8 Weeks in Thailand and India – Summer 2004

8 Weeks in Thailand and India – Summer 2004

Center map

Our Much Revised Plan to Avoid Winter

New Zealand, Here We Come (not)

We had actually meant to, been planning to, go to New Zealand. Kathy had bought all the guidebooks & mapped out itineraries. But, when we tried to book flights, there weren’t any available via Frequent Flyer points. We tried all the different airlines, all the different alliance partners, all the different routings, willing to fly to Australia as well as NZ.. Nothing was available – we could get a flight out in mid-January, but there was no way to get back before June. The only way to get home sooner was to call a couple times every day, in hopes that someone might have just given up a seat. That meant going one by one through each day, all routings, checking for availability (you would think computers could be used for all this, wouldn’t you?)

By November, Scott was despairing, certain that we would be stuck in another arctic New Hampshire winter. Just as he was becoming despondent just at the thought, Kathy pulled out the world globe one evening and said “Well, let’s just go somewhere else”. We spun the globe looking for interesting places we have always wanted to visit, and could reasonably be expected to soak up two months worth of traveling. It couldn’t be too hot (that left out most of the southern hemisphere, where it was summer), or too cold (most of the northern hemisphere). And there was India, where the temperature would be just right, practically Goldilocks-ian. A place that had long been on our travel “to do” list, but we had kept putting off because it has a reputation for being a difficult place to travel in.

Omens suggested this was the right decision. Kathy found it cheaper to fly to India via Bangkok, letting us split our vacation between difficult India and well-known, comfortable Thailand. Friends Barbara Nichols & Harold Henry, and their son Will, were planning time there that would coincide with ours. We had just that spring met an interesting couple, Denise and Sharon, from Victoria B.C., who had told us about a tour company, Intrepid Travel, that provided low-cost, close-to-the-ground travel (the way we prefer to go). And they had a fabulous tour of Rajasthan available, for less than $50/day per person – including hotels, transportion, guides. Then Kathy happened to meet a charming Indian woman, Asha Pant, who had lived with her husband in the US for 20 years, but who had just starting spending the winters in Delhi. “We’re headed for India in this winter”, Kathy says. “We live in Delhi, you must come visit.”, says Asha.

So, the plans were set: leaving mid-January for a week in Thailand with the Nichols-Henry’s; Delhi to visit Asha, 22 days touring Rjasthan with Intrepid, a side trip to Varanase (a famous religious city), then back to Thailand to do some beach time, and visit parts of the country we hadn’t seen before, back home in late March when (hopefully) winter will be over.

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