Next stop: Guatemala

Posted: September 1, 2014 in Writing

Originally posted on eatdrinkculture:

20140802-102643-37603852.jpgWhile last year saw us blogging throughout the many, many months of planning, organizing, research and bookings that led up to our amazing India/Nepal trip* in October, this year we’ve been mostly silent on this blog about where this year’s vacation is. Not because it’s a secret, but because compared to last year, this was a relatively easy trip to plan. All the pieces seemed to fall into place quite easily.

It started with a Groupon. I forget which of us came across it, but one of us said to the other, “hey, doesn’t this place look nice.” Something jogged my memory that I had seen the particular lodge in a travel magazine tucked under our coffee table, so we looked into it a bit more, and the more we did the more we liked what we read and saw, on TripAdvisor and YouTube and elsewhere. A small eco-lodge on Lake Atitlan…

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The Art of Packing

Posted: September 1, 2014 in Writing

Originally posted on eatdrinkculture:

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On our first trip–our honeymoon sixteen years ago–we brought one large wheeled suitcase, a smaller wheeled roll-aboard, a carry-on duffel bag, and two personal bags. That trip was 11 days, all in Great Britain, where, although neither of us had ever been, we could be relatively certain of the conditions and climate. We did not have room for souvenirs.

Last year, we managed 18 days visiting four cities in India and Nepal with two large (but still carry-on size) backpacks. And, we had room to bring back a wok, bedspread, several pashminas, tea, and a few articles of clothing.

So what changed in those intervening years?

We learned the secret of packing light. We learned that we enjoy ourselves far more with less in our bag to worry about.

We’ve written about this before in a general way, but we still often get asked “but how do you do it?”

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Going to Kathmandu

Posted: June 23, 2014 in Travel

Originally posted on eatdrinkculture:

Sorry for the delay in getting to this final city from our Indian & Nepal adventure. It’s somewhat surreal to me that it’s been just over six months since we boarded a flight towards this amazing part of the world. And it really has taken us almost this long to sort through not just our actual photographs, but our memories and impressions and figure out how best to explain it all. So far we’ve covered Delhi, Jaipur and Kolkata; here, finally, is Kathmandu.

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Last but certainly not least, the final leg of our India/Nepal adventure: Kathmandu. The flight from Kolkata to Kathmandu itself was uneventful, or at least what we came to understand as typical for India: numerous physical inspections of both bag and person (the latter being quite intimate on occasion, but always behind a curtain) and once on the plane, a general lack of adherence to rules (literally everyone but us stands up and opens the overhead…

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Originally posted on eatdrinkculture:

After a great first couple of days in Kolkata, we were keen to see what the next two days would hold. (If you missed Kolkata part 1, click here to read it.)

Our third day in the city coincided with Kali Puja, and we decided to make our way to Mullik Ghat, by the Hoogly river under the Howrah bridge, to see the large flower market there. Checking a map, we saw we could take the subway a few stops, and then walk a short distance from there. The subway part of the journey was fine, if a bit alarming: I’ve never seen people push onto a subway with such zeal. Ever, in my life. The doors open, and the people on the platform dive into the car as though there were pots of gold for the first one in. They don’t let anyone get out; old people are trampeled, clothing is grabbed. I’m…

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Originally posted on eatdrinkculture:

Our arrival in Kolkata* was surprisingly green. I don’t know why we didn’t expect it; after all, the city is in a tropical area, but somehow the idea of “Calcutta” called to mind images of impossibly crowded, urban streets and not much else. But there were palm trees, and lush greenery in many areas, notably on the drive into town, and then the motherload of green: the Maidan, sometimes referred to as the “lungs of Kolkata” and the largest urban park in the city.

The other notable thing you see on the ride from the airport into town is the massive amount of construction: high-rise apartments, tech and financial companies, shiny international hotels, along with new infrastructure–roads and subway extensions–being built to accommodate it all. IBM, Accenture,Cisco, Intel, HSBC…I lost track of all the big names I saw on both existing and new structures going up. Clearly this was one…

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Journey to the Pink City

Posted: March 22, 2014 in Travel

Originally posted on eatdrinkculture:

1380328_10201839255850559_787787126_n Waking before dawn on our fourth morning in India, we said goodbye to Rick and his family, and Delhi, and caught a train to Jaipur. The train station was a bit crazy–it was nearly impossible to figure out where to go, signage didn’t make sense and the loudspeaker through which they called the trains and platforms sounded like the teacher in Charlie Brown. But finally, we found our train, and managed to locate both the correct car and our seats.

As this was our first time on an Indian train, we decided to book first class seats. First class is not as grandiose as it sounds, and it’s actually pretty inexpensive, far less than coach tickets on Amtrak here in the states. But don’t get me wrong, it is quite comfortable–very roomy, in fact–and the porter comes through several times during the ride, first with a liter of water for each…

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Delhi, our gateway to India

Posted: March 18, 2014 in Travel

Originally posted on eatdrinkculture:

We can’t claim to have had the most typical introduction to India, as we were not only fortunate enough to have friends with a flat in New Delhi, but that flat happened to be inside the walls of the British High Commission. Or, as more commonly referred to, the British Embassy.

I know that sounds rather highfalutin’, but Richard and Kirsty work for the British government and are on a temporary posting in India; and thus, they live in an apartment building (one of several), within the grounds of the BHC. Rob met Richard through a collaborative writing project a few years back. Since then, we’ve been able to meet up a few times here in the states when Rick’s been over for conventions. When we started planning our trip to India, he generously offered us accommodation with him and his family for the Delhi leg of the trip.

I’ve…

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