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New Zealand

62 ~ Summary - Reflections

Third trip to India?

View India 18 - 19 on bruceontour's travel map.

Will I do a third trip to India?

Probably “Yes” as there is so much more of this incredible country to see.

At least on this trip no Delhi belly or unknown physical muscular issues like last time ...

Just didn't take my heel balm and was wearing most of the time my slip-on Birkenstock with no socks plus it was dry and at times dusty ... hence cracked heals.

Yes, should have worn my orthopaedics inserts for my shoes more than I did as that was also an issue towards the end of the trip ... walking towards the end of the day and the impact on the soles of both my heels.

Yes, there were lots of surprises and differences to my previous India trip a year ago.

What would I remember of this trip?

Travelling by car seeing:

  • Yellow fields of mustard.
  • Overloaded vehicles carrying hay.
  • Dead animals mainly dogs on both the side of the road and road itself.
  • The noise, particularly the horns in the towns and cities

When walking:

  • The street photography and willingness by mainly the shop keepers for their photo to be taken. So it was a quick 2 shots - one setting the scene of what they were selling, then a heads and shoulder.
  • The ladies and families who asked me to take their photos taken.
  • The old men who have lived a lifetime seeing the India that they grew up with changed - no doubt full of wisdom.
  • The ladies often dressed in a red sari with veils covering their faces.


While it was winter, it was nice for me. Yes, the mornings were cold with the need to wear a long sleeve merino top but it quickly warmed up so soon I was down to just my yellow polo shirt.

“Your Vacations” the local provider:

The local guides and the wide range and standard of service offered.

From Push in Jaipur, Javed in Bikaner plus Prem in Jaisamler who all knew what I was after with my street photography and that I didn’t want to know too much of the history which I had read beforehand.

I didn’t come to India to relax in a hotel - came to see the locals at work and play.

Despite telling my local guide that I am not buying on this trip, being taken to the craft shops and at times pressured to buy! But that’s India so no surprises on this front.

Thanks for the upgraded vehicle with wifi.

Despite discussing the law of the land that talking on the phone when driving was illegal, too often Ashok had long conversation while driving so it was interesting when he changed gear on the manual car … he was not handsfree. Must have had a third hand to hold the steering wheel.

With one’s own vehicle, I able to stop at will like seeing the procession after leaving Luni on route to Ranakpur Temples and the mainly goat market seen enroute to Fatehpur Sikri.

Next time I will need to:
- be much clearer as to my needs and what I want to achieve with the local guides.

- try and ascertain the time that was allowed seeing the local sights.


No rain despite reading back home the wet summer’s weather that they were experiencing.


Had a diverse range of accommodation ... from the Heritage hotels to a resort with the odd 3 and 4 star hotel thrown in for good measure.

Great staying at the heritage hotels, all so different and each had its own unique character. Well worth it even though some of them were so far out of town.

  • Hans Plaza - 4 Star hotel in central Delhi so it was good to be able to walk to Connaught Place only a couple of blocks away.
  • Udai Vilas Palace - Out of Mandawa, it felt strange being one of the few guests in this complex.
  • Gajner Palace - A Heritage Hotel in Gajner out of Bikaner. The best room as it felt like an apartment. Plus the 2 hot water bottles as a surprise treat.
  • Fort Rajwada - Best 4 star hotel in in Jaisalmer with its setting. By far had the best buffet breakfast and dinner.
  • Fort Khejerla - Another Heritage Hotel where the village walk around Khejerla was probably the highlight for me and the contact with the locals are concerned.
  • Fort Chanwa - Another Heritage Hotel in Luni.
  • The Lavitra - A 3 star hotel Udaipur. At least it was within easy walking distance back into the old city.
  • Deogarh Mahal - The Heritage Hotel in Deogarh up on the hill with the labyrinth of passageways and roof terraces with its many different levels looking down at Deogarh itself.
  • Ananta Spa Resort - No time for a spa or enjoy this modern complex just out of Pushkar.
  • Fortune Metropolitan - 4 star hotel in Jaipur. The room with the view down into the neighbouring shopping centre from one’s bedroom window.
  • Hotel Amar - 3-star hotel in Agra whose only thing in its favour was that it was just 15 minutes walking distance to the Taj or else why stay here? Wasn’t the food nor the rather dated room. Was only for a night so served its purpose fine.

Generally overnight accomodation was merely to sleep in a clean comfortable bed as oppose to spend time there enjoying the facilities.


While I am not a fan of Indian food, it was more than fine for me. I was going to go be vegetarian throughout this trip but that didn’t last long.

Jerra rice as well as garlic naan bread quickly become a favourite of mine on this trip.


Where do I start?

Yes, as expected the Taj Mahal was no 1, especially seeing it in the morning with the fog coming and going.

Each of the forts had its own characteristics and none stood out as my favourite. Each had their own charm. Would I go back again to see them ... yes, but take it a bit slower and absorb their features and historical significance of its location.

Then there was the havelis and wondering what it would have been like in their hey day.

What about the sunsets and time out in the Sam sand dunes out of Jaisalmer?

Glad that I crammed in so much in the 16 days and managed to see besides the usual Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur that most tours go to, got to Jaisalmer, Pushkar, Mandawa and Bikaner as well.

Hope that you have enjoyed this blog ... watch this space for my next adventure somewhere around our small world of ours.

While my bucket list is getting longer and longer, already planning my next trip to a country that I have not been to yet but don’t know when I will go or if in fact that it will be my next destination.

Posted by bruceontour 02:14 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

61 ~ Home

View India 18 - 19 on bruceontour's travel map.

Breakfast decided on the Dim sum selection – shrimp fun gor, asparagus dumpling, spinach siu mai and glutinous rice dumpling.

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Sun rises just north of New Zealand.

Not often when I come back to New Zealand fly down this side of the North Island so close to the coastline ...


Cape Reinga & North Cape


Karikari Peninsula

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Kaipara Harbour


North Head & Hobson Bay


Kohimarama Beach


Point England & Glendowie


Waiheke Island

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Flat Bush & Clover Park


Vector Wero Whitewater Park & Rainbow's End


Manukau City






No issues with going through the "green" lane and getting my bag x rayed.

Home ... wash clothes ... lawns ... ah, back to reality.

Posted by bruceontour 00:12 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Business Class and a lie flat bed in future!

Singapore > Auckland


Despite having seat 51D which has no seat in front of me so that I was able to stretch out my leg, I had a niggling feeling that something was not right with my right leg when I entered the plane.

It was a restless overnight flight back to New Zealand.

When I left the plane walking through customs my right leg was in even more discomfort. Doctor the next day who ruled out DVT, blood clot, knee or hip …

PS - I was laid up in bed in great pain and discomfort on pain medication for the next week. It took many more weeks slowly reducing my dependence on the pain medication with ever slight improvement each day before it came right. Even now I don’t know the cause. To make things worse, I still had another week of annual leave that I had “things to do” including swimming at my local beach.

I hate to think what would have happened if I did not have seat 51D or a bulkhead seat and had to endure the 10 hour flight with even more restricted leg room!

So perhaps it will be Business Class and a lie flat bed in future!

Posted by bruceontour 02:49 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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