Monday, November 30, 2009

Cloud Seeding in Venezuela?

There has been a severe drought in Venezuela, and this has prompted President Hugo Chavez to move forward with a program to perform cloud seeding.

Will this program work? Is it a desperate ploy to cope with the longer term problem of Climate Change?

And is it going to help revive the country's iconic Angel Falls as well as the country's other outstanding waterfalls (let alone its ailing agriculture and Nature)?

Only time will tell, but you can read more about this issue here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Woman Falls Over Edge At Kaieteur Falls

This may be a bit of old news, but to me, it's no less shocking nor saddening when we read about it after returning from India.

You can read the story about the incident here. There's another article written about the incident here.

There has been some rumblings about building safety railings or barriers around the Kaieteur Falls. Personally, I hope this doesn't happen as it would certainly take away from the beauty of the place. I can only hope that people continue to stay away from the edge and exercise caution and respect for Nature, but I also know that Nature is inherently dangerous and it's one of those things where it's difficult to manage these risks when there's always that potential that someone may die.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

India Travel Diaries Posted

I've just finished posting the travel journals from our time in India.

So if you're up for a little variety and something beyond the waterfalling fix, check it out!

There was also a little bit of a shake-up in a couple of our Top 10 Lists.
India Waterfalls have certainly impacted our Top 10 Asian Waterfalls List, but one of them has also cracked the Top 10 Tallest Waterfalls based on highest vertical drop that we've seen.

Friday, November 27, 2009

India Waterfalls Now On WoW

Battling through Thanksgiving food coma and a stubborn cold, I've at least managed to put in the India Waterfalls that we've visited earlier this month. So far, our sampling of 16 falls spanned five states, including some famous ones like Jog Falls and Dudhsagar Falls as well as some of the more obscure ones like Unchalli Falls and Nohkalikai Falls.

There are still more waterfalls I wish to visit that we couldn't get to on this trip for one reason or another. But we think we've seen some of India's best as well atmospheric waterfalls even in our current humble survey. In fact, we've even changed our Top 10 Asian Waterfalls list to reflect how some of the country's best stacked up against the incumbents we've seen from other Asian countries.

I'm hoping to finish putting in the whole India section including travel stories, other attractions, and some informational pages on weather and some practicalities as well as putting in Google Maps for the specific waterfalls we've just seen in India. So stay tuned, but in the mean time, come check out the beauties just put onto WoW!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Waterfall of the Week

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Time To Get Caught Up

We've recently returned from our adventurous cultural and waterfalling trip to Subcontinental Asia. That's basically a fancier way of saying India (as well as a very brief getaway away from the getaway in the Maldives).

So now the work really begins.

Fortunately, I've got Thanksgiving Weekend to try to get all the waterfall pages as well as travel stories updated with new information and photos from India. I do expect The Top 10 Asian Waterfalls List to get a little shake-up due to this latest waterfalling escapade. Stay tuned...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thank You, India!

After an adventurous 19 nights in India, we're now winding down our trip by spending a few nights in the Maldives, where fortunately, there's complementary internet. Thus, I can compose this entry. This part of the trip isn't meant for waterfalling, but after some hectic traveling in the subcontinent, I think we've seen enough waterfalls for the time being.

Since our last entry where we were at the Mangalore Airport in Karnataka state en route to the Cochin Airport in Kerala state, we've visited the Athirappilly Falls, Palaruvi Falls, Courtallam Falls, Old Courtallam Falls, and Five Falls. The first two falls are in the state of Kerala while the last three are in the state of Tamil Nadu.

To break up the waterfalling, we also enjoyed Marari Beach as well as the backwaters of Kerala.

We look forward to sharing our Indian experiences through the World of Waterfalls website when we return next week. But to summarize the last three weeks, let's just say it was both adventurous, unexpected, chaotic, and peaceful.

I echo the sentiment of Canadian singer Alanis Morrisette when she said "Thank you, India" in her song "Thank You." But instead of ironic enlightenment on her part, we once again feel a sense of enlightenment just by experiencing different cultures, peoples, and landscapes.

Indeed, despite what our expectations might have been prior to visiting India, the country always manages to defy them in some way shape or form. I'm glad we came here, and I hope we can come back to see other parts of India that we simply didn't have time for the first time around...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Waterfall of the Week

Monday, November 16, 2009

Headed to Kerala

We'd been without internet for several days (not since Shillong over 10 days or so ago). So during that time, we'd been to Mumbai, Goa (Calangute and Panjim), Sirsi, and Murudeshwar. We've visited Dudhsagar Falls, Magod Falls, Sathodi Falls, Jog Falls, and Unchalli Falls. And even though our experiences in Karnataka state was more like roughing it, we probably had our best waterfalling in the country here.

Now, we're headed to Kerala. There are two more waterfalls to go in Athirapilly Falls and Courtallam Falls (in Tamil Nadu state).

We're looking forward to seeing this part of the country where it's said to have the most successful socialist state in India and possibly the world. And given the amount of poverty we've seen so far, we'd be real interested in seeing how Kerala compares.

Besides, we're looking forward to fish curries or something more substantial than the vegetarian sweets and snacks we'd been eating for the past 3 days.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Waterfall of the Week

To celebrate our wedding anniversary...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finally, A Waterfalling Day!

With yesterday's costly 3-hour flight delay to Guwahati from Delhi, we didn't get a chance to see any significant waterfalls near Shillong.

So today, we had a lot of catching up to do, and we managed to see Nohkalikai Falls, Nohsngithiang Falls, Kynrem Falls, Elephant Falls, Beadon Falls, and Bishop Falls.

I was really bumming that we didn't get to see Sweet Falls as we simply ran out of time. After doing a post mortem, we saw that it was a smaller version of Nohkalikai Falls, but easily 200m tall.

I don't think we'll be able to see Sweet Falls tomorrow either as we still have to make a 3.5-hour drive back to Guwahati to catch our noon-time flight to Kolkata (Calcutta) and then to Mumbai (Bombay).

Plus, the weak monsoon this year coupled with the fact that some of the Cherrapunjee waterfalls really need to be experienced during the monsoon made many of the falls here (except Nohkalikai Falls) disappointing. But the Shillong-vicinity waterfalls exceeded expectations.

If only we didn't have that costly delay yesterday...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Drama Always Follows Us

After a pretty successful "alternate" itinerary in Ranthambhore National Park sighting a wild royal bengal tiger as well as a leopard, we're now back in Delhi to spend the night before flying out to India's northeast tomorrow morning. That's where we expect to see the first of the India Waterfalls on this trip.

Like I said earlier, the original itinerary included Chitrakote Falls in Chattisgarh state (discouraged by tour operator due to Maoist activity and time/cost constraints) and the Barehipani Falls and Joranda Falls in Simlipal National Park in Orissa state (again due to Maoist activities). So I've been chomping at the bit to see waterfalls in the country and really look forward to the off-the-beaten-path locales we're about to journey to.

However, before I sign off, I must mention that drama always seems to follow us around, and today was definitely one of those drama-filled days. To make a long story short, there was an accident involving our vehicle where a local village boy was hit about an hour from Ranthambhore. Fortunately, he was taken to hospital and he's fine. I'm not sure if the driver will get through OK as the villagers want money either from the driver or from the tour company.

I feel bad for the driver because driving in India is very difficult (the roads are pretty chaotic and it's shared with camels, bikes, rickshaws, lorries, buses, tractors, scooters, foot traffic, cows, goats, dogs, you name it). And for all we know, the accident may not be the driver's fault (the kid could've dashed out in front of the car). All I can say is that our driver's quick reaction may have made the difference in keeping the boy alive as opposed to becoming another traffic fatality (not all that uncommon in India).

I certainly hope our driver makes it through this ordeal. He's been real nice and the tour company has also been excellent with our trip so far...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tiger Surprise

We're currently in Ranthambore National Park, which substituted for a failed trip to Simlipal National Park in Orissa. And what would've been a waterfall visit to Barehipani Falls and Joranda Falls (which was thwarted due to Maoist insurgencies) ended up being our very first sighting of a wild tiger - a royal bengal tiger to be exact.

She was called the Lady of the Lake because she's the oldest and largest tiger in the park. Not bad for a first time safari in India.

Still no waterfalling to report. But we hope that'll change in a couple of days when we go to Meghalaya. Stay tuned...

Friday, November 6, 2009

India So Far

We're currently on the outskirts of Agra awaiting a train ride towards Ranthambore National Park. This is actually a part of the trip where we had to make changes due to Maoist activity occurring in or near Simlipal National Park preventing us from visiting Barehipani Falls and Joranda Falls as well as a chance to see tigers in the Eastern Ghats.

So far, we've managed to visit Delhi (including the Chandni Chowk bazaar, Humayun's Tomb, India Gate, etc.) and Agra (including the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri). No waterfalls yet. That won't be until a few days later when we go to India's forgotten northeast corner in Meghalaya barring any more unforseen circumstances...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Waterfall of the Week

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Heading to the Subcontinent

After enduring a brutal week of third shift, the only positive I can take out of this experience is that I guess it prepared my body clock for the time zone in India.

Indeed, as soon as I'm done with the last night of 3rd shift this week (including a bonus hour of work since we have to turn back the clock), I'll be heading home, doing some last minute preparations, then heading right back to the airport for a brutal series of international flights ultimately arriving in Delhi by way of Narita and Singapore.

No rest for weary?

I guess, but sometimes it seems you've got to earn it in every way if you want life changing experiences as I hope this waterfalling trip to India will become...