bangalore, India
Lat N 12° 56,26', Long E 77° 34,40'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
22 Feb 2006
35860 km

Before breakfast we took a walk to Bull Temple that was only a kilometer away. In the park next to the Bull Temple bats big as cats was hanging from the trees. Then we took walk to Lal Bagh, one of the big parks of Bangalore before we went out sightseeing in town.

Murali told us what was worth seeing so we checked out High Court, Post Office and the government head quarters Vidhana Soudhas. We finished the day off at the shopping-, bar- and restaurant area MG Road.

We bought five books. It is really a pleasure to stroll around in well-stocked Indian book stores. Time flies. And the books cost practically nothing. There is no IKEA yet in India. But in the newspaper shelf we found the IKEA catalogue amongst other exclusive interior design magazines.

We quenched our thirst with a beer at a really cool bar named NASA. The place was designed as a space ship. In the bar we got served “fuel” by bartenders dressed as pilots.
















23/2 2006 Bangalore, India
Lat N 12° 56,26', Long E 77° 34,40'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
23 Feb 2006
35860 km

Today we bought a new hard drive. The price was about the same as at home. The price of all imported goods is always about the same as at home.

We had a traditional vegetarian south Indian lunch served at a banana leaf. Very tasty! The waiter scoops up the food at the banana leaf from the stainless steel buckets he carries around. Then you are supposed to eat the food with your fingers. Luckily we got to use spoon and a fork.

It was a big meal; butter milk, yoghurt, several different vegetarian gravies, spring onion, fresh herbs, roti bread, papadam bread and rice. As customary in India we finished off the meal with something to support the digestion. This time we got to try Pan – a mixture of herbs wrapped up in a leaf that we were supposed to chew well and swallow. Afterwards our mouths felt kind of fresh.

After lunch we went to MG Road area again, this time to look for a bikini for Catharina. It was a mission impossible. Indian women do not were swimsuits at all, they swim fully dressed. The only affordable bikini like things we found was some hideous creations of a giant bra combined with knickers.

The day ended with a pizza at Pizza Hut. Guess who we met there - our neighbors Niclole and Valter from Goa! It is a small world.














24/2 2006 Bangalore, India
Lat N 12° 56,26', Long E 77° 34,40'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
24 Feb 2006
35860 km

In the morning the Krishna’s maid did our laundry. Before we left Bangalore to head south the Krishna family got a much longed for ride in our car. Murali even tried our left hand steering. We promised they could borrow the when they came to visit us in Sweden. We also wanted to kidnap their absolutely adorable daughter Mansi.

The way up to Yercaud Hillstation was 25 kilometers long and very steep uphill slope. Our plan was to spend the night there. All the way up we saw several hundreds of monkeys. Some of them got scared of us , some of them we got scared of










25/2 2006 Yercaud Hillstation, India
Lat N 11° 47,17', Long E 78° 12,22'
Today: 80.6 °F ( 27 °C)
25 Feb 2006
37044 km

We got here late in the evening last night and it was already dark. We saw a nicely lit up place on the top of the hill. This morning we woke up to se the wonderful view. It is quite cool at the 1 416 meter altitude. This cool climate we have not had for a long time.

We stayed at the hotel most of the day admiring the view and writing the diary. Again we are a week behind with updating our website. Late afternoon we hit the road again southwards.














26/2 2006 A1 Tir-stop, India
Lat N 10° 52,47', Long E 78° 00,23'
Today: 80.6 °F ( 27 °C)
26 Feb 2006
37183 km

We stayed the night at a new TIR-stop chain by the name of A1/Reliance. It was a perfect place to stay for people traveling like us. Shortly there will be 150 of them all over India. Spotlessly clean places with showers, toilets and a restaurant. Some places even have a movie theatre!

This morning we continued towards Kodaikanal Hillstation, at 2 100 meters. Arriving in Kodaikanal we found a nice and cosy hotel with a fantastic view over the valley below from the pretty garden.










27/2 2006 Kodaikanal, India
Lat N 10° 13,93', Long E 77° 29,66'
Today: 80.6 °F ( 27 °C)
27 Feb 2006
37346 km

Last night it was only +8°C! We are lucky to have our tiger blanket to keep us warm. Yesterday we were above the clouds. Today we are in the clouds. We planed to go for a trek to admire the view but we had to cancel it. Everything is completely covered in clouds today. The climate is so cool we need to wear a sweater and trousers to stay warm.












28/2 2006 Kodaikanal, India
Lat N 10° 13,93', Long E 77° 29,66'
Today: 77 °F ( 25 °C)
28 Feb 2006
37346 km

This morning we found a business card on our doorstep. It was Arjan and Herman that we met in Agonda that had been here; unfortunately we were not at home.

Had vegetarian Thali for lunch. All the talk about bird flue got to us and now we have decided to skip chicken meat. In countries like India chicken is only kind of meat possible to eat. For a Thali like this you only have to pay 1 $US, including mineral water.

Also today Kodiakanal was covered in clouds. But we needed the exercise so we took a three hour walk. When arriving home again the rain started poring down. The first rain we had in many months! We had a really cozy evening at hotel room switching channels and hearing the rain rattle outside.










1/3 2006 Kodaikanal, India
Lat N 10° 13,93', Long E 77° 29,66'
Today: 77 °F ( 25 °C)
01 Mar 2006
37346 km

People have got kind of tired of all the silly commotion about the caricature. We found this comic strip in one of the largest morning papers the other day.

We have glued a beautiful elephant to our dash board. It is Ganesa, one of the many Hindu gods. Just like elephants do Ganesa remove all obstacles in our way - on our trip and in our lives.
















2/3 2006 Kodaikanal, India
Lat N 10° 13,93', Long E 77° 29,66'
Today: 98.6 °F ( 37 °C)
02 Mar 2006
37346 km

Today we left the cool Kodaikanal for the plains and Madurai. On our way down there we feed the monkeys with old tomatoes and bread. A big monkey made repeated attacks towards Bert when he took out his camera. Quite frightened we rescued us in to the car and closed the windows.

In Madurai we managed to visit the Gandi Memorial Museum and the most famous attraction of Madurai – Sri Meenakshi Temple , the biggest and most beautiful Hindu temple of India.

In the temple Catharina pussad got kissed by the temple elephant. After the blessing the elephant stuck his wet trunk right between Catharinas eyes. She got all wet!














3/3 2006 Madurai, India
Lat N 09° 56,47', Long E 78° 08,40'
Today: 91.4 °F ( 33 °C)
03 Mar 2006
37467 km

Last night was a terrible night, over +30°C, very humid and all of the mosquitoes of the Tamail Nadu region in our car. We had more than 100 mosquito bites each when we woke up. We can not take it anymore. We have to leave Madurai!

After a refreshing morning swim and a breakfast we headed north to Pondicherry. It was a perfect weather for driving; clouds that soon turned in to a cloudburst.

In Pondicherry we had a problem finding somewhere to stay. All hotels were full. After 2-3 hours of searching we found a good and really cheep place to stay with a nice courtyard at Sri Aurobindo Ashram Gurest House. For 2 $US a night we got a perfectly clean double room with attached shower and toilet. Extra bonus was the mosquito nets! We would not have survived another night like last night.
















4/3 2006 Pondicherry, India
Lat N 11° 55,53', Long E 79° 49,97'
Today: 89.6 °F ( 32 °C)
04 Mar 2006
37818 km

Ponicherry is an old French colony. We live in the Frensh quarters and here you can still clearly see the traces from old times. It feels a bit peculiar when you get greeted”Bonjour” by a genuine Indian. The police wear the Frensh red peaked caps and there is loads of Frensh tourists here.

When having lunch we met a couple from Holland. Hendrik och Marike have come to India by motorcycle. They asked; Are you from Sweden? Are you the ones that have the SAAB? It turned out that they had met Elisabet and Christian, our neibours from Agonsa a few days ago in Chennai. Again, we have to say it is really a small world!

In the afternoon we walked around town and got caught up in a religious ceremony. On two cartridges covered in religious symbols and flowers were a temple man and a green painted man. The crowd pulled the cartridges by hand up and down the streets while people brought offerings as fruit and flowers to the temple man to get blessed.

The ones blessed got a flower wreath around the neck or a sacrificial bowl with a small fire from the temple man and a big red mark in the forehead. Of course we ended up in the middle of the crowd and got pushed forward to the temple man. And the rest of the day we walked around town with flowers round our neck and big red marks in the fore head ; to the Indians delight.

A couple of hours later we got to experience another event on the same religious theme. This crowd had made large sculptures of a man and a woman on the ground. They covered the sculptures with offerings such as fruit red, yellow and white powder. The Indians do not seem to be bothered at all over our curiosity. On the contrary they seem to think it is fun having us there. They push us forward so we can see better, show us how things works and want us to participate. Unfortunately it is hard to get a proper explanation of exactly what kind of celebration it is.












5/3 2006 Pondicherry, India
Lat N 11° 55,53', Long E 79° 49,97'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
05 Mar 2006
37818 km

Even if we are in the Frensh Pondicherry we are still in India, and the Indian way of life goes on in the streets as usual.

We thought it would be neat to have sort of a Frensh evening now when we have the opportunity. It is also nice to have something else than Indian food for a change. We picked the restaurant at the old and nice colonial style hotel The L´Orient. Do we need to tell you that menu was in Frensh.

We had boulliabaise, bifsteak and wine. Normally all meat except boneless chicken is leathery, stringy and uneatable here in India. But in a place like this we dared to try it. The meat was OK. It was like what you can expect in a normal lunch place in Sweden.












6/3 2006 Pondicherry, India
Lat N 11° 55,53', Long E 79° 49,97'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
06 Mar 2006
37818 km

Today we went to Auroville, an international community twenty kilometers north of Pondicherry. It is a human project to make people from all over the world to live in peace and harmony in their hunt for personal development.

We went strait to Tenderness Guest House where Hendrik and Marike stayed. We parked in the shadow under the jack fruit three. It was a good place to park; they even had a kitchen for the guests to use. Great!

After that we went to get some lunch and to take a look at the neighborhood. It was hot and humid and we had to go for several kilometers all the way down to the sea to find a place that actually server beer. In Auroville they do not serve alcohol.
















7/3 2006 Auroville, India
Lat N 11° 59,67', Long E 79° 49,66'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
07 Mar 2006
37835 km

Auroville Community was founded in 1967. It is a vision of a Frensh woman called The Mother. She died in the early seventies. Her vision was to create a place on earth where people of all nationalities can come together and live as free world citizens in their strive for personal- and mental development.

Now Auroville has 2 000 inhabitants. Two thirds of them are foreigners. The vision is to create a community of 50 000 inhabitants on the 25 km² Auroville area.

There are no religious thoughts is behind Auroville. The aim for everyone is to be true to themselves and to become the best person they can possibly get by listening to their inner voice and to be free of material things.

Drugs are prohibited. Most of the food is organic. They have their own hospitals, dental service, schools and food production etcetera. All Aurovillians are expected to contribute with work in different branches of a occupation valuable to the community.

Matrimandir is the spiritual and physical center of Auroville. In Matrimandir there is an enormous meditation chamber in white marble. Right in the middle there is a big crystal – the biggest in the world the rumors say. The sun rays are mirrored down through a hole in the roof to hit the crystal. Unfortunately we were not allowed to enter this spaced out building.

The Auroville project feels interesting and exiting. We have learned a lot about the project and the philosophy,but still a lot of questions remain. How does it actually work to live here? How do you get to be a member? What are the economical commitments? If you want to learn more about Auroville, pleas check out: www.auroville.org.












8/3 2006 Auroville, India
Lat N 11° 59,67', Long E 79° 49,66'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
08 Mar 2006
37835 km

Our plan was to try to get hold of one to the 12 Swedish people living here to get to know more about what it is like to live here. We got the phone numbers to several of them but were not able to get hold of them.

Still we felt it was a good idea to stay one more day to try to soak up the atmosphere and to eat healthy food.

Bert has gone to the Royal Enfield diesel "heaven". These Royal Enfield diesel bikes are rare in India. But in Auroville nearly half of the Royal Enfield bikes run on diesel, and we do not know why it is like this?










9/3 2006 Auroville, India
Lat N 11° 59,67', Long E 79° 49,66'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
09 Mar 2006
37835 km

Catharina got really scared reading the warning sign "For you own safety; close the door to keep the snakes out”. But fortunately we learnt that the dogs scare the snakes off. Instead we got to meet other animals like hairy spiders like this.

We played a last round of “Stack” with Hendrik and Marike before heading to Chennai. It turned out to be an easy ride, 200 kilometers of toll road and not much traffic.












10/3 2006 Chennai, India
Lat N 13° 04,59', Long E 80° 15,86'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
10 Mar 2006
37984 km

We went strait to the Swedish Consulate to pick up Catharina´s new passport, a replacement for the one that is falling apart. But no new passport was there to pick up, it was still in New Delhi. Luckily we got great help from the woman at the consulate. She arranged that the passport got sent by DHL and hopefully will arrive here in Chennai tomorrow. Well, we´ll see.

The second mission of today was to arrange with a new carnet de Passage. A month ago we told the Swedish motor organization that we wanted to pick up the new Carnet de Passage here in Chennai at the Automobile Association South India.

These papers had not reached the destination either. But thanks to a very nice and helpful man at Automobile Association South India, we got a one year extension of our existing Carnet de Passage. In less than three hours and for only 24 $US, we got it stamped and ready. Of course it took some phone calls and faxes to both Sweden and Mumbai, but we are really pleased it worked out that well.










11/3 2006 Chennai, India
Lat N 13° 04,59', Long E 80° 15,86'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
11 Mar 2006
37984 km

Catharina is happy again. We have bought a new MP3 player. The last one got toasted a few weeks ago while loading at our hotel room. The power supply is really unstable here in India.

At lunch time we got a call from the embassy. Catharina´s passport had just arrived. After picking up the passport we went strait for the Royal Enfield factory. Arriving there we learnt that there were no guided tours this month, because they were renovating parts of the factory. But we were lucky, as we were there they arranged for us to see it anyway.

They roll of 150 motorcycles a day and the factory does not at all look like we had expected. It was clean and well organized. When we arrived all the workers were at a tea break. Unfortunately we were prohibited to take photos inside the plant.














12/3 2006 A1 Tir-stop Nellore, India
Lat N 14° 18,07', Long E 79° 54,64'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
12 Mar 2006
38161 km

Chennai is not a town one likes to hang around in. Late yesterday afternoon we left town to head north; towards Nepal. A few days ago we got an e-mail rapport from Bennie & Debbie who are in Nepal. They said that some bridges are mined and that they had to go off-road to pass these bridges, but apart from that it is OK for tourist to be there.

Today the traffic situation has been worse than ever. Bert has cursed all incompetent truck and bus drivers that force us off the road. It is not very surprising to find newly head to head collisioned and tipped over trucks and bussed every 100 kilometers.














13/3 2006 Hyderabad, India
Lat N 17° 23,51', Long E 78° 28,60'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
13 Mar 2006
38741 km

We are now in Hyderabad and here there are a lot of Muslim and women dressed in black. There are also plenty of beggars and slum areas around town. But Hyderabad also show another side too - Cyberabad. Hyderabad is a part of the software mecca of India.

In the middle of town there is a 17 meter high Buddha statue that weighs 350 ton. When the monolith was to be shipped over the lake the boat sank. In 1992 it was rescued and put in place.

Today we also got in to a pile-up collision. There were two tree wheelers and one motorcycle involved and was in one of the tree wheeler. It was not as terrible as it sounds. No injuries, but we felt relived that we were not driving out SAAB thins time.


















14/3 2006 Hyderabad, India
Lat N 17° 23,51', Long E 78° 28,60'
Today: 87.8 °F ( 31 °C)
14 Mar 2006
38741 km

Today we went to Ramoji – the world’s largest film studio area. We hoped to see a real Indian film shoot, but that was unfortunately off limits for visitors. But there were loads of other tings to do.

The day stated with a guided bus tour covering the whole area. They have everything here. They have film sets of plaster and plywood to match South Indian housres, North Indian houses, City streets, villages, rich areas, airport, airplane, hospital, church and five different jails. We also got to see black steel framework that they use to blow up in the action sequences. We also found replicates of many of the great Indian historical monuments here.

Furthermore there is meadows, woods, suicide cliffs and a huge divided in several different themes with fountains, sculptures. All those who have seen an Indian movie know that there is a big demand for parks and flowers as background for the film shoots.

When we had our lunch the innkeeper served us cheese balls as an extra. He was thinking about putting it on his menu and wanted us to try them out. Of course we wanted to help him out.

The afternoon was filled with different shows as; wild west stunts , song & dance numbers old Hollywood style, circus acts as jugglers, acrobats and so on. Bert and Catharina both got to assist in the magic show.

Indians with cameras only means one thing. We get our photo taken again, again and again. After forty group photos we didn’t bother counting anymore…
















15/3 2006 Hyderabad, India
Lat N 17° 23,51', Long E 78° 28,60'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
15 Mar 2006
38741 km

Party all day long when the Hindu all over India celebrate Holi – Spring Festival. Several days ago they started to prepare for Holi by “arming” themselves with paint-sprayers, color powder and a particular kind of sweets they buy of the peddlers.

Today the big war of colors started. No one is safe, not even animals . Everywhere we see young , old men women completely covered in wet colors.

The colors seem to be hard to wash away. We picked our clothes carefully today, because we did not know if we would make it without getting covered in colors. We tried our best to keep our distance, because we realized that if we even got one drip of color on us; it would be open season for everyone to get us!

This has been a fun day. All shops have been closed and people are drinking, partying and having a great time – and India is covered in colors!














16/3 2006 Tir-stop Adilabad, India
Lat N 20° 34,04', Long E 78° 52,18'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
16 Mar 2006
39180 km

Yesterday evening we hit two huge pot holes. The pot holes made a big dent on our right front rim. During the night all air went out, and thins morning we woke up with a flat tire.

Luckily we had parked for the night at a petrol station. And next door there was a tire workshop. They fixed the dent and filled up the tire again. Before eight a clock in the morning we were on the move again.

We are now heading for Khajurao where there is a famous erotic temple.














17/3 2006 Khajuraho, India
Lat N 24° 34,52', Long E 80° 33,13'
Today: 80.6 °F ( 27 °C)
17 Mar 2006
39856 km

Hotel Payal is a great place to stay in Khajuraho if you travel by car. Nice garden to park in and they also know what camping is. This is a place we really recommend.

Khajuraho is best known for its temple areas with lots of erotic figures . But it is in the middle of nowhere, and the roads to get there are terrible. Apart from that foreigners have to pay 25 times higher entrance fee than the normal fee to enter the temple areas. That is a thing that pisses us of big time!

India tourism board put down a huge amount of money for the very successful world wide ”Incredible !ndia” campaign. And when the tourists arrive they face 25 times higher prices – just because they are tourists. What signals do they send out? The one responsible for this decision is obviously completely incompetent and should be fired instantly or get a better adviser. Catharina who is a PR and marketing consultant has been thinking about offering him her services. He is in desperate need of them!














18/3 2006 Khajuraho, India
Lat N 24° 34,52', Long E 80° 33,13'
Today: 82.4 °F ( 28 °C)
18 Mar 2006
39856 km

Today we continued our journey to Varanasi, a trip of 450 kilometers at an average speed of 35 kilometers an hour. In India the most relevant question is ”How long drive is it?”, not “How far is it?”. That is two completely different things, because you never know what to expect of the roads.

We had to divide the journey in two days because of the phase, and we parked for the night in a petrol station. An armed guard watched us all night. Not that it was necessary. We have never ever felt unsafe here in India.














19/3 2006 Mack Karwi, India
Lat N 25° 12,95', Long E 80° 53,24'
Today: 80.6 °F ( 27 °C)
19 Mar 2006
40080 km

Sunday is obviously the big day for getting cleaned up and doing laundry. All along the way we have seen people gathering at the fresh water pumps and the dirty streams.

In the countryside live goes on along the roads, people eat, sleep, shave, brush teeth, eat , wash, shop, thresh, harvest , take a shit, collect wood, get water etcetera. To travel by car through India is like being in the midst of everything and the Indian everyday life all the time.

Indians are curious, very curious! As soon as we stop the car we have a big crowd surrounding us. Even though we try only to stop at places where there are no people. But somehow, after just a few minutes there is a big crowd. They just stand there watching us making breakfast, eating and washing up. They don’t say anything, they don’t beg for money – just stand there. It is weird, but we are used to it by now after four months in India.
















hb20/3 2006 Varanasi, India
Lat N 25° 20,05', Long E 82° 58,74'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
20 Mar 2006
40363 km

Varanasi at the Ganges River is one of the holiest cities in India. Hindu pilgrims come here to wash away their sins. Others come here to die and to get cremated at the Burning Ghats. By doing thins they break the constant cycle of death rebirth.

We walked around the dusty and dirty town of Varansi. After a few hours Catharina´s feet looked like this. Time and time again we got lost in the narrow and winding Ghats; it is the many dark and alleys that lead down to the Ganges River bank.

We walked along the Ganges river people watching on our way to Manikarnika Ghat – the largest of the Burning Ghats. From a balcony we could clearly see and experience the rituals.

The bodies arrive to the Ghat carried on a bamboo stretcher. The body is wrapped in a white cloth and draped in golden fabrics and flowers. They put the body at the beach where their relatives poor water over the body. Only men are allowed to take part of the rituals that are led by the eldest son.

After this the body is carried to the cremation bonfire. The realtives walk around the body five times; one for each of the elements, before the eldest son lights the fire to leave the body to burn for approximately three hours.

Our first impression is that this is a macabre sight. But after a while we get used to it and think that it is in fact not that strange. In Sweden we also cremate people, but not in a public way like this. But what is the difference?


















21/3 2006 Varanasi, India
Lat N 25° 20,05', Long E 82° 58,74'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
21 Mar 2006
40363 km

In the dusk we where already at Ganges River. We had rented a guide and a rowboat for the early morning hours. Before six a clock there was already lots of swimming pilgrims, tourists, touts and holy men at the river bank. In the stairs leading down to the water the beggars were laying. People who wanted to improve their karma gave them coins.

We bought two offerings with flowers and candles. It is a ritual to pray for happiness and health for our families.

In Varanasi there is a hospice where Hindu people from all over India come to die. The cremations go on 24 hours a day at several Burning Ghats along the river bank. Several hundred bodies are burnt every day in Varanasi.

Pregnant women, children, people with leprosy and holy men are not cremated. Instated they are put on a stretcher, taken out in Ganges and sunken in the river. In this water people are actually swimming. Some even drink the holy water!










22/3 2006 Varanasi, India
Lat N 25° 20,05', Long E 82° 58,74'
Today: 86 °F ( 30 °C)
22 Mar 2006
40363 km

Today we covered the last part to Nepal. We arrived at the border in the evening. We already arranged the visa in Delhi. The passage was quick and easy and we were not charged anything. Best of all, we get our car stamped in our passports. This means we can leave the car here for six months and leave the country of we like – without a problem.

But really, what is it about border towns? Why are they always dark and dirty and packed with sleazy types hazzling you trying to get your money. Every border town we have seen all over the world is out of the same concept. Who invented it?