Rishikesh to Joshimath

Rishikesh to Joshimath – Day 3
Below are the accounts of journeys of previous two days.
Day 1 – Train journey to Haridwar and
Day 2 – Haridwar to Rishikesh.

As planned, our day 3 started early reaching the bus stop at 5:30 AM to board the 6 AM bus for Joshimath. We had already booked our tickets the previous evening. Since August end is considered off season, the earlier 4:30 AM bus had been cancelled.

We were told it’d take 10 hours to reach Joshimath. A grueling 10 hours bus journey in a 20 year old private bus on mountainous roads, and me with altitude sickness and diabetes …. We were sure going to have a tough time. Again, the bus was not full and right from the start the crew were stopping at every opportunity to fill up the bus. This wasn’t welcomed by us but we had no choice. Even when all seats had been filled, the crew was taking in standing passengers! This is illegal in the mountain roads of Uttarakhand.

landslide in rudraprayag

A very common sight for us.

I had taken an

Train journey to Haridwar

You must be wondering what took me so long to write about my trip to Valley of flowers, Hemkunt Sahib et al which happened in August last year. Well, no reason in particular…. last year I travelled a lot and every time I thought of writing it down, I travelled some more ! 😛
Other assignments kept me occupied and VOF posts got pushed again & again. I must now start documenting lest I forget.
Without further delay, here is my day by day account of the trip. Kindly bear with me if it turns out to be very detailed, I need to document it for future reference.

Train journey to Haridwar- Day 1
Our journey had started on August 27th when the monsoon season was at its peak. We traveled by

Train journey or air travel?

What do you prefer? A train journey or air travel?
This is a question I get asked many times.

Well, both have their own advantages & disadvantages.
I love train journeys; they have their own charm. To look out to the beautiful landscapes, the fields, the people working or doing their daily chores and the sound of “chai” at every station. …. A real bliss.

There is a saying Hindi, “hawa mein mat udo, Zameen par aa jao”.
It gives me exact emotions when I travel by train. I feel grounded. I can relate to myself with other human beings.

Inside aeroplane

There is an old adage that

Looking back at 2012

Looking back at 2012

Another year has passed and it’s time to look back and take stock, time to update the set of to-dos, time to see how was the year 2012 for me in terms of travel and otherwise.

As I always say, I count my memories, not the places and I am happy that my travel memories are far more & better than the destinations. Some road trips, some train journeys and a few flights took me places almost every month. I made some new friends, consolidated my bond with old ones.
I also moved to a new place.

Apsara dance

This was also the year when

Pain of Flying

I am going to narrate a story, funny in parts and of course very important lessons to be learnt too.

Once when I was in Switzerland, a friend of mine arrived from India and we had planned to meet. From the airport the first thing he told me was that he could not walk! He said it was extremely painful and somehow he had made it to the arrival hall and had plumped himself on a sofa there. I asked him if he had banged his foot somewhere, did he slip, did he sprain his ankle and so on.
His response was in the negative every time.
He wanted me to go there and help him out. I grabbed some pain relievers and sprays from my first aid kit and went to the Airport.

When I saw him, he was

Backpacker’s paradise – Chinatown

Having backpacked to many countries for months together, I must say Malaysia is one of the countries where you’d love to do backpack, especially in Kuala Lumpur.

The place boasts of cultural diversity in terms of Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures. KL, as it is fondly called, employs every charm to lure a backpacker like me. Independent travel is popular as the city has a very low crime rate and English is widely spoken.

china town

Main entrance of China Town.

Every city worth the name must have a

First day at school

I was going to a school !
I was both excited and nervous. What’s in store for me in this town of a new country where lack of a common language is a big problem for us. Last four days, I had difficulty in explaining what I wanted to eat or where I wanted to go. Then how am I going to communicate with teachers and students of the school?

So what if I am a volunteer teacher, I was feeling like a kid going to a new school.
All these emotions bothered me constantly as I took the transport to the school that is around 3 KM away from my place of stay.

It took a while to find the place. This tuk-tuk driver, like any one of his brotherhood, would know the way to all the tourist spots and even smallest hotels in nooks & corners of Siem Reap, Cambodia but not know even the best educational institutions let alone this small little government school that was on the way to the airport in the outskirts!
siem reap school

One of the classes.

My contact at the school was

Cambodian Riels

Cambodian Riels

100 Australian dollars were exchanged for 3,69,626 Riels !

Cambodian currency or Cambodian Riels is very poor and one spends lakhs of them everyday on food, transport etc. One litre of mineral water of may cost you around 10,000 Riels. When compared to India,