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A round the world trip in more than 80 days.

Why this blog ?

Our aim : travel and discover the world during 353 days and through some fifhteen countries. We are hoping that this blog will allow us to share the experience with our family and friends thanks to the posts and photos that we will be publishing and also thanks to their comments.

Currently ...

now. For the moment, we are gently readapting from nomadic to sedentary life.


We almost made it to Pakistan

After leaving Khajuraho and a short night train ride, we landed in Agra. This city is quite a milestone in our trip across North India since it is home to the famous Taj Mahal. To enjoy this world class monument before the crowd hits it, we were queuing at the entrance at dawn, which spared us as well the massive heat that starts pounding after 10 am. It was really worth it to be there so early to enjoy the monument at first day light.

On the first two weeks, we have been mainly in important Hinduism areas. Agra and its surroundings gave us a glimpse on the Muslim India and the heritage left by the mughals when ruling the region. Today, 15% of the Indians are Muslim and 80% are Hindu. Even the Islam here seems to have a masala flavour : some of the rituals reminded more what we saw in the Hindu temples than what is done in Morocco, for example.

New Delhi, our next stop, has also many buildings of that era, like the Red Fort and Humayun's Tomb. At our arrival in the country's capital, we shared our breakfast table with a farmer and his two kids that managed with that to accomplish two dreams in one day : ride the subway and meet a foreigner. On our two first weeks in India, the constant touts attention made us switch the paranoid mode on. But little by little, we have also met some genuinely nice and welcoming people that on a train will share their meal with you without any hesitation. I am very often mistaken for an Indian and sometimes I will be addressed in Hindi or even in some local languages like Maharati or Punjabi. Once, when I insisted that I am from a Moroccan origin, I got in return : “ Are you parents Indian immigrants ?”

Even if Delhi was less impressive than Varanasi, we enjoyed this city that offers landmarks from the Mughal era to British colonization times. As in the rest of the country, we noticed in this city some interesting contrasts : busy western fast foods and upscale brand shops versus the traditional bazaars and the ear cleaner doing business as usual with some scary tools.

Even if our veg diet is still on, we took a break to taste the dish of one of my homonyms that is city wide known. His restaurant is serving Mughal cuisine that his forefathers were already cooking for the emperors. “Karim's” is quite famous and a lot of people comes to eat the whole stuffed and roasted goat. As we should have ordered this delicacy 24 hours in advance, we treated ourselves to some chicken and lamb kebab Burrah style (marinated and barbecued). It is was so good that I need to finish this paragraph quickly as my mouth is watering way to much. Looking forward for the next eid-el-kebir.

After Delhi, the train took us to Amritsar, Sikhism holiest city. Even if the Sikhs represent less than 2% of the population, there are very visible thanks to their turban and a solid physical build. We were impressed by the golden temple that sits in the middle of a sacred pond and the 750 Kg that cover its top. Even the fans inside are gold-platted. There is also a kitchen that serves for free more than 60 000 meals daily to the pilgrim that comes from all around the world. It is truly a city within the city.

The other highlight when you visit Amritsar is actually Pakistan. Every day, a very popular border closing ceremony is held by both sides. It is an odd mix of : Military and patriotic songs, kids and ladies dancing on “slum-dog millionaire” music, soldiers taking provocative stands towards the neighboring country and nationalist slogans shouted from each side of the border. There is even a guy whose job is to encourage the audience to shout more and louder than Pakistanis that are asked to do the same against the Indians.

As foreign spectators, during the first minutes of the show, we laughed a bit before remembering the 2008 Mumbai bombings and all the negative comments about Pakistan we heard during this trip. Between these two nuclear super powers, wars have been fought leaving behind thousand of casualties. On the way back, we were wandering how an official ceremony promoting hate toward a neighboring country could be hold on Ghandi's home land.