Colour and sound on Indian roads

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC spent the last week or so in Bangalore and Mysore, India. I’ve already posted my impressions of the two cities. Now for a wrapup about the traffic. Trust this worm, the traffic is a topic all on its own.

My impressions? Communication is key. Follow the sage advice on the back of the truck: toot when coming through; toot when it’s safe to make a move; toot when in doubt.

The book I’m in

Zero’s Return, by Sara King. This is part 3 of the Zero chronicles. This worm is enjoying this story as much as the first two, and is impressed with the change in theme. Sarah King has managed to retain the magic of the Zero character even while throwing him into a completely different situation. Sink or swim, again, Joe Dobbs.

Recommended garb

Wear something comfortable and adaptable. Be ready to toss a scarf over your shoulders (this is a tip from the TC, of course, since this worm’s shoulders are adequately covered by my academic jacket) or discard your sandals at the drop of a hat.

Travel tip

Hire a driver, at least for your first foray or two into Bangalore traffic. The drivers know a thing or two.

The photos

Experience a ride in a car with a hired driver. Note the expert use of the horn to let everyone know where we are and what our intentions are.

The next video is longer, and shows some interesting roadside scenes. We’re driving along MG Road in Bangalore for most of the way. In two places (around 15 seconds into the video, and another at 1:21) you’ll notice an auto rickshaw travelling in the opposite direction to the rest of the traffic. This is a not uncommon sight. In other countries, you might say the vehicle is on the wrong side of the road. In Bangalore, you’d say it’s in exactly the right place to get where it needs to go.

At 30 seconds, the car passes a laundry business on the left. See all the sheets and other washed items hanging out to dry. One of the TC’s acquaintances visited the laundry, and was amazed how the staff keep track of every single item without written records.

Here’s the video:

There’s quite a variety of vehicles on the road. The TC, bless her cotton socks, was taken with the colourful decorations on the trucks:

Colour and traffic on Indian roads

Another:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

This one’s a Tata, like the first. Tata is a very big auto manufacturer in India:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

And another colourful truck:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

And another. Yes, the TC has a fondness for trucks:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

On the rear of the trucks, it’s very common to see pleas and encouragement to hoot. That’s right, hooting is part of the system, and truckies ask you to do it to let them know you’re there:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

This one has tassels too:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

As well as trucks, there are carts:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

Coconuts:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

Pedestrians – the TC took this photo for the scaffolding in the background as much as the people strolling past:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

Auto rickshaws – this one with a colourful view of Bangalore:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

Scooters – with an interestomg background of stalls:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

Bikes:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

And more bikes:

Colour and sound on Indian roads

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 6 March 2016 at 6:16 am  Comments (1)  
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Mysore or Mysuru in India

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are visiting the city of Mysore, in India’s state of Karnataka. Mysore, officially named Mysuru, is about three hours’ drive from Bangalore, up into the hills.

My impressions? Bright air and fresh colours.

The book I’m in

Zero’s Return, by Sara King. This is part 3 of the Zero chronicles. This worm is enjoying this story as much as the first two, and is impressed with the change in theme. Sarah King has managed to retain the magic of the Zero character even while throwing him into a completely different situation. Sink or swim, again, Joe Dobbs.

Recommended accommodation

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, 1 MG Road, Mysore. It’s comfortable, and the staff are very pleasant and attentive.

Travel tip

Drive up Chamundi Hill, or walk up if you can manage a staircase of more than 1000 steps. Stroll around the temples at the top of the hill. It’s beautiful and peaceful up there.

The photos

Me with part of Mysore city behind me:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Here’s the same view of Mysore, without this worm embellishing the foreground:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

A busy street scene in Mysore:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

A quiet side street:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Mysore Palace is full of activity, and the buildings are attractive and interesting. Here’s a temple near the palace gate:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Mysore Palace:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

The palace courtyard:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

An alleyway behind the main palace building:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

We drove up Chamundi Hill, just outside Mysore, and walked the circuit at the top of the hill. This is a view of Chamundi temple:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Chamundi temple from a different angle:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

A closer view of the temple. Click the image to zoom in:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

Back in the city of Mysore, Gothic huddles up close to telephone lines, carts and auto rickshaws. St Philomena’s Catholic church, built in 1936:

Mysore or Mysuru in India

That’s all for today, folks.

Bangalore peace and traffic

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in Bangalore, India, for a few days. It’s an amazing place. Energetic, frenetic, hectic.

My impressions? Bangalore traffic is a metaphor waiting to happen.

In fact, traffic was used as a metaphor in two of the conference sessions that the TC attended this week.

The book I’m in

Railsea, by China Miéville. Moby-Dick meets steam punk, as told by a master of language. This worm has seldom been as impressed by a writer as I am by China Miéville.

Recommended accommodation

ITC Gardenia, 1 Residency Rd, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560025. Actually, though that’s the official address, the entrance is on Vittal Mallya Road.

Recommended restaurant

K & K restaurant at the ITC Gardenia hotel, for excellence of Indian cuisine and friendly attentiveness of service.

Travel tip

Take a stroll through Cubbon Park, during daylight hours, for an oasis of peace and coolness.

The photos

Me at the railway station on the well known MG road:

Bangalore peace and traffic

Next is a rare glimpse of the TC, snapped as she was watching a Bangalore rickshaw. These little three-wheeled vehicles are also called auto rickshaws, to distinguish them from the hand-drawn rickshaws. When this worm was in Bangkok a while ago, we travelled in a similar vehicle, called a tuk tuk. On the TC’s left, behind the green and yellow rickshaw, is the Vidhana Soudha, which is the seat of the state legislature of Karnataka, the state in which Bangalore is located:

Bangalore peace and traffic

Communication is an art in Bangalore traffic. Know where you’re going, make it clear to those around you, and toot to let people know you’re there. If you’re on foot, just pretend to be a vehicle:

For a puddle of peace in the swirl of traffic, take a stroll under the trees of Cubbon park:

Bangalore peace and traffic

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 27 February 2016 at 9:18 pm  Comments (2)  
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Views from Melkbosstrand, Western Cape

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in Cape Town, South Africa for a few days. Melkbosstrand is a beach on the west coast of Africa, about 35 kilometres north of Cape Town.

My impressions? Wide open skies. Silver sands, azure seas, sunsets to die for.

The book I’m in

The Martian, by Andy Weir. A good yarn featuring Matt Damon (well, he’s in the movie) being rescued yet again from a far-away place. The book includes intriguing technical details of NASA equipment and how to use it in ways it was not designed for.

Recommended accommodation

Bontkop Guest House, First Avenue 43, Melkbosstrand, South Africa. The views are spectacular, the hosts are gracious, the fittings and breakfasts are top quality.

Travel tip

Hold on to your hat. The wind is mighty in Cape Town. This worm’s mortar board nearly took wing a few times. Since I’m rather attached to it, the consequences would have been dire.

The photos

Me, unmistakable even in silhouette, at Melkbosstrand on the west coast of South Africa. In the distance is Table Mountain, another thing that’s fairly well known in silhouette.

Melkbosstrand, Western Cape

Zooming in for a closer view of Table Mountain and Table Bay:

Melkbosstrand, Western Cape

Turning round and looking in the other direction across the bay, you can see Koeberg Nuclear Power Station in the distance, right on the beach (click the image to zoom in):

Melkbosstrand

This short video shows the view at dusk from Bontkop Guest House, Melkbosstrand:

On the beach at sunset:

Melkbosstrand

The TC, bless her cotton socks, is partial to silhouettes:

Melkbosstrand

That’s all for today, folks.

Golden Gate Bridge – a worm’s eye view

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC were in San Francisco over the weekend. We took a stroll under the Golden Gate Bridge in the fog.

My impressions? Bleak, booming, bulky, brrr.

The book I’m in

Search for the Star Stones, by André Norton. A paperback volume combining two books: The Zero Stone, and Uncharted Stars. This worm loves a good Sci Fi yarn!

Travel tip

Always have warm clothing with you when in San Francisco, even in summer time.

The photos

Me (the most recognisable, most photographed bookworm in the world) under the most beautiful, most photographed bridge in the world:

Golden Gate Bridge - a worm's eye view

There were other people under the bridge that day:

Golden Gate Bridge - a worm's eye view

Watch the video to hear the booming of the wind and traffic overhead. You can almost feel the breeze pushing that chilly fog around:

That’s all for today, folks.

Hawaii – volcanoes, waterfalls, cliffs and valleys

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC took a helicopter tour of the volcanoes and valleys of Hawaii’s Big Island. One side of the island is flat and dry, a thin layer of vegetation covering the blackly barren lava rock. The other side is lush, green and hilly, with some of the world’s tallest waterfalls, and towering cliffs pounded by fierce ocean waves. In the middle of the island is a steaming, smoking, belching set of volcanoes that continuously create this scene of life on the edge.

My impressions? An island inching its way across the sea – losing land to the ocean on one side, building out land with lava on the other.

The book I’m in

Zero Recall (Legend of Zero), by Sara King. This is the second of the Zero series. Meeting the Huouyt and Jreet again is like seeing old friends. The Geuji is a force to be reckoned with.

Recommended restaurant

‘ULU Ocean Grill, at the Four Seasons Hualalai. Service, elegance, beauty, cuisine.

Travel tip

Hire a car, to get where you want to go, when you want to be there.

The photos

Me. I think the Hawaiian lava makes an excellent backdrop for my distinguished person:

Hawaii

Lava swirls:

Hawaiian lava

I entrusted myself to Blue Hawaiian helicopter tours:

Me at Blue Hawaiian

The TC came too. Bless her cotton socks, look at that smile:

Blue Hawaiian

Ready to see some smoking lava? Here’s a video, just a very small part of the helicopter tour. This worm advises you to mute the audio, because it doesn’t do anything except hurt your ears:

The drifting mist in the video is a mixture of smoke and cloud. We could smell the smoke and sulphur inside the chopper! Quite other-worldly.

Trees don’t do too well when you pour hot lava around them:

Trees in lava flow

Things get real when the lava flow threatens a village. The people of Pahoa had to evacuate their homes in October 2014 because the lava came very close indeed. This photo shows the lava path, with the village in the distance:

Lava approaching Pahoa village

The lava flow has been monitored carefully since October last year, with hourly public announcements of its status. While we were in the bus on our way back from the helicopter tour, a radio announcement stated that the lava flow had stabilised and it was therefore no longer necessary to issue public reports. Our driver expressed great relief at this good news.

The helicopter instrument panel, the pilot’s boots, and a view of lava through the glass floor panels:

Helicopter instruments

After the volcanoes, we set off for the north east coast of the island. Green green valleys, steep cliffs and pounding surf:

Hawaii north east coast

Waipi’o Valley quite took the TC’s breath away. This worm was impressed too:

Hawaii Waipio Valley

The waterfalls in this remote valley are some of the tallest in the world, at around 1,450 feet (440 metres). Our helicopter pilot gave us an adrenaline-punching view of the valley and falls. Again, kill the sound, says this worm:

Back to more traditional views of Hawaii.Clouds:

Clouds

Flowers:

Frangipani

And a sunset:

Hawaiian sunset

That’s all for today, dudes.

Published in: on 3 April 2015 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dangling over the Whitehouse gardens in Washington, DC

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC have been in Washington, DC, for the last few days. Washington is the capital of the United States. It’s also known as the District of Columbia, or DC, or just “the District”. This worm admits that, until today, I thought the city of Washington resided in an area called District of Columbia. But it seems they’re one and the same thing.

My impressions of the city? Wide roads and lofty grandeur. It will be warmer when the cherry blossoms are out.

Travel tips

Don’t dangle over the Whitehouse lawn. The story: The TC has been pretty busy running workshops, which has left me and Peg to our own devices most of the time. As you’ll see, this had a different effect on each of us. Me, I was raring to go when the TC suggested a quick tour of the capital this morning. Peg, on the other hand, had become unfortunately attached to the room and so missed out on seeing the sights. She also missed out on saving this worm from a fate worse than death. Read on, dear friends.

The book I’m in

Zero Recall (Legend of Zero), by Sara King. This is the second of the Zero series I’ve tasted. Meeting the Huouyt and Jreet is like seeing old friends again, and the Geuji look like a force to be reckoned with.

Recommended accommodation

Phoenix Park Hotel, 520 North Capitol St NW. Our room is small, but comfortable, clean and pretty. Service is friendly and efficient.

The photos

Me and the Washington Monument:

Washington Monument

The weather is chilly and grey. Yesterday we had snow, although it was officially the first day of spring, which led to much derisive commentary from the locals. Here’s a wintry view of The Mall, which is the thoroughfare connecting many of the monuments and museums in the city:

The Mall, Washington DC

We walked closer to the Washington Monument and snapped a shot through the trees, along with a passing plane:

Washington Monument

The Whitehouse is close by, nestling behind the bare winter branches:

Whitehouse

I had to have a shot of me at the Whitehouse, naturally, so here it is:

Travelling Worm at the Whitehouse

It was at this point, dear readers, that I sorely missed my faithful companion, Peg. Or should I say, my erstwhile faithful companion.

Peg would have been most useful in ensuring I didn’t inadvertently drift down onto the Whitehouse lawn and be lost, forever out of the TC’s reach. But Peg had elected to stay in the hotel room on this occasion. She said she was keeping the coffee company. I suspect, however, that she was hanging out with the cool kids and basking in their warmth.

Peg keeping the coffee companyPeg-WashingtonDC-21March2015-IMG_6297

Never mind. Despite the brisk breeze, I managed to cling to the Whitehouse railings long enough to get the shot, and the TC and I continued our stroll. More of the Whitehouse:

Whitehouse

The buildings in this area of town are gorgeous and grand. This is 1301 Constitution Avenue, home to the US Environmental Protection Agency and other organisations:

Constitution Avenue, Washington DC

Pennsylvania Avenue:

Pennsylvania Avenue

The Ronald Reagan Building:

Ronald Reagan Building

More grandeur:

A Washington building

The Corcoran Gallery:

Corcoran Gallery

And… the Eisenhower Building? How come Ronald Reagan and George Washington merit such imposing structures, while Eisenhower is relegated to this humble construction?

Eisenhower Building

The TC, bless her cotton socks, was actually taken in by the sign, until we rounded the corner and spotted the actual Eisenhower Building:

Eisenhower Building

The Metro offers a painless, easy way to travel around Washington DC :

Metro at Union Central, Washington, DC

That’s all for today, dudes.

Bennetts Wallaby with joey in pouch

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC spent a couple of days in Freycinet Park, Tasmania. A Bennetts Wallaby, also called a red-necked wallaby, wandered into the car park at the start of the walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout.

My impressions? Somewhat jaded, slightly faded – I’m referring to the wallaby, not to myself of course.

The book I’m in

Where Song Began, by Tim Low. The fascinating tale of how Australia’s birds took over the world.

Recommended accommodation

Freycinet Lodge in Coles Bay. The cabins are dotted around amongst the trees. Inside is clean and comfortable. Open the doors to step out amidst the trees, birds, wallabies and echidnas.

The photos

This worm can pardon the mother wallaby for her slightly dufus expression. It must be hard work carrying such a big joey in the pouch. And so hard to scratch that itch too!

Here’s a still photo of the pair:

Bennetts Wallaby with joey in pouch

That’s all for today, dudes.

Echidna at Freycinet Park, Tasmania

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC spent a couple of days in Freycinet Park, Tasmania. We encountered a couple of echidnas, sometimes called spiny anteaters.

Unlike other famed Australian creatures, echidnas are not marsupials, although they do have a pouch. So, why not a marsupial? Because they lay eggs and put the eggs into the pouch, whereas marsupials give birth to tiny babies which crawl into the pouch. This puts echidnas into a rare order called “monotremes”. The only other creatures in this order are platypuses.

My impressions? Like a small prickly bear with ostrich tendencies.

The book I’m in

Where Song Began, by Tim Low. The fascinating tale of how Australia’s birds took over the world.

Recommended accommodation

Freycinet Lodge in Coles Bay. The cabins are dotted around amongst the trees. Inside is clean and comfortable. Open the doors to step out amidst the trees, birds, wallabies and echidnas.

The photos

Here’s the first echidna we saw. It “hid” when it heard us, by sticking its snout in a bush. After a few minutes it decided we must have gone away, so it came out to play:

The TC, bless her cotton socks, says this has to be the cutest animal ever. This is the second echidna that crossed her path:

Here’s a still photo of one of them:

Echidna in Tasmania

That’s all for today, dudes.

Wine Glass Bay Lookout in Tasmania

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC spent a couple of days in Freycinet Park, Tasmania. We took the half-hour stroll up to Wineglass Bay Lookout.

If you’re fond of birds, take a look at the New Holland Honeyeater the TC filmed at the lookout.

My impressions? The detail is in the trees.

The book I’m in

Catching Fire, part 2 of The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Classy teen science fiction that appeals to adults for its fast pace, clever social commentary and appealing characters.

Travel tip

Take the time to look around as you follow the trail. The walk probably won’t take as long as you think.

Recommended accommodation

Freycinet Lodge in Coles Bay. The cabins are dotted around amongst the trees. Inside is clean and comfortable. Open the doors to step out amidst the trees, birds, wallabies and echidnas.

The photos

Me at Wineglass Bay Lookout:

Wine Glass Bay Lookout in Tasmania

On the TC’s insistence, here’s a picture with Wineglass Bay in focus rather than this worm. (If I had much of a nose, it would be somewhat out of joint):

Wine Glass Bay Lookout in Tasmania

A tree on the trail up to the lookout:

Wine Glass Bay Lookout in Tasmania

Striations in a fallen trunk:

Wine Glass Bay Lookout in Tasmania

Rocks tower over the path:

Wine Glass Bay Lookout in Tasmania

That’s all for today, dudes.

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