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Six years of adventure with pics to prove it.

Mandawa and Bikaner, India

Filed under: Beginings,India,Photos — she_travels at 11:00 pm on Sunday, April 1, 2012

We had decided, do to all the stories of India being a bit much on the senses, not to spend any time in Delhi on arrival. If after the Rajasthan loop we changed our minds it could be worked out. We were in Delhi for two nights but arrived very late from the airport and late enough not to want to see much after Rajasthan. I do remember on one zip through town having the India Gate pointed out.

I remember very little of that 1st night past the hotel we had chosen was proving difficult to find. I finally suggest to Lahku (the driver) if he had some place else for the same price he would rather we stay I was all for that, I just badly needed to sleep. Mom and I later decided there was a possibility because of the location (old delhi) of the hotel we choose Lahku was not comfortable leaving us there. We never asked exactly why, we were just glad to be on our way to a place he knew.

The following morning Lahku collected  us at the appointed hour to take us to “the office”. We had not up until arriving at the office paid any money. Tarun and his father wanted to welcome us, review the itinerary and square away the fee. I had research some of the hotels I wanted to have a look at but Mandawa was not one of those places so we left it up to Lahku to make choice, it is possible he was having help via his cell phone.

If I remember correctly we left Delhi about 11am. I now wish I had taken some photos of the truly creative, down right amazing buildings, on the way out of town. Have a look at these pics of buildings in a place called Gurgaon,  just south of Delhi.  The reason I bring is up is cause India is all about the extremes.

Once completely outside of the city one sees camel carts, ox carts, horse carts, people pedaling carts, bicycles, people on foot, all shifting this and that from point A to point B. Anything from stacks of tennis shoes on the back of a bike to a camel cart moving sand, bricks or sugar cane.

Anything you have ever heard about India driving multiply by 100, there are all manner of things in the road from all the those mentioned above to loose cows, monkeys, dogs, children, pigs, broken trucks, tractors, tuk tuks, motor bikes, cars driving the wrong way down the highway. The driving alone is an experience. Thus, no pics, I was trying very hard not to express my concern for the traffic, in the end I had to stop looking out the front window, I sat in the back of the car with my head out the window.

I have one pic of the drive…

The yellow is harvested and transformed into mustard oil. The trees in the back, I do not know the name of,  the residents cut branches for fire fuel, either for heat or cooking.

We arrived in Mandawa after dark, I have no idea what time it was I just knew if I didn’t land in a bed as soon as possible I was going to go bonkers. The following morning we were up before sunrise.

From the roof and on the roof of our hotel.

This building was across the street.

Lahku told us what time he would be back to take us to breakfast. We ended up at this place…

Hotel Mandawa Heritage, a much more expensive place than where we stayed, whose name I do not remember.

Mandawa’s claim to fame is the mansions(havelis) that have lavishly painted walls. After breakfast it was suggested we go for a walk with one of the local chaps to have a look at them.

If I remember correctly these buildings are from the 1800’s.

An entertainment room inside one of the havali, see the small doors inset in the red at the top of the pic. The women of the home were not allowed to go out or be seen so they hide in those small spaces to watch the show from above.

One of the many interesting, very old doors.

From the roof looking down at the neighbors. We came to realize early on many of  the animals were keep in courtyards, this made it easier to feed, milk and to clean up the poos. The poos were then mixed with some sort of grass and used for fuel to heat with.

Another view from the roof of a haveli.

If I understood correctly all this is part of the haveli I am on the roof of but it was not open to the public. Big place  huh?

On the way back to Lahku…

Camel Carts.

I had to ask what this is. Water for those who have none.

If you wish more info about Mandawa, Wikipedia is happy to help.

We stopped for petrol outside of Mandawa. This happened by.

Lahku’s map had us visiting the Rat Temple on the way to Bikaner. 

While the italian marble is very pretty….

The carvings truly amazing…

and the door beautiful.

I could not get past the idea they are feeding rats that are breeding gang busters and to top it off worshiping them.  Being a temple ya had to take your shoes off, they gave us booties, no cameras allowed.  Yes, mom and I went in for a look, did not see the lucky white rat which was ok I was not going to spend much time looking for him. Feeding rats milk… yuk.

I was far more interested in this…

He is cute and not a soul would tell him to back off from the sugar cane juice leavings.

These next few are Fort Junagarh in Bikaner.

Gold ceiling anyone?

I do love a garden view.

Big place inside a wall.

Cool   huh?

The place we stayed in Bikaner, it was clean an simple. The room was huge as I remember.

We were out for a walk early the following morning. I think it was Sunday. Just us and the local cows.

We saw countless homeless dogs, some starving, some hurt, some in very good shape.  I saw three on leashes,  of those three two were Shepard looking.

Cattle guard at the hotel, rock slabs instead of metal.

Right then I must away to sleep.

We continue tomorrow with Jaislmer and a camel trek.


Filed under: Photos — she_travels at 4:16 pm on Monday, February 1, 2010

I don’t much remember the three hour Denver – Detroit leg, maybe I was dozing or some such. The Detroit airport is very nice, clear signage, a red tram inside. It was fairly easy getting from one end of concourse A to the other, I think there was a total of 78 gates.

The Detroit – NY leg was only an hour. While we were taxiing from the runway to the concourse I saw many planes from elsewhere, Swiss, Israeli, something called Qatar (Bahrain) , and one labeled Kalitta,  ( well look that, cargo carrier from Mich.)

JFK is a mad house of an airport, if you can avoid it, do so. The signage is non existence in places, one must take a bus from one concourse to the other (if ya go “the other way” ya have to get through security again.) The good news is, there are plenty of people about to ask how to get from one place to another. Oh yeah, the list of departures is only for the concourse you are in, makes it tough to double check where the heck your outgoing plane is.

I managed to find where I was going with the help of many airport personal.

While I was waiting in my seat for the remainder of the passengers to board I noticed a beautiful sunset in NY, saw a decent sunrise in Denver this morning.

After a fair amount of shifting of people the 6 foot tall lady next to me found another seat with more room, this means for the NY-Istanbul leg I have two seats to myself. Sadly, there is a little girl across the isle who will not stop bouncing around, singing and coughing.  My allergy to children is in full swing.

We left JFK a mere 13 minutes late, took another 20 min to taxi to the runway.

Istanbul is 11 hours forward from Colorado. I land Feb 1st at 9.55am after a just under 10 hour flight from NY.

I printed directions to get out of the airport to the tram after passport control. I also have printed directions to the hostel I will be staying that evening. The plan is to drop by bag at the hostel at about 1pm, then wander the old city til I crash, and I will crash at 4p or 5p.

They  turned off the cabin lights, perhaps a nap is in order.

The Adventure Begins

Filed under: Beginings — she_travels at 7:02 am on Sunday, January 31, 2010

I was sorted, packed and out of Otis’s house about 4:30 Friday. I dropped my car off with the mechanic so he can tinker while I am away. Had a friend pick me up, spent the night with her, packing and repacking several times.

We had been trying to see Avatar for weeks but could not sort it out until Sat. I told her if I had my head on straight and was close enough to being packed we could head to the theater Sat am..the film is almost three hours and ya add travel times, its pretty much and all day affair. I had to be back at her house for a friend from Denver to pick me up, I would spend Sat night with her so we could be to the airport, she is part vampire so late night,early morning runs to DIA are easy for her.

Indeed we did get out to see Avatar, 3D, Imax…the theater was packed and the movie was amazing…the story line was predictable and a old one but the magical place called Pandora had a huge WOW factor. I was pleased as punch we manged to find time to see it.

I had lovely chats with friends in Denver last night, slept ok for a few hours, got up at 3am to shower and repack one more time. I finally removed a few items from my bag. I will pick then up when I get back.

So, here I am at DIA, it’s 5:52. My plane leaves here at 7:45, I have connections through Detriot and NY, landing in Istanbul at 9:55 am. I decided to book accommodation in Istanbul for 2 nights, I have directions from the airport on the tram and walking directions to the hostel in the old city, very close to the Blue Mosque.

I understand the weather in Turkey at the moment is much like the Boulder weather, you can have 60 degree days and then snow. I was told it will be snowing Thursday, I have packed accordingly, two pairs of shoes, a huge “no, no” in my world but I pretty much had to if I wanted to keep my feet warm and dry.

I have my little netbook with me and an hoping to post pictures and stories as I go. We will see if I actually pull it off.

The Adventure Begins.

First of Thailand

Filed under: Beginings,Thailand,Trains and Planes,Walks — she_travels at 2:42 am on Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mom and I are on an island called Koh Chang. It is located off the coast of Thailand, just east and north of the Cambodia boarder.  It’s a fairly nice place but doesn’t compare to Roatan for beaches.

After a travel time of just under 36 hours we found our room, unpacked very little and when to bed at 3am Bangkok time. I was on three flights, Denver- LA (2.10 hours) LA-Taiwan (13.10hours) and the Taiwan- Bangkok leg of 3.10 hours. The last two legs were in chockablock full 747’s (the huge planes with an upstairs). The first had individual video screen and plenty of movies to choose from but the seats were so close together and uncomfy it was a fair painful flight. The leg after Taiwan was also in a 747 but I think it was a older version with no video screens and larger seats.

We had to fend off several freelance taxi guys to get to the official taxi stand where you are much less likely to be taken to the cleaners. The ride was about 45 mins for a total for 11 dollars. Whew! The room was clean and the bath down the hall.

I think we didn’t get up til 11am. Jumped on the sky train to see what Bangkok was all about. The place is litter free, but still feels very dirty. Traffic is past bad with many motor bikes. People wearing masks to keep the fumes they inhale down.

We found two very cool parks in the three days we were there. Rode in taxi’s, tuk tuk’s, river boats and canal boats along with the sky train and the subway all public transport with plenty of people to move about. We wandered walking for much of the last day we had in Bangkok.

The food is as good as every one says. We are eating both in Thai restaurants and on the street. Mom found an ice cream for $.50 she likes from 7-11 that truly is on every corner down here.

I must away…we are off to Cambodia tomorrow.

Colorado beginings

Filed under: Beginings,Colorado,Photos — she_travels at 1:40 pm on Thursday, November 1, 2007

I will have to get back to the nutties of the Dublin Airport and the flights/connections back to Denver. I feel like I should get the rest of these photos loaded cause the fan on my laptop is going to die any minute. So…on we go.

For those if you who have never traveled across the pond, Jet lag is a very real thing. The transport consisted of two buses, two trains and two planes with me arriving at a friend’s house close to Denver, rock throwing distance from the house I own, occupied by tenants, almost exactly 24 hours after waking  to shower in Dublin. It was a bit strange not going back to the house I had left five months earlier, interestingly enough I got over it in two days. What was I talking about…oh yeah…jet lag. Holy hannah. I seemed fine when I got to the house, had a nice chat with my friend about this and that, was in bed by 10p I think. Woke up at 5am, took a few sunrise pictures.

This one looking west at the Rocky Mountains.

And this, the sunrise from the east.

I remember very little about that day other then feeling pretty good until about 3pm when I decided I was better off going back to bed. I woke again about 8am the next morning to find my friend cleaning the barn. She said “Oh, there  you are? The only way we knew you were still around was your shoes were next the front door. Where were you last night?”

“Asleep, very asleep”

She seemed a bit confused “We had people over last night, had a little BBQ. Did you not hear anything?”

I confessed I had not telling her “I learned to sleep through about anything in the hostels of Ireland. Neat trick that! ”

We chatted about this and that when the subject of a ride came up.  It was either that day or the next we went out for a horse ride.

Those of  you who understand horses know on occasion they can react poorly or not to many things. I decided I should test the sound my camera makes before I had my person on the horse.

Test shot. This is Fitzy Cow’s chest. My friend and I bought this horse together thirteen years ago. He was sixteen this year. She had switched his shoes and he was feeling as good about being out and about in the hills around Boulder as I ever remember his being.  This was not the last time that summer I was able to get him out to play with me but it was the last summer he was out.

Sunday morning about nine weeks ago he was not feeling well.  My friend had several large animal vets out during the course of the day. All of them where in contact with each other and none of them thought the symptoms were serious.

Some time in the afternoon it was decided the horse should take a trip to the teaching hospital in Fort Collins, those guys know all kinds of stuff and have the equipment to find out why Fitz was not himself

My friend and her husband were attempting to load Fitz in the trailer, after some amount of coaxing (by the by – in thirteen years this was the first time he had refused to load) he landed all four feet in the trailer. My friend’s husband was telling me the story two days later “Annette, he had not had all four of his feet in the trailer for ten seconds when he dropped dead. He was dead before he hit the floor of the trailer.”

We talk often of that horse, how he was all ways the stable, easy going, sure whatever you want horse.  Ok he had a quirk or two but the dude was cool!

The following are all photos I took while riding him that day. The Mesa Trail just south of Boulder, Colo if you are interested.


My friend on her horse Meeca.

Trail in into the hills.

You may be able to see the “road” looking thing down there, it is the path we came up. You are looking at Boulder Valley from one of the high points of the Mesa Trail.  Thinking about it now, we have not been out riding since Fitz died.

Good News – Bad news

Filed under: Beginings,Ireland — she_travels at 4:02 am on Sunday, May 6, 2007

Phooey, I wrote this several days ago, seems the system misplaced it. OK, perhaps I hit the wrong button but still should it not do what I think not what I ask. *smile* 

The good news is I am here and safe. I flew 4.5 hours from LA to Chicago, 7 hours from Chicago to Dublin and then silly me wanting to sort out this house sitting gig hopped a bus from Dublin to Galway to the tune of 4 hours. Shezz, I was so tired by the time I got here all I wanted was a shower and sleep. 45 minutes after climbing off the bus and walking about I found a hostel with rooms available..I took a shower and a 4 hour nap. I feel better but not much.

The bad news…my computer may have died. It was charged when I left Chicago when I opened it here nothing. Between there and here the guy driving the bus miscalculated distance between he and the dude in front of him. My backpack soared off the seat slamming into the floor. It may just be the adapter. I located a hardware store I will take it to tomorrow. Closed now its almost 9pm. If I can’t get it fixed the posts are going to be shorter and the pics…well hard to say. So, everyone pray for my computer. 

Good news, I got a reply from the house sitting chick, it looks like we plan to meet this weekend. In the mean time, this place is OLD OLD baby..I am going to walk about til my hearts content. The Cliffs of Moher are very close so that is a to do as well.

That about covers it…

First Few days

Filed under: Beginings,Roatan — she_travels at 8:36 am on Saturday, February 10, 2007

I can’t get online from here so I am writing this without having seen the last entry.

I have been on the island of Roatan since Feb third about 2pm. The flight was late and for the first time I can remember we circled the island waiting, for what the captain didn’t tell us. Those people sitting with me speculated since we were late some other plane beat us to our spot in the landing line up. Once landed we saw two continental planes plus a few smaller planes. Mind you this is a tiny airport.

Immigration and customs were a breeze though it did take some time. I was out the door and in the parking lot looking for anyone familiar before most people had their bags. I travel light, everything was carry on.

Not seeing anyone I knew I decided to walk up to the main village Coxen Hole (those on island call it “town”). It’s a dirty little place of a few streets with all the government buildings and a bus (mini van) system running to where I wanted to be, West End. The buses here are interesting in that there are no bus stops ya just flag them down from where ever you are. The catch is any bus you flag from the east end of the island will only take you east of Coxen Hole. Any bus you flag from the west end will only take you to places west of Coxen Hole therefore I walked to Coxen Hole to flag a bus to West End. Worked like a charm with all the locals laughing at the size of my bags. Little did they know I had just arrived and I was going to be away from my world for five months.

I hopped off the bus in West End and headed down the only street. A sand road with the Caribbean ocean on one side and shops on the other. It was fairly warm being I had just left subzero temps but there was a nice breeze. I was surprised at how quiet it was…not so much of anyone about. It was darn pleasant. So, I am strolling down the road hauling my packs like a beast of burden breathing in the sea air and wondering if the place where I am staying knows I am coming when I look up to see Ray Anthony.

Now then, some of you know the story from last year about Mr. Ray. He is one of Foster’s (Foster being the owner of the place I have been staying the past six years) boys and let me mention right now all of Foster’s boys are beautiful, wonderful big smiles, dimples and soothing voices with a quiet calm. Last year while I was down Ray and I spent long hours conversing on what ever topic appealed to us. Ya know the stories about people meeting for the first time yet they feel like they have met before, a old dear friend you sorta lost track of that has resurfaced, that is the feeling Ray and I had when we met. He called it kindred sprits, yes the guy has a bit of poet in him. Having never felt this before I didn’t have a label for it. He is truly a unique individual. He is not afraid to speak on the happenings in his head or his heart. He is honest and direct, something those people who know me know I value. I had not met Ray before last year because he had been living in Florida. Anyway, ya get the picture, Ray and I understand and respect each other.

I saw him, he saw me it took a minute to register with him and then his face lit up with a shimmer in his eyes and a smile, I am sure the ladies swoon to. Being who I am I said “Do I get a hug?” He replied with “That can be arranged.” I dropped my packs, he set down the battery he was carrying.

He warned me, “I am all sweaty”

As we shared a hug I said, “Like I care”

He released me “When did you get in?”

“Just now.”

“How long are you staying?”

“Three months.” I was rewarded with another smile. ” I want to hear all about your past year, when you not…

He finished my sentence “..right in the middle of some thing else.”

“Yeah that.” as I put my packs back on, gave him a wave and headed along the street.

There is something about him that makes me feel so at ease and comfortable.

I found the place I am to stay. There was some confusion about who I am and what I had arranged. It happens here a lot but no one gets cranky about it. They found me a room (not the one I am to stay in for three months but a temporary spot until the kitchen unit under the bridge is available.) I was surprised to see a flat screen TV in this room. Its very nice place but the musty order is a bit over whelming. I hope the place under the bridge doesn’t smell like this. I hope to move to the other place today some time.

I walked down to West Bay yesterday looking for Foster. I have some paper work he needs. He wasn’t around but Ray was. He suggested I pop buy the dock in West End where he will be that afternoon working on the engine for his boat. He was off and away.

I asked at the restaurant where Foster might be they suggested I look in the office. I didn’t find Foster but I did find Eric. Ray’s brother. He looked at me and said “Can I help you” I said “Yes indeed, I would like I hug” That was when he realized who I was and rewarded me with me with a hug. By the by – let me mention these guys do not in the least avoid physical contact. We chatted for a spell about him, me and my parents and how hard it is to locate his father on occasion. He mentioned he didn’t recognize me with the short hair and that I look a fair amount younger. Nice guy that Eric. Adorable too.

Crap I am running out of time. I have never seen the island from a boat and Gerry Lee (another of Ray’s brothers) is going up island with Ray to get parts for the engine they were playing with. I am to meet them at the dock very soon.


I lost a couple days with the nasty sinus congestion I brought down with me. I wasn’t feeling all that bad until we came back from getting engine parts.

I am not in any kind of a routine as yet. I am feeling better but am no where close to 100%. I am still congested and light headed from time to time.The trip up island was fast but interesting in that I got to see the island from a boat. There are several views that are just breath taking but I was not going to ask the boys to stop for pictures cause they were on a mission. That and it took two hours to get up there. Ray was running out of time to get back and have the engine dude install the parts.

I tried to get online from a different location this morning. No such luck.

I walked down to West bay this afternoon. I finally located Foster. We had a nice long chat about many things including the possibility of my working for him. He believes I would be good with his American guests. He gave me a ride back to West End on his scooter. When I jumped off he said “Breakfast tomorrow?”

I asked “What time?”

He said “8am in West Bay.”

I gave him a thumbs up as he zipped around me on his way to wherever he was going.

With a breakfast meeting tomorrow to talk about work I better be off to bed.

Honest guys, I will get to the pictures soon. The sun was not out for long enough today to get good images.

Many Emotions Abound

Filed under: Beginings,Inspiration — she_travels at 12:21 am on Friday, February 2, 2007

Quick update for those of you following me.

I left my little house yesterday. I was so very sad about many things I think but the house was the trigger for the tears. I am so very much going to miss seeing my friends (the horses, dogs, kitties and their owners).

Several of my clients called (you know who you are) while I was driving. I was thankful for some one to talk with about the sadness of my leaving a job I love. At the same time I look forward to all the new adventures I will have over the next five months.

By the by it was a six hour drive through the nastiness if icy Highway 93 to the slushiness of The Tunnel, to the moonlit byways of Glenwood Canyon and the steepness of McClure Pass. I was so very glad the moon was out it was almost daylight. Truly beautiful reflecting off the snow.

Today I have been packing, repacking and taking care of the last minute stuff, a bit of banking and a post office run at 4:58p.

Tomorrow my parents and I fly from Montrose to DIA. Spend the night at the Red Roof Inn then I get on a plane at 6:05a bound for Roatan while my parents get to sleep a bit longer with a sensible departure time of 8a bound for Mexico.

To all of you I have had meals with the last week, THANKS oodles for the good food, good company and well wishes.

It’s 11:30 and I still have to repack my bag one more time.

Excited? Delighted? Elated? OH MY!

Filed under: Inspiration — she_travels at 10:39 am on Friday, January 26, 2007

Yeah, sure enough I have been experiencing fleeting tickles at the edges of my gray matter could it possibility be I am at the beginning of anticipation. Holy buckets, full blown elation can’t be far off. *giggles* Three months in the Caribbean is enough to thrill anyone but this is a major life change we are talking about. Less work, more play – for years. Shezz, it’s kinda hard to wrap your brain around. Maybe that’s the reason it took me so long to get to this stage.

All the stuff listed in several blog entries so I will not bore you with those again. Lets just say we are down to the last few things needing to be taken care of then I am leavin on a jet plane.

I finally started interviewing property management people. I think my choice is going to come down to speed of response, accessibility and advertising method. Phoenix is the current front runner. I may call them tomorrow, sign the contact and ask when they will start showing the place. I am not looking forward to prospective tennants coming by for  a showing. Could be interesting around here for a couple weeks. I would be very excited if they manage to rent the place the 1st of Feb.

Snow again today, I think in the end there were about 5″. Hard to say I swept the walk three times.

I have a client who wants to go to Arizona the week of July 4th so I will be back the 25-ish of June. Woohoo

I am attempting to find a way to keep my phone number and only use/pay for it while I am in town. I will keep ya posted on that front. Other wise the best way to find me is the email address.

Did I mention I am leaving on a jet plane Feb 3rd. Holy hannah, all of 8 days from today.

Another Step Taken

Filed under: Inspiration — she_travels at 8:47 am on Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Thirteen years of riding about in the mountains of Colorado. Thirteen grand years of an amazing relationship with the coolest horse on the planet.

I often tell my clients, “Ya can’t live your life around your pets.”

Last Tuesday morning I loaded up the trailer, drove seven hours and dropped both my horses off at my parent’s place. They will retired on 80 acres of creeks, ditches, ponds and hay fields dotted with Cottonwood and Russian olive. So, the horses have a new home, for how long is hard to say.

I have been telling friends, “Not all the details are set yet.” The only thing I really know is I am going to pack up all my toys and travel for an undetermined amount of time.

I am still not convinced I have enough money. I may work in the states three to six months a year and travel internationally the rest of the year. Its hard to know how things will work out money wise until one tries. My money may last years with the work exchange and house sitting programs.

When I started the process of deciding if I could and when I would quit my job I picked the end of August or first part of September as a time frame to make a deadline on the when of it. I have two more months to make a choice on when my first destination is and where.

Now the part I have always thought would be the toughest. I have had some of my clients for twelve years and most of the others for eight. Ninety-nine percent of my business is repeat customers. I have to find a way to tell them about my adventure.

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