Welcome to our blog

Welcome to our blog. During the coming year we travel (backpack) around the world and will try to regularly post some updates on our whereabouts on this page.

Montag, 24. Januar 2011

A short stay in Bangalore

The busride to Bangalore was  not that bad, important is to 'switch-off' and pretend everything is normal.
Maybe we are getting used Asian busses...

Anyway, we arrived in the big city and were ready to check out the sights. Just driving and walking around is  quite a happening already. Everyone makes his living somehow, there is so much to see:

The other thing we knew about, but had never really experienced: India's HOLY COWS.  They are everywhere. On the footpath:

And laying around in the middle on loads of trash...
So sad, but what can we do, not much. The people find is NORMAL!

On the positive side, a wildlife park close to the city rescues wild animals which are/were used as tourist attractions.

We visited some temples, too bad the pics are not so good...  

and found the holy cow inside one of them.


OK, time to move on, another nightbus will bring us to Goa, the 'Mallorca' or India. 

2 Weeks in Fort Kochi, India

In 1999 an Air India aircraft was hijacked between Kathmandu and Delhi, until today the security measures on this route are high. We only transferred in Delhi to the Southern airport of Cochin, in the state Kerala, but had to go through the whole security procedure. Bags were checked 5x (!!) – by hand and by X-ray, before we could finally board the aircraft in Kathmandu.

Totally annoying that the Air India staff in Delhi found our small pocket knife in that same bag in Delhi (!!!) - we forgot all about it, it must have been in there for months without anyone noticing it. Anyway, gone is gone...

We found a nice guesthouse in a small town called Fort Kochi.
The place was really nice and clean and the friendly lady cooks ‘safe’ food. We quickly realized that no matter how touristy a place is, garbage belongs on the streets in India and illnesses come with them!!
Within a week all 3 of us were on anti-biotic!

Rats, dogs, cows, birds and beggars love these road-side places...

Let’s forget that for the moment, as not everything is bad in Fort Kochi.

Matthew and Robin took their PADI Open Water Certificate course here, maybe not the most beautiful place but for us very practical.

The kids caught up on their homework and e-mailed it to their teachers. Matthew applied for the Mike Horn Borneo ACT expedition and got the confirmation during our stay in Fort Kochi. This gave him much extra work, doing fund-raising and preparing presentations.

A nice internet café in town made a lot of money on us – we did a lot of talking on Facebook and Skype, also as X-mas and New Year were coming up soon. We updated our Blogspot and searched on-line for flights to Borneo, busses within India, animation design courses and much more.

We send part of our luggage back to Europe, and realized we still have too much left over... each of us has a backpack and then we have the ‘schoolbag’... which is slowly being filled with more and more movies... to replace the finished homework ???

Cooking lessons in India with Tresa, our 'mother' at the Guesthouse means, curry, curry and more curry. We can almost smell it when we think about it :-)

With Christmas coming up, the streets are decorated.

Typical Kerala style dresses.

And 'typical' Indian kids.

Next to martial arts, Kathakali is really popular and both are tourist attractions.

We checked out the town by foot and rickshaw.

Even that we said many times, no more busses, we now had to board another  bus... all trains were full and a sleeper bus was the only way  to go to our next destination. Bangalore, or Bengaluru as it is called  now.

Samstag, 22. Januar 2011

21 Degrees in Nepal!

This trip is different from any other trip we went on before. We didn't pre-plan so well, and we did not buy round-the-world tickets. Before we left last June it was busy for everyone; Sonja was working and Matthew and Robin were in school. We more or less planned our Canada journey and we had a rough idea which countries we would visit during the coming year, but everything was kept flexible. Which suited all of us.

Nepal was one of the countries we wanted to go to. Thinking of Nepal, snow and ice and mountains as well as trekking with guides came to our minds.
It would turn out completely different. On the ‘Couchsurfing’ platform we found a lady who runs a house for less fortunate children.

After some e-mail exchange we decided to visit the house and help out where needed.
We first stayed a couple of days in a hostel in Kathmandu and we visited the sights.


We did a street clean up with the locals. The streets are filled with trash here and nobody seems to even realize that it looks bad, stinks and attract cockroaches, rats and such...

Have a look at the video here: FOLLOWS SOON

Arriving at the Children Welfare Home (CWH) we found quite some kids in Matthew and Robin’s age. This was great.
A total of around 50 children live at the CWH, partly babies and small children who are awaiting their adoption papers before they can move to their new parents. These kids are all orphans who were abandoned and were brought to CWH by the government.

Then there are the kids with less fortunate backgrounds, they mainly come from poor villages in Nepal and live in the house. Most of them still have either one or both parent(s) but these are unable to look after them at the moment. The boys and girls between 6 and 17 years old now go to a good school and get a real chance to change their family’s lives.

Within a few days we realized that the CWH is facing big financial difficulties. First the financial crisis hit, then the aid organizations were put in a bad daylight. People have stopped donating money to organizations they don’t know, and those who donate, give less. Together with some other people we try to help and improve their situation. Preferably in a sustainable way!
More to follow about this.
Here are a few pictures we took of the kids and the ‘didi’ – a didi is a lady who looks after the babies.


With Matthew’s involvement in the Mike Horn group, we spoke with the kids about the streets of Kathmandu. Even in front of their door there was loads of trash to be found.

Worse was that they, themselves burn all their garbage in their garden!!

Together we cleaned huge loads of half-burned garbage that was scattered through the garden and agreed not to burn it anymore.
We went one step further when the kids got really excited about trash and the need to clean it up.

The kids started a group of ‘activists’ and now regularly clean the streets and speak with neighbours and (school)friends about the need for a clean city.

Here the team, ready for action:

Before we knew it, it was time to go. Our visa almost expired and we were ready to discover India.
We are pretty sure we will return to Nepal in 2011.