Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tamil Nadu India

Greetings from Tamil Nadu!!
I am in Madurai which is a large city of one million people in Indias South East most state of Tamil Nadu.It is known for its magnificent temple. I visited the temple this morning. It is called Meenakshi Temple. There are said to be over a million statues here. I didn't count but it is probably true!!! Good Lord Shiva!! It is a fantastic place for anyone interested in religious art, architecture or just ancient buildings or beautiful sites. I am glad I made this detour into an otherwise dirty crowded rather typical Indian city and I recommend it most highly.By far it is the most impressive religious building I have seen in these last 4 months in India.
I arrived here bus. From Kanniyamakuri. I used the State transport bus. The El Cheapo!! I got some misinformation and it seemed the day was going to be one of those travel bummers but it all turned out fine as Ganesha the elephant headed God of auspicious beginnings was clearly watching and protecting me.
At Kanniyamakurai, I was befriended by a man called Ashook who helped me to get on the right bus, and then when I arrived at the first city where I needed to change and get another bus he took me to a GREAT restaurant at the bus station and I had the best breakfast I have had in India. Bhaji Poori, dosa with samba and coconut chutney, those excellent fried lentil flour dough nuts, and something else which I don't know the name of. With good Kerala coffee. Ashook then walked me over to the next bus I needed to get on and bid me farewell.
Kanniyamakurai, is easy for all of you to find on a map. It is the absolute southern most point of India. directly to the south, is the Indian ocean. West is the Arabian Sea, and east is the Bay of Bengal. There is a small island just 100 meters off the coast. Here stands the 133 ft tall statue of Tiruvalluvar. This statue is a landmark for anyone in Kanyakumari. Tiruvalluvar was one of the greatest tamil poets. The statue is AWESOME!
Here where the land ends, on the horizon early in the morning one can see the sun rise and the moon set at the same time on the same horizon. I know of no other place on earth where this is possible. It was easy for me to get up so early because un-be-known to me, my hotel was next to a Shiva temple that played music on loud speakers beginning at 3am! Cripes!!
I only stayed in Kanni for one day and night before coming here toMadurai. before Kanni I took a train from Varkala, where I spent a dozen super lazy days just reading and hanging around the beach and making lots of good friends.
Varkala is know as an Ayurvedic retreat town. Many travelers Indian and foriegn come here to get massage and other treatments. Not me. I just came to hang out and be a lazy bum!! Play some cribbage and take a cooking class.
I have been reading a lot of Krishnamurti see this site if you are interested. I have also been reading some more Stephen Hawking and just trying to oh well you know figure out the universe and to "glow in the dark"!! Hah!! I reckon theres is nothing else to do with ones "time", eh?
So as always here is some "fat to chew"
Peace and love to all who read these words

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." Henry David Thoreau

"As one travels over the world and observes the appalling conditions of poverty and the ugliness of man’s relationship to man, it becomes obvious that there must be a total revolution. A different kind of culture must come into being. The old culture is almost dead and yet we are clinging to it. Those who are young revolt against it, but unfortunately have not found a way, or a means, of transforming the essential quality of the human being, which is the mind. Unless there is a deep psychological revolution, mere reformation on the periphery will have little effect. This psychological revolution—which I think is the only revolution—is possible through meditation." J.Krishnamurti

Friday, April 06, 2007


Wow, after re-reading that last post I can see that I may have created a wrong impression. I am not using any drugs regularly. Many of you know that I have been an on again off again drug user for most of my life. Not something I am especially proud of but what the wahh hay it is the truth. I do not recommend my life style to anyone. I recommend to everyone to follow their own paths. Follow your own heart.
The point is that drugs are legally cheap in India. The legal ones are super cheap and the marijuana and charas (hashish) is also very abundant and cheap. Due to my own weakness, I find it hard to resist some of these drugs. Not cool, I know but alas it is who I am. Cheap legal morphine is quite a strong attraction to a boy like me. All this being said, I am not now using any drugs. Not smoking. Not drinking. Not taking any pills. I don't even own a pipe or papers anymore.
As a traveler i am obsessed with Freedom and what it means on many levels. One can not be free and also be using drugs. Sorry to break the news to my stonier friends but this is my true observation. For people like me it is hard to stay away from drugs and it is harder when I am in the company of partyers. This last week by myself i have hopped back on the wagon and as always I feel much better to be clean and sober than when I am getting loaded.
So ahem the other way to get around India cheap is with discount airlines such as Spice Deccan and Kingfisher. I took a Deccan flight from Ahmadabad to Goa for only 50 dollars American which saved me two days of train and bus travel and an overnight stay in Mumbai!! I felt it was worth it at the time since It would have only saved about 10 dollars to do the trip the hard way.
India is still for me a vegetarian paradise. Lots of options for non carnivores and Kerala is famous for the best food in India. It is dominated by coconuts which are one of my favorite foods, so I am a happy camper here. I must admit that it is sometimes distressing in these fishing towns cities and villages to see all the fish that looks fresh and probably so tasty but I don't want any part of it. I just don't want to be involved in the violence. Again I think everyone should follow their own heart on this but for me...well it is hard because on the one hand I like the taste and texture of fish and seafood but on the other I can see that commercial fishing is devastating our oceans and that we as humans are gathering immense negative karma from our continuous unnecessary killing of animals for food. Unhealthy oceans make an unhealthy planet. an unhealthy planet is not good for you and me. This is our karma at work. Just one mans opinion.
I have been trying to refrain from political and social commentary on these travel updates. Some of you are disappointed but to tell the truth, the real change is a revolutionary one that must begin with the individual. I don't care what Hilarious Clinton or osama Baraka are saying. They are not a representative of change but of continuation. They do not advocate change they are advocating the same course that has taken us to where we are. The way to freedom is for all of us as individuals to ignore the "leaders"and to change ourselves. To hell with the leaders the first freedom is freedom from Authority.
"It dont make no difference to me, you see, Everybodys got a right to be free"-Tom Petty
Peace and Love and most of all Freedom to all of you!!
Rambling Robert

travel update from Varkala

Greetings from Varkala!
Varkala is a small village in Kerala India on the west coast. It is built up on red stone cliffs facing the Lakshwadeep Sea. This is the local name for this body of water. It is for all practical purposes still the Arabian Sea. I arrived here on April 1. and I am enjoying a littel quiet time alone. I have been travelling with a few travel mates for the last 5 or 6 weeks now and I am glad to be on my own again. That being said I have truly enjoyed the company of the travellers I have been with lately. sometimes people ask if I get lonely from travelling by myself. The fact is that I am almost never alone by chance or design! So the first couple of days lhere I made a point of not talking to anyone just to be by myself. I am digging it!!
So I came here after spending 6 days and nights in Kochin or Cochi. it is spelled both ways. I met up with an Irish lad on the night train from Gokarna to Kochi and we decided to share rickshaws into town and then we decided to share a room our first night and then we both moved into a very nice "homestay" guest house called Wilsons. We each had private rooms and bathrooms and patios. Very nice for only 150RS per night a littel less than 3 euros. Kochi is soert of a blur in my memory. I found myself partying a lot with the irish lad. He kept buying these tolas (10 gram packets) of this very fine Kerala Ganja. I joined in with him and got quite stoned. Here in India, The drugstores are quite liberal compared to some countries. Drug prices are also regulated here so the people can afford the drugs they need! Wow what a concept, huh? Affordable medicine...hhmmmm... Well anyway among the affordable goodies one can purchase legally without a prescription are 5 or 10 milligram valiums for 4 cents or 7 cents, 15 mg codiene tablets for 8 cents or ( oh I love this one) 16mg morphine tablets for 11cents.
Nothing starts the day off quite like 48mgs of morphine and a nice hot cup of chai!!! Then back to the room for a couple of joints and Oh say it aint so The irish lad has some of that Peruvian marching powder that I so loved when I was a youngster!! Aye Zukes...Where does the time go?
While in Kochi; which is incidently, the nicest of all the India cities I have visited so far, we went on a tour of the backwaters in a dugout canoe propelled by bamboo poles that the indian "sailors" push the boat with. Super tranquil and very beautiful. Saw lots of cool stuff like peppercorn vines, nutmeg trees, cashew nut trees orchids and jasmine and frangipani. Watched women making rope out of coconut fibers. And lots of birds and other wildlife like turtles and fishes.
There is an ancient form of musical dancing called Kathikadi and we saw an interesting performance of this art form. You are meant to arrive 90 minutes before the show actually begins so you can watch the performers put on their make up, which was as fascinating as the performance!! We also went to another dancing concert which was better. It had no name that I am aware of but I think it was another form of Kathikadi. Very cool music too....
Gokarna was a blast. i had a very kicked back time. Lived for 3 weeks in a bamboo hut on Kudle beach. Great fun although I didnt do much of anything except read swim and go for long walks on the beaches and on the cliffs along the beaches. Hung out with a few Italians. All pretty cool. Made a good friend in Stefano who I will most likely go and visit next year in Italy. I am thinking of spending a couple of months in Italy mostly on the island of Sardegnia in April and May of 2008.
I will remain here in India, in the deep south of india for the next 5 or 6 weeks until May 14 (the day before my visa expires) I have bought a ticket to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia from Chennai on the 14th and I will probably stay in Malaysia for 3 months or so since that is how long my visa will last there. I hpe to go to Singapore while I am there also. After that I am not sure.
In a few days I will go to Kanniyakimuri. It is a small city sacred to the Hindus, at the very southernmost tip of India. Here is where the Bay of Bengal, The Indian Ocean, and the Arabian sea all meet. Three huge bodies of water all converging. The beach has 3 colors of sand from the different waters and during April the sun sets at the same time the moon rises on the horizon, So you can see the sun and the moon on the same plane. I don't know of any other place in the world where this occurs, do you? It is only 3 hour s away from here by train.
India has some very interesting travel arrangements. The three ways to get around for long distances are by bus over badly maintained bumpy roads, or by train which is efficient but excruciatingly slow. The trains only average about 35 km per hour(25mph) and the express or fast trains only go about 50 or 60 km per hour. But they are cheap and they sell good food on board and I always meet interesting people on the trains so I am not complaining. Also I am never really in a hurry anyways so...Whats to complain about?
Here then are a couple of quotes to think about until you here from me again...

"A train is travel; everything else,- planes especially -, is transfer, your journey begins when you arrive" Paul Theroux

"When there is intelligence, then Nationalism, Patriotism, which is a form of stupidity, disappears." J. Krishnamurti
Peace and Love to all who read these words.