Sunday, October 28, 2007

Delhi-Agra, India: 23June07

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal is very impressive. It is beautiful. Seeing it in the sunset is a magical moment. The white mable first takes on a rich golden sheen, then slowly turns pink, red and finally blue with the changing of light.

On the train to Agra, i met Dario, a Mexican. He then decided to travel with me to Khajuraho and Varanasi, skipped his trip to Jaipur. So, for the next 4 or 5 days, i wouldn't be alone. The feelings of with Dario were different from when i was with Mathieu and Vivien. i feel comfortable and in ease totally with both Vivien and Mathieu. There are just some kind of special link among us.

There are actually nothing as much in Agra except for the Taj. i dealt with the riskshaw drivers most of the time. We got a bad experience with a cycle riskshaw driver at Agra Old Town though. The old man kept wanted to bring us to some kind of emporium eventhough we told him that we were rushing to go back to see the sunset at Taj. He got really nasty and rude in the end and i was really furious that i just wanted to walk off without even pay him a cent! He didn't get us to where we wanted to go anyway. Dario paid him though and we got another cycle riskshaw to send us back to the town.

i hate people to be dishonest but unfortunately, in a place like India, not all but most riskshaw drivers are just liers. Taj Mahal nowsaday is not as romantic afterall.

The massive red-sandstone Agra Fort on the bank of the Yamuna River.

The Taj was bilt by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his second wife who died giving birth to their fourteenth child in 1631. The death of Mumtazh Mahal left the emperor so heartbroken tht his hair is said to have turned grey overnight. The construction took 22 years, completed in 1653 with 20,000 people worked on the bulding. It took the equivalent cost of US$70 million today.

Taj Mahal. This sublime Mughal monument is the most extravagant monument ever built for love.
an Indian poet describe it as "a teardrop oon the face of eternity".

The red sand stone gateway of Taj Mahal.

The Taj in sunset before the sky got darker.
It actually looks more beautiful from the back of it across the river.

Taj in the sunset.

The Taj from Agra town.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Delhi, India: 22June07

Good bye Math ... On my own, again

We both relieved that, i got well today. So Mathieu would leave in the evening and i would on my own again. i knew it would be difficult to deal with everything myself again, but i knew i could make it.
The weather was hot, very hot. We took a cycle rickshaw to Old Delhi. i visited to Red Fort while Mathieu hang around the nearby bazaar trying to get some sourvenir back home. The Red Fort is rather dissapointing, it looks almost similar to Purana Qila that i visited yesterday. i spent only an hour or so inside. Then we went to Jama Masjib. Well, nothing really specially of the mosque except for this is the biggest mosque in Delhi. The photography fees was unreasonably expensive in India standard, so we didn't take picture.
Math had his last beard shaving in India near to the masjib. Then we walked around the small alleys for bazaar. In then end, Math got his sourvenirs for his friends and family just at the touristic Paharganj.
In the evening, i sent him off at train station where he took a taxi to the airport. i had such a good time with Math that i alost think i could never met a travelmate as compatible as him again.

Tea stall at one of the small backstreet in Paharganj.
Indian like tea (chai) and this was the last chai i took together with Mathieu before he left.

New Delhi Railway Station, near Paharganj.

Old Delhi Street. This is a muslim dominant area and nearby there is a striking Jama Masjid (mosque).

Red fort, it dates from the very peak of Mughal power. I personally think this fort is even less impressive than Purana Qila.

Delhi, India: 21June07

I was unwell!

So we had backed to Delhi and Mathieu was leaving tomorrow. This was my first time in Delhi but he arrived in Delhi and had stayed here for a few days. So basically he visited most of the sights here.
Anyway, to accompany me, he waited for me outside while i visited some of the sights.
i went to Hamayun's Tomb while he waited me outside in a park. This was said to be a mini Taj Mahal, in terms of architechtual design. i did a really quick and brief visit as i didn't want Math to wait too long. Unfortunately, i started to feel unwell after my visit to the tomb. i tried to ignore that and i didn't tell Math. We proceed to Purana Qila (fort) then. This fort was rather boring as it just looks like another picnic/dating area for the local. Probably after the magnificiant Johphur fort, every fort is now just unimpressive to me.
The last sight for the day was Indian Gate. By this time, i was extremely unwell and i started to have fever. i probably not drinking enough water for the day.
After some hassles of to get an auto-rickshaw, we ended up to go back to Paharganj by bus. i basically didn't feel like to move now. i drank a lot of water and started to do all the natural therapies (visualization, pendulum, mani pill...) that i knew to heal myself. i knew that it would be a bad bad thing to get sick in a place like India with my partner leaving tomorrow. i couldn't afford this and i would want a good day with Mathieu before we bid farewell.
i slept early and hoping myself to get well in the next day, while Mathieu repeatedly ensured me that, i will be well by tomorrow.

Hamayun's Tomb. This is a squat buiding with high arched entrances that let in light, topped by a bulbous dome and sourrounded by formal gardens.

Purana Qila. The red-sandstone tower was later used by the Mughal Emporor, Humayun, as a library.

Two Indian guys in their 'brotherly' affection.

Indian Gate.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Singapore: 13Oct07

Botanical Garden

There are a few times that i passed by the majestic gate of Singapore Botanical Garden Tanglin Gate, near to the famous shopping street Orchard Road. But for years, this was the very first time that i visited here.

There are many beautiful sculptures around the garden.

There were so many things going on in the garden. People picnic, walking their dogs, playing tai chi or qi gong, jogging, school tour ... All these were before it started to rain cats and dogs.

It rained! The free guided rain forest walk ended in half an hour instead of one hour due to the rain and
This tree has straight trunk with termites 'tunnel'. The guide said, the termites eat the surface or death skin of the trunk and don't hurt the fresh part of the trunk. So they basically don't affect the tree.

This was quite a big spider with its web. It looks really ugly and creepy in closed look!

Myco Mushroom Farm

The mushrooms are grown in a chamber like this and the temperature needs to maintain at aroun 15 degree celcius.

Packages of substracts are put on the rack and arranged nicely in the room. Different kind of mushrooms need different kind of substrats. The smell in the room was not great. :)

The mushrooms grown from the organic substracts.

Different kind of mushrooms.

Kampung (Village) Buangkok

i am still surprised that in the urban mainland Singapore, right behind of these landed property at Yio Chu Kang, there are still almost ten houses in the old 'kampung' style... Muddy dirt road, chickens running around, fruit trees...

This is quite a typical 'kampung' house.

i don't even have this kind of small guava tree in my house back in Malaysia now. It was a pleasant surprise to see it here.

Wow! There is river and even mangrove within the village. The mangrove tree is avicennia alba with its pencil-like pneumetaphore. This mangrove is even more mangrove-like than the one near to my house in Malaysia!

Old Changi Hospital (Hunted...)

- No pictures taken as it was too dark to do so. Visit Singapore Paranormal Investigators website for pictures. :)

In the late evening at around 8.30pm, we visited the haunted abandoned old changi hospital.
We had 30 persons with almost half of us with a flash light. So nothing spooky or creepy.

The famous haunted Cammando Barrack was locked and been monitor by CCTV alarm so we couldn't enter.
It was said, someone draw a satan's picture in a chamber or room. Then the government sent people to repaint the wall. Somehow the satan picture reappeared. Then they repainted again. In the end, the painting guy died and government sealed the place.
Now they are going to renovate and develop the place into a holiday chalet!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Haridwar-Delhi, India:20June07

Goddess of Wish-Fulfilling

It was said, Mansa Devi is a wish-fulfilling goddess. We walked the 1.5km uphill to get to the temple. Photography is forbidden in the temple and along the way, there were so many monkeys. Amusingly, those monkeys were not scared of human and always find opportunities to steal food from the visitors and pilgrims. Mathieu and me both followed the queue of pilgrims and made wishes. He refused to tell me his wish(es) saying that it wouldn't come true if he reveals them. Of course i won't tell mine over here as well. :)
We then caught an afternoon train to get to Delhi. Mathieu was leaving 2 days after.

Scenery from Mansa Devi Temple.

Some of the prasad-stealing monkeys.
(Prasad: Food offering used in religous ceremonies.)