Antarctica – A journey to remember

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As you know I bought a ticket to Antarctica for myself for my birthday and it went amazing after many years. I had the best birthday in many years or I must say since I grew up. Last year was not bad either as I was diving deep with Manta Rays in the night in Hawaii but this year I celebrated it with so many people and that made it extra special. I threw my first house party as well in Australia for my birthday and it went well with almost a dozen attendees and I must say it was like Christmas for me last when I started from the last weekend in Antarctica and then till yesterday with a house party and dinners, lunches along the way. It was like a whole week celebration and I do feel like a celebrity now. And with so many wishes here from all of you my lovely friends. I couldn’t have asked for more.

But I know you must be eagerly waiting for the pictures from Antarctica now so here they are as I was so busy the whole week that didn’t get a chance to upload them. But it’s never too late anyways. It was one of the most amazing things one can do and I guess I might take the boat one day to get there even closer than this time.

It was not just the destination, but I felt it was the whole journey and various aspect of this trip that made it special. I went to Brisbane for this trip and it was funny as I didn’t know what to pack as I was flying there to fly again and most of the time I was about to spend in the plane and the airport. But anyways as always I did pack few extra clothes and some of my dresses just in case I go out in the night to see the night life in Brisbane. But I end up spending time in the hostel I was staying watching a movie and I only had three hours of sleep before my trip which was not ideal but sometimes you do loose time when you meet awesome people to talk. And there I was with my tag around my neck like a medal and walking all proud in the airport to get to my gate for the flight. I was a bit early and all excited to get on the plane. Then slowly people started pouring from nowhere and in an hour we had more than 100 people almost. And I preferred to be at the end almost as it’s saves you queuing up for so long. But then the moment we got comfortable in the plane we were told that one of the extra engine has failed and the team of engineers is fixing this. But it was not a fortunate start so we had to de-board the plane soon for few hours to get the engine fixed properly. Fortunately we were able to fly the same day although after 4 hours but it was worth the wait. We were served Champaign soon after we boarded and then comes a snack pack that I did finish quickly as I felt a bit hungry by this time. We then flew in this big jumbo jet and I started watching the movie – ‘Last Vegas’ after having a small conversation with my fellow travellers next to my seat. I thought I might have a nap but the environment was full of excitement so I couldn’t afford a sleep at all.

Then finally we were told that soon we would spot our first iceberg and then people started getting up from their seat and start queuing up next to the window to see the first sight of the ice berg. It was all white at first (of-course what else was I expecting). But the first sight was more of a water and ice mixer to be honest but not long after we were over the top of few really big ice bergs and considering the height we were at, they were really big I must say. Also then we started getting plane ice all over and then a stream of water among those big rocks of ice. The adventure had started and now it was time to spot various sights in the same colour. Good thing is now the water is blue so it was easy to tell the ice bergs apart from the water and also we did spot a ship on the so called harbour. People were co-operative and were giving others space to see if they had their share of sight seeing over some places. Almost everyone was out there with their cameras and glasses.

Note: Do not forget your sunglasses as the light reflected from the ice is quiet strong that may even hurt your eye.

So there it was my first trip to Antarctica and my birthday gift to myself. Let me know if you have ever been there or want to go in future or if even are fascinated by the whole fact. I am waiting for your comments and opinions about this whole adventure my friend.

Link to book the flight: http://www.antarcticaflights.com.au/

Regards,

Kavita (Sunshine and hugs from Sydney)

Go go go….Rest of Sri Lanka is waiting – Part 2 (Travel faster or Fast Travel – Sri Lanka in 7 crazy days)

So where were we…yes it is in continuation of my last post as I promised..but don’t worry if you missed that as there is no such connection that you would need to know something in advance to read this one. So go ahead and have your share of fun – at my expense 😉

Here is the link for my last post though in case you are thinking what fun you might have missed:

https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/travel-faster-or-fast-travel-sri-lanka-in-7-crazy-days/

Now I was in the bus to Polonnaruwa, second old capital of Sri Lanka. Although after visiting Anuradhapura I was not going to be surprised to see thousands of years old buildings and their remain I thought but being a traveler you are always curious for unseen and new places and things. So here I was in another town. It was a bit difficult to get seat in the bus so I preferred to stand like many other locals and tried to use my biceps muscle power to keep myself from falling on the floors or outside the door as I was close to the front door. I then realized that I had made some good biceps picking up my backpack in last few weeks of travelling in Nepal and here. Not that I am going to use it as my strong point as I am not into body building or something but it helps when in the plane or other places I can just lift my big backpack with one hand and fit it into any high place at my own…hehehe..funny though 🙂 But finally when I gave up and sat on the floor then a gentleman offered me his seat as he was getting down. I enjoyed sitting for half an hour and got ready to meet this new town and enjoy what it has to offer now.

It was evening and I was very happy with myself now as I had enough time to find a place to live and get some decent food after all this hard work. Yes, this is what I call hard work when I travel – successfully execute challenging targets ;), like getting at places on time…hehehehe…See I told you, you are going to have fun on my expense…go ahead I don’t mind.

I saw one guy approaching me with a card of a hotel and he told me that he can offer me great price. But here I was all over-confident about my capabilities of finding a better place than this. So I politely raised my hand in a gesture of saying no and started walking towards the town. I walked for 15 minutes and saw a bunch of girls walking towards my direction. Being a girl I felt that it will be easy to communicate with the same gender. But what I didn’t realize was that none of them could understand even a single word of English. Now that was a sign of trouble. I regretted the decision of not listening to the guy at the bus stand. But with my attitude it got hard to go back so I continued. See sometimes tiredness of travel can make you stupid and rude. And I walked into another hotel which was way too expensive than what I was already been offered. But my luck is good at times and I saw that guy again. This time I was very happy to see him and he asked me instantly if I am happy to stay at the hotel he mentioned. Next minute I was on my way to the same hotel with good price and close to the market.

I got a nice big room for my own. In Sri Lanka there is not much of a backpacking culture but if you are travelling with your friend then its very cheap to get a room and it gives you more privacy and freedom rather than sharing a place with 6-7 other people at times. But still both have their pros and cons. Anyways soon after getting fresh I got an awesome deal that if I want then the same guy can arrange an Auto for me to see the town and it was 3 PM so I didn’t really mind it as it could free me the next day to explore more places. Soon I got the auto and started taking pictures of this new awesome and old place. This place had the same rule – either buy the pass or get the auto rickshaw to show you around. I was too tired to walk all around it so I chose the second option.

Entrance Ticket for Polonnaruwa

Entrance Ticket for Polonnaruwa

This place took me by surprise due to its tall and huge buildings and remains of the kingdom. Nothing like Anuradhapura and I felt good about my decision to come here. I was taking so many pictures to make sure that if I miss any details then I can revisit them again. Also here are some of those cherished memories for you as well.

It was sunset again – my weakness for some reason 🙂 Yes, I know it sound romantic but I think I am in love with nature then…hehehe. So I started taking pics of the sunset. Please note that in pilgrimage places you are asked to leave your footwear outside the gate at most of the places. Tip: Try to keep it in your bag. Why? Here is the answer – After I returned from the temple, I could not find my sandals on the gate. I searched it for 30 minutes with head torch. Not that it was a gift that I could not live without, but I had to walk  to the next temple barefoot, which believe me is not very comfortable for your feet on concrete and uneven ground.

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I got a bit angry at the fact that whoever took it didn’t even think of the inconvenience that would cause to the owner. But who thinks that right. I got a very beautiful on my way to the next temple in the night though. So I would take that as a reward.

I got home a bit upset and went to a hotel to get my food. After dinner I got normal again with my smiling face. Also I tried Sri Lanka breakfast (Hopper and String Hopper)

20130326_190645 20130326_190544for dinner which I didn’t have a clue is actually eaten for breakfast, till I read it under the breakfast menu the next day somewhere. I also tried the Watalappam (sweet dish). And then I retired to bed with content heart and peaceful head finally.

Good morning! New morning and new  things to look forward to. What else you want in life? But unfortunately my adventure never leaves me feeling this way. I paid for my hotel and caught a bus to next place – Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock. Its a 200 meter high rock basically which was chosen by the king Kasyapa for his capital due to security reasons (it was easy to see from the top of the rock if some one was approaching the castle). I got dropped on the way from where I was supposed to get another bus to Sigiriya. When I arrived there then I was informed that I have to pay another 30 USD.

Lion Temple

Lion Rock

Now this was enough as I was paying everywhere and this was not in my budget (poor planning). But I was not going to back down by this fact so God listened to me and a local told me that he can show me another temple from where I can actually see Sigiriya clearly and would need to pay only 2 USD. What a deal, I got ready instantly. I went to this temple with him as he was happy to show me around (nice people).

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This temple is called ‘Pidurangala’. You can have an awesome view (carry binoculars if you need a super close view). I visited temple and then the local guide told me that I have to keep walking to the top.

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Due to the trees I was not sure how much clear view I was going to get of Sigiriya. But I had lost my appetite to see it due to the high entrance fees really, specially when you have to pay to see every damn thing. Pardon my language but that was how I felt really. So I kept climbing the stairs. Stopping on my way to take pictures and then again climbing up.

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My heart beat was high in unusual manner and I though it might be due to this exercise. But then I realized my feet are giving up. And I had to sit down on a rock. Instantly I calculated the time we took to get here and a quick observation of my situation made it clear that I was going to faint soon as I was dehydrated. Wow, that can be taken as a big zero for my carelessness. How could I not carry water? How could I be so careless? Everyday I do drink enough to keep me going but today I had no water and as I woke up late so skipped my breakfast as well. No lollies or any snacks in my bag. That’s it. I felt that it was over. At this strange place with this strange person, I am in deep trouble now. I asked the guy to bring me water. First he denied asking if I can walk back rather. But after insisting he got ready to get me some water. I literally prayed to God and said sorry for being so irresponsible. Then I found a place to lie down and get some air as I was breathing hard. Then not sure why but started thinking what would James Bond do in my situation to hide the passport and other important things I was carrying in my bag to secure them. See this is called movie buff when you are about to faint but still thinking that you are smart as James Bond….lol. But fortunately I didn’t have to show my smartness and I was feeling better soon. Also the guy brought me some water and I drank all of it. Then what, we started climbing again. Crazy right….yes I know. But I came here so far then how could I turn back. So I kept moving and after some rock climbing, as its not as easy as Sigiriya (proper stairs are available there), we arrived at the top. And there it was awesome view of the Lion Rock (Sigiriya). I felt alive again. This was the 360 degree view for which I worked hard till now. It was worth I would say.

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On the way there was this most amazingly beautiful statue of Buddha as well. Now why don’t I continue in another post. Hope you enjoyed this post and come back to read another one. Hopefully tomorrow 🙂

Me - All revived after this nice view in-front of me out of nowhere

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