Philippines one more time // Filipiny raz jeszcze

A short post this time, mostly photography-filled. And divided into four sections: Lake Taal volcano eruption – Tablas Island – Banton Island – Back to Manila via Lucena + bonus (timetables of ferries connecting different towns/islands).

Tym razem krótki wpis, przede wszystkim fotograficzny. I podzielony na cztery części: wybuch wulkanu-wyspa Tablas-wyspa Banton-droga powrotna do Manili przez Lucenę + bonus w postaci zdjęć harmonogramów kursów promów między poszczególnymi wyspami/miejscowościami.

Lake Taal Volcano Eruption // Wybuch wulkanu na jeziorze Taal

Tablas (Romblon province)

Banton (Romblon province)

On my way back to Manila via Lucena // Z powrotem do Manili przez Lucenę

Ferry timetables // Rozkłady jazdy promów

Sarajevo I have heard so much about the strange magnetism of the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I got off the bus and started looking for that Sarajevo magic… First the hostel disappeared in mysterious ways… I was going up and down the streets, receiving conflicting responses from random people. They were all kind nevertheless, always ready to offer a drink… I made it. Inside the hostel I met Charles, the king of hitch-hiking (and a bunch of other colourful characters, including Korean busking guitarist and Venezuelan stone dealer). And it would have been a neat place but: 1. no alcohol allowed 2. a single toilet for the whole hostel (=apartment turned into hostel) + one Kiwi backpacker with constant gastric problems. Changing the hostel. Along with Charles and a different Charles not from France we knock the door of Eternal Flame Hostel… And we are firstestest guests. New owners, Ben and Eda are still finishing up paperwork, still…

Krka

Zadar

Late October in Poland. The Autumn cool is here already, announcing the time for me to leave… And why Zadar? It’s simple – the cheapest airplane ticket that brings me to a destination that is still relatively warm. And on top of that – I had long promised myself to complete the Balkan tour (that had begun with my trip to Serbia…

It felt nice to walk the slippery stone streets among bars, shops and other spots providing tourists with all that a lazy vacation requires. It felt nice, too, sitting on Sea Organs, listening to sound compositions created by nature and captured and amplified by man made structure. And it was still nice watching all those churches, squares, parks…

But it is time to move elsewhere… But where? And by what means? Or maybe I should reconsider the idea of cycling across the Balkans? And yes, a bicycle…

Brace yourself – there is a lot of visual content to go through here… To make things easier though, I grouped the photos (and one video, at the very end) into logical blocks:

In-between – all that happened when hitchhiking; NYC closer – slowing down to see the details of urban landscape; NYC wider – more focusing on architecture; NYC Pride – rainbow people; Central Park – green microcosm in the heart of the city; Chicago and suburbs; Mount Rushmore & Crazy Horse – two important monuments – one for the white Americans and the other for the Native Americans (though started by a Pole – Korczak Ziółkowski); Glacier National Park – at the very border with Canada, a place of sheer beauty, good for a loooong exploration; And North American Indian Days (+video) – American Indian festival in the town of Browning

I won’t waste your and my time writing the trip itself – I guess the photos show…

A bus to the outskirts of Delhi, then a minibus with two European sadhu-clowns inside, with their forehead painted and Quechua sleeping backs in their hands… A short quarrel at the entrance to the airport building (I didn’t care to print out the ticket reservation, and it seems to be a problem here; furthermore, my final destination is London… – “On what grounds are you allowed into UK? Do you have the right visa?” – “European Union state citizens don’t need visas to enter UK, and Poland is a member state of EU” – “Please wait, we will check on that…”) and I’m on my way home.

I run through those thousands of kilometres again in my mind… Eight and a half months on the road, so many places, so many people met, so many experiences, so many images I can see before my eyes… There I climbed a glacier wearing sandals, there I bathed in a…

 

Before I get on the train to Agra, on the platform I meet lots of friendly people whom I educate a little about Poland and Europe, and who in exchange teach me something about India and (finally! I’m so ashamed…) some words in hindi.

On the train I meet a delightfully nice family who invite me to their place; unfortunately I have to refuse – I hate booking tickets in advance! The youngest fellow, Krishna, wants to join me in my trip back to Poland, where he is planning to eat chocolate all the time. I promise to meet the guys during the wedding of one of twenty year old brothers – he doesn’t know yet whom he would marry, but the date is already fixed…

I arrive in Agra in the middle of the night and begin my walk towards the most obligatory Indian tourist attraction, Taj Mahal that is. Taxi drivers can’t stop to…

My piece of junk reaches Margao only 4 hours late (on the way the coach staff try to get some extra money from me – luggage handling fee and … handling fee). From hear I head for Palolem beach, recommended by Jankiel, who is already there, waiting. Before I get on the right local bus, I go to the railway station in order to book a ticket to Agra. I’m only 131st on the waiting list. OK, there goes the berth…

And the Palolem beach itself… Well, if you looking for solitude, peace and quiet then you might be disappointed… But on the other hand, the parties that go on here are relatively quiet and not so frequent. And the beach, built up with colourful coco-houses (I lodge in one of them – 200 rupees for a room with a bathroom, just a little dirty) has its special charm…

Jankiel tries to convince me to be the only…

The train from Chennai to Mumbai (25 hours) is cramped but I’m lucky to have my berth for myself. Inside and outside mountains of rubbish are growing – the Hindus never use dustbins. The floor inside the train becomes filled with colours and nobody of the train staff ever cares to clean this mess up. This is sometimes done by “private enterprises” – unbelievably dirty boys who, on their knees, wipe the floor with a dirty rug and then stretch out their palm, waiting for some coins… There are so many beggars crossing the train, they get on at every station and walk all coaches in an endless procession. The old lady has hardly finished moaning about her misery when the singing blind boy walks in; the skinny bearded grandpa is still waving his palmless arm in my face when the legless guy limps holding onto his cane… And others are queuing – gypsies hitting the drums, a…

I take the advice of Kris and skip sightseeing Chennai (formerly known as Madras) and I get on the bus or even two that carry me to Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) – the kind drivers explain to me where to get off. I only notice the noisiness, chaos and crowdedness of Chennai, as well as a corpse in a plastic bag carried by two skinny guys, I can also smell the presence of the river – before I can even see it in her pitch-black elegance, my nostrils get struck with a vile stench…

The buses somehow manage not to fall to pieces before completing the 60 km in just above 2 hours. I am relieved to get out of the hot, sweaty interior and start an intense sightseeing in Mamllapuram – there is an immensity of temples, one more impressive than the other, with all the amazing sculptures… The most famous one is the Shore Temple, picturesquely thrown right…

Late evening I land in Trivandrum, a city located on the very south of India. Luckily, my strange looking visa doesn’t seem any suspicious to the elderly dust-covered mister sitting at his dusty old desk in that somewhat small and dusty arrival hall.

The moment I step out I get surrounded with an army of taxi drivers offering me transportation to the centre where cheap hostels are located (or at least I hope so, as this is what I read on the Internet). The prices the drivers are suggesting have been prepared specially for the whitey that I am – I kindly refuse and start looking for a place to stay near the airport. The centre can wait until the morning, when public buses will be working again… And in the meantime I should rather find a place to hide against the pouring rain. I jump between the puddles and avoid hungry dogs wandering about, I refuse…