Monthly Archives: December 2013

Auto Rickshaw Taxonomy

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India features a lot of different methods of transportation. One of the most interesting ones are the different kinds of taxis. The ones above, for example, are cabs in Mumbai.

Mumbai Taxi (New)

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This is one of the newer cabs in Mumbai. There are still a lot of older models in use (see picture on top), and in some parts of the country they have huge old Ambassador cabs as well. Those are commonly called marriage cars, because they can fit the entire wedding party in one cab – up to 15 persons.

Seats: 4
Fits: 4

Auto Rickshaw

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The most common form of rickshaw, these come in different states of mechanical breakdown and chassis damage. Some have neon LED lights inside, others big speakers in the back. Most come with an automated horn that is pressed down during the entire trip, much to the delight of the passenger.

Seats: 3
Fits: 7

Six Seater

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Something between a personal auto rickshaw and a buss. Shared transport going along a predetermined route, so you never know who you’ll be travelling with or where you’ll end up.

Seats: 6
Fits: 13

TATA Magic

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The most spacious of all auto rickshaws (with exception of the Ambassador), this one is good to book if you’re a larger group and prefer not to have windows, A/C or shock absorbers offered by actual cars.

Seats: 12
Fits: 18

Honorable Mention: Kathmandu Bike Rickshaw_MG_7226

Speaking of shock absorbers, these charming old-skool rickshaws could really use ones. Going down the streets of Kathmandu in one of these looks nicer than it feels. Remember to keep your feet firmly on the rest in front of you, not doing so may risk you flying over the driver at the next pothole.

Seats: 2
Fits: 2

 Honorable Mention: Juhu Beach All-Terrain Rickshaw  _MG_6691

Even though similar in coloring as the others, I don’t really think this is a rickshaw. But would be nice if it was..

Seats: unknown
Fits: unknown

Holiday Planning

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Once it became clear I wouldn’t be coming back to Finland over the christmas holidays a challenge appeared: what do I do instead? No way in hell was I staying by myself at the towers in Pune over christmas. I have to go somewhere, staying still would only get me down. But where should I go?

One of the areas I had planned to explore during my visit here is Kerala, a place of lush jungles and serene beaches. And, I figured, now is as good a time as any. So I booked flights for 22.12. to Thiruvananthapuram (also known as Trivandrum, slightly easier to pronounce) in South Kerala and back 2.1. from Kochi in the North.

Now all I have to do is fill in the gaps. Here’s the stuff I want to fit in:

  • A few nights by the beach in Kovalam.
  • A visit to Kanyakumari, where the three oceans meet at the feet of the Thiruvalluvar statue. This is also the southernmost point of mainland India.
  • A night or two on a houseboat, out on the backwaters. Chef included.
  • A couple of nights in Munnar. Don’t know what’s out there but they say it’s amazing.
  • New Year’s carnival in Kochi.

I’ve got a few reservations in already and am working on the rest. With the trip to Nepal less than a week behind me it might seem like I’m having a hard time staying put. But hey, it’s the holidays after all, gotta go somewhere, right?

Unsettled

I don’t know why, but the last couple of days I’ve been feeling kind of funny. A bit uneasy, restless. So on the weekend I took it real easy, did some reading and writing, had some beers in the fatboy on the balcony.

But still, the feeling lingers. There’s something bubbling beneath the surface, and I can’t put my finger on it.

It might be homesickness, the amount of work I’ve been doing lately, or having passed the two-month milestone a few days ago. Or it might be the jitters in anticipation for the upcoming trip to Nepal.

Which is just silly because visiting Nepal can be nothing short of amazing, obviously.

I even decided to break out the first emergency kit yesterday: a bag of Haribo’s I got from a colleague.

You see, back home it’s easier to know where the edges of your comfort zone lie – how much you can extend beyond it, doing activities and neglecting rest before you become fatigued. But here, in a still somewhat foreign environment, that’s harder to gauge. I want to experience a lot and be active, but at the same time I need to listen carefully to that inner voice.

So maybe I’m just weary, and a good night’s sleep will do the trick. Might be a good idea to do some introspection as well. Can’t have the up’s without the down’s, know what I mean?