We spent four nights in total in Chandigarh staying at the ZO Rooms Akashdeep in Sector 22B (1999 INR per night). We had initially anticipated only one night to allow us to get an oil change and rear brake pad change (and a wash) for the ANIMAL. But my medical appointment blew things out to three nights, as I had to go back to see the Surgeon on Monday.
We had tossed up where to apply for our Myanmar Visas, as some people are getting them in Nepal and others in India. Our friends, Claire and Emiel who are also with us at the moment, were planning on Dehli and we all want to go to Agra to see the Taj Mahal…..so although Vince ideally wanted to avoid the chaos of a big city it was looking like thats where we would head for. In the meantime our Dutch/Tassie friends, Aad (Art) and his son Mike (whom we met briefly in Pakistan on the road, and whom we recently discovered will be on the group to Myanmar ……we need a guide so have joined a group via Burma Senses), are already in Dehli trying to get Visas…..and are having a lot of problems with the Embassy. It smacked so much of our troubles with the Indian Embassy in Tehran that we decided to hold off going to Dehli and see how they got on first…so spent another night in Chandigarh. The alternative was to get our Visas in Kathmandu…..but the recent problems has seen the closure of borders between India and Nepal and a resulting fuel shortage….so that was not really an option any longer and affected our plans to visit Nepal. This may be a blessing in disguise as if we did leave India we would need to get another Indian Visa to transit through to get to Myanmar………memories of Tehran haunt us over and over in so many ways!
Whilst in Chandigarh we basically rested from my surgery, although we did go to the local mall (very flash) to get a few things…….including trying to source a replacement Olympus TG-4 for me……without success. Vince even emailed Olympus to try to source one in either Chandigarh or Dehli (both big cities) but got not reply…..which is very disappointing as I really like their products….so I have had to buy the Nikon AW130 instead……….so lets see how the brand change for 2upadventures performs!
Vince and Emiel found and excellent local brewery/restaurant (Malt and Co) that was having a “soft opening” so we all went along to support it…..so much so we all ended up having dinner there a couple of times and Vince and I even frequented it for lunch and breakfast!
It is very hot here and there is a dichotomy of wealth evident……complete squaller through to modern chic………the haves and the have not’s are very evident here alongside one another…….it really is quite incredible to see. There are far more beggars here and children will perform in the street at traffic lights to get money instead of being at school. Many people, including street urchin children will follow you asking for money…..it really is very sad to see the poverty. I wish there was more we could do to help….I’m not sure what the answer is ….these things are never simple.