My last day in India has been spent around the Jangli Maharaj Road or Revenue Colony area of Pune. It’s a student area full of colleges, it has an old sunken temple carved from stone as if it were scraped from the very ground, there are vegetarian restaurants nestling across the road from McDonald’s where the students are getting a taste for Silicon Valley Continue reading Leaving India
I arrived in Pune after a night bus journey from Goa to be met by the information that The German Bakery had been blown up. Some Swiss people on the bus had arranged to meet friends in there, a taxi driver told them that the Bakery isn’t really there anymore. Continue reading Pune Bombing
I last came to Arambol 17 years ago when my daughter was in her mother’s tummy, I was getting some R&R before becoming a dad. Continue reading Arambol
What can I say, incredible fun with one of the craziest french guys I ever met, Manu.
Firstly we drove through the Goan hills on roads that became ever increasingly appalling, then we threw ourselves down a canyon in leaps of up to 13 metres, abseils and slithers that left me knackered and a little bloody, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Continue reading Canyoning
Palolem Beach is probably the most scenic of Goas Beaches. Arambol up in the north does have it’s fresh water lake and other beaches are certainly less crowded like Agonda beach, which is a little further North. But Palolem is a hut filled riot of colour where you Continue reading Palolem
It’s been a while since I have been in Goa and it has changed less than I thought it would in some ways, more in ways I perhaps cannot see. But I am a little wiser and am enjoying the bits I am seeing more and am willing to travel a little farther afield to see them. Continue reading Goa Bike Ride
I went out and got drunk with my daughter and her friends at the MUWCI or the Mahindra United World College. How good is that, but again time to move on to Mumbai and leave her to get on with getting an education. Continue reading Leaving MUWCI
It was a bit of a relief to get away from the cold weather, but it’s a double edged sword as we went from the chilly north to the hot sweaty weather of Mumbai. At night in the train I was so cold I just paced back and force reading a book occasionally shadow boxing to warm up… Continue reading The Train back to Mumbai
So, we had made varanasi our own over the course of Â our stay, learned to fly kites, learned about Japanese food, saw a few bodies roasting in a manner not to be seen except by the fella at the crematorium and had a whole lot of fun. Time to move on…. Continue reading Leaving Varanasi
It can take time to find a good place to stay in a town, but we landed on our feet here at the Ganga View Hotel for Christmas and anywhere is going to be downhill after that. Continue reading Ganpati
When I was about to leave The UK, a buddy Continue reading Paragliding Pokhara
I read today that Varanasi is the world’s oldest inhabited city with an unbroken lineage back to 800BC, and there is evidence of early Aryan settlements as far back as 4000 years ago. I can certainly believe it, the small alleys and dirt roads that snake around the back of the ghats look timeless, every nook and cranny seems to have grown as slowly as a snails shell, encrusted with time. Continue reading Varanasi
I woke to a sunrise that calmed the clamorous valley of the previous night. I walked up the arcing stairs of the YHA to the roof and was met with a far warmer world. The laborers on the neighboring building site were huddled around warming morning fires, Pune had become solid after the little pinpricks of light had joined together.Continue reading Mahindra College, Pune to Varanasi.
Arriving in Bombay was like going straight from Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here on a walkman to having Johnny Rotten singing in your face. I’d think it a privilege if Johnny would do that, but I’d have to be in the right mood and when I arrived in Bombay I wasn’t, so I muttered my way to an overpriced hotel and battened down the hatches until I felt cheerful enough to make the journey to see my daughter at her college near Pune. Continue reading Bombay to Pune YHA
God knows how I made it out of bed on the morning of my flight to Kathmandu, but the same goes for the morning of my flight to India; my autopilot seems to work fine and I arrive at the airport in good time, if not really in any kind of fit state for flying. Continue reading Pokhara to Kathmandu to Bombay
So after our wee Maoist intrusion we carried on with the last days of our course. These melted into nights our with new friends in local eateries, good local Â food, then we went to a Thai restaurant next to Maia Devi, next I discovered the Japanese restaurant in Pokhara and didn’t leave there for the last 5 nights of my stay. Continue reading Pilot
Yesterday was a day off and a good job too, we were hungover from the night before and needed to sleep late. So I popped on over the Maia Devi, the home of Adam and Jennifer from Frontiers Paragliding Nepal to use the internet connection and relax in front of the landing zone. Continue reading Maoists in Pokhara
We went up to the high site at Sarankot today which is just under a kilometre up in the air. We made two flights and landed in a field by the river where the local kids came and helped us to pack up our wings. Continue reading Paragliding Course day Five, High.
More of the same as yesterday as we needed to get the hang of launches etc – tomorrow we get to try high launches for the first time, so looking forward to that. Continue reading Paragliding Course Day Four
Twas up at 7am like a good pupil and out in the paragliding shop by 8am to use the internet to do some work, then we gathered in the bus (that had been topped up with kerosene due to the fact that it wasn’t possible to buy fuel in Pokhara for various reasons) to head out to a place called ‘Sarankot’ to take our first flights. Continue reading Paragliding Course day Three FLIGHT
Today we did more ground handling to get used to the Alpine Launch (launching forward at a run rather than a reverse launch more commonly used in the UK) Continue reading Paragliding Course Day Two
I hopped out of bed this morning early ready for day one of the course. The weather was crisp in the morning, the sky blue with fresh air but little wind. This lasted until the sun started warming the place up and the vultures found the thermals, Continue reading Paragliding Course Day One
The jetlag is still creeping up on me by mid afternoon but it’ll be gone when I start hiking up and down hills with a paraglider. Continue reading Acclimatising
I was flagging from the jetlag so decided to have a quiet meal at the Yak restaurant of veggie mo mo with a Nepali thali. After this I took a walk around to see the bright lights of Kathmandu’s bustlin nightlife then headed back for an early night in my rooftop room at the Thamel Hotel. Continue reading Pokhara Lakeside
England was starting to get to that damp time of year that used to be the cause of a fella’s consumption. Not of the alcohol variety, the kind of consumption that ate at the lungs causing people to head somewhere drier, or take a few years off by going on ‘The Grand Tour’.
Continue reading Departure to Nepal
And so from the perfectly groomed little airport on Tioman I head back to an orderly Singapore where even the buildings have giant numbers so they won’t lose themselves. From there I get on the 23.25 plane to London and a winters chill. I’m looking forward to it really as I have been away for long enough.
At the North end of Salang Beach the footpath winds up past an impressive abandoned bungalow complex. I say impressive becuase the bungalows cling to the steep slopes teetering on high thin legs and actually blend into the hillside quite well.
The path quickly turns to a winding jungle camino that follows the electricity cables that come from the islands capital.
My T-shirt was soon turned into a sopping rag as the humidity and the heat took their toll, but after a good hike up and down you come to the deserted white sand beach of Monkey Bay.
At Monkey Bay I stripped my sopping clothes and skinny dipped in the cooler waters of the sea, floating around I could look back at the jungle wrapped around the bay like a shawl.
Continuing on was an easier walk even if the distance was farther as the slopes became kinder. Monkeys followed me in the trees making sure I wasn’t up to no good, monitor lizards scurried out of my way and I teased tree snakes with sticks as butterflies flapped dreamily around as if in an opium den. The noise is hypnotic in the jungle, a constant rythm that has kept us entertained for all time, before the electronic rythms this was our melody and it has stayed fresh.
Eventually the path reaches habitation again and after another set of stairs and a hill reaches the long arc of a bay that the small airport sits on. I came across a fellow I knew was from Salang and hitched a ride back in his boat along with his son that he was accompanying from school. Perfect timing for the perfect day.
I love the fact that Tioman has a heart of solid jungle that can be explored, but must be respected. I spent a long time on Koh Tao in Thailand but found the fact that it had evolved from one vast coconut plantation had left it featureless in it’s interior, but Tioman still has the monkeys, monitor lizards, butterflies snakes and everything that goes with this hemisphere and location.
Here is a panorama made from the end of the new concrete pier in Tioman…
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