Eid al-Adha

Mark Stewart Opinions, Travel Stories 2 Comments

About a week ago on the train to Jaisalmer, we were told about Eid al-Adha: the Muslim festival commemorating the story in which Ibrahim was willing to sacrifice his son Issac to prove his love for Allah, and at the last minute, Allah stopped him and provided him with a sheep instead. For the Western (Christian, Jewish…) equivalent, simply change Ibrahim with the obvious Abraham, and Allah to God, and you’ll find the same story in those their associated texts. …

Rajasthan: Into the Desert with a Bhang

Mark Stewart Travel Stories 2 Comments

We knew all about Diwali, the Hindu equivalent of Christmas, the festival of lights… but for whatever reason, we decided to make this the day we travel to the next location, or at least begin the journey. Overall, it really wasn’t bad at all, it just wasn’t as smooth as it normally would have been. Any other day of the year, a bus runs direct from McLeod Ganj, straight to Pathankot (where our train to Rajasthan leaves from). Being the …

Kulcha Shock: Punjab & Dharamsala

Mark Stewart Travel Stories Leave a Comment

After another less-than-pleasant overnight train, we arrive around seven in the morning at the city of Amritsar, in Punjab province. Walking through the city early in the morning, pre-traffic, we are accompanied mostly by a few random people, stray dogs, and burning piles of the previous days garbage on the side of the road. With few auto-rickshaws (therefore lack of competition) around so early in the morning, we decide to walk the whole way, just a few kilometers, rather than …

Burning Bodies and Meditation: Varanassi to Rishikesh

Mark Stewart Travel Stories Leave a Comment

Varanasi. Forget everything I said in previous posts about Kathmandu. This town is where chaos resides. After the long bus and train rides, we make our way through the maze of tiny alleys surrounding the river Ganges, eventually finding a place to stay. Starved, we climb to the rooftop restaurant, and stand in awe at the view… the holy Ganges river is massive, and the view from here is epic, although the view is hazy due to pollution and cremation …

Enter India: Kindergarten to High School

Mark Stewart Travel Stories Leave a Comment

I have vague memory of Kindergarten as a kid… mostly that it was only a few days a week, there were giant cardboard bricks that looked like a bunch of tiny bricks already built together.. we learned about green and red lights, yield signs, crosswalks… most importantly was nap time. A little while later I went to high school. Excitement, attitudes, all kinds of emotions that never really seemed to make sense, and a multitude of other things that can …

The End is the Beginning and the End

Mark Stewart Travel Stories Leave a Comment

First of all, our last few days in Nepal. Staying in Pokhara another couple days, simply because it’s such a beautiful and relaxing place, we do next to nothing beside wandering the streets, relaxing and renting a canoe to paddle the lake for a bit. The only really important day was making a trip to the post office to send a package.. four hours of walking later, and we finally box up, address, and pay for our package to be …

Pokhara: Earthquake, Cloud Village and a Ring

Mark Stewart Travel Stories Leave a Comment

Pokhara is, compared at east to Kathmandu, a quiet relaxing town on a beautiful lake. Though being on the tourist trail, it also is full of cheesy bars, shops, restaurants and hotels, although for the most part, the place still keeps its charm. Overall, a pretty relaxed week here, aside from the mild excitement caused by the earthquake the first evening… It happened right near the India/Nepal boarder on the far east of the country, and it turns out, we …

Cows, Dogs, Monkeys and Freefalls

Mark Stewart Travel Stories 2 Comments

Kathmandu. After only five days, I can confidently say that Cambodia has fallen to second place on the list. Nepal is, from what I’ve seen thus far anyway, the most beautiful country, with the most amazing people, that I’ve ever been to. Arriving at the airport, it was quickly clear that Nepal time is pretty much that it gets done when it gets done. The visa process took a while, and the ride to the guesthouse took longer.. in the …

Seoul: Jet Lag, and the Art of Suction Cup Chewing

Mark Stewart Travel Stories 2 Comments

Round two: Seoul. Sleep deprived, and awake at 2:30am, once again we’re off to the airport to check out how things roll on the other side of the planet. Flying into Seattle first with the intention of spending at least a part of our 6 1/2 hour layover outside of the airport and checking out a bit of the city, we finally decide against it. The chaos caused on the east coast due to hurricane Irene has caused thousands of …

Favourite Place

Mark Stewart Opinions Leave a Comment

It’s a question I’m often asked: “So of the places you’ve been, what’s your favorite?”. Typically my answer is Nepal, for several reasons, but that’s another story. I’ve recently thought deeper into it, that’s not exactly the correct answer. To be honest my absolute favorite place is the departures lounge of the airport. The television show ‘Departures’ is what really clued me in to this little epiphany. Why would a show about travelling have a title based around the part of …