Australia, Singapore, India · 24 Days · 75 Moments · November 2016


22 December 2016

ling and brinlyyn had to go to work so we wandered with ling around the city. it began to rain so we retreated for coffee for a little bit.
we caught up for lunch with my singaporean friends. ling and amanda I used to dance with and brinlyyn we met in the sahara desert. they took us to a restaurant which serves all vegetarian versions of singapore dishes. we had 8 dishes all together. it was so tasty!

21 December 2016

we freshened up at our hotel and then went on the search for some vietnamese food. nearby was a new cafe of a japanese cartoon character who I've been a bit obsessed with lately so I was so excited. his name is gudetama and he is a lazy egg.

20 December 2016

our friend tessa who was the wedding photographer took some yoga photos of pat and I which I can't wait to see. we got some fresh coconuts straight from the tree afterwards. we met up for a last dinner dinner with gaurav & kate's family. funnily enough our last meal in india was thai food. I can't have anymore indian! our flight wasn't until 4:40am and so left at 1:30am. the taxi ride was about an hour and a half so it was a bit of a struggle. we had about 4 hours wait at mumbai before flying off to singapore.
we lounged in our little beach hut in the morning. it's where we would stay if we decided our 300 hour yoga teacher training in october next year for 5 weeks.

19 December 2016

in the morning most of all the other guests left. kate wasn't too sad though as they are headed to sydney at the end of the week and will see them all again. we decided to head up to mandrem beach where the new yoga studio is and stay there as it's in a resort. we got a little beach hut overlooking the water. there were a couple of other guests megan and tessa who also came up to so we're all hanging out.

18 December 2016

we woke up late and had a super lazy day eating and sleeping. in the afternoon the boys played volleyball with some of the locals. a lot of the guests left that night after dinner.

17 December 2016

there was a little break and then we all met for sunset drinks. we had dinner, speeches on the lawn. I didn't catch the bouquet nor did pat catch the garter but I think we still have a good chance. there were fireworks over the sea but gaurav didn't enjoy it as he was worried about the birds and pollution! the dance floor was also outside. their first dance was to etta james 'at last' and then it cut into a hindi song so gaurav did his bollywood dancing. it all wrapped up around 11pm but for the closer friends we had a room at the resort for an after party where we danced until 3am in the morning.
because they were already married the ceremony was short but so very sweet. pat read a poem by maya angelou. kate looked amazing and happiness was radiating out of her. I couldn't stop crying!
one of gaurav's groomsmen tore ligaments in his ankle and was on crutches so pat was asked to be a groomsmen! he was out all morning getting ready getting a suit, haircut, shoes and all that fun. I lounged around all day until we all met on the lawn at 3pm for the ceremony.

16 December 2016

we went up to our old yoga studio to have a look over the beach. a man named raj has now taken it over. we then wandered over to the drumming circle and watched the sun go down.
we all took a bus up to mandrem beach to visit the new yoga studio. afterwards we continued up to arambol. it was so nice wandering around somewhere so familiar. we went to our favourite spots. we got a fresh coconut from the main we used to get one after class every day, got some dumplings at our favourite restaurant we went to most days, and got a watermelon juice from the place we had breakfast every morning.

15 December 2016

all of kate's guest arrived so we had sunset drinks and a late dinner. we were sitting next to kate's 3 aunties who turn out to be really funny on the drink. one of them is obsessed with pat and wants to marry him. sorry bernie but that's not happening!
the resort has it's own private beach so we went for a dip. the temperature of the water was perfect. it feels good to be back in goa and breathing in fresher air.
we flew that morning to goa. the resort we're staying at is beautiful. I'm glad we booked a sea facing cottage.

14 December 2016

we checked out a place called church street social for dinner. it was a very hipster place with the menu as a newspaper, toilet rolls as napkins, chains as curtains and food being served on wooden boards and mini bathtubs. I think I had the best mac & cheese I'd ever had - it was jalapeƱo. we drank lots of sangria too and headed in early for the night.
I was getting a little sad that I hadn't seen a cow in bangalore at all but this morning we finally saw one amongst all the traffic.

13 December 2016

it was rainy the whole day with a lot of power outages due to the cyclone in chennai. when the rain died down a bit we went for a walk along church street which has a lot of cool street art and pubs.

12 December 2016

we were walking past this pub which looked nice so we decided to go in. we're so glad we did as it's one of the best meals we've had in india including last time we were here. the flavours of all the food was unlike anything we tried before. we had a chilled smokey eggplant mash with smashed peanut dip and crackers, and also a barbecued madras mushrooms in a tamarind glaze. best of all the dishes were around $3 each. they also had lots of funny wall art. my favourite was the names of yoga poses.
we stopped at mcdonald's because we were intrigued about their veggie version of a big mac. it was made with a cheese and corn pattie. it was actually alright but I wouldn't be having it again anytime soon!
after breakfast we went for a walk down the main street. bengaluru is a lot cleaner and people are not really in your face here so it's nice to walk around. we had some coffee and looked at a few stores.

11 December 2016

bengaluru is less hectic then delhi which is so nice. there were atms at the airport and also money exchange so we were finally able to get money. there's a lot more western style places here so we decided to take a break from curry and found a pub with a microbrewery. it was our first drop of alcohol since leaving brisbane. we tried 3 of their different type of brews made there and also burgers, pizza and onion rings. so good!
in the morning we met a man named mark from cornwall who was actually travelling to roorkee where we had just been for work. unfortunately he missed his train as his company hadn't paid the hotel. his credit card had been blocked by his bank like our english cards have and he didn't have enough rupees because he could only get a little out. this money situation is so terrible! he was taking it in good spirit though and just laughed about it. we caught a taxi to the airport to get our flight to bengaluru.

10 December 2016

a bus was organised to take us from roorkee back to delhi. we only had 130 rupees and the bus cost 1600. we woke up early to try and find atms but they were all out. we had to ask the other wedding guests if they could lend us some money and thankfully one guy named mark gave us some. such a relief! we felt bad asking as we had just met him. the bus ride back took about 7 hours. when we got to the hotel there was some problem with kate's aunties being moved to the sister hotel around the corner and they were getting really angry. I offered that they just take our room instead and we'd go to the other hotel just to make it easy but it ended up we could both stay as they were going to move a late check in. because we were so nice they upgraded our room which was awesome.
kate had to disappear to her room again while everyone else went back to eating and drinking. we found out that when they were officially married was after a fire ceremony. the timing of the fire ceremony is different for every couple & it depends on your stars. so that meant for them it was after 1am. it was a struggle staying awake especially when there was no alcohol at this wedding and all the travel that day. the fire ceremony took about an hour and a half. to start it was gaurav and kate's dad by the fire and then eventually kate came out. gaurav's scarf was tied with kate's sari, red string was placed on each of her shoulders and knees, money offered on plates, rice was thrown, turmeric spread on palms, and walking in a circle on certain stones around the fire happened. we were then given marigolds and placed them on top of their heads as a congratulations. after all this they were officially married. we had to get cars back to the hotel so it was 4am by the time we got back.

9 December 2016

we were all taken out onto the street to find about a dozen musicians playing trumpets, saxophones, trombones and percussion instruments. at the end there was a carriage with white horses which gaurav was on. we stood in front of the carriage in between the rows of musicians and begun to dance down the street back into the wedding. lots of the men joined us and started dancing and singing. it was so much for the senses. as gaurav got off the horse men started circling money around the top of his head.
in between the ceremonies kate had to retreat back to her room where gaurav was allowed to mingle with guests. it's kind of funny as kate is a very strong woman so I imagine it was hard for her to just play the role of just standing there to look pretty when told.
kate looked absolutely amazing. there was so much going on with her outfit you couldn't stop admiring her. it was hard to understand what was going on as everything was in hindi. the first ceremony was exchanging rings which the immediate families were involved. there were prayers, money blessings, turmeric on foreheads and sweets being fed to one another. I heard kate ask someone if they were married but they were not officially married at that stage.
the wedding was like a festival with tents and sofas, stages, dj & dance floor, and lots of food stalls including appetisers, popcorn, curries, dosas, chai tea, desserts and fruit. there were about 500 guests popping in and out of the wedding. lots of the guests wanted photos with us. it was funny taking photos of them taking photos of us.
we caught a bus in the morning to a hotel in roorkee which took a couple of hours. from there we got ready and caught cars to gaurav's village of haridwar for the indian wedding which took over an hour. the girls then had to take another car to the salon to get saris fitted and a car back to the wedding venue.

8 December 2016

we caught the last 20 minutes of the fire ceremony. everyone was singing and clapping together 'hari krishna'. then lamps with fire were passed around. people would make circles with it and other people would place their hands near to get warmth and then place their hands over their face. there were bowls of flowers with candles which were then placed in the ganges.
unfortunately because the group is so big we were running really late and looked like we couldn't fit in the beatles ashram. everyone wanted to just go straight to the fire ceremony but pat and I decided to go to the ashram because we travelled all the way there. a couple of other people then decided to join us who were chilled out people which was good. the ashram was really beautiful. there were many little huts for meditation. there were bigger rooms with lots of really beautiful artwork. it all looked really cool as it is in the jungle and is over growing.
kate paid a guide to take all the wedding guests to visit the beatles ashram and a fire ceremony over the ganges. raj our guide was definitely a colourful character.
we got our henna done for the wedding. I turned up last which was good because girls had been there for four hours. I just got one hand done top and bottom. kate's henna was on both her hands and feet and a lot more intricate. can't wait to see her at the wedding.
so all the currency exchange & atms had no money so we tried to see if we could shop in euros and ponds and get rupees back which worked. that was a relief as we were out of cash. we did a lot of christmas shopping and I also got some jewellery, purse and sandals to wear with my sari for the wedding.
we went into town to try and change money but nothing would open until midday so we decided to have a second breakfast.

7 December 2016

after breakfast we wandered to laxman jhula where there is an wonderful suspension bridge over the ganges. along the river there is lots to look at and lots of shopping. I bought some bangles to wear with my sari and scoped out some sandals & a purse too. we were just waiting on our hotel who said they'd have money to exchange for us.
rishikesh is the yoga capital of the world so right next door to our hotel was a studio. I did a morning class one-on-one. I really enjoyed the teaching style and learnt a breathing exercise I hadn't done before that I'll have to do in my classes. at one point the teacher said that I was really flexible and should be a yoga teacher.

6 December 2016

we went to kate's hotel so that the tailor could take my measurements for my sari top to make. there we met with all the other guests which is about 25. we all went to dinner at gaurav's favourite restaurant. the food was so delicious and there were so many dishes. it only came to $9 each.
our flight was only 30 minutes in the air. when we got to the airport it was about a half hour taxi ride to rishikesh. our hotel had amazing views over the ganges and we got there just in time for sunset.
we had to laugh at delhi airport. again pat's name wasn't right at starbucks. he is now pig. and boost juice here is joost juice. also they play really heavy dance music in the terminal which is so random for an airport.
the traffic was busy around the city. the banks were closed yesterday so today there were massive lines to the banks as the old currency needs to be exchanged by the end of this month.
our flight to rishikesh wasn't until the afternoon so we spent the morning around the hotel. we tried to find somewhere for breakfast but most places looked closed so we just ate at the hotel. we tried to organise seeing an ancient step-well on the way to the airport but they wanted to charge us a ridiculous amount so we decided just to go to the airport from the hotel direct.

5 December 2016

we left leh in the morning and flew to delhi. there was such a contrast from the friendliness of leh to the craziness in delhi. we decided to go into the centre by rickshaw which was a difficult task. he couldn't take us to the centre and then had no change (which we mentioned before hopping on) but we worked it all out. delhi is still not my favourite place in india.

4 December 2016

we got to our new guest house where we were given their ladakhi tea which is butter and salt. it's like your drinking popcorn. there was no running water so we had to boil water and use a bucket. w head dinner at the guest house too. we were so hungry after the long day of trekking.
our driver picked us up from the village and we made our way back to leh. the drive was along indus river which was the most beautiful shade of blue. I couldn't stop looking.
it took about two hours to make our way down to temisgang village. the walk was easy compared to what we just did as it was a gradual decline. when we got to the village there was another monastery but the walk was way too high. we couldn't move another step!
next was lago la pass. it was a killer. I thought deachan was joking when she pointed out what we had to walk. we had a lot of breaks but we made it.
from the village we walked through mebtak la pass. this part was easy compared to what was about to come up next.
we made our way down to hemis shukpachu village and walked straight up to their monastery.
straight after breakfast we started our walk from the village through sarmanchan la pass. it was a tough walk with lots of sandy inclines but the views were beautiful.
the elderly couple made us a delicious breakfast with bread made that morning. they were so cute and kept filling up our cups and plates.

3 December 2016

we had a kip and then went down to dinner. deachen made us a ladakhi pasta which was a broth of masala and onions with potato, carrot and wheat dumplings. we'll have to try make it when we get home because it was so delicious.
we made our way down the valley to the homestay. an elderly couple greeted us when we arrived. they speak no english but their smiles told us we were welcomed. it felt so good to relax in our room with some chai tea.
we walked through charatse la pass which was a little more difficult as it was more sandy than rocks. it took around an hour and a half to make our way down to yangthang village.
we walked just over two hours then stopped for lunch. there was a fresh water stream where we filled up our drink bottles. we had some type of leafy green with chilli and rice for lunch. there was not cutlery so we ate with our hands.
we began our trek from the monastery through pobe la pass. the landscape was so rugged we couldn't stop looking around which was not a great idea as we kept tripping over rocks. even though the temperature was in the negatives we became really hot with the sun.
we got to likir monastery and were blown away with all the colour. we were the only people there so it was nice to have a real good look. there weren't any monks either as it's too cold and they've gone elsewhere.
we got picked up by our guide deachen for the trek. on the way to where we were to be dropped off to start we stopped by indus and zanskar river. the river had beautiful shades of blue.

2 December 2016

on the way back after visiting the markets and lunch we ran into a bunch of fluffy cows so we had to give them hugs of course.
turns out it was my turn for the altitude sickness. I woke up with a headache and vomiting. our guest house told us there is an oxygen bar for tourists so we went there. my oxygen level was 63 and my heart rate 103 so I was given oxygen to get my levels up to 90. it cost a whole dollar.
we wandered into town around their market street. it's the only part of town that's really open because it's low season. we tried to go to as many atm's as we could because you can only get 2000 rupees out.

1 December 2016

we took it easy and just chilled at the guest house. pat is feeling the altitude and is a bit woozy so hopefully he should feel better soon.
we had lunch and dinner at our guest house. the food was so yummy and each dish tasted so different.
we had a driver waiting for us at the airport. the scenery is unlike anything we've seen before. rugged mountain ranges with snowy tops. almost desert like but cold. oh yes the temperature is in the negatives. we'll definitely be layering up! it doesn't feel that cold because the sun is so bright and warm. the ride was only about 20 minutes to our guesthouse. we saw so much beautiful architecture and most importantly fluffy cows wandering the streets.
we boarded the flight but we're delayed for over an hour as it was too foggy. it was interesting seeing the people on the flight as they look a lot different like nepalese and tibetan people. the flight there was beautiful overlooking the himalayas.
we got into delhi airport around 11pm and didn't leave until 1am. because india have stopped their 500 & 1000 rupee notes there are massive lines to exchange money and atms are down. the currency exchange only let us exchange $50 each which we had to do it because we needed money for a taxi. we had a few hours sleep but had to get up at 6:30am to catch our next flight to leh. after checking in we ordered coffee at starbucks where pat's name is now pit. close enough!

30 November 2016

we caught the subway to the marina bay sands and went for a wander around the shopping centre. the centre has a canal through it where people can ride gondolas.
we went to the maxwell food centre which is a hawker market with lots of different food stalls. pat lined up for the hainanese chicken from this one particular place which is really popular as it melts in your mouth. I had walked around the market twice by the time pat got his food but worth it! I went for some greens with garlic and rice which only cost $3.
we walked past a cat cafe and decided we had to go in. it cost $10 and you got a drink and stay with the cats for an hour. there was around 10 of them. my favourite was mags. I got her to bunt and purr!
we walked down to chinatown and explored the stalls. it was nice recognising places from last time. I got some chopsticks for $2 that have my teddy bear on them.
we had a really good nights rest and woke up around 9am. we made a coffee and went back up to the rooftop to take in the cityscape again.

29 November 2016

the flight was good and got into singapore with no troubles. we got a taxi to our hotel near clarke quay. we went up to the rooftop to take in the city lights before heading to bed.
we had a couple of hours wait before our flight to singapore. we tried a few currency exchanges to get rupees but because india have stopped 500 & 1000 notes no one was exchanging. we also found out our original flight from brisbane was cancelled because someone had tried to flush disposable nappies down one of the toilets.
we woke up this morning to a text at 4:45am saying that our flight to singapore had been cancelled. I called qantas and they said it had been cancelled due to maintenance issues so rebooked us on a flight via sydney at 12:05pm.