Friday, May 15, 2009

Our Trip Route

(Northern) THAILAND

  • Sukhothai
  • Chiang Mai
  • Pai


  • Luang Prabang
  • Vang Vieng
  • Vientiane

  • Hanoi
  • Ha Long Bay/Cat Ba Island
  • Hoi An
  • Nha Trang
  • Ho Chi Minh City, aka. Saigon

  • Phnom Penh
  • Siem Reap
(Southern) THAILAND

  • Krabi/Railay Beach
  • Koh Phi Phi
  • Koh Lanta
  • Koh Tao

  • New Delhi
  • Agra
  • Jaipur (Rajasthan)
  • Pushkar
  • Udaipur
  • Mt. Abu
  • Baroda
  • Mumbai, aka. Bombay
  • Palolem (Goa)
  • Arambol
  • Kochi/Fort Cochin (Kerala)
  • Allepey, aka. Alappuzha
  • Chennamkary (Backwaters/Green Palm Homestay)
  • Varkala
  • Kumily/Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Munnar
  • Trichy, aka. Tiruchirappalli

  • Kuta (Bali)
  • Ubud
  • Kedisan/Gunung Batur
  • Amed
  • Gili Air (Lombok)
  • Mount Rinjani
  • Nusa Lembongan
  • Sanur (Bali)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Final Frontier: Indonesia

Here concludes the final segment of our amazing journey through Asia: The beautiful and enchanting land of Indonesia
(we've done everyone a huge favor by keeping this entry as concise as possible)

KUTA (Southern Bali)
Near the airport, and by far the most populated tourist city in Bali. Amanda and I enjoyed the beautiful beaches while experiencing culture shock with all the chain restaurants that we hadn't seen in months: McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Hard Rock Cafe. The town resembled an Australian spring break, so we had some fun and then left a couple days later.

UBUD (Central Bali)
The cultural capital of Bali with it's galleries, museums, posh restaurants, spas galore and dance/theater performances...we had a great time with daily massages...a visit to the Antonio Blanco museum...a great local jazz club with artists from all over the world...and even bumped into Michael Franti (Spearhead) from San Francisco in a small cafe!

GUNUNG BATUR (Northeastern Bali)
We stayed in the town of Kedisan, which sits on Lake Batur adjacent to the profound volcano of Gunung (Mount) Batur. Amazing sunrises and sunsets and great for swimming in the 'holy' water from the lake. The volcano is perceived as holy as well which inspired us to hire a (required) guide and climb to the top, around the rim and then back down. The rim was pretty precarious, though exhilarating, and the views were spectacular. This 4-hour climb was a nice warm-up and prelude to an insane 3-day climb we did a couple weeks later on Lombok (see Rinjani below). While in the area, we swam in some natural hot springs and stumbled upon a huge annual religious ceremony. We wound up sitting down with the singers of the ceremony as they were performing and shared tea and snacks with them until the wee hours of the evening. Hundreds of people listened on the loudspeaker as these men chanted away until their voices turned sour.

AMED (Eastern Bali)
This town was the ultimate in paradise. Very remote, great scuba diving/snorkeling, very few tourists (maybe 200 in the entire greater area), excellent food and exciting cock fights (of course we disapproved of this ancient form of entertainment...but couldn't help but watch). We had the pleasure of scuba diving in and around a 300-ft. sunken US WWII cargo ship called The Liberty. Tons of coral and fish, it was an honor to be there and take in all the mature plant life. Amazing snorkeling all around the area, including the Japanese ship wreck which had amazingly colorful fish zooming all around us. Our most genuine travel experience was hanging out with a group of 12 young local men on the beach as they (we) drank a local beverage which comes from the palm tree called tuak (palm wine, similar to the toddy of India). They caught fish nearby, cooked them over the fire, then everyone used their hands and dug into the whole fish like wild dogs. Very primal, yet damn tasty! The adventure then took us to the local cockfight where a friend from the beach was fighting one of his own. He unfortunately lost, but the event was one to be remembered in any case.

GILI AIR (off the NW coast of Lombok)
Just when we thought Amed was paradise....then came Gili Air.
Picture this: small island, far from civilization, can walk around perimeter in about 1 hour. About 800 residents living in the interior, about 200 tourists spread across the east coast in ~15 different lodgings (ie. huts, cabins, bungalows, etc). Several restaurants, several bars, amazing snorkeling & scuba, everyone is relaxed.
Snorkeled Gili Meno (an even smaller island next door) and came within 10 feet of about 8 huge sea turtles. Every day on the beach/snorkeling, every night trying a different local eatery (for the standard $2 meals). Such fresh fish and fruits. It took us about a week to tear ourselves away from that island.

MOUNT RINJANI (Central Lombok)
The longest & most strenuous hike we've ever done in our lives. And also - the most SPEACTACULAR.
Stats: 3 days, overall elevation gain of 11,000 feet over a distance of only ~20 miles. Yikes.
Really steep and really long.
Day 1: Hiked up to the lower volcano rim.
Day 2: Hiked down to the lake in the huge crater, hung out by the waterfalls, swam in the hot springs, swam in the lake, then hiked up to the base of the highest rim (our base camp).
Day 3: Woke up at 2:30am in order to climb to the tallest rim summit in time for sunrise at 6:30am. The last two hours of the climb were extremely steep and slippery from small/medium rocks and sand....but we fought through it in the dark (with headlamps) and made it to the top just in the neck of time to see the stunning sunrise over the horizon. Our group of 4, with one guide, were the only people to summit that day - the other 25 people scheduled to summit whimped out (bummer for them, they missed out!). We made it down to base camp for breakfast and then walked downhill for what seemed to be many many hours....our legs complete jelly from 3 days of exhaustion.....but SO WORTH IT.
Did I mention that our required guide and two porters (sherpas) wore FLIP-FLOPS almost the entire trip?!?! Absolutely amazing. We were slipping and stumbling the entire hike while they bounded along, carrying 80 pounds on their back with nothing but a thin pair of sandals on. We still can't believe it.

SANUR (Southeastern Bali)
Not too much going on there other than a few delicious restaurants and low-key bars. Many years ago it was a major tourist hub, but those days are long gone. There was an international surfing competition going on there while we were around which was pretty cool. Laid on the beach some more $5 massages....ho routine :)

NUSA LEMBONGAN (Island off the southeastern coast of Bali)
Mostly known for it's scuba, surf and strong currents (which makes for challenging scuba).
The major reason we visited Nusa was because we heard (from our Finnish friends in Gili Air) that there were a huge amount of large manta rays off the coast. That's all we needed to hear.
Next thing you know, we're diving at "Manta Point" and saw about 6-7 giant manta rays (5' wide and 5' long) from only 5-10 feet away. Awesome. Such unique and beautiful animals, it was pretty exciting getting so close.
We stayed at a really nice group of bungalows called the "Secret Garden" which had a huge round bed, private outdoor shower and a hammock on our porch. The $12 per night (including breakfast) was well worth it!

From Nusa, we went back to Sanur for a night, flew to Bangkok for our last few days of shopping, a dinner cruise, the zoo and amazing street food. Then it was back to our wonderful home of San Francisco. Of all the places to come back to 'reality' could be a lot worse :)

Thanks for reading our enormous novel of a blog. It was fun having you join us on our adventure.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Don't Worry, Chicken Curry

Ahhh, a big city alas. Mumbai, otherwise known as Bombay, was next on our India tour but not nearly as chaotic as Todd or I envisioned. A likable city with cool, vintage black and yellow cabs straight out of the 50s. Each one decorated with unique carpeted ceilings and fuzzy dice in the rear view. A scene right out of "Indian Graffiti."

Anyone who knows me, knows I DO NOT LIKE MCDONALDS. I won't eat there...except in India. :) HAMBURGERS WEREN'T ON THE MENU! Yay to the Hindus for believing cows are holy! I approve of potato sandwiches and 50 cent sundaes in 90 degree heat. Sign me up. After traveling for 4 months, you'd eat McDonald's too. Another exciting find: air conditioned movies in English. We escaped the heat twice during the day in comfy red movie seats watching "Slumdog Millionaire" in the city it was filmed at. Pretty rad if I do say so myself. We also caught "Curious something with Benjamin Button." The title was too long to remember, but it did have Brad Pitt starring.

Besides catching up on our American culture, we visited a Jewish synagogue built in 1884 called the Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue. The building was painted baby blue on the outside and there were photos of Madonna's visit to the establishment a few years ago. We also stopped by the Mahatma Gandhi Museum (one of many in India) where Gandhi had lived from 1917-1934. The house had a great feeling of peace inside and it was moving to learn more about his great conquest for peace during his lifetime. He was a man with very few possessions and a lot of passion for his beliefs to the end.

On a lighter note, Mumbai is also known as the home of Bollywood movies. A take on Hollywood movies but less plot and more dancing. If you've ever seen a Bollywood film you know the plot usually involves marriage, love, and singing and dancing in many different environments. Well, Todd and I just happened to be walking in a touristy neighborhood when we were approached to be in a film the next day! We were offered free food all day long and $10. For us it wasn't about the compensation as much as the experience so we said yes. The name of the movie is called, "Blue" starring Kylie Minogue and Ashkeh Kumar (a HUGE Indian Bollywood movie star). The scene we are in takes place at a dance club in Jamaica. The movie crew gave us costumes, I had my make-up done and they directed us where to stand, when to dance and look lively, etc. All in all it was fun, but a long day and hard work standing in high heels for so long. Look for it online in June/July of this year.

Once we had our fill of stardom we headed to Goa, known worldwide for it's beaches! We started in Palolem for 6 nights. There were cows on the beach, henna tattoos and a lot more Westerners than we had seen anywhere else in India. We rented a moped and scooted around to explore the many beaches nearby. Lush rice fields, water buffaloes, and bright sarees made for an enjoyable ride. We stumbled upon Agonda Beach which literally had 2 resorts on it, one not even open. We felt lucky to have the beach to ourselves and we settled right in on hammocks with good books to read. In Goa, the police have cut down on late night music disturbing the peace. One company thought of a great idea around this to provide dancing to the wee night hours. "Silent Noise" is the name of the party and it involves everyone wearing headphones tuned into 3 different stations of techno/house music provided by live dj's at the party. Brilliant and yet funny to see people wearing headphones dancing to silence if you aren't wearing the headphones as well.

We then made our way to Arambol, Goa for more beach time up north. We arrived on Holi, which is a huge holiday in India where everyone paints each other with colored chalk. Luckily we had planned for this and were prepared in clothes we didn't mind donating after the day. We were painted with green, purple, yellow and pink chalk all over our faces, arms, clothes and legs even while riding a motorbike! It was all in good fun and we were happy to join in the hilarious festivities. Two of the six nights we were in Arambol we sat in on a local band comprised of a sitar, tabla drum, bass guitar and didgeridoo. We were glad to see some live music and it reminded me of the great music scene back home in SF. Besides swimming in lakes and beaches, and Todd eating some tasty water buffalo--the closest thing to steak served in India--we decided to volunteer a day to the International Animal Rescue Center of Goa. We took a tour of the facilities and offered our dog-walking services for a few hours. To our surprise they actually had walked all 90 dogs that day because they were doing a fundraiser for the center so the only "chore" we could help with was to take the puppies out! We each got to hold, pet and walk 3 adorable puppies who loved being in the sunshine away from the shelter. It was a rewarding day and I would do it again anytime.

After 12 nights in relaxing Goa, it was time to head further south, to the state of Kerala. We first stopped at Kochi (Fort Cochin) for a few nights. Kochi was much hotter than anywhere we had been in India and there were more mosquitoes than we would have preferred. We checked out the nearest amusement park, Veega Land, for a $4 admission fee and a whole lot of water rides on offer! We were the only foreigners at the park and you can imagine how many stares, hand shakes, and "What country?" we heard. We felt like movie stars because everyone wanted to know who we were. The rides were refreshing and we had a blast being kids. Besides riding roller coasters and slipping down water slides, we visited Jew Town one day, saw dolphins from our ferry boat ride and cooled down with delicious ice cold coffee milkshakes at Teapot, a cute cafe nearby.

One night we attended an ancient theatrical performance known as Kathakali dance. Kathakali dance is a highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama known for its attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the music. Before the show starts they allow the guests to watch the intensive make-up application of the characters on stage. The make-up they use is 100% natural since centuries ago that's all they had to use for coloring their faces. They use different spices and colored rocks combined with coconut oil to create vibrant greens, reds, yellows and black to apply to their faces. The performance involves a story being told by the actors through the use of body movements and gestures. No words are ever spoken, only the sound of the drum and singer are heard which creates a very authentic, traditional vibe throughout the auditorium.

After a few days in Kochi we ventured further south to Alleppey (known as the Venice of the East) to enjoy a huge treat: renting a houseboat for 2 nights while soaking in fabulous views from the backwater district of Kerala. The Kerala Backwaters are a network of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes and inlets, a labyrinth system formed by more than 900km of waterways. The houseboats available for rent aren't anything you can find on Lake Shasta...they are large, rice barge style boats with luxury conveniences such as a DVD player, satellite TV, full kitchen, two bedrooms and a shower to make your stay completely relaxing and indulgent. After checking out a few boats, we chose Sandra Houseboats because it was new and modern and had everything we were looking for. The boat was huge, we could have entertained 15 people in the front room where we spent most of our time. Not only were there couches and chairs and a dining area, there were also huge lounge cushions next to the captain's chair for soaking in the sun and watching time pass by. The trip was very relaxing and we felt guilty even reading or turning on the television during the daylight hours because the natural beauty surrounding us was too good not to gaze at. Little kids on the side of the canals would yell hello and we could watch rice farmers work on their fields from a distance until the sun went down. Both days Todd and I jumped in the slightly muddy rivers and went for a swim before being pleasantly surprised with huge multiple course lunches! One day it looked like Thanksgiving for 10 when our talented chef whipped up over 15 dishes and served them on a banana leaf, incredible. I don't know how he did all that in the small kitchen at the back of the boat, but it was a divine meal neither of us will ever forget or replicate!

Since the Keralan backwater canals were so scenic, we decided to spend more time in the area by way of visiting a homestay in nearby Chennamkary for the next two nights. The homestay was a large house recently built on the edge of the backwaters where we could swim or borrow a canoe for a trip down the calm rivers. Our hosts' name was Thomas who was a rice farmer by profession but he spoke amazing English and sounded more like a scholar than a simple farmer. His wife and mother would cook our meals each day usually containing a south indian bread, rice and a few vegetarian dishes as well as fish or chicken. Thomas also had two adorable daughters who were starting to learn English and eager to play games with us foreigners. Our first night Thomas took all of us guests for an evening walk and tour of the village teaching us about the history of the town and its' monuments. There were a few churches that had been there hundreds of years and a lot of rice and vegetable farms to admire. Once we saw the sun set below the rice paddies we got into a canoe that had been in his family for 200 years and we paddled to the "toddy bar." The only reason I can refer to this hole-in-the-wall as a bar is because it served one type of alcohol. Toddy that is (easy name to remember, eh?). Toddy is an drink which is extracted from a plam shute (palm/coconut tree) by a "toddy tapper". The white liquid that initially collects tends to be very sweet and non-alcoholic before it is fermented. Within 4 hours of fermentation the liquid becomes 4% alcoholic similar to wine. By the end of the day of natural fermentation, the toddy reads at 38% alcohol making it a very strong drink. The white brick walled room (bar) had a few tables and a bunch of toddy in bottles to be served to locals and us. I was the only female there as women generally do not drink in Kerala. If it weren't for our guide Thomas, we never would have found this joint nor would we have ever suspected that it was a "bar" serving something called toddy. On our way back to the homestay, our canoe paddlers and Thomas sang us old folk songs in the dark while we glided along the candlelit canals making for a magical evening.

After having such an amazing evening tour, Todd and I decided to take another village tour in the early morning to learn more about the local fruits and vegetables grown in the area and to enjoy an authentic meal served in a traditional, bamboo thatched house. Our breakfast was served with no utensils because you're supposed to eat everything with your hands as the locals do. After applying some Purell drops on my hands, I dug right in and enjoyed the lentil/rice mixture with crushed up fried bread. After an enjoyable meal, Todd and our guide played a bit of badminton on our hosts' court before we continued our walk back.

On our last afternoon in Chennamkary, we rented bikes to tour the local villages by ourselves. We were very well received and greeted by everyone we passed, young and old. Shouts of "hello," "how are you?" "what country you from?" were yelled from all directions. People came out of their houses to meet us and see what the kids were so excited about. Some of these villagers have rarely (if ever) seen foreigners in their area. We shook hands with them, exchanged smiles before biking to the next village for more incredible scenery filled with rice fields, cows, goats and small houses. Everyone was thrilled to see us riding through their small villages and they always gave a big smile back. Both Todd and I felt like we were famous because everyone wanted to meet us and they were so happy to come in contact with foreigners from such a far away place as the United States, we loved it.

After some very authentic experiences in the backwaters of Kerala, it was time to head back to the beach: Varkala, India! We had met several travelers who had raved about Varkala so we were excited to check out what we had visualized from others. The beach was beautiful and directly behind it where the town was built was a huge dramatic cliff side. There were steps leading down from the restaurant row cliff to the small, but beautiful white sand beach. We stayed in a great bungalow with hammocks just steps away from the ocean for just $12, unreal. One of the most impressive things about Varkala was the quantity and quality of huge, fresh fish that was available for purchase each night for dinner. Large tuna, angelfish, marlin, swordfish, barracuda and many other varieties were freshly caught that day by the many fishermen that lined the ocean each day and night for a living. Todd tried the barracuda and said it was divine, however I was feeling my paneer tikka dish that day so I took his word for it.

One shocking thing about the beaches in India, is the reaction from guys when they see foreigners in bikinis. The Indian women wear their normal daily clothes in the water which covers up their entire bodies, but Westerners purposely show their skin so they can get tanned. So, occasionally you might see a group of Indian guys in their twenties or sometimes older stare at women on the beach and gawk. This can make for an uncomfortable scenario causing some of us Western women to cover up more than we usually would so we're not stared at. No harm is done and we are visiting their country so it's part of the territory but it's still interesting to witness.

After 4 nights in beautiful Varkala we decided to head to the mountains of Kumily, India for some cooler air and green views. After a train and bus ride we arrived and we were happy to wear jackets for a change. Kumily is covered in lush, green tea plantations and spice gardens. The rolling hills of millions of green tea bushes were quite a sight to see that neither Todd nor I had ever seen anything like it. Kumily is home to a well known wildlife park known as Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary so we treated ourselves to a jeep safari to spot some wild animals. The day started early at 5:15am with a quick stop for a cup of chai in the fog at a little hole in the wall shack near the park's entrance. After that we headed in the jeep ready to spot some animals! The first spotting occurred around 7am when we heard the roar of an elephant family in the distance. We ran towards the cry quietly in the fog by foot along a road for the jeeps to drive on. We crouched down on our stomachs to see them through the bushes and were happily surprised when we saw an elephant family of 4 hanging out near a creek. One of the elephants was a baby and never left its mother's side. After watching the elephants for awhile we drove on to spot some more. We then noticed some huge grizzled squirrels that look nothing like what we have in the US. These squirrels were the size of raccoons and were reddish brown and black with stripes. It was neat to see a new species of squirrel and they made the most incredible barking noise. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is known to be home to several wild tigers, call us crazy, but we were hoping to see some. We got out of the jeep and went on a hike through the forest with a guide to further our chances of spotting a tiger, hopefully not too close. We saw a sea snake in a river and a few leeches but no such luck of seeing any big cats. We also saw sambar along a hillside which look like really large deer, a pack of wild dogs and some more wild elephants later in the day. We were very lucky to see so many animals since there isn't any guarantee you'll see any and it was really neat to see them in their natural habitat instead of behind bars in a cage at the zoo. My favorite was seeing the one and a half month old elephant baby walking with his/her family on top of the green hilltop, pretty amazing.

After a great day on the jeep safari we decided to take a spice garden and tea plantation tour for a closer look at Kumily's agriculture. We visited a spice garden that grew vanilla beans, coffee beans, ayurvedic plants, turmeric, peppercorns, herbs, and tons more spices and plants. Then we headed to a tea plantation and got to witness them processing the tea plants in their various stages. It smelled wonderful inside the factory and the tour was very educational. We even got to taste the high grade tea afterwards with our choice of flavor and it truly was divine. That night we took a Keralan cooking class at the Campfire Cafe Cooking School. There was a bbq pit at our teacher's house (the school) and a huge picnic table with tons of vegetables on top ready to be cut up. But, before we could start chopping, there was an errand to do which the entire cooking class was eager to join. The chicken needed to be picked out from a vendor down the street where it would be killed, de-feathered and chopped up before packing for dinner. Even though I don't eat chicken I decided to join the group to witness, or at least stand in the vicinity of the chicken murder since this might be my only chance to experience such a thing. The chickens were picked out and the vendor then held each chicken over a trash bin where he cut their necks off. Our group had some med students in it so they loved watching but I stood in the background with a frowned face feeling bad for the cute chickens. Meanwhile, Todd was in the front row video taping the whole thing with his digital camera. If you'd like to see the video, I'm sure he'd be happy to share it with you. :) Once the chicken was bagged and ready to go it was thrown on the grill after some Indian spices had been smeared on it. The group of 5 aspiring Keralan chefs (all of us Westerners) chopped long beans, okra, onion, tomatoes, and a bunch of other vegetables. Then we headed to the kitchen for sauteeing, stirring and taste testing our creations. We even learned how to make homemade paratha which is similar to naan but can be cooked over a pan on the stove instead of a tandoori oven. The kitchen was filled with delicious aromas and we were all beginning to get hungry for dinner. We set out all of the dishes on the picnic table and plated up some delicious dishes including a cabbage coconut dish, grilled spiced chicken, buttered paratha, potatoes with coconut, okra with tomatoes and rice. We all overate in pure excitement that we had cooked these delectable dishes and received recipes from our teacher so we could recreate them back home.

After 3 nights in Kumily, we headed to another tea plantation town known as Munnar, India, home to even more tea plantations than Kumily. Munnar was even more gorgeous and green than Kumily and the cool weather continued which Todd and I were still happy about. We stayed at a hotel in the valley of the tea crops and had a great view from our window onto the green hilltops. We hiked to a viewpoint our first day there and stumbled upon a school in the middle of nowhere where we were ushered inside to meet the kids and hear the English songs they had learned. The kids ranged from ages 3 to 7 and were very proud and excited to sing us Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, the ABCs, and Bye Bye Black Sheep. We took some photographs with them including a class photo which we will print and mail to their address in India when we get a chance. I'm sure they'll be very excited to receive it since none of them own cameras. On our way back to our hotel we found a city park that cost 20 cents to get in so we decided to go inside and see the amazing flower garden they kept so pristine. We enjoyed the sunshine and sat on the grass to get some good reading time in. As usual, many Indian kids and adults came up to us to chat and asked us, "First time to India?", "What country are you from?" and we enjoyed meeting all of them.

We had just two days left in India before flying to Bali, so we made our way to the small city of Trichy where the primitive airport was located. We traveled all day long to Trichy (a bus ride > rickshaw ride > train ride > rickshaw ride) leaving us with just one day left to eat as much Indian food as we could possibly handle and take in a few sights too. I was definitely up for the challenge as was Todd. We started our eating extravaganza with breakfast at Saravana Bhavan, a great South Indian chain which even has a location in Sunnyvale, California. Then we took a local bus to the Rock Temple. Todd and I were impressed by the bus we were riding in as it had brand new cushioned seats and a loud sound system playing Indian dance music, making this the nicest bus ride we'd experienced in all of India. We arrived at our destination and I decided to do as the locals by buying a garland of fragrant, white flowers and wrapping in through my hair. It smelled great and I think I even fit in a bit more once I was wearing what the local women did. The Rock Temple is part cave, part man made building. The Hindu temple is jutting out of a huge rock formation allowing it great views above Trichy town. Todd and I had to leave our shoes at the bottom of the temple causing us to stop frequently in the small shaded areas other buildings created because our feet were burning on the concrete. After 437 steps to the top of the temple and a few breaks balancing on the handrails to cool our feet, we finally made it to incredible views. From above you could tell Trichy had plenty of parks and places of worship to visit but we were ready for some pizza and pool time! We paid to use another hotel's pool to escape the heat for the remaining part of the afternoon and then we got ready for our last dinner in India. Todd and I decided to treat ourselves and enjoy a fancy Indian buffet at a hotel nearby and it was exactly what we were looking for. The food was gourmet, they had a little of everything from Indian paneer tikka masala to American style pasta salad. The setting was romantic and fancy and the entire dinner only cost $18. You've got to love India!

Our days in India had come to an end and both Todd and I knew India would most likely be our favorite country on the trip. Its rich culture, traditions, titillating stimuli and incredibly delicious food would be hard to find anywhere else, but we were excited to end our 6 month adventure with the easy beach life in Bali, Indonesia.