Balloning over Jaipur

You know, I personally don’t like waking up early. Unless, of course, it is for a good cause. An extremely important and fair cause like to get on a Hot Air Balloon and just fly over Jaipur.

The night before, the 29/04/09, was already VERY exciting…We were at WWW.DERAAMER.COM, just behind the hills of Amer Fort, at the very foothills of the Aravali Range, where Udaijit Singh has invited us to give juicy bananas to his elephants, which by that time of the day had already their munches, and afterwards embark on them to a surreal trip through that amazing piece of  Rajput tradition.

It was such a cool ride…specially, because elephants are particularly attracted to munch the dried desert trees they’ve met along the way. You know what is the best part? When your champagne glasses are empty, the photo-cameras tired and with their batteries wearing thin for taking continuously and uselessly pictures (under the night they are not technologically able to picture the contours of those trees –  in vain trying to reflect the ligt of the moon in waxing crescent) and then there is a pit or an elephant-stop to refill them…Not the multipixeled ones, the glasses…

You regret you are a little over weigthed when it is time for debarkation, and you sense that there is a typical Rajasthani dinner waiting for you and at that point, you are glad that you are no kind of bulimic and just immerse in all that aroma…Full again. Nice talk. Time to go. Tomorrow, the 30th, wake up time is set for 4am!

When we get at the field and see our WWW.SKYWALTZ.COM balloon growing brightly green and yellow, the blood tends to freeze, even tough is already close to 30 Celsius at that time of the day…

From the balloon, after taken that sun rising  picture you see at the header of this blog,  we look down and see two sacred cows looking/munching at us perplexed…The whole villagers runing to a certain point, a point where we would land…And they were SO HAPPY in greeting us…SO HAPPY in having that hot air balloon over their own warm dry land…

To discover the India that we had, contact us at info@thecharmedvoyager.com or log into www.thecharmedvoyager.com

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Get Lost in Old Delhi

old delhi 2

Landing  in Delhi and right after checked in at the hotel, heading to Old Delhi is a unique experience in life. The adventure begins with the traffic: an ordered chaos. Many cars, many rickshaws, lots of people and some sacred cows in the middle of the streets. The capital counts with a not extensive subway line and the stop for the chosen destiny is Chandni Chowk, main road of Old Delhi. Followed the intense adrenaline shot of being in the middle of the town buzz, the next sensation is totally Zen. It’s a turn back to the XVIII century, when intense trade took place there. Labyrinths. An incomplete synthesis of the scene. Without fear, let yourself loose in the bazaars, one beside the other. The colors are going to invade your soul. Walking in circles, or reaching a cul-de-sac, with the friendly Indians observing. Infuse yourself whit the odors of the street food and with the local habits. To notice that there is an organized division of sectors: clothing, jewelry, spices, decorations for gods and its temples. And, later, discovering a larger avenue realizing that exists, finally, a way out of the cornucopia of alleys. The cultural differences are only blossoming. In the middle of the multicolored people, a naked man appears all of a sudden. The knowledge that Jain sometimes doesn’t wear clothes is something; to see them live is totally something else. The strangest is the feeling that the strangers are us. It’s to live another society, probably, a la Lévi-Strauss. Trying to break down prejudices and take advantage of it. The tip for lunch is at Paranthe Wali Gali, one of the traditional streets of the area. As the name indicates, the specialty is the paratha, typical fried bread accompanied by several and delicious sauces. To freshen up: a glass of Lassi, a yogurt beverage. Hours and hours had already passed. Even though there is a whole world yet to be discovered, the body is tired. The journey back to the hotel is in local style at its best: on a rickshaw. Auto-Rickshaw, religiously bargained for the right rate, before departure. Get ready for thrilling emotions when embarking on this kind of vehicle, Indian equivalent to the roller coasters, which, so respectfully, gives to the elephant found in the way back to frenetic Palika Bazaar his deserved preference. Gran finale!

Carlos Stucky, director of The Charmed Voyager, traveled to the regions of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, from April 21 to May 5, 2009. For this and other itineraries in India, contact info@thecharmedvoyager.com

Get Lost in Old Delhi

Perspectiva de um auto-riquixá

Aterrissar em Delhi e, depois do check in no hotel, rumar para Old Delhi é uma experiência única na vida. A aventura começa com o trânsito: um verdadeiro caos ordenado. Muitos carros, muitos riquixás, muitas pessoas e algumas vacas sagradas no meio das ruas. A capital conta com uma linha pouco extensa de metrô, e a parada para o destino escolhido é Chandni Chowk, principal avenida de Old Delhi. Da intensa adrenalina de estar no meio do burburinho citadino, a próxima sensação é totalmente zen. É uma volta ao século XVIII, quando então se firmou o intenso comércio no local. Labiríntico. Uma síntese incompleta do que se vê. Sem medo, perder-se nas idas e vindas dos bazares, um ao lado do outro. As cores vão invadindo a alma. Andar em círculos, ou chegar a um cul-de-sac, com os amistosos indianos observando. Deixar-se impregnar pelos odores das comidas e pelos hábitos nativos. Perceber que há uma divisão organizada de setores. Tecidos, jóias, temperos, adornos para deuses e templos. E, lá pelas tantas, encontrar uma avenida maior e ver que existe, enfim, uma saída do conglomerado de vielas. As diferenças culturais estão só começando. No meio dos transeuntes multicoloridos surge um homem totalmente pelado. Saber da existência de jainistas que andam sem roupa é uma coisa, vê-los é bem diferente. A estranheza maior é dar-se conta que lá os estranhos somos nós. É vivenciar a la Lévi-Strauss uma outra sociedade. Tentar eximir-se de preconceitos e aproveitar. A dica para almoço é na Paranthe Wali Gali, uma das tradicionais minúsculas ruas da região. Como o nome indica, a especialidade é o paratha, pão frito típico acompanhado de vários e deliciosos molhos. Para refrescar, um copo de Lassi, bebida à base de iogurte. Horas e horas já se passaram. Apesar de faltar um mundo a ser descoberto, o corpo está cansado. A volta ao hotel, no melhor estilo local, é de riquixá. Auto-riquixá, com preço tratado e religiosamente barganhado antes da viagem. Prepare-se para fortes emoções ao embarcar neste meio de locomoção, o equivalente indiano às montanhas russas, que, tão respeitosamente, dá ao trôpego elefante encontrado no caminho de volta ao frenético Palika Bazaar sua merecida preferência. Gran finale!

Carlos Stucky, diretor da The Charmed Voyager, viajou para as regiões de Delhi, Uttar Pradesh e Rajasthan, de 21 de abril a 5 de maio de 2009. Para este e outros roteiros na Índia, contate info@thecharmedvoyager.com

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