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Old 03-12-2013, 08:48 AM   #1681
pdedse
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My goodness, I was lucky enough to catch the beginning of your trip over three years ago...and now it has largely played itself out...except that it hasn't of course because I suspect that this trip will have a significant influence on you that you will appreciate over time. Well very Jammin done!
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:44 PM   #1682
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Having worked as a waiter for awhile in an Indian restaurant in Delaware i must say The head chef was a Punjabi named Mr Singh, so of course he used meat too (Northern Indian vrs Southern vegetarian). Those were a summer of amazing meals.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammin View Post
March 10, 2013


A South Indian Vegetarian Thali at Tirupati. A thali is an Indian meal where you first get served small helpings of a variety of foods and then can ask for more of what you liked. It's usually unlimited except for the dessert and special items

Over the weekend, I made a pilgrimage with my family to the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, located at the top of a mountain near Tirupati. It's considered one of the holiest sites for Hindus and pilgrims throng there in the tens of thousands daily to queue in long lines for darshan, getting sight of the holy deity. And after darshan, comes the parsadam, the offering that has been blessed by the deity, which is a huge ladoo at Tirumala. The temple has been there at least for 1,500 years and its rich history is depicted in a nearby museum.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:35 AM   #1683
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Originally Posted by DestinationUnknown View Post
Thanks for the RR. I started a couple of weeks ago and now have reached this page. It was like reading a book due to all the details you provided. Thanks again! Good luck in your future travels.
Glad you enjoyed the story. Working on putting it into a book.
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Originally Posted by RoninMoto View Post
Glad you made it "Home" safely!
That curry looks amazing.

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Originally Posted by Rider14 View Post
Congratulations on completing your trip. Good luck with the rest of your journeys and I think it's safe to say we are all looking forward to the remainder of your ride report.
- Dan (in Chicago)
Thanks, Dan. I'm working on the Mozambique photostories, but way too much happening right now. Slowly, but surely
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awesome! as soon as i saw that pic, i thought of the bombay bistro, a quite decent indian restaurant in rockville, md that serves thali's - both meat and wegetarian. it's not all you can eat, but you will have a hard time finishing one of their platters. if you ever happen to be in the dc area, it's my treat!
doug s.
Mmm, sounds like a plan
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great to see you home safe and sound...

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Originally Posted by anja und holger View Post
So you've finished
Hope you have a good time and enjoy your home country.
Cheers from Germany
Holger
Hi Holger and Anja, yes, I've reached India but the ride isn't over yet. It ends when I reach Delhi, probably in June...
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdedse View Post
My goodness, I was lucky enough to catch the beginning of your trip over three years ago...and now it has largely played itself out...except that it hasn't of course because I suspect that this trip will have a significant influence on you that you will appreciate over time. Well very Jammin done!
Thank you, Sir yup, this trip has definitely changed me... I dont think I can work for anyone else now I'll get to Delhi and then see what happens...
Quote:
Originally Posted by eakins View Post
Having worked as a waiter for awhile in an Indian restaurant in Delaware i must say The head chef was a Punjabi named Mr Singh, so of course he used meat too (Northern Indian vrs Southern vegetarian). Those were a summer of amazing meals.
Sounds like a tasty gig Thalis here are such an economical meal. In a regular restaurant, a thali can be had for around $1.50 and you're stuffed
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:40 AM   #1684
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Cool2 Temp Ride, A Purple Honda Shine 125cc

March 13, 2013


I told my Dad (on the right) that I need some wheels until sanDRina arrives. My Dad's very resourceful and knows people who know people who know someone that can help He put the word out and his cousin here had this purple ride available. It's a Honda Shine 125cc with 4 gears (neutral at the bottom, 0-1-2-3-4 ). We took a bus to the town of Sriperumbudur, near my Dad's village, picked up the Shine from Ramachandra Uncle and rode back 30 kms into the city, at night, in rush hour traffic. First ride with my Dad as pillion and no problems. Traffic is crazy but you just have to go with the flow of chaos; something like this: http://youtu.be/RjrEQaG5jPM

Oh and I got my Indian Learner's Permit today
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:17 PM   #1685
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Thank you for such an epic adventure. I have been following you for about two years it seems, and have enjoyed every minute. Very happy for you that you have made it home safely, all the best to you in your future adventures.
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:01 AM   #1686
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammin View Post
March 13, 2013


I told my Dad (on the right) that I need some wheels until sanDRina arrives. My Dad's very resourceful and knows people who know people who know someone that can help He put the word out and his cousin here had this purple ride available. It's a Honda Shine 125cc with 4 gears (neutral at the bottom, 0-1-2-3-4 ). We took a bus to the town of Sriperumbudur, near my Dad's village, picked up the Shine from Ramachandra Uncle and rode back 30 kms into the city, at night, in rush hour traffic. First ride with my Dad as pillion and no problems. Traffic is crazy but you just have to go with the flow of chaos; something like this: http://youtu.be/RjrEQaG5jPM

Oh and I got my Indian Learner's Permit today
I always get a kick out of those traffic videos.. I lol'd as it almost seems like it has an invisible traffic light at the intersection.

It reminds me of the chinese moped craziness I have watched.
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:37 AM   #1687
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Mozambique, Part 1: The Remote North and Lake Malawi
December 4 - 7, 2012

After my extended stay in East Africa, it was finally time to enter Southern Africa. Mozambique has been a country that I was really looking forward to experiencing after the many positive things other travelers have said and also because it's a Portuguese-speaking country. My travels through Brazil developed my love for the Portuguese language and I've been earning to speak it ever since I left South America.

Mozambique was first introduced to Portuguese culture when Vasco da Gama made landfall on his way to India in the 15th century. As other European powers were gobbling up Africa, Portugal kept a hold of Mozambique, Angola and Guinea-Bissau. After a long struggle, Mozambique finally became independent in 1975 but quickly plunged into a deadly civil war that ravaged the country till 1992. Since then, the country's been growing fast but there's a huge gap between the north and the south. Mozambique is a big country, stretching 3,000 kms from Tanzania to South Africa and most of the development is taking place in the south. This is the reason I traveled only in the north of the country. I like rural and rustic places and I found plenty of that in the friendly north.

Come with me into a country of beautiful landscapes, friendly people and tasty seafood...

(Click on the panoramas for the full size image.)



Entering Mozambique at the remote border of Matchedje across Rio Ruvuma.


I love small border crossings. There's no hassle and the officers are more friendly. Here, this customs agent wasn't too sure how to process the carnet for sanDRina and I'm showing him that he has to tear off the bottom portion and keep that and then the middle portion will be taken when I exit the country. Thanks to GoPro for the hidden camera shot.


My route through Mozambique. I entered from Tanzania, near Lake Malawi, and then cut across Niassa province to Pemba on the coast. After a visit to historic Ilha da Mozambique, I had a nice ride along the coast down to Beira. Then, I turned inland and passed through Tete on my way to Zambia. Click on it to go to the interactive version in Google Maps.


With the border village of Matchedje behind me, I had 60 kms (37 mi) of sandy, forest riding till the next human settlement. The road had no traffic on it besides me and one minibus, called a chapa, here.


Taking a break in the shade and letting my bones and sanDRina's suspension relax from the corrugations.


When there were no corrugations, the road became sandy. At first, the sand wasn't a problem and I could stand through it, but...


...it soon became quite deep and once I lost my momentum, it was tough to get back up to speed.


Frequent breaks to cool down and...


...enjoy the solitude of the forest.


Enjoying my first day in Mozambique.


Those 60 kms were slow-going and I started to look for a place to stay for the night.


The first village from the border was Novo Madeira and I pulled up to this official-looking building.


I introduced myself, in Portuguese, to the officer on duty, Mr. Roman, and asked if I could pitch up my tent in the back. He said, no need, there's a spare bedroom at the back that I was free to use. How nice. This was the only government building in the area and behind the offices at the front was a guest house for passing officers and I guess, adventure travelers.


The sleepy village of Nova Madeira where the residents all had a patch of forest land that they farmed for their sustenance.


Roman was a customs officer with military training and excused himself to carry out his evening workout.


He then invited me for 'jantar,' the Portuguese word for dinner. He first fried up some eggs...


...and then fried up some dried fish...


...that we had with nshima (maize meal porridge). He was a very pleasant man and was impressed with my Portuguese that was coming back to me very quickly. I had listened to my Michel Thomas language lessons recently and being immersed was releasing my knowledge of this language. We sat out under the stars and he asked why the stars near the horizon twinkle more than ones that are straight above. In my basic Portuguese, I managed to convey that the light from stars near the horizon have to travel through more air (atmosphere) than the ones straight above and that's what makes them twinkle more.


There was no mosquito net, so I put up my tent on the bed and had a restful night.


Leaving the next morning and I enjoyed the overcast sky as it kept the temps in check.


Thanks for the stay, Roman. What a great first impression of Mozambique.
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:38 AM   #1688
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Heading south on a hard-packed mud road and enjoying the curves and dips and climbs.


The forest ended and the land was taken over by farmland but the horizon was exciting with mountains all around.


Panorama of the ride with some jagged peaks in view.


The mountains of Northern Mozambique.


A shot of my GPS and a basket from a friend in Kenya.


Twin peaks and sanDRina.


I hit the pavement near the town of Lichinga and aired up the tires with my CyclePump.


A single lane tar road took me through villages and then...


...I rounded a corner and wow, grand old Lake Malawi was spread out across the horizon.


I passed through the lakeshore town of Metangula and headed for the Chuwanga Beach Hotel...


...where they had this little hut for 250 Meticais ($8.43) per night.


The view from my beach hut of beautiful Lake Malawi.


The mountainous shoreline of Lake Malawi that I had to descend down to get here.


The waves of Lake Malawi. This lake holds a special place in my life as my family used to vacation on the opposite shore in Malawi when we lived in Zambia during my childhood. I wasn't going to pass through Malawi, due to visa complications, but coming back to these waters was enough to stir up the nostalgia.


On the Mozambican side, the lakeshore isn't developed and the lake is used as the primary source of water for the local population. They bathe, wash their clothes and take water back home for cooking and drinking.


Mango season was in full bloom and I asked the hotel workers to get me a few from the mango tree in the parking lot. I enjoyed these luscious fruits over the day and had my fill of fresh mangoes.


Special access for mosquitoes.


An old dhow carved out from a single tree trunk on the shores of Lake Malawi.


A fisherman heading out for his evening catch. Lake Malawi is the second-deepest lake in Africa, after Lake Tanganyika, and is the southernmost of the Rift Valley Lakes. Its isolation and great depth has allowed hundreds of species of endemic fish to evolve over its lifetime. The lake is also known for its snail population that harbor the deadly bilharzia parasite. Bilharzia wasn't an issue when I was a kid but recently, with certain snail-eating fish being over-fished, bilharzia has become more of an issue.


As dusk falls, a young lady with her baby tied on her back walks past a fisherman mending his net.


Enjoying the strong breeze coming off of Lake Malawi in my simple beach hut.


Heading out of Chuwanga Beach and soaking in the grand views of Lake Malawi.

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Old 03-17-2013, 08:09 AM   #1689
Jammin OP
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Cool2 Snapshot: On the scooter that started it all...

March 17, 2013


I had a lovely visit to my parents' villages outside Chennai and I'm sitting on the scooter that started my life on two wheels. My chinna-pedda-naina (mom's first elder sister's husband), here, has meticulously maintained this handsome Bajaj Chetak since 1985. I remember going for rides to the nearby town of Perambakkam with me standing up front and pretending I was riding with hands on the handlebar. Wind in the face, sensation of speed, ahhh, I was hooked from an early age! Chinna-pedda-naina encouraged me, as a kid, to take apart everything, understand how it works and then put it back together. He's proud that I went and had a career in Mechanical Engineering in the US and I thanked him for the inspiration. He's looking forward to meeting sanDRina

Heading to Bangalore for the week...
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Old 03-17-2013, 02:00 PM   #1690
pdedse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammin View Post
March 17, 2013


I had a lovely visit to my parents' villages outside Chennai and I'm sitting on the scooter that started my life on two wheels. My chinna-pedda-naina (mom's first elder sister's husband), here, has meticulously maintained this handsome Bajaj Chetak since 1985. I remember going for rides to the nearby town of Perambakkam with me standing up front and pretending I was riding with hands on the handlebar. Wind in the face, sensation of speed, ahhh, I was hooked from an early age! Chinna-pedda-naina encouraged me, as a kid, to take apart everything, understand how it works and then put it back together. He's proud that I went and had a career in Mechanical Engineering in the US and I thanked him for the inspiration. He's looking forward to meeting sanDRina

Heading to Bangalore for the week...
Great story! How many times do we get to go back to the early influences? Now if he were to sell it to you and you rode it back, retracing your steps of the trip you just did, now that would be quite another story...hahahaaa...
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:47 AM   #1691
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Don't want to clutter the pages too much, but didn't want you think we (the readers) didn't appreciate the report, stellar pictures, and great info.

I really enjoyed following your ride. Can't wait for any future adventures you take on!
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:05 AM   #1692
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Glad to see you made it home safe! The reward of seeing your parents had to be a very rewarding feeling and probably one of the best experiences from this journey. I have to say that I enjoyed this journey a lot and can't wait to see you finish documenting the rest of it. Thanks for the time you have taken to keep us up to date.

Later
John
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:42 AM   #1693
Jammin OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longbow View Post
Thank you for such an epic adventure. I have been following you for about two years it seems, and have enjoyed every minute. Very happy for you that you have made it home safely, all the best to you in your future adventures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DestinationUnknown View Post
I always get a kick out of those traffic videos.. I lol'd as it almost seems like it has an invisible traffic light at the intersection.
It reminds me of the chinese moped craziness I have watched.
It's self-regulated traffic. Only in India

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shibby! View Post
Don't want to clutter the pages too much, but didn't want you think we (the readers) didn't appreciate the report, stellar pictures, and great info.
I really enjoyed following your ride. Can't wait for any future adventures you take on!
Thanks, mate!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagletalon View Post
Glad to see you made it home safe! The reward of seeing your parents had to be a very rewarding feeling and probably one of the best experiences from this journey. I have to say that I enjoyed this journey a lot and can't wait to see you finish documenting the rest of it. Thanks for the time you have taken to keep us up to date.
Later
John
Thanks, John. Yeah, now the feeling is sinking in that yup, I did it. I left Chicago on my motorcycle three years ago with the final destination being India and now, I've arrived (bike still to come )
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:45 AM   #1694
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March 20, 2013


Having an Ice Gola with Raoul Parekh in Bangalore.

Raoul's an old friend from Kodai School and we were in Phelps Dorm together for 6 years and now it's been 14 years since we saw each other. Fantastic to catch up on everything's that happened and reminisce about the good ol' days, such as getting caught for drinking and sneaking out to visit the girl's dorms Raoul's an interior designer and along with his wife and another partner, their current project is a 5 star hotel in downtown Bangalore.

After traveling through so many new cultures these past three years and meeting so many new people, it's heartening to rekindle an old friendship.

That ice gola is a North Indian street snack of flavored, shaved ice. I had it with Kala Kattha, which is a juice of the Jamun fruit with black rock salt, lemon juice and pepper. Mmm, mmm, good!
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:37 AM   #1695
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Mozambique, Part 2: Heading across Niassa Province to Pemba
December 7 - 11, 2012

After my little break on the shores of Lake Malawi, I headed east, across the remote region of Niassa Province towards Pemba, on the coast. Mozambique is developing quickly with the Chinese laying new roads everywhere and the route that heads east from Lichinga to Pemba was in varied states of construction. The middle portion, the farthest from civilization on both sides, is still a little track through the forest that I highly enjoyed. The rainy season was fully underway now and I sought shelter from a fast-moving thunderstorm with some villagers in their hut. The track was either hard-packed mud, that turned slippery when wet, or sand, which was surprisingly easier to ride when wet. I emerged back into civilization on the other end and headed for Pemba, where I enjoyed fresh squid and octopus.

(Click on the panoramas for the full size image.)


Heading east out of Lichinga and enjoying the twists and curves in the mountainous north of Mozambique.


Panorama of the distractions that a rider through Niassa Province experiences.


I was in the thick of the rainy season. It comes in quick and then moves on. I just missed the rain here and got my tires wet to increase their mileage ever so slightly.


The grand inselbergs that dot northern Mozambique. These are remnants of old volcanoes where the outer rock has eroded to the form the surrounding plains and the inner, harder rock, usually granite is left behind to stand proud.


A woman ploughing her farm under the shadow of an inselberg.


Quite a dramatic setting to have in your backyard. Can you see the creature in the inselberg? There are two eyes on the small head and a slanted mouth.


That same inselberg from another view, showing that seeing faces in inanimate objects is just a trait of the human mind, as we're hard-wired to pick out faces.


Crossing a little bridge in Niassa Province.


A view into the distance with a jagged horizon of inselbergs in various poses.


Ooh, an elephant crossing sign, telling me that mama and baby elephant only cross in curves, ok, so on the straights I'm good.


Mango season is in full bloom and I passed numerous trees with brightly-ripened, juicy mangoes, just waiting to be picked or thrown at by kids.


The only hotel in Marrupa, a small town about a third of the way to Pemba. This basic residencial went for 400 Meticais ($13.50) and came with a hot water bucket bath.


I was walking around town and came across these guys playing a Mozambican version of the age-old game known as Bao or Mancala. The rules are quite complicated but the general idea is to sow and capture seeds. The earliest evidence for this game comes from northern Ethiopia and then it got picked up by the Arabs who introduced it into East Africa and other parts of the world.


The vegetable market in Marrupa with only the basics of onions, tomatoes and beans.


I was buying some bread and noticed these guys playing a game of checkers. Nice use of bottle caps.
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