Monday, 27 May 2013

Circumnavigation Complete

So I am back in the country after 2 weeks abroad, and I have successfully circumnavigated the globe in a Westerly direction (the one where the days are longer).

There's no way to read this left to right, so just go to the furthest right point and follow left.


So it was 9 flights, two drives, and 2 train trips to get around the world ignoring all the little day-trip deviations around.

OTTAWA->CALGARY
CALGARY->VANCOUVER
VANCOUVER->GUANGZHOU
GUANGZHOU->KATHMANDU

which got us to Nepal and across the Pacific, which was incredibly dreary since the plane was cramped full of old people and an Australian girls' track team. We spent a few days in Kathmandu went rock-climbing in a jungle, ate some local food, saw the monkey temple, and I bought the greatest hat ever. It is 100% hemp.

KATHMANDU->DHAKKA

We flew into Dhakka, Bangladesh. although the flight was late and Dhakka was mostly on strike the next day, so we ended up spending the night and then flying out the next morning. We were going to catch the "Friendship Express" to Kolkatta, but train-ticket buying is a miserable process that did not work out.

DHAKKA->KOLKATTA

So we flew into Kolkatta and found our way to the seedy little hotel in some sort of questionable technology store sector of the city (also fans, there were fans). It was actually less seedy than expected, although the area was a little sketchy. We saw some colonial junk, met an Irishman at the Victoria Monument, tried the subway, and ended up with him and some Swedish girls at a strange bar playing Western rock covers. We were going to catch a train to Goa, but that failed too since apparently the train was full. So, we made another flight!

KOLKATTA->VASCO-DA-GAMA->MOLLEM

We flew into Vasco Da Gama and got a ride to our "Resort" out in Mollem, which is basically just an intersection. Still, it was an hour away from town and... well, basically in the middle of nowhere. But it was near an animal sanctuary and a waterfall and all sorts of neat naturey things. There were absolutely no Western tourists at the resort, which meant there was generally no interaction with anyone else there given the language barrier and general apathy. Still, we went hiking, rode an elephant, people were attacked by ants, it was great! And we experimented with the Indian rail on a smaller scale and managed to secure tickets from Madraon to Mumbai.

MOLLEM->KOLLEM->MADRAON->MUMBAI

So after getting a 5:30 am ride to Kollem (about 5 km south of Mollem) we caught a train west to Madraon and then from there up to Mumbai, totalling about 13 hours for some inexplicable reason. I had a friend in Mumbai who had previously come to Ottawa for a script-writing class, and was incredibly apologetic for forcing him to wait at the train station for an extra hour and a half because of Indian rail. He showed us around, so we got to eat at a good Indian restaurant and also had pizza for another meal just because. We only had a day in Mumbai and so we splurged on a hilariously fancy hotel the likes of which I can't really afford in North America. ...Well, and really couldn't afford in India for much more than one night. But it was all quite fun, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that after he couldn't get a script-writing job in Ottawa, he actually had a really cushy script-writing job in India. I was moderately jealous, but I decided that I don't really want to live in India because I missed clean water and toiletries and clean air and stuff.

MUMBAI->LONDON
LONDON->OTTAWA

And so we flew home after a dreary night in an airport waiting room, leaving at 6:30 am and arriving in London Heathrow long enough to get my Mumbai duty-checked booze confiscated (because they don't like Indian fluids or something?) and have a beef burger before we flew off across the Atlantic to arrive back in Ottawa at a semi-reasonable time in the evening.

I didn't take pictures or take many souvenirs, but the experience certainly makes me appreciate simple comforts like breathable air and clean water. Go, Canada, go.

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