Jun 25, 2008

Panchgani - Adventure trip

so i did this adventure trip with a bunch of other googlers on the weekend. as i want to read a lot tonight, i will keep this post short, just touching on a few highlights.

so this is the anatomy of a trip like this:

as you can see, the so called useful parts of the trip, such as walking around, seeing stuff, taking pictures, etc. are all in the category labeled as 'other', which accounts for a mere 15% of the entire duration of 60 hours. but of course, in good buddhist spirit, we all know that it is not the destination, but the journey that matters, and i think this trip was a prime example (or exercise?) of this philosophy.

i mentioned highlights earlier, so let's cut to that, keeping the system outlined in the chart

taxi) no highlight. eventless rides to and from the begumpet railway station in hyderabad.

train) wagons divided into bays, each accommodating 8 passengers. during daytime they can all sit, and at night, all 8 have their full length (well, for indian average hight) beds. an amazing engineering design problem, well solved. the indian economy is very efficient, even the smallest profit possibility is tapped. on the train different dudes bring around different foods (mostly snacks, soft drinks, sandwiches, water and ice cream) and drinks. in the beginning of the journey a guy takes the dinner order of the entire train on a piece of paper (the choice is rather spartan of course: veg and non-veg biryani, maybe something else), probably calls a station far away to deliver all that, and then like 5 hours later, everyone gets their hot meals to their seats. a tip: if you wanna go for some beers (and who wouldn't on long and hot trip), you have to keep it low key and silent as frequently patrolling police officers become rather unfriendly if they catch you. be ready for a bribe... err... i mean a fine.

bus) well. don't imagine anything eu conform. probably the oldest bus i have ever been to. as you enter the vehicle, first you have to jump over a transmission lid the size of a modest american fridge. once you passed that, you enter the passenger area, which was probably designed for like 13-14 seat rows, but which is populated by 17 rows. as a result, you could seat 12-16 more people, if they had space for their legs. but as they don't, well, you can imagine. quantity over quality in this case heavily. the bus crew consisted of (A) a lunatic driver, taking turns with the bus in reverse gear faster then usual swedish cars go forward, (B) a few bus boys, jumping out on various occasions to help the driver in navigation while parking, or trying to inch by other cars on a 240 cm wide forest road. you have to die someday anyway, i told myself calmingly, and trusted my karma, while the bus roamed down in the narrow forest roads, slippery from an ongoing dripping rain, in a 25 meter visibility fog, full speed, horning wildly in the frequent twists and turns.

sleep) we did not have much time for this luxury. maybe one highlight i can pick from the hotel we stayed at is the show about the history of wimbledon on star sports we watched a bit saturday night. i should get that show from somewhere, it was pretty amazing.

eat) i am now making again another attempt to go partly vegetarian. this time i am shooting for 5 veg days a week, which, having the richness of indian cuisine, is actually not that hard. i am developing a deep affection towards some types of indian bread, naan beeing my favorite. i have also grown to love the paneer, the indian cottage cheese, used widely in various spicy sauces. local beers belong to the nothing special category, they are pleasantly drinkable, but there is no 'wow' experience there.

other) so yeah, we actually travelled there to panchgani to check out some hill stations and some panorama points. also, the place is famous of its strawberry juice and jam. here is a photo of the landscape at the elephant head point (below), and one about me sitting on the cliff (above, for popular request, as it is also an update on my face's recovery). expect more on my oservations on these things in the next post, already in production with the title 'litter india'.

verdict. well, the whole thing felt like a school trip. you know, snacks, taking pictures in the bus, infantile jokes, big loud laughs, etc.. usually not my cup of tea, but still i am very grateful to have experienced this in india. mostly it was very pleasant, i had some truly interesting conversations and experienced some cool stuff. i am granting a strong 4 stars for the overall adventure, with a subscore of 3 stars for the destination (explanation in coming post), and a full 5 stars for the journey.


Ricco said...

Nice structure ;-)
Analytical thinking is obviously an important hiring criterion.

I am sure it was a great experience

BTW Unfortunately Reader doesnt get the gadget.

Vicky said...

how "inte'rrr'esting" were the conversations? :p

come on out with it!!!!


Lez said...

Gigantique landscapes...

Now I'm the envious one. :)

Ankita said...

Ur photgraphs are awesome. But couldnt really digest your bus experience hehehe. Next time u shud try and book ur tickets in advance may be online or something. Try ticketvala.com ive used it and its pretty good atleast u can choose what kind of bus u want :)

Afrin said...

How many stars for the company?

g. said...

thanks for the comments!

ricco: i am glad you liked the structure :) do you have a blog I could follow?

vicky: ve'rrr'y! :p

lez: you should be mate, this place rocks (:

ankita: i am happy you liked the photos! there are more on my flickr stream. also, thanks for the bus booking tip ;)

afrin: hmm. well.. let me think.. no, actually i won't start rating my company with stars ;) however, i consider myself very fortunate to have traveled with this company..

Ankita said...

my pleasure..... btw uve captured India pretty well :)

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