Suitcase and World: May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Mountain kingdom. Sikkim.

Mt. Kanchenjunga, third tallest mountain in the world can be seen from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.

When I think of India, I think of a chaotic place crowded with beyond comprehension, a place filled with all sorts of exotic sights, smells and sounds. I think of heat and humidity.  It conjures up memories of spicy food - oh how I miss murg malai, masala dosa and the dal.  Hinduism reigns supreme - hundreds of different gods and goddesses that rule the daily lives of billions of people. I think of iconic landmarks like the Taj Mahal and Red Fort. 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Beauty of mud. Djenné.

Timbuktu may be the most well known place in Mali but the more reading I do on Mali, the more I realize that the town of Djenné is not to be overlooked.

Djenné is a small town situated on the floodplain between the Niger and Bani rivers at the southern end of the Inland Niger delta. During the rainy season, the rivers overflow changing the town into an island that is accessed by causeways.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Dooars.

Tea estate in the Western Dooars
n case you're wondering about the name of this blog, the Dooars or Duars, pronounced exactly like the word "doors", are the floodplains and foothills of the eastern Himalayas in northeastern India around Bhutan. The region is so named because it forms a natural gateway from the hill stations of West Bengal and Sikkim to Bhutan.

My trip will start in Delhi and from there, I will travel through the Dooars to Bhutan.  The name of this blog reflects the path of my journey. Now you know how the name of this blog came to be.

Land of the Thunder Dragon.

Bhutan is a small kingdom nestled in the Himalayan mountains. This tiny country, which is about the size of the state of Indiana is bordered by its husky neighbors China to the north and India to the south. On its southwestern border is the Indian state of Sikkim. To its north is Tibet. Almost the entire country is mountainous. The southernmost part begins in the humid jungles of India's Assam Plain, but soon climbs high into the Himalayas.

Bhutan's capital is Thimphu (pronounced “Tim - Pu”), a thriving metropolis of around 40,000. The population of the entire country is around 700,000. This is a tiny nation indeed!!

Bhutan is also one of the most isolated and least developed countries in the world and yet, it has the reputation of being one of the happiest places on least as voted on by its own populace. Its people still proudly revere iss rich historical past which is steeped in traditions marked by unique customs, manners, language, modes of dress, arts, and different types of dances and folk music. It is also one of the last places on earth where the Vajrayana (Tantric Buddhism) form of Buddhism is practiced.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A high of 91 in January. What???

he plan at the moment is for me to go to Mali the last week of July. Okay, I'm doing this for work so I have no choice about the timing of my trip because if it was up to me, I would not head a country that is pretty much half desert during the summer....and no, I don't care that it's a *dry*'s still h-o-t, h-o-t, h-o-t!!

Mali's climate ranges from hot, subtropical in the south to hot, semi-arid in the central region to hot, arid in the north.  It's a hot place :-)

Friday, May 14, 2010

I'm going to Mali!

I'm going to Mali for a one week long work assignment in the capital city of Bamako and I'm really excited about it. This will be my first trip to what I would consider to be the *real* Africa and I'm going to do my best to make the most of it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Memories of Guatemala.

Me, Valiant, Mark and Soon standing in front of La Merced Church in Antigua, Guatemala. 

This is the diary of my trip to Guatemala with my brother Mark and my friends Soon and Valiant in the summer of 2010.