Travel plans/Winter 2017 India

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This page is for writing down things we want to remember for the next trip to India.

General[edit]

  • ~10% tips at restaurants. Housekeeping staff did not take any of the tips we left on bed.
  • Didn't get a terrible stomach bug but our friend did. I didn't try as much street food as Mako. We both had guava (cut by the vendor) and coconut juice. Mako had other cut fruits.
  • Drink bottled water. Use
  • Many toilets don't have toilet paper, so bring some. Almost many toilet seats are wet because people use bidet.
  • I felt like more places (though reluctantly) took 500Rps but we tried to get smaller change whenever possible.
  • For flying, we had to show tickets and passports a lot. For example, there were 3-4 check points at the gate.
  • I left my backpack on Emirates; at Trivandum, I talked to the airport manager, who contacted appropriate staff, who guided me through the airport to retrieve the back from the airport's lost and found.
  • Emirates often introduced how many countries their crew represented as well as the number of languages they spoke.
  • All the flights were full during this trip.
  • Some seats at the back of Emirates flights were 2 seaters.
  • IndiGo had a female pilot.
  • Both Emirates and Spicejet changed the itinerary; Emirates flight back from Dubai became 1 hour earlier; Spicejet changed the departure time and connection city.
  • Getting seats and meals on these flights were fairly cheap.
  • Emirates flew over Greenland on the way to Dubai and over North Pole on the back from Dubai. Seattle-Dubai: bumpy around PNW and around jet stream near Greenland/Norway. Dubai-Seattle: bumpty near Turkmenistan over mountain ranges and around PNW.
  • Separate (more or less) security check for men and women at airports, museums etc.
  • 350Rps for premium seats at the museum theater in Trivandrum. Reclining comfy seat - the seats do not recline until after the anthem is over.
  • No shoes at temples. Often there's an area for keeping shoes and you pay ~20 rps/pair to a person.

Food[edit]

  • Street food we had: Samosa (sweet and savory) 3Rps/2 pieces; Mirch (5 Rps/piece); a few different types of Pakora; Pchika at the wedding; Kathi rolls; Guava, coconut juice, tree trunk, green tomatoes(?).
  • Breakfast: Poha (fried short-grain rice); upma (semolina); puri with sambar; idly; vada
  • Lunch/Dinner: dosa; meals; appam; bengali food (ask sayamindu); Kerala food; Goan food (veg xacuti etc); lassi; North Indian food.
  • Tried 3 kathi roll places in Kolkata; all very good. Our favorite was Kusum on Park Street. Had egg roll, egg paneer roll, egg veg paneer roll.

Train[edit]

  • Our train from Hospet to Goa was delayed by ~6 hours. There are a few websites and apps that show live status (although the exact timing differed slightly by sites/apps). We also asked at the station.
  • Our train from Bengaluru to Hospet was delayed by ~20 minutes at the departure point and ~1 hour at the arrival. We also had a partially confirm ticket when the chart was prepared 4 hours before departure (one confirmed berth and one still on waitlist (RLWL)). The chief reservation manager at Bengaluru said that we could share a berth; the conductor found another empty berth, so we ended up having two berths assigned on the train.
  • There are many websites to check reservation status using PNR.
  • Day trains have many snack/food vendors come by. There's a way to order food online for delivery at major stations. When we went through a major station on the way to Goa around 2PM, we stopped for ~40 minutes. People got out to get food and many food vendors came by to sell lunch like biriyani.
  • Vasco Da Gamma to North Goa is ~1 hr by taxi. Our hotel arranged a taxi for us (1500Rps).

Trivandrum[edit]

  • The airport was pretty close to the hotel.
  • The hotel was super nice.
  • Hot during the day but comfortable at night.
  • Some mosquitos. Got bittern a few times.
  • Walked around the city a bit. Visited the temple (though we couldn't go inside) and the bazaar.
  • We missed an international film festival by a few days.
  • We saw Urali, which was great.
  • People were very friendly and kind.

Bengaluru[edit]

  • Felt like one of the most developed cities in India. Lots of development across the city although the infrastructure was not as good as Kolkata.
  • Very bad traffic. Modern subway (though crowded near the junction station). RFID tokens.
  • The London Curry House was great!
  • The market is super big and interesting (near Chickpet station).
  • There are a few breweries; British style beer. Many people seem to go to breweries for food rather than beer.

Hospet/Hampi[edit]

  • We did a state sponsored bicycle tour. Having a guide explain each site is very useful. There's little guidance on where to go next or how to get there, so we needed to check with the guide at each site. The traffic was heavy because it was a holiday season and there were a couple hills. Most bicycles were single-gears and squeaky but the brakes worked fine. 500Rps for the tour and another 500Rps to see inside of some of the major sites (optional). We gave a tip to the guide (100Rps).
  • Saw a smart elephant at the temple. Take money and give blessing or take bananas and eat them.
  • Got a pretty good fruit cake at the hotel.
  • Hospet to Hampi was 100 Rps and Hampi to Hospet was 200 Rps on auto.

Goa[edit]

  • Walked up to Bagas from Calangute in the evening and down to Candolum during the day. The beach seemed cleaner towards Candolum.
  • Souza Lobo had good Goan food.
  • Hookah cafes everywhere on the beach.
  • Lots of party beach houses all along Calangute and Bagas.
  • Santa gave us candies.
  • A lot of men were peeing near the oceanfront and by boats in the evening.
  • Lots of garbage on Bagas beach.

Kolkata[edit]

  • ~1 hour to the airport. Separate security check for domestic and international flights.
  • Best sidewalks. Traffic can be bad but the traffic rules were obeyed much more than the other cities we visited. Less autos but more taxis and Uber works.
  • Great kathi rolls.
  • Saw some Indian art as well as Gandhara artefacts at the India Museum.
  • The Kali temple was intense! We paid 500Rps for a guided tour by a priest (?). He asked us to donate more at one of the sites (as well as at the end of the tour) but we didn't have money, so we just told him no.
  • The "capitol of mosquitoes". Many many mosquitoes.