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PTR: Athisayam pg 4 - Madurai, INDIA!!


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Hey guys

 

I've been in India for the last couple weeks for a class, and was finally able to get to a couple of the parks farther up north.

 

15 of us are here for an architecture class, studying how religion and politics affect Indian art and architecture, but generally just having a great time in this incredible country. We're staying in Goa for four weeks, then heading down south to Madural for two weeks, before ending the program with a few days in Delhi. After the class ends, a friend and I will be staying a week extra in Nepal. On the weekends we usually take a trip somewhere in the country to look at some building or site or whatever, but so far classes have been pretty minimal, and we've had a bunch of time to just get out and explore.

 

I would hands down encourage everyone to visit India at least once in your life - it's probably the most beautiful place I'll ever see.

 

Goa itself is a beautiful, beautiful city, colonized by the Portuguese in the 1500s, providing for some really nice architecture. Goa is known for its beaches though, and while we haven't been able to take too much advantage of them because of the monsoons, they really are fantastic. We've seen some pretty amazing Buddhist caves, and a bunch of really neat temples - and the food is incredible. A little hard to stomach if you just jump in head first, but eat a lot poop a lot - that's the only way to live here.

 

But just a note, being white in India is preeeeetty pretty difficult. Especially if you're a woman. This area where I was in Bombay was pretty inaccessible.. you get a lot of looks and a lot of people trying to rip you off, and it really is quite clear that you're the ONLY white person in the area. You get a lot of people taking pictures of you, and asking where you're from, or pointing and laughing, especially if they notice you getting overcharged for something.

 

As far as roller coasters go, India isn't the beeeeeeest place to be, as you might imagine, but while I'm here, I'm of course going to take advantage of it. The two parks so far have been ridiculous, and I can't what to see what the other parks have up their sleeves.

 

Before I got to the parks, I wanted to just give a little context, and show some of the pictures I've taken from the last two weeks here. Hope you guys enjoy. I'll post pictures from Esselworld and Tikuji-ni-wadi shortly, and then I'll probably be able to hit a park in Madurai, a park in Delhi, and the only coasters in Nepal, sometime within the next month.

 

Thanks for reading! Enjoy

-Danny

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The underground Indian mango market

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Quick everyone, let's play the "find your favorite rare fruit vendor in here and take a picture with them" game

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my friend Kameron

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cricket!!

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Miramar, the closest beach to us. The most beautiful skies I have ever seen have been here, over the Indian Ocean

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We're goin to the Ritz!! Seriously though, I could eat Indian food every day for the rest of my life

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street in Panjim, the capital city of Goa, near our hotel

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We took a hike through one of the back neighborhoods, and found this spectacular look out

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As part of our class, we do community service over at a local orphanage. Joey and I usually just end up playing human jungle gym for 2 hours, but I wouldn't have it any other way

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traversing a mountain pass

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The Aurangabad caves, 29 or so Buddhist temples carved out of cliff some 1500 years ago.. and me.

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The carvings were incredible

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the Buddha

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a God and I

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Overlooking the valley

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...a few of the caves had bats

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ohhhhhh Hindu cave carvings

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One of the caves at Ellora was this enoooooooormous temple all carved out of the mountainside. Innnnncredible

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I have no words

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I looooove taking pictures of Indian families. So many beautiful people

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Varun, on the ledge of the temple covered with hundreds of guardian animals

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We got to climb up the surrounding hills

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Some amazing views to be had

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Finally at the top. Sooooo many less safety regulations in India

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Not even sure what this is

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coolest kids in India. Took this on the climb up a mountain to a fort that was never penetrated

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beautiful people

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Finally at the top

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one day, everything the light touches will be MINE!!

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Disclaimer, this is NOT the real Taj Mahal, just a replica, made by the son of the brother of the patron who was the carpenter for the guy who had the idea for the real Taj Mahal, or something like that

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WORLD CUP MANIA!!!

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Calangute, on a monsoon day

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only in India. In India, everybody really does have a waterbuffalo. It's amazing

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Somewhere in India, I don't know where I am

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And I'll leave you for now with some rice paddies and some beautiful colors. Be back shortly for Esselworld!! Thanks for reading!!

Edited by coasterer
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Awesome pic so far.

 

Feel free to post as many pictures from the parks as you want as I will add the to TPR's Park Index. We love featuring the travelers of TPR members to remote parks.

 

That same Italy World Cup banner hangs in my barber shop, which not surprisingly is run by Italians

 

thanks in advance

Edited by larrygator
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^^Thanks a lot Larry, will do

 

^hahahahahaha, thanks. They warned us in orientation before we went that we would get alot of stares. Needless to say, when I have a camera anywhere near me, I get stares when I'm in the US, let alone when I'm the only white person in a hundred miles. Thanks for the comments!

 

So last weekend we had the weekend off, and I was able to take the 14 hour bus ride (complete with onboard Bollywood film) up the coast from Goa to Mumbai, and arrived in northern Mumbai by around ten o clock. A simple rickshaw ride over to the ferry (60 rupees, if you bargain.. alot), a quick look for an ATM, which turned into a mile and a half walk, and the 35 rupee ferry ride over to Esselworld, getting me there around 11 in the morning.

The park itself was only 510 rupees, (about 11 bucks), and was just about empty, it being monsoon season and all. Esselworld is billed as the biggest park in India, and it was pretty decently nice, considering the standard I expected.

 

Esselworld was decently sized, and was nicely covered with a lot of trees. Some of the rides were pretty spread out, but all in all, they had a good selection of rides.

 

The staff was inCREDibly nice and hospitable, and was super interested in me, as an American, and as an avid theme park enthusiast.

 

I'll take you through the rides and stuff through the pictures, but it was amazing to get out to these parks that are so rarely visited, and I really enjoyed the whole experience. Also if some of the pictures are a little blurry or aren't very good, I apologize, I just figured I'd try and include as many as possible to try and give you all more perspective.

 

Thanks for reading!!

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Park map

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You have to take a ferry to get to the park. The greatest and smallest of all the ferries.

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Holy Burmese Pagoda it's like Disneyworld!!!!

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oh man oh man oh MAN!

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Tilt a whirl

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Every amusement park should have this sign

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Heading toward the central part of the park

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We've got stray dogs yes we do, We've got stray dogs how bout YOU!?

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First credit!! One of (if not the only) wooden coasters in India

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Zipper Dipper

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"Please keep all arms and legs and saris and head coverings and scarves and any extra fabric inside the vehicle at all times."

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I wouldn't necessarily say that I got permission from the park so much as I'd say that they really couldn't care less what you do on rides in India. This ride didn't even have a lap bar, and the ones that did, they didn't even check

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Final part of the Zipper Dipper

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So this park's wacky worm. They had a pretty strict under 48 inch height rule in place, but I got to talking to the ride op for quite some time about all sorts of stuff, and even though he knew how appreciative I'd be if I could ride it, his supervisor was walking around, and if he got caught letting me ride, he could get fired, which I completely understood. But when you're white, you automatically have something to talk about with Indians, and the more we talked, the more I told him about the US and about TPR, and eventually, he decided that he'd take me to his supervisor directly to see if I could ride. So we went, and when I met with his supervisor, he took me to HIS supervisor, who was super cool, and super interested in helping out, and suuuuuper hospitable, and before I knew it, me and the entire staff of Esselworld were walking out to the wacky worm to personally escort me on and stand guard on the station while I enjoyed two courtesy laps. I was floored by the hospitality, and incredibly grateful for the experience. It's amazing what starting a conversation can do for you.

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the creepiest of all the kiddie rides

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Enterprise

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a rainbow. how lovely

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Hoola Loop!! Actually pretty smooth in the front. Quite an enjoyable ride

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Quite small and compact, but a pretty decent layout

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I love this country so much

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Theme Park Review represent

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Some of the layout. The loop was reeeeeally smooth

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The transitions were the roughest part, but even the laterals were perfectly smooth

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The Zyclone. UnFORtunately, it was down due to maintenance issues, so this is the only picture I got A couple hours later, they were putting up that green construction tarp walling around it. Don't really know what was going on.

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A pretty standard Indian theme park food vendor. Amazing

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Monster

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wait, really? An ice rink?

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One more Zipper Dipper

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OH GOD WHERE!?

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Oh nevermind, silly me. It's just the park's giant submarine!

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The park's newest attraction I presumed, Monsters in the Mist. It was just a dark ride kind of thing, with some ok animatronics, and some reeeeally good lighting. Fairly amusing

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Aqua Dive, the park's water coaster

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just a simple oval track, but if you like water... then good lord have at this thing

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It really is amazing how much of this splash ends up in your lap. I mean, at one point, I would have bet money that we were actually submerged in the pool. There was no escape.

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I mean, the train would hit the water so hard it occasionally couldn't make it up the 3 foot incline on the other end. Hooray for the Indian maintenance team

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hedge maze!!

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Don't know if I caught the name of this guy

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God bless these rides these are so wonderful

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Oh wait I lied, I did get one more shot of Zyclone

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Noted

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One last shot of the pagoda, thanks so much for reading!! I'll put up pictures from Tikuji-ni-wadi sometime in the next 24 hours I think

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Your Wacky Worm story has to rank as one of the greatest credit-whore anecdotes ever. And those cave shots, etc., just beautiful. Really looking forward to future updates!

 

(Also looking forward to visiting "the place where Freida Pinto was created" myself someday...)

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Hey Danny my Friend!!

 

Love the report, exciting to read and see all the variety you are adding!

 

Seems like just yesterday that we were at Great Adventure lol.

 

Keep up the great work and the high jumps!

 

 

Peace, Big Mike

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Danny - I always love reading your trip reports, and this one definitely qualifies as EPIC! I almost went to India for a month this year with the Rotary Club as a professionals exchange program. The logistics just didn't quite work out this time. After reading this report, I'll definitely make it work if they offer it to me again next year.

 

Thanks again! I'd really love to hang out with you guys at a park some time. You always appear to have a blast and that's how I roll as well.

 

David

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This trip report is awesome! I've never seen a glimpse of these parks (heck, I've never even heard of them) in India and it's great to experience them, if only vicariously, through this report. You're so lucky; it looks like you're having a great time and learning so much. Thank you for taking the time to share not only the park pictures, but also the culture shots with us all. India is on my "someday" list, and it was a nice surprise to log on and see this. Looking forward to the rest!

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Danny those pictures are amazing! I'm still waiting on your Lake Compounce photos, but these are amazing and I'm jealous and I wish I was there with you bro. I'll take a lap on Boulder Dash for you...just continue adding photos to this trip report of this amazing country.

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As an Indian who goes there atleast once every three or four years i have yet to make it out there to Esselworld. It always land in Mumbai and see family and friends. After your epic TR, i got to check it out next time, whenever next time is.

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Thanks so much, everyone for reading and responded. I am so grateful for the things you've all said so far, you guys are all really great. I've grown up reading so many amazing trip reports and seeing so many incredible pictures from all over the world from all other TPR members, and it's so great to be apart of that now.

 

@r78 - I'm glad SOMEone caught the veggie tales quote hahaha - but seriously, water buffalos are everywhere here.

@jdcoffeytime - The wooden coaster was actually surprisingly stable, and pretty standard, as far as wooden coasters go... except of course for the lack of lapbar haha

@Big Mike - great to hear from you again, hopefully I'll run into you sometime again on the east coast

@Jynx242 - David, thanks a million. Go to India. Your comments mean a ton to me, and I would love to meet up sometime, any time, and hit up a park.

@JayJay719 - Jason! Soon, my friend, soon, they'll be up as soon as I can manage. Tell Boulder Dash I say hi

@Hotlanta - definitely, if you're here, check these places out. Also, Esselworld bills itself as having Asia's biggest water park. I didn't get a chance to check it out, but I'm sure it's worth hitting

 

 

And to everyone else, again, thanks so much, I'll for sure keep posting pictures whenever I can grab a few spare minutes, and if you've ever once given India a thought, or even if you haven't, I can't stress enough that you should come and see it for yourself, whenever you get the opportunity. Photos don't hardly do it justice.

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Tikjij-ni-wadi was easily the strangest park I’ve ever been to. It was less like an amusement park, really, and more like an extensive low-hanging fruit grove. If you were lucky, you occasionally stumbled across a ride or two, or maybe even a path. But you rarely saw any other people…

 

The park was incredibly out of the way, tucked away in a corner of north Mumbai that didn’t look like it saw too many people.

 

To get there from Esselworld I had to take the ferry back to the mainland, grab another rickshaw to West Borivali bus station ST, hope I was in the right place, ask a bunch of people which bus I wanted (most people didn’t speak English, and the ones that did weren’t from the area and didn’t know), try and convey to the conductor that I wanted to go to Tikuji-ni-wadi, get on board with no certainty that you were going to the right place, ride the 40 minutes to Mapada (?) bus stop, and then walk about a mile up a dirt road that frankly, looked like the last place you would find a theme park. But find it I did, and by mid afternoon, I had paid the Rs. 370 entry fee, and was ready to go.

 

As soon as you enter, there’s a main path that cuts down the park for a ways, disappearing in the overhanging branches of the mango groves. On either side were entrances to different square groves, all without paths and no way to see through to what was on the other side. I literally had to crouch to move around. Occassionally I would find myself in various places like, you know, the center of the road of the go kart track, or in a 300 foot covered walkway lined with beds.

 

But finally I was able to spot a sign for the kiddie section, and a couple minutes later, had made my way up to the wacky worm ride. I pretty much just sat down and was sent on my way for a double circuit. It was cool how much jungle had built up around this ride. You couldn’t see any of the rest of the park.

 

The park’s other coaster, the spinning coaster, was just as out of the way, way out in one of the far corners of the jungl-… I mean theme park. Once again, there was not another guest in sight. The two workers were just chilling out in front of the ride, and when I asked if I could ride, they told me I had to ride with three other people to balance out the train. Well perfect.

 

So I waited, a little, and then a little more, and finally three women came by, but when I asked if they wanted to ride, they just laughed and said they worked here too. But after a little persuasion, I convinced them to ride with me anyway, and so I got my credit with the help of three of the workers who took the lap with me.

 

It was pretty nice, really, sitting facing the outside was new for me on these mouses, and it was definitely different. But unfortunately, with the train balanced, we hardly spun at all. Still a nice find though, considering I felt like I was lost in the jungle.

 

The rest of the park was just kind of strange and not much going on. I took a nice long out of the way walk… in order to find where the hell I was again, and did a little bit looking, but there wasn’t too much I really felt was worth the ride at that point.

 

From there, it was back to the bus stop, try and hop on the right bus by guessing (my advice is, friend locals while you’re here, or at least someone who can speak Hindi or Mararti or whatever dialect needs speaking – these friendly people will make your life so much easier), ride the bus for 20 minutes, bypass the overturned tanker truck in the ditch off to the side being hoisted out by cranes, switch buses when yours breaks down in another ten minutes, and then finally get to where you hope you’re stopping, and then wander around asking as many people you can for the incredibly illusive Volvo bus stop that will take you back on the 14 hour ride home to Goa that evening.

 

If I had tried a little harder, I definitely could have worked something out with some people in Bombay and stayed the night, or seen a little more of the city, which I’m sure is amazing, but I was constricted on time with class requirements.

 

So that’s Tikuji-ni-wadi, and my whole Bombay experience, but I’ll definitely post more pictures as they come in – we’re going to Agra tomorrow for the Taj Mahal and all the other Islamic mosques and tombs and stuff, so I’m sure there will be no shortage of pictures. And then expect another park in a couple weeks hopefully.

 

Again, thanks so much for reading, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

 

-Danny

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Here's that bus stop I finally was pretty sure I found. Just a kilometer or so's walk to the park from here

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And this is where I began to be less sure of the fact that I was heading in the right direction

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Woooo! Found it. By this point, it was around 4, I was pretty darn tired, and pretty darn thankful I had made it here. But oh look, that's adorable... there parking lot is about 20 feet wide

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So right. Finally inside, here's the main path. Noooooot many rides at first glance

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This is misleading. It's not a coaster. It's one of those sky cycle things. And the problem with it was, I was chasing the track around for like 5 minutes, trying to find the entrance, but couldn't see anything because it was all above the trees that hung down to about 4 feet off the ground

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I'm sorry Tikuji-ni-wadi, but your layout just really doesn't make any sense. This picture was taken at waist height, which is the only reason you have any idea of what's more than 4 feet in front of you

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And this is where I found myself on the go kart road. Whoops

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Oh good, 100 beds. This is... unexpected

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A bridge.. presumably to somewhere worth going. At least, let's hope

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!! Oh look a ride let's go ther - ... oh, nevermind

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Also not really in operation mode.

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But hooray for commercialism

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oh boy oh boy oh BOY! We're HERE!

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There was no one there, but I was able to find a worker nearby and he got it going no problem, as soon as I sat down

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Indian credit number 5 hooty hoooo!

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Look how much jungle there is!!

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Really lovely foliage work, don't you think?

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and then it was over to coaster number two

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More..

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It's your typical wild mouse type ride, really

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Like I said, I was lucky the workers rode it with me, there was literally not a soul around.

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The ride itself was nice and enjoyable. I wasn't used to the seats facing out, but the way we were balanced, it hardly spun at all

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one last shot

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Boy I LOVED Animal Kingdom. This was... not the same

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You and me both, camel. You and me both

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Climbing Cars. I passed this on my ridiculously long quest to find water. Life in the Tikuji is tough

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A train... not open

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Holy hidden jungle temple where am I???

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Oh, then there was this path that went to a whole nother area, that was nothing like the other part of the park

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It was well... barren

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There was a ferris wheel some bumper cars, a few kids rides, and a swings, but this place was just oddly quiet

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Here's those swings

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And last photo of the trip, just... with the cast and all, sweeping by her self off in some out of the way corner just... I have no words. Thanks again for reading, I'll keep adding pictures as I take them!

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Great trip report. I've been travelling around India for five weeks, and as you say it is a very fascinating country. Can recommend everyone to got. We travelled in the northern part and the Himalayas and it was amazing. Also saw the real taj

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Did Cameron go with you on this excursion, or did you go alone?? I'm truly impressed at your daring-do. Not many people would do what you've done and braved the wilds for a park. That is just awesome! Keep it up and take care.

 

David

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^ My thoughts exactly! It takes some guts to trek 14 hours in a foreign country (by yourself, too) and not feel discouraged by random dirt roads that seemingly lead to nowhere and the challenge of locating the correct bus station, not to mention that you do all this for a Wacky Worm and spinning mouse. A true credit whore trailblazer, you are! Or...something like that

 

But really, once again, thank you for taking the time to post your travels. It just makes my day to see new places like this and to see a different culture's take on the amusement park.

 

Stay safe and have fun!

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