Goa: a bathtub sea, momentary displacement and summertime drinks

By Emma. Cliquez ici pour l’article de Damien. Click here for photos of there.

Hmm Goa. I found Goa to be a funny kind of place. It’s beautiful. Really beautiful. The sea is bath tub warm, the sand is golden and freckled with tiny multicoloured stones and the sounds of the waves is irregularly punctuated by the dull thud of falling coconuts, the curious result of barefoot locals shimmying up the curving palms to defuse the potential booby traps.

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Goa del Sol

Par Damien. Click here for Emma’s Goa. Et cliquez ici pour les photos!

A l’image de notre pause plage à Mirissa pour le Sri Lanka, ici en Inde notre passage “obligé?” par une plage de sable fin s’appelle Palolem, dans l’Etat de Goa, bien connu des nombreux Anglais qui s’y rendent chaque hiver en vol charter direct grâce à leur ami Thomas Cook, et destination également très prisée par les buveurs de vodka… Bref, beaucoup de touristes étrangers, la peau rose, rouge ou brûlée, donnant à l’ensemble un faux air de Costa del Sol, avec du béton en moins, et des cocotiers et des vaches en plus.

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Hampi: Tatooine, temples and mopeddling happiness

By Emma. Cliquez ici pour l’article de Damien. Click here for photos of there.

A red otherworldly landscape strewn with volcanic boulders and ancient temples, Hampi has an atmosphere all of its own. Zipping by the paddyfields on our moped, taking our time just to wander around the ruins is achingly perfect. Beautiful and peculiar, the village’s strident attempts at tourism barely manage to touch its magic – actually, the deluge of lounging, meditating hippies add a foreign charm of its own. Wistful and wonderfully desolate, the surrounding ruins are spectacular. The true jewel of Hampi though is the Virupaksha temple, a lively walled village within a village. Men cluster in the centre of the courtyard while the women, resplendant in their saris, chat and sing at the edges. Children dressed in their temple best dare each other to come say hello to us and beg to pose for photos. Monkeys steal the edible offerings to Shiva and sacred cows wander serenely through the crowds. It’s wonderful!

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Les magnifiques ruines d’Hampi

Par Damien. Click here for Emma’s Hampi. Et pour les photos cliquez ici!

Hampi est une petite ville aux portes de l’ancienne citée de Vijayanâgara, capitale du royaume du même nom, fondée au XIVe siècle et atteignant son apogée juste avant sa chute au XVIe, face aux sultanats du Deccan, laissant la ville pillée puis abandonnée.

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Mysore: a Maharaja’s palace, a market and a pair of goms

By Emma. Cliquez ici pour l’article de Damien. Click here for photos for there.

Ah gommery – apparently this is going to be familiar ground for us in India. Wide-eyed, trusting eijits! Wandering happily around Mysore, we point out the new sights and quirks to each other. Map in hand and white skin glowing, we’re a beacon to the conartists (and schoolkids!).

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Fort Cochin – beautiful ugly … and a cookery class

By Emma. Pour l’article de Damien, cliquez ici. For photos of there, click here.

Desolate, ugly and, somehow, impossibly charming – such a strange description to fit a strange place, a place I really liked. The razor wire, the bizarre (and frightening) military billboard screaming the slogan “Hit First. Hit Hard. Keep Hitting”, the small piles of burning rubbish, the tankers and horizon-squatting plant, the theme tune to The Smoggies on mental repeat, the fluorescent candy floss, the animal bins and vintage ice-cream stalls, the Balaclaved babies in the balmy 30° evenings, shy affection behind parasols, hand-holding and twilight wanderings, Chinese fishing nets and seafood auctions, spirograph merchants and laughter  – hands down the seafront promenade in Fort Cochin is one of the ugliest I’ve ever seen. Everything seems out of sync, out of place – families and lovers stroll eating ice-creams against a backdrop of what looks like a post-apocalyptic world. It feels surreal. Fort Cochin manages to be both technicolour and black and white. I should hate it but I don’t, I can’t. I actually think it’s pretty wonderful.

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