Two empty cycle rickshaws sitting outside some shuttered shops in Chawri Bazaar, New Delhi, India.
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37/ 100 The Marudhar Express Part 2 – Choosing a Tuk Tuk

The Indian city of Varanasi is arranged in such a way that there is very little motorised traffic allowed in the parts close to the river, such as the area we were staying in. This meant that to get transport to the railway station we had to walk a few hundred meters to the point where the hundreds of cycle rickshaws, Tuk Tuks and taxis congregated in the hunt for their prey. As experienced travellers we were very used to the cacophony of voices trying to tempt us to use their mode of transport and made a point of taking the time to choose our own Tuk Tuk at leisure.
Man wearing grey hoodie cycles an empty rickshaw in New Delhi, India
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36/ 100 The Marudhar Express Part 1 – Choosing a Train

We found the long distance trains in India to be brilliant, mostly. We used them a few times on our trips across the enormous country and generally they were punctual, comfortable and efficient. One of them, though, was not any of those things and there is so much to mention about one single (very long) train trip that I will have to break it down into smaller chunks.
Three children wearing backpacks walking to school alongside a very busy road near Pushkar in India
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35/ 100 Pea Shoots

The very young children with their giant rucksacks are walking to school along the main NH58 trunk road from Ajmer. In Pushkar this was perfectly normal and literally hundreds of children were walking along the very busy and typically chaotic road with them. These children were most definitely not going to the Lawrence and Mayo Public school advertised on the hoarding in front of them. Those students had very fancy, and out of place, Mercedes minibuses to drive them to school.
Photographing in the rain in the Black Forest of Germany - Ferns

Schwarzwald Rain

I really hate the rain. I always have done. I don’t like being wet. I don’t like the rain on my glasses. I don’t like it when I have wet trousers that stick to your skin and chill you to the bone. I’ve come to the conclusion that I belong somewhere warm and dry, like the south of Spain or Mexico perhaps. Strange, then, that I have ended up living in one of the wettest parts of one of the wettest countries in the world, the west coast of Scotland.
A stone carved book on top of a grave in Xochimilco cemetery during Día de Muertos in Oaxaca.
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Day of the Dead at a Cemetery in Oaxaca

Something that my wife Fiona and I have wanted to do for years and years was to visit Mexico during their Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, festival. Last year, in 2023, we had a gap in our calendars that we had left empty to actually visit Japan (still on our bucket list) but finding an affordable way to get there was proving tricky. It suddenly dawned on me that our dates coincided perfectly with the Mexican Día de Muertos festival and, a few clicks later, the flights were booked
Man carrying a milk churn in the early morning sunlight of India
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34/ 100 Be Careful with the Apple

As with most days in India, we were woken at sunrise by the morning songs of various creatures. Cockerels, dogs, cattle and children all seemed to enjoy vocally welcoming the first sunshine of the day. I wanted to get out and about to capture some of the low sun (great for photographers) and generally have a nosey around.
Monkey sitting on the wall of the Galta Gi Temple in Jaipur
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33/ 100 The Photo I wish I had Taken

We’d had an eventful journey from Varanasi to Agra and so Fiona and I decided along the way to check into a nice hotel for a bit of luxury. We definitely aren't shy of budget rooms but we were tired and grimy and needed a break. We ended up in really quite a nice colonial-era hotel with a walled garden that offered a tiny bit of respite from the noise and chaos of the outside world.
Group of brightly dressed children in India.
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32/ 100 Dinner Crisis

I hadn’t been feeling so well prior to visiting the house of our ever smiling Tuk Tuk driver Gaffar. Still, this was India so I was not at all surprised. Whether it was some bad Kachori, or simply the relentless spicy food for three meals a day, I shall never know. The day we visited his house I still felt pretty rough.
A lone dog sits in the street in India as a Tuk Tull passes by
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31/ 100 Sleeping with the Goats

Having been shown Gaffar’s new rooftop toilet, the tour of his house was complete. We still had plenty of questions for him though. One of which was why there were so many blankets and cushions up on the roof, even though he had already said they never go up there in the daytime?
Dog in India sleeping in front of an old sign that reads 'dinner'
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30/ 100 Rooftop Toilet

Once we had been given the tour of the downstairs part of Tuk Tuk driver Gaffar’s house, where he lived with his extended family, we were taken to the roof to see his pride and joy. We had no idea what we would find up there, but he was very excited to show us his big surprise.
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29/ 100 Gaffar Ali

Leaving a railway station in India is often a hugely overwhelming situation. You know you will need to get some form of onward transport, but the sheer volume of eager suitors waiting for their chance at a fare is hard to cope with.
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28/ 100 Buying the Flame of Death

Hindu people are cremated at Varanasi 24 hours a day, with women being strongly discouraged from attending the cremation itself. The principle of creation is that the body's ties with the Earth are broken, sins are burned away and the spirit can achieve Moshka, or enlightenment.