Categories
Travel

A paradise called Patnem Beach

From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:34pm
Subject: A paradise called Patnem Beach

I’ve been on this beach for more than three weeks now. Met with some really good friends and basically been relaxing at a beach resort aptly named “Home”. Owners Richard and Sandy give you a break from Indian life, and pamper you with tasty European food and mellow chill-out music; by artists such as Kruder & Dorfmeiser, Moby and the great compilations released on the Hedkandi label.

Even though I’m based in Patnem I’ve made a few shorter trips around the area. To Anjuna, Agonda Beach, and Margao. I just leave my backpack with my host family during these trips; I don’t like to lug it around everywhere. It’s just too heavy and attracts too much attention from the damn hawkers. I went to Anjuna with my friends John from Scotland and Graham from New Zealand. We went to the famous hippie flea market where you can buy just about anything from bags and hammocks to drums and other utter useless knickknacks. Even used Enfield motorcycles! I found a perfect bag for my camera, 50 rs.

Afterwards we went to the Shore Bar for the aftermarket beach party. Psychedelic trance pounding away on our poor eardrums, with a magnificent clear horizon sunset as a backdrop. Wild! Then we went to the Primrose Bar and kept on clubbing till the wee morning hours. (Look John – Scottish!) Sorted mates!!!

Hampi is next on the short trip itinerary, then Delhi and trekking in Nepal on the big trip one. But I’ll most likely stay around here on this desert beach another month or so before heading north.

Tommy

Categories
Travel

This is a gem!

From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Mon Mar 5, 2001 6:30am
Subject: This is a gem!

Hello again friends, Since last time I wrote; I’ve moved further north (into southern Goa), to a gem of a serene place called Patnem Beach. To get here you need to catch the coastal train or the bus to Canacona, or Chaudi as it’s also called. Most people go on from there to Palolem Beach, but that place is a bit too touristy for my taste, it’s much better to head to the next beach further down south called Patnem. I’m staying here with a family at a farm just 5 minutes walk from the beach, and the room costs me only 10 rupees a night. But food and drinks at the restaurants are quite expensive so the traveller budget is getting quite a lashing while staying here. Goa is expensive! I’ll try to stay away from the western meals and the beer the following weeks, and return to real Indian cuisine again which is much cheaper indeed, but harder on the stomach though. I’m staying here another two weeks before heading up north towards Nepal for some trekking.

Hope all is well wherever you all might be. Did you know that there’s about 195 of you reading my newsletters now, quite a crowd huh?.

I’m darn near paradise here, so I’m just fine!!

Tommy

Categories
Travel

Gokarna’s stench

From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Fri Feb 23, 2001 7:08pm
Subject: Gokarna’s stench

Greetings earthlings! I was finally able to leave Varkala after five wonderful weeks lounging in the sun down there, I guess I only had a mild case of the well known Varkala Syndrome, the one that makes you never want to leave the place. Other people I met had been there for over two months, and where suffering from it quite badly. The last weekend was especially fun, when I and my Malteese friend Neville organized a techno party on the Papanasam cliffside on Saturday night. I also got to play myself, my first DJ gig ever! But we didn’t use a mixer, luckily – or else I don’t think I could have pulled it off just as successfully. The people seemed to have a great time, jumping around screaming their heads off. We also conected a microphone to the amplifier, so that Gert a Tabla player from Berlin could jam with us while we were playing out our records. After that, Jen – a vocalist from London joined in as well. Good fun indeed!!

On the train from Varkala to Karwar, I met some Marine Biology students from Goa. I was invited to visit them when I get up there in about a week’s time. I got to Karwar station about five o’clock in the morning and standing there waiting for the bus to Gokarna were Emma from Cork and Lucy from Halifax. They’d done the same as I had, quit their jobs for travelling around Asia. They were working together as radiographers at the st. Bartholomew’s hospital in London before going on their trip. We got on the bus to Gokarna, and after a bit of haggeling and paying a couple of extra unforetold rupees we finally got to our destination. Gokarna is a dirty stench ridden little town on India’s southwestern coast, about 50 km south of Karwar.

There are several good beaches around here, and my favorite so far is Kudle beach, just about 20 minutes walk to the south. The other ones further down south are also very nice, but the sand and the waves at Kudle are really special. Gokarna is also very important for the Hindus, and right now there’s a big festival going on here, so the streets are packed with pilgrims from the areas around. Yesterday I had lunch with some people from Belgaum and got really sick afterwards (Dehli Belly), so today I’ve just been relaxing indoors – drinking loads of water compensating for the massive fluid loss. Toworrow I’ll hit the beach again with Emma and Lucy, and our Danish friends Rune, Martin and Andrea. The place we’re staying at here in Gokarna (The Shanti Nivas) is really clean and quiet.

Tommy

Categories
Travel

Lazy days in the sun

From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Mon Feb 5, 2001 6:58pm
Subject: Lazy days in the sun

Today’s been another totally relaxed day on the beach. I have to cover up my bare head while sitting in the burning sun, so I won’t get a sun stroke. Yes – bare, my head is completely bald now. Just wanted to try how it was like, and I like it! Maybe I’m just getting bored – and needed something to do, I don’t know.

I met a couple of wonderful Dutch people the other day, Pantho and Jasmijn – brother and sister from Amsterdam. Jasmijn is working for Amsterdambackdoor.com a well-informed website containing everything you’ll need to know for a great night on town in A’ dam. Pantho who’s an Architect student told me he’s ganging up with some friends in Calcutta about a month from now (Jasmijn is heading back home). They’re going trekking in the Himalayas for several weeks, and I might be joining them later on. I’ll need some camping gear and a visa for Nepal; I’ll get that in Calcutta.

Nature here in Kerala is really breathtaking. I’ve never seen so many palm trees!! – whole forests full stretching all over the Papanasam cliffs. Below them the white sandy beaches, and the Arabic Ocean pounding on them, with it’s impressive waves. Bodysurfing is a very popular but dangerous pastime, and I’m getting the hang of it now. Last Friday night we had an out of Monsoon downpour (which rarely happens) – the sky opened up on us for about an hour, and afterwards we were treated with several hours of fireworks by the lightning strikes out over the sea. My German friends and I just sat mesmerized watching the show from the cliffside, and hopefully Helge who works for the ARD TV got some good shots of it all which he could post on the web when he gets home.

I’m not leaving this wonderful place yet! At least not for another couple of weeks.

Tommy

Categories
Travel

More pictures uploaded

From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Wed Jan 31, 2001 2:30pm
Subject: More pictures uploaded

Hello gang! I just uploaded 16 new images from Varkala and other surroundings… Sorry but the pictures of the elephants didn’t turn out well, so I didn`t bother to scan them.

Tommy

Categories
Travel

I’m still alive

From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Mon Jan 29, 2001 7:52pm
Subject: I’m still alive

Hello my friends, I have recieved a couple of emails lately from people worrying about me being caught in that horrible earthquake. You don`t need to worry, I`m about 70 hours (by slow train) away from the disaster area.

Life here in Varkala is soo laidback that there’s not much to write home about for the moment. Other than taking a daytrip to see the Elephant festival in Kottayam a few days ago, I’ve just been lounging at the beach, working on my tan. The festival was a colorful neonlit event with approx. 50 elephants walking down the main road towards the local temple. Afterwards the inhabitants got seriously drunk and were dancing and partying until the early hours of next day. I’ll write more when something interesting happens.

Tommy

Categories
Travel

Varkala

From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Thu Jan 18, 2001 12:00pm
Subject: Varkala

Hello my friends, I’ve now made it down to Varkala in the Kerala district in Southwestern India. Bombay was way too dirty and noisy for my liking so I left after only one night at the Gulistan Hotel. My buddy Kjetil never showed up at the hotel that morning (he’d apparently been there the following day), so I decided to head south on my own. I had originally planned to go to Goa, but I met a couple of Finnish girls who were going to Kerala, so I tagged along. The slow train ride was a wopping 44 hours, so I got to know my fellow passengers quite well. Salla and Kamomilla were both students who were taking a few weeks off, from their jobs among the street children of Jaipur up in the north.

Varkala is situated in a popular tourist area, but is still quite laidback and quiet compared to the bigger beaches around Trivandrum and Kollam – not far from here. There’s only a few hotels around here, so most travelers are staying in private homes and chalets. My hosts are the Padmaviljasam family, and their house is right next to the local temple. Every morning around 6 am the Hindus are ligthing their firecrackers, which is the Hindu equivalent of lighting a candle. Only that this wakes up the entire neighbourhood!! Kamel, the 22 year old boy who’s acting as manager while his father is out working in Bahrain, is very fascinated by my psychedelic trance albums, and the minidisc walkman I’ve brought with me.

I got a room with bathroom for only 2000 rupees a month (400 Norwegian kroners), so I’m staying here until the 18th of February. The beaches are very nice and clean, and the Arabian Sea is soothing after being cooked tenderly by the scorching sun. There are some beach merchants here, but not as many as at the more popular places I’m told.

Tommy

Categories
Travel

Bombay

From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Sat Jan 13, 2001 12:58pm
Subject: Bombay

Just some first impressions of Bombay: I landed at the airport at 5 am this morning. The Kuwait Arlines flight was very good, and with their reasonable prices I can definitely recomend using them if any of you guys are heading this way. The airport was dodgy to say the least, I knew right away I had landed in India. But somehow everything seemed to flow efficiently, the people were helping each other, and also helping keeping the luggage on the lousy transport when we were waiting for our bags. Even though this was early in the morning there were lots of taxis and people waiting by the exit. I walked away from it all to gather my thoughts, and sat down to talk to a man sitting in the parking lot.

He told me it was way too far to walk into town, and that a taxi should cost me around 250rp. Then a guy with one of these open moped based taxis offered to take me to town for that amount. It was quite far so I thought the price was OK. Suddenly he stopped and told me to jump over to another taxi. This time a cab (a car). The first guy paid the second driver 120rp to take me the rest of the way. Some scheme he was running for sure… Anyway I ended up by an OK hotel after the third try, the driver was nice and went with me inside at all the places to ask if there was a room available. So I ended up at an air-conditioned room for 1000rp a night, which is about 200 norwegian kroner. I’m just staying over the weekend though, I need to head down to Goa to wind down from all this hustle and bustle.

I met a cool guy who’s working at my hotel, maybe we’ll go out for a beer when he’s ended his shift. All in all I’m doing OK down here, just need to get used to the Indian way of life…Hope to find my friend Kjetil tomorrow.

Tommy

Categories
Travel

Amsterdam

From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Sun Jan 7, 2001 8:48pm
Subject: Amsterdam

Hello from Amsterdam! The first leg of this trip is now happening! I arrived at Schiphol on Friday the 5th about 1 p.m. local time, the wind was nearly tearing the plane apart as the pilot slammed it onto the runway. But the landing went just fine… luckily! Amsterdam is a cold place during the winter months, so I’ll really appreciate puting my feet down on shimmering Mumbaian tarmac next Saturday morning. GOT THE TICKET IN MY BAG!! I was worried I would get stuck here ’cause I never heard anything from the Dutch travellers agent who I booked my flight through, but the ticket was printed and ready in their shop so everything went really smoothly. The budget is getting a huge cut out here, everything is just as expensive as back home in Oslo. This last weekend I spent around 500 guilders (2000 kroners) which is just too damn much on a limited budget, so beginning tomorrow I’ll skip eating out all the time, and buy all my food at the Supermarket instead. I got carried away I guess. I went clubbing at Marcanti Plaza on Friday, and Mazzo on Saturday. Mazzo was especially huge fun as ever!

Tommy

Next destination: Mumbai – India (13th January 2001)

Categories
Travel

Three weeks to go!!!

From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Wed Dec 13, 2000 4:39pm
Subject: Three weeks to go!!!

Hello partypeople! Just writing this short message to let you know that the ticket has been booked, the shots have been taken, and I’m getting my visa tomorrow. Things are really starting to take shape now! The internet booking of the flight to Mumbai, somehow didn’t make it through to travelemotions.com, so I had to book it by phone instead. And since the prices changes every day, the ticket I now got was 150 NLG more expensive than the one I first tried to book. Now I’m flying with Kuwait Air through Kuwait instead. Also today: I updated my website again, and uploaded a bunch of Quicktime slideshows to the TommyOnTrip page. So if you’d like to see pictures from my earlier travels this year (Chamonix, Amsterdam, Portugal), please check it out! Some of the .mov files are quite big, so using a broadband internet is wisest, but dialup works too if you have the time to wait for the extra long downloads. The portfolio section is also uploaded again, if you’d like to see some of my work.

Tommy

Next destination: Amsterdam!!! 5th January 2001