A Travellerspoint blog

Life Changes & Upcoming Quests

Switching Digs, Planning Trips, and Tackling a Letterbox Phobia

overcast 6 °C

I rarely blog when I'm not travelling but I know one day when I'm old, haggard and losing my mind (I know. Like that's not already started harmph harmph.) I will look back on these stories and wonder about all the things that must have happened in between.
I like the idea of blogging. I don't use twitter, or vine, or youtube, or even have my own website. That shit's too much effort even though more people would see it. Blogging is my diary, and if other people can find amusement in all of my ridiculous, mostly unfortunate and somewhat inexplicable tales, then why not.

So....okay I had a pretty 'shitty' ;) time in India for all of October. That was ages ago though. The run up to Christmas and New Year was as eventful as ever. Mattie and I were to move out of our flat at the end of January. Something I really wasn't looking forward to considering we had spent the best part of 3 years living together. I implemented the ostrich approach and buried my head in the sand for as long as possible until we really had to start taking responsibility for our irresponsible lifestyles. My brother opened a bottle of red wine with a knife at some point, spraying a lovely jet of scarlet jizz all over the kitchen walls. Over time, this had developed into more of a lilacy hue, something I felt really tied the kitchen together. The landlady didnt think so and I had to repaint the whole thing. She was also left unimpressed by the smashed oven door, particularly when she found out that spare parts were non-existent, and had to order a new one out of our deposit money. The hole in the wall and broken blind (which coincidentally fell onto her head) were other annoyances we had to deal with, all of course with lashings of guilt that we were made to feel by putting off potential tenants who weren't so turned on by Mattie's humongous teddy bear collection, or my giant inflatable whale. Or the rocking horse in the kitchen.

By the time we finally left the place, we were overjoyed at not having to worry any more, however my anxiety wasn't diminished. Not only was I moving into a flat with a dude from my office I barely know, I also had to move in whilst he was on holiday and y'know...make myself at home. The first day didnt go too well at all. I locked myself out, set the fire alarms off, and got scared by the letterbox. I've settled in a bit better here now though and I'm happy to report all is going well (apart from the letterbox. still scares me)

Savings too are going well, and since I had been pining for a new bike (and the fjords of course), I treated myself to a 600 Fazer which goes like the ABSOLUTE clappers!!! The bike was a temporary fix to keep me amused whilst here.

Last month however, I thought, enough is enough...one cannot possibly go on without a holiday, it's been far too long since India. My new favourite travel companion - Miss Yvette - was more than happy to accompany me on a journey, which at the time was originally Russia, more specifically Moscow. No sooner had I set sights on Moscow however, some Russian opposition leader gets brutally assassinated outside the Kremlin and all hell breaks loose. I won't even go into the shit with Ukraine. Anyway, second option was Lithuania and it is now booked (just). Being my typical self, I of course forgot to book some of the trip, which Yvette gently hinted about for a couple of weeks until I finally got it. She knew all along that wiley woman. The local dish in Lithuania is beaver stew, and what better thing to gnaw on than a smoked pigs ear, when one is drinking mead and other such ales. I do declare, this trip is doomed!

In other news, I am finally returning to Viet - F**KING - Nam this September!!! Jesus shitting Christ it's been too long. But it gets better. I have my other favourite travelling companion.. my bruvva....Will has never been to Asia, however we got on famously in New Zealand and had the time of our lives. I can't wait to introduce him to old friends in Nam, and to show him everything Vietnam has to offer. Which in my eyes is basically paradise on earth. But with lots of Asian people and motorbikes.

Wish me luck in Lithuania and hopefully I will have some crazy shit to blog about on my return ;)

Posted by Lady-K 13:25 Archived in Isle of Man Tagged vietnam motorbike ostrich brother lithuania letterbox beaver phobia broken_oven Comments (0)

Abandoned in Kerala

An Indian Boyfriend and my Neighbour David Beckham

sunny 35 °C

IMG_4144.png so we just arrived in Kerala (Cochin)...Yvette got out at her hotel, and not knowing where the hell I was going to stay, I jumped out too and said goodbye for 4 days. Even though it was only 4 days, I felt all emotional (kind of like a woman) and wondered what I would do without my partner in crime. I went through all the stages of grief whilst I meandered around in the baking heat; shock and denial that my friend had deserted me, guilt that I had in fact driven her to it literally), anger at her cold hearted flippancy (all I got was a hug and 'goodbye!'...not even a gift.) and finally acceptance. Life must go on. And onwards it went. Straight onwards just opposite the lane leading to Yvette's hotel. I stumbled across a family homestay offering rooms for $7 a night. It was a large family home but with 4 extra bedrooms and I was shown to one with a balcony overlooking Yvette's hotel. It made a perfect pining post when I suffered bouts of loneliness.
Having not slept much on the god-awful night bus, my first stop was to get food, but more importantly was to return and get into bed for a couple of hours.

Walking around fort Cochin town to see what it had to offer in the way of eats, I was pleasantly surprised. Very small and quiet, with cute little streets and shops & cafes dotted about. It reminded me a little of Galle in Sri Lanka. I got some grub and returned to my room for a few hours sleep. When I woke up without even so much as an impression of Yvette's form in the bed next to me, it hit me all over again and I slumped off to the closest internet cafe to skype my parents. We talked for a while and I caught up with a couple of mates. By the time I left it was dark out and food was on my mind again.
Meandering around town, I stopped in a courtyard restaurant only to discover that I was the only customer. Thank God I brought a book. It started to rain. After the waiter took my order, the whole town was plunged into all consuming darkness, broken only by cracks of purple lightening which illuminated the skyline around me and left me feeling pretty uneasy at being all alone in this terrifying place where only the sinister looking waiters could hear my screams for help. The power went off and on numerous times and I was forced to eat my spicy noodles in darkness.
It soon became obvious that tonight was Divali - I had forgotten - and since I had nobody to celebrate with and not knowing if this place was safe at night, I began walking back to my homestay. I sat on the sheltered balcony in the rain, listening to the insects and frogs going crackers, and the intermittent explosions of fireworks from the small community celebrating Divali here. It was bliss :)
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I had a fitful night sleep on the crappy mattress and got up at 10am to have breakfast with my homestay mummy. She made me toast and chi. OM NOM! I decided to do my own walking tour of Cochin and set of with my Lonely Planet book in hand. First stop was the Chinese Fishing nets (google it) down by the seafront. A busy area with a fair amount of tourists and people mingling around, I continued walking alongside the sea until I became aware that I was being followed. Eventually I turned around to face my stalker and was met by a gorgeous Indian dude. Hmm...my brain was telling me to tell him to do one, but my hormones were telling me 'hnfkjfsifofofhoweijfowejfsfmkfsdlfcmdslknsjn!' His name was Nas and he was 26 and keen to speak with me in English. What the hell is he selling I wondered...we talked and walked for about 15minutes and just when I was about to ask him to get to the point and give me the punchline, he must have sensed my unease and assured me that he wasn't selling anything and wasn't going to make me book any trips. He was a rickshaw driver / guide but he had a couple of hours to kill before work. Okay it was the middle of the day and loads of people around so I allowed him to keep me company for a bit. We went to a shit museum full of crappy artefacts where an over-enthusiastic ticket officer told me all about his birth stone (peridot) like I gave a damn. After that we went to get chi. It turned out Nas had had a Canadian girlfriend which is why his English was so good. 'Do you like me? You think I'm handsome?' he asked. 'Yes very much so, but you're still Indian and I dont trust Indian boys' I said. And with that, in true gentleman form he kissed my hand and said goodbye and for me to enjoy my day.
I spent forever in an awesome book shop selling all manner of India inspired books in English, before enjoying some humongous grilled prawns for lunch, then heading on foot into Jew-town (Jewish quarter) where the spice merchants and antique dealers were all out flogging their goods. It started raining so I hailed a rickshaw and spent an hour in my room before heading to the Kathakali centre. Kathakali is a traditional Keralan story told with dance and crazy costumes. I went to the theatre early to watch them applying their makeup and clothes. The whole performance was bewitching.

I went out for dinner again and once again found myself alone in an otherwise unoccupied restaurant. A thrilled waiter came over to serve mem (or so I thought). 'Madam what your name?' oh here we go....'kirsty' ...'where you from?'....'England.' ... 'You know David Beckham?' what the holy shit was this?! 'Err....yes I know who David Beckham is.' (proceeds to show me what I can only describe as numerous homoerotice pictures of DB in his undies) 'He your friend?'....Yes dickhead. Because there are only 9 people in England and David Beckham lives next door to me. Seriously?! Can I get some food here!!! It turned out, those were the only English phrases he knew as he then had to go and get his mate who took my order then asked me for my facebook name. I wrote down 'Regina Falange' on a piece of paper and he seemed chuffed to bits. Heading home after that crazy encounter, I was then followed by some idiot with an afro on a bike who wanted to give me a lift. LEAVE ME ALONE!!!

At 8am I got up for a Keralan backwater cruise. My ride was 45 minutes late and I was still only the first person to be picked up. Once everyone was on board, mostly Brits, we drove 1 hour to Alleppy where we were ushered onto a typical looking Indian house boat, apart from lots of flourescent orange chairs. We all sat down and introduced ourselves - there was a nice Geordie couple around my parents age, and a solo Kiwi woman in her 40's who I palled on with. Unfortunately a hoard of asshole Indian's came on board and spoiled the tranquillity with their mobile phones constantly going, loud voices and screaming undisciplined children. The guide, an Indian man himself, had to politely ask them to shutup several times because we couldnt hear him over their ridiculousness. One man actually retorted back to him that why should he take orders from him, did he think he was a dictator or something? No, he's the f**king guide asshole so listen to what he is telling us.
The cruise itself was beautiful...hundreds of tropical islands and mangroves everywhere. We stopped at one island and were given steamed cockles in spices in a banana leaf to sample. Delicious. We also went on a jungle walk where we identified numerous spice and fruit plants, and even saw a snake.

We then jumped in 2 canoes, and unfortunately me and Sharon(kiwi gal) got lumped with the family with the bratty kids. We just laughed at them taking their stupid pictures and allowing their kids to run riot which soon ended in disaster. When we got dropped back in Cochin later, I went to a fancy hotel for a few beers with Sharon...it was most good and we shared our best travelling stories. Sharon had just left Nepal and one week after she had trekked Annapurna, another trekking group were lost, and some killed in one of the worst disasters on Annapurna that year (2014).
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I left sharon and went to meet Nas who I had seen again and given my number to. I waited around for him but he was a no show so bed it was. The next day I was up at 7am to experience morning ragas; meditation with the sitar (an Indian string instrument). I was the only person who showed up. I entered a stage and sat on the floor with the man and his sitar. He began playing it, and chanting like a mad man whilst I closed me eyes and focussed on my breathing. A young boy joined us and played bongo-like drums with the quickest, most deft fingers I could imagine. One hour later, morning ragas was complete and I thanked the man and headed off for brekkie. Nas met me and apologised for the night before but he was tied up with work. I told him I'd catch him later and went to a pre-arranged cooking class recommended by LP. The course was great. I was joined by an English man travelling solo, a german couple, and a weird pair I had actually previously seen in my guest house in Hampi on one of the occasions where I'd left the safety of my toilet. The girl, from NZ was young, around 23, and the dude she was travelling with was a 60-something Indian man (though no Indian accent) who had the look of a mental patient. It turned out they ran a health retreat in Picton, NZ, together. I still pondered over there relationship.
Anyway the cooking was amazing and we got to eat everything we made afterwards, and much to everyone's amusement, I couldnt handle the obscene amount of chili in one of the dishes and my face literally dripped everywhere. Noiiiche.
Around 5pm I met up with Nas again and he took me to his place for a couple of beers. There were other foreign folk there hanging with his mates so it wasnt too intimidating. After our beers, he walked me home and we said our goodbyes. I was leaving the next morning.

At 5:30am I met Yvette outside her homestay...YVETTE! I almost forgot about her ;) We spent the taxi journey catching up on the past 4 days. Unfortunately Yvette had further bother with her gut trouble and had to seek medical advice, but otherwise was an absolute trooper and enjoyed all of the wedding antics from buying saris, to dancing and partying the night away.

At Kerala airport there was the usual ridiculousness going on. Having to go through not one, not two, but 3 bag scanners at different areas before even checking in. Finally on board, I don't remember much of the flight but we landed in Mumbai and checked into the most famous hotel in India. The Taj Mahal Palace. All the rich and famous stay here, and it even has its own documentary. It's absolutely stunning. We forked out a fair amount for the night and were met by a beautiful woman who put garlands around our necks and showed us to our plush room, complete with minibar, downy bed covers, air con, flatscreen tv, sofa, balcony, and stunning views. In our room we indulged, and looked down at the chaos below us and laughed at being nowhere near it.
We met a guide downstairs in the hotel who took us on a tour and told us all about the history of the hotel. He was amazing. His English was perfect, he was cute, intelligent and funny. I would happily have married him.
We did venture back out in Mumbai again on a quest for food, and some street henna. We picked our henna artists and squatted on a filthy pavement whilst a young boy painted our hands for a small fee. My boy even gave me a card with his number on afterwards and suggested he could service me in other ways at my hotel room. I still have the card! Unfortunately on the walk back through the busy streetts, Yvette and I were bumped and bashed by people and our henna was slightly smudged. Back at the room, we decided to order room service to experience fully what the hotel had to offer. A knock at the door came, and in stepped the cutest little old Indian guy, complete with white gloves n everything! He wheeled our table in and unloaded our food, tucked our napkins in, seated us, and even opened mini jars of ketchup for us. It was the cutest! We gorged ourselves and a while later the little man came back and we thanked him with a nice little tip ;)

Getting to bed early, we were up around 3:30am I believe, and bundled into a taxi to Mumbai International. We got there far too early really but you never know this Mumbai traffic. We had a sleep and boarded our final plane home.

For once, I didn't give India the middle finger.

Posted by Lady-K 06:36 Archived in India Comments (0)

Rage Against an Inexplicable India

sunny 35 °C

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So where were we...ah yes. We'd just been woken up at 6am by some serious pumping Indian disco music, and thought enough is enough, Mysore can suck it and go to hell. We checked out and walked to the local bus station and hailed a bus to Kushalnagara (a 2 hour journey, and just 85p). The bus was packed, smelly, uncomfortable and 100% male, us aside. We almost missed our stop, and ironically wished we had. We jumped off and did a quick scan of the main street, I spotted a couple of signs for hotels and we made our way over to one that looked kind of nice. It had a restaurant below it and we enquired about rooms at the desk. Our questions were met with utter confusion and much head shaking. 'No rooms madam'....'but the sign says hotel?'....'no not hotel madam'....well that's f**king handy. Again, there's another fine example of the idiocy in this country.
At another hotel, we were taken up some stairs and to a magnificent view, but with a room that wouldn't have looked out of place in a grisly horror film. We were both desperate for a shit and for that reason, we told the young lad we would take the haggard room for the pricey sum of £5 for the night. The boy for some inexplicable reason thought 2 beds werent enough for us and began offering us 3 beds? WHY!!!
Looking around the dusty, dingy, room with the somewhat questionable stained mattress, we got the hell out of there to look for a laundry place. Asking a couple of lads on the street, we were directed to what appeared to be a disused chicken shed. Out of the filthy shack came an even filthier man, wearing filthy rags, and behind him, a rogue filthy chicken. It wasn't exactly looking promising. The man understood no English but we had somehow unwittingly acquired a translator who spent several minutes discussing what we wanted (simply, our clothes washed). The man's head wobbled violently and continually, and was still going as we walked away, never expecting to see our clothes again.
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Back on the road again we took a rickshaw to the nearby Bylakuppe - a small Tibetan community which was our sole reason for visiting, and a pretty much Kirsty-influenced idea (something I now feel responsible for given the crapness of this part of the trip). I wanted to visit to remind me of my time spent in upper Dharamsala 3 years ago. I had read that many of the Tibetan monks in Dharamsala would migrate to Bylakuppe for the winter, for the climate. Yvette and I were also both looking forward to being somewhere a bit quieter and more peaceful. Our rickshaw assho..I mean, driver, confusingly dropped us off at the side of a dirty rode, where plucked chicken carcasses were being hacked up. Well this didn't look like a golden temple. It seemed he had thought we wanted to go to the outskirts of Bylakuppe, rather than the more central touristy area the region is famous for. Logical.
Anyway, we got there in the end and walked around this amazing golden temple, which becomes the Dalai Lama's residence for a small portion of the year. It was absolutely stunning and brought back floods of memories of Dharamsala, McLeod Ganj and all the beautiful ornate temples in the North. We also got to watch on as young monks were chanting and playing Tibetan instruments...it was a hair raising, moving and almost eerie spectacle. After we saw the main sights, we spent a good couple of hours walking through 8km of the 'Tibetan' countryside. It was just what we needed...the only passerbys were delightful smiling monks, walking in groups, alone, or occasionally on motorbikes, robes billowing behind them. Monk-on-a-bike monkeybikes.
I began feeling the all-too familiar rumbles and told Yvette to keep eyes peeling for stray rickshaws. We managed to get one, and with utter disdain climbed the stairs to our awful awful room. We opened the door and before even stepping inside, turned to eachother and agreed that this was no place fit for human habitation. We would have to leave. We were concerned about offending the young lad by going to another hotel and told him he could keep our £5. The thought of staying there was unbearable and we had earlier that day clocked a big shiny multi-storey hotel offering a/c rooms for just £10 a night. They had to be better than this. We began walking over and realised the hotel was just next to the 'laundry place', and as we got closer, to our absolute horror, noticed all of our clothes, delicates and all, were strewn across barbed wire fences, walls, and even roofs!! Well our natural reaction of course was to run. And run we did. We ran away into the nice shiny hotel and tried to forget about the horror. The room was actually amazing and one of the nicest hotels I have stayed in. We jumped straight for the shower, and got into the lovely clean bed, and watched lots of tv and read books n stuff. It was great. The toilet was also fantastic. We decided to eat on the rooftop restaurant that night, as it saved leaving the safety of the hotel and we thought we might be able to get nicer food. On first glances, it seemed like a USA style menu so we ordered chicken wings and fries. Unfortunately when they came, they were both coated in chilli sauce. Not ideal for an upset tum! After a couple of beers, and laughing at the sight of monks playing games on their iphones, we called it a night.
Poor Yvette had another bout of trotty botty during the night, but by morning it was my turn again and after 9 consecutive toilet visits, I sucked up the energy to go to the local shop and see what food I could buy. I bought peanut butter, jam, shit bread, olives, crisps, and even ice cream. I unloaded it on our coffee table and we sat on the sofa gorging ourselves. It wasnt until Yvette noticed a lump of mould in the jam, that we discovered literally everything I had bought was at least 1 year out of date. What actual hell was this!!? I mean....HOW!
We spent all day in bed watching tv and eating out of date food, until 5pm when we were due to collect our laundry. OH GOD. Nothing could have prepared me for this. We turned up and whilst the filthy man fannied about in his shed, began inspecting our clothes that lined the alleyway. Yvettes skirts and shirts now had new stains, complete with holes and poke marks from being hung on F**KING barbed wire! I mean really...
We peered inside the crap shack and saw that the man was painstakingly folding each of our items with about as much efficiency as a sloth. By this point, Yvette was a well and truly getting pissed off now. We signalled to the man that he didnt need to fold our items, as they were pretty much ruined already and what difference would it make. But the stupid knobhead just wasnt getting it and continued this excruciatingly slow process. I was torn between laughing hysterically, sobbing, or just punching the wall. Instead I turned around and spotted my demin shorts on a nearby roof which I then plucked down. Yvette basically lost it when they tried to ask us for around $7 which was normal for that amount of laundry, but far too much considering our clothes were now about as much use as Anne Frank's drumkit. We stuffed our clothes into a bag and stormed back to the room where Yvette continued her seething. Admittedly it was annoying, but I was secretly enjoying Yvette's rage as I didnt think she had it in her and it was most heartwarming to know I was wrong. We had some calm time in the room before checking out and meandering over to the bus station for a 6pm bus.

We tried unsuccessfully to get a bus for about 30minutes. The process, quite frankly like everything in India, was ridiculous. The empty bus would pull up, and then there would literally be a surge of people, frantically struggling to scramble inside, the desperation showing on all of their faces. People were literally being squashed into eachothers armpits, asses, you name it, in their struggle to board the bus. The bus would then sit there for 10 minutes before leaving, and there was space for everyone provided you didnt care where you sat. So basically, the whole process was completely unnecessary. We tried 4 different buses, but short of having someones ass in my face, there was no chance of getting on the bus. My irritation only grew when I was approached by some guy who began reeling off the usual barrage of now boring-as-shit questions. 'Hello madam, what your name? Where you from? What your job? How much you earn?' Finally we managed to get on a bus after a lot of pushing and shoving, and were thankfully seated together. I'd like to laugh about that journey and only need to comment on the general scruffiness and stuffiness of the bus, however, it was truly awful. It had started getting dark, and being the only 2 women on the bus, with more and more men pushing through the doors at each stop despite not having anywhere to go, it was getting very very intimidating. Trying to look away, it was hard to avoid the gazes of so many dark unsettling pairs of eyes. I had various different men sat next to me during the 4 hour journey and I was very aware of each of them being so close to me, given my past experiences in Sri Lanka. I was virtually on the point of tears for the last hour of the ride, as terrifying thoughts (probably instigated from things I had read in the news) plagued my mind. It didnt help as well that we passed at least one deadly road accident.
By the time we got back to Mysore, I was holding myself back from kissing the goddam ground. We lugged our bags to the local dominoes and tucked into a peperoni (chicken) pizza...probably the only food we had eaten in days that wasnt out of date. It made a nice change as being so off-and-on-again ill during the trip, it was hard to keep eating spicy food all the time, regardless of the deliciousness.
Finally we were ready to get on our bus which was around midnight. As the seats didnt go back, and as we were in India, driving on Indian roads, with other Indian motorists, it was difficult to sleep at all, and I spent much of the overnight journey pining for bhang lassi.
I 'woke up' early and hoped that we'd either arrive soon, or at least get a pee-stop somewhere. I was wrong. Poor Yvette was absolutely desperate for a toilet and told me around 8:30am that she was starting to get pains. The poor lass had to hang on for 2 further hours before we finally arrived in Kerala. What a champ. I told her to run to a cafe and I would follow with the bags. The first cafe she tried simply said they didnt have a toilet - to be fair, they were probably telling the truth and shitting in a gutter. We struck gold at the next one though and I sat with some drinks whilst Yvette enjoyed her 30minute toilet trip ;) Feeling much better, and much more positive, we hailed a rickshaw and got taken to Yvette's hotel. Yvette's main reason for coming to India was because her friend was due to be married here in Kerala. The bride-to-be's friends were all staying together, but not knowing them, and also wanting to do my own thing, I was to find my own place and hang out on my todd for a few days whilst Yvette got caught up in some wedding fever. Thankfully I didnt have to wait long before I made a little local friend :) .... more next week.

Posted by Lady-K 14:44 Archived in India Comments (0)

Hampi Toilets, Adoptions, Elephants & Asylums

The Hills Have Eyes (Brown ones..)

semi-overcast 33 °C

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Well the trip to Hampi was somewhat hampered by a rather horrifying bout of delhi belly on the overnight bus. This was further accentuated by the lack of suspension during the journey which ultimately required me to spend the whole fateful duration clenching my ass shut . Something that concerned me greatly was the fact that I was also sharing a 'berth' (small double bed on board) with Yvette, who I did not really want to soil.

When we finally arrived in Hampi around 5:30 in the morning, we were confronted by the lariest bunch of local papparazzos I've ever had the displeasure of being assaulted by. We hadnt even exited the bus and already we had pictures, leaflets, pamphlets of all sorts being rammed in our faces. This, coupled with the overwhelming sense of dread that I would soon be enduring an episode of mortal delhi belly, was enough to make anyone lose their rag. We eventually located the young gentleman from the Hotel we had booked, and confusingly discovered I had booked the wrong dates and we were supposed to arrive the day before. Just get us to the hotel please kind sir! Just 20 minutes in his rickshaw and we were fixed up with a big room, and a functioning toilet so I was happy (ish).
We had a couple of hours sleep and awoke at a more reasonable hour, had some breakfast and booked a day sightseeing tour of all the ruins and temples the area was famous for. I was still feeling pretty rough, and Yvette wasnt right either but we braved it and had an amazing day being taken around all the ruins in the baking heat. Our guide was really funny, albeit a bit of a psycho, and made us meditate under a tree for 10 minutes. The ruins themselves were out of this world and some of the most vast I had ever seen; Hampi is after all a city built on top of another city. After 4 hours, we were still going and had to ask the guide to take us back as things were getting bad again.
Back at the hotel, Yvette and I had a nice lunch which was followed by another stomach lurching episode. Thats when things got started. I had to go to bed and slept fitfully all afternoon. Yvette, knowing that she couldn't do anything for me, went for a walk, saw some temples, and got blessed by an elephant (yknow, the usual) before returning to find a very sick, pale and sweaty looking Kirsty (ass and bog seat now one entity). One look at me and she reckoned I needed a doctor. She kindly arranged this with our hotel boy and by 6pm we were being driven in another ass-clenching rickshaw to a doctors surgery.
Having spent a lot of time in India, I knew it was likely to be someone's house, a barn perhaps, or maybe just a man on a stool on the pavement. I wasnt far off. It was basically some guys house next to a lane where feral stinking pigs were roaming around. The front porch was occupied by around 15 Indian people of varying ages, all amidst a mushroom cloud of mosquitos. Great. I couldn't even stand and had to sit down and just deal with the mass eye-balling we were getting from everyone. Even then though, Yvette and I saw the funny side and laughed like a pair of loons at the bemused folk around us, and the horrible situation we had yet again found ourselves in. Things got even more ridiculous when I was called inside and made to lie on a cold steel filing cabinet. Of course. I was given the once over (no anal probes) and told I had a stomach bug and throat infection which he would treat with 4 different types of pills, all of which were given to me individually. Of course. I couldn't feel any worse I supposed. We said goodbye to our fans outside and hopped back into the rickshaw. Inexplicably we were joined by a strange young girl who's family bundled her in with us and told us to look after her. Confused, we did nothing to stop this as weren't exactly given a choice...I never thought I would have a daughter and during the ride back wondered how I would get her back to the Isle of Man. We all sat in confused silence on the way back, however once at the hotel, my problem solved itself when the girl promptly deserted us. I ate some porridge with my meds and took a book to bed.
A couple of hours later however, I had a spectacular bout of barfing and threw up all the porridge and probably the medicine too. Yvette was my little angel, fetching me water, making me take more pills etc but unfortunately I just deteriorated and got worse and worse. I was intermittently spewing and shitting every couple of hours. The worst point of the night came during the wee hours of the morning. I stumbled out of bed and into the bath room, and sat on the toilet. My body was rapidly overheating causing my head to spin. I grabbed a nearby bucket and started barfing into it (simultaneously causing more insufferable pooping). My vision started to go black and in sheer panic, I stood up from the toilet (pants still around my ankles), and proceeded to collapse through the open door, hitting my head and landing in a crumpled semi-naked shitty heap on the floor next to Yvette who was in bed. She helped me back into bed where I spent the next half hour going in and out of consciousness. At the time, I will admit I was very worried and just wanted it all to go away. But looking back on it, it was typical...things like this could only happen to me.

The following morning, I was still not looking too good but the worst of it seemed to have passed. I still couldnt bring myself to leave the safety of the hotel room until later that day when Yvette and I went to a nice cafe for some lunch. As both of us were still not feeling 100% we went for some nice plain baked spuds, washed down with lassis. We were supposed to be leaving that day but ended up booking an extra night as the thought of having to endure another long trek on public transport was enough to induce more vomiting.

The following day we checked out of the hotel and went for a walk around the main temple where we were each blessed by a goddam elephant - her name was Laksmi and she was pretty :)
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By this time I was feeling much better, almost spritely actually, and we decided to kill some time catching up with folk in an Internet cafe. We hadnt been there more than 10 minutes when I saw that all familiar uneasy look of doom cross Yvettes face. In that moment, I knew. And she knew. Without saying a word, she looked at me, nodded and dashed to the nearest toilet. When she returned, she simply said 'Ravi's is now out of bounds'. That was unfortunate. Ravi's was a restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet, and where we were due to have dinner later. I dont know what exactly happened that afternoon in that toilet, but one thing was sure, Yvette would not be stepping foot in the place again.
The obscene amount of pooping that occurred the rest of the morning was enough for us to know we needed to check back into our room and pay a day rate. When we went to enquire about this option, we both noticed an unmissable look of apprehension cross the hotel owners faces...almost as though they were considering denying us the room. Thankfully they agreed and we were shown back to our room, which was in the process of being 'aired out'. I was mostly embarrassed recalling the horrendous amount of shitty, pissy bog roll we left overflowing in the toilet bucket when we checked out of the room. By the time we checked out again later that evening, that loo bin was full to the brim again.

Right before we made our way to the bus that night, I stepped into Ravi's for a takeaway bottle of their finest special lassi (naughty marijuana drink). It was a bit of a gamble as I was still recovering really, but I was determined to enjoy a special lassi during my trip and who knew if I would find one again. I drank over half of it, but not all of it...striving for the perfect balance of sleepy/happy... The rickshaw ride to the bus station was absolutely magical. And the bus was out of this world. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it...dodging people, passing cows, near collisions with other vehicles and all manner of obstacles. It was most satisfying and I would even go as far to recommend it.

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By morning(6am), we had reached Mysore and checked into the local asylum...the only decent looking affordable hotel, which later turned out to resemble some kind of medical facility from the victorian era. It was most strange. Each room had a doorbell, a broken telly, and a couple of randomly placed benches. And beyond the bathroom next to the bog was a door which could only have opened directly 2 stories above the street below.
It wasn't just the hotel that was confusing. Having been carrying a rancid sack of disgusting dirty clothes around with us we were eager to stick them in laundry. We enquired about this at the front desk, which was occupied by around 7 assholes. They understood what we were asking, that much was clear, but they obviously just wanted to f**k with us and started telling us all manner of bullshit. They could only do our laundry later that night and it wouldnt be dry blah blah blah. W*nkers!! Anyway we caught a couple of hours shuteye and set off at 11am to find a laundry place. We were given many conflicting directions from various people, again all set out to f**k with us, and just could not find a place ANYWHERE.
Mysore was looking pretty shitty on first appearances, walking around there wasn't much attractive about it. We ducked into a canteen for what would be one of the best thali's we would have. This thali was served on a massive leaf, with around small dishes of sauces and curries, and no utensils at all. Looking around, everyone was eating with their hands, faces and fingers covered in mucky looking gunk. It was great and Yvette and I immersed ourselves in it. It also cost 50p. After leaving here, we took a rickshaw to the zoo, which Lonely Planet described as being one of the better ones in India. They weren't wrong really, the zoo itself was pretty good with nice big open enclosures for many of the animals. It was the people that were the problem. Throwing animals food, screaming at the animals, taunting the animals, poking the animals. DICKHEADS. ALL OF THEM. Unbelievably there were actually signs asking people not to do these things 'do not tease the animals' etc...what a ridiculous nation. It was becoming infuriating and when people started staring at us and asking us for pictures of us, I really wasn't in the mood. My death-stare got plenty of practice that day.
As we were leaving the zoo, it started shitting down. We tried desperately to cross a road for about 10mins and were almost killed in the process. Eventually we hailed a rickshaw to take us to beer. Lonely Planet told us to go to the Pelican Pub which was a fantastic shout. Lovely surrounds, lovely people, lovely western toilets complete with lovely boll roll.
After a couple of beers, we realised we had left it awfully late to go to Mysore Palace (the reason we were in Mysore at all) as it closed at 5pm. Hailing another rickshaw, we got our asses there as soon as we could and thankfully made it in time. The palace was absolutely stunning; some of the most incredible intricate detail I have ever seen and well worth the trip. We had to walk around it in bare feet, and were to keep moving at all times - no stopping - and no pictures. The place was just so amazing, I'm not even going to try and put it into words. We had just collected our shoes and were on our way out of the palace when I felt a sharp tug. I spun around to confront 2 pretty Indian ladies caressing and cooing over my greasy, smelly, dank, but apparently beautiful amazing long blonde hair. It was something of wonder to them, yet to me it looked like shit. I smiled at them which caused them to laugh uncontrollably at my ridiculous face. Let's go.

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After the palace, we decided to hit up the railway station to check trains to Kerala. The only thing we achieved however was more merciless fannying. The trains were a nightmare, none of them going directly, and all of them at ass-hole times. We were advised to get a bus, however were told no sleeper buses, only upright seats. Well jesus shitting christ. This was bad news. The trip was going to be a good 16 hours.
Back in town, we shopped around and were eventually led to a corner shop by a bungling idiot who after making us wait for 30mins for his uncle to come and use a laptop to book our tickets, then charged us an inexplicable amount to get to Kerala. Having already been given an obscene amount of bullshit information, advice and directions (all wrong) over the past couple of days, I could see Yvette was about to lose her rag with the guy so once we got the tickets, we well and truly stomped off back to the asylum for what would unfortunately be an asshole of a night.

We got into bed and started having a read but around 9pm were interrupted by some absolute dickhole in the corridor shouting his head off for about 10mins on the phone to someone. I swear, everyone in this country is obsessed with talking on the phone. whenever they can they will! Forget text, facebook and other apps..they are all about the phone calls. Noisy ones too. Well we let it go on for about 10 minutes then Yvette went out into the corridor and gave him the good old stare down. The man didnt even flinch but eventually did shut the hell up. Ahhh silence....
About an hour later however, we were rudely awoken by the unmistakable sound of furniture being moved around. This noise was then joined by another noise. Drilling. It was 10:30pm. What the actual f**k was this shit? It was so unfathomable- like everything in India - and so stupid. I mean, they just do not use logic in this country. Why would this even be happening at this hour? Yvette, sensing I was on the verge of another breakdown, promptly got up, opened the door, and silenced the idiots with a harrowing bird-like squawk.

Managing to sleep after this fiasco, we were then woken at 6am by very very loud Indian music being played somewhere outside. Yep. Because that's just hot they roll.

Posted by Lady-K 10:19 Archived in India Comments (0)

Holy Cows! Chicken Lollipops!

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So there we were in Arambol, chilling on the sunloungers in Sweetwater Bay, enjoying our first 'relaxing' day since arriving in India. I use the term 'relaxing' pretty loosely as we were constantly interrupted with the likes of 'Madam you want massage?' (NO), 'Hello Madam, you want look my bracelets?' (NO), 'Madam-you-want-coconutpineapplepapayabananamango?!' (URGH), 'Oh, very nice! English?' (F**K OFF)...The best one however, was 'Madam you look like CHICKEN LOLLIPOP!!!' What the hell does that even mean?! (we would later find out). We also did however make a couple of sweet friends. Yvette was burying her face in her book trying to avoid eye contact with all human life after being violated by a horrible asshole who thought it was a subtle and otherwise okay gesture to stop next to her, hold a phone over her bikini-clad ass and take a photograph for his collection of random white girl ass shots. Sicko. Anyway, I was feeling rather spritely and good humoured and when we were approached by a couple of friendly local lads, I allowed them to bask in my conversational glory whilst I answered all of their questions and chatted away to them. They even revealed the real reason behind these horrible dickheads taking pictures of us; apparently we remind them of porn stars because we are white, young and female. I mean it's pretty understandable right? It's the same as all of us thinking all black guys are rappers - because they are aren't they? Idiots.
Anyway I continued talking to our new buddies, Kaku (ha!) and Santosh and promised them we'd be back for a drink the next day. Once we'd had enough, we went back to the hut, showered, and hit the town. We stopped at a beach bar for some drinks and were immediately approached by a black Caribbean couple who asked us a number of inane crappy questions whilst smiling crazily at us before whispering that they had drugs if we wanted them. After politely declining, we sat there awkwardly whilst the sky grew darker and darker. It was only about 5pm and big black thunder clouds began rolling in to blot out the remaining natural light. Eventually we heard the distant roll of thunder and purple lightening cracked its spidery fingers down to earth then big splodges of rain started to pelt us as we ducked inside the bar for shelter. It was a pretty heavy downpour and we decided to just get some food there before heading back. We stayed a while and as we were getting up to leave, some guy out of his skull on god-knows-what started randomly committing acts of violence towards glasses on people's tables and was subsequently surrounded by a massive horde of Indian dudes. We didnt stay to find out what happened to him, and started the walk along the unpopulated unlit ominous looking beach. I was working myself up worrying about the likes of gang rape and murder whereas Yvette was scared of treading in dog shit. Perspective.

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The first night in the hut was okay but we woke up early to the crashing waves just a few feet beyond us and spent about 2 hours faffing uncontrollably with chargers, wifi and all manner of technology, the result being that Yvette had to eat 2 breakfasts (one normal and one guilty) - it probably didnt help the pooping situation either. Anyway we eventually got to the beach - we decided to go for the main beach to see if it was better than Sweetwater Bay but no sooner had we grabbed a couple of sun loungers, we were being obscenely harrassed and heckled by LITERALLY every person who walked past. There were about 20 bracelet-wallahs on the beach and each of them were persistently and intermittently trying to get us to even look interested. They wouldnt take no for an answer so we had to completely ignore them, which I hate doing, but honestly, it was really about every 5 minutes. They pretty much ruined our day, yet still made us feel like we were the ones being a-holes. We retreated up to the town area and did a bit of shopping. As an expert haggler, I got a few bloody brilliant deals and celebrated by letting a nice young man paint a purple dot on my forehead for shopping in his store. Unfortunately due to the heat and my unfeasably sweaty face, it melted down my nose and across my cheeks and was a bit of a bitch to get off, the sight of which was apparently hilarious given Yvette's reaction. Dammit.
We later met our little friends Kaku and Santosh for beers on Sweetwater, and shared a pleasant smelling hand rolled cigarette (yurp) before Yvette had her 10 second warning and leapt into the nearest toilet...We moved things up to a restaurant closer to our hut and invited the guys with us. We ordered some food, they ordered some beers, and then for some inexplicable reason they tried to turn off all the lights. Now I know what you're thinking...alarm bells should be ringing blah blah blah but frankly, I was more annoyed that I couldnt see my food. After we persuaded them to turn them back on, we finished our food and the guys ordered us another round of beers. By this point I was feeling a little uncomfortable from the beer and the knowledge that I probably needed to poop soon, and what these guys were really after, and we told them we would go after that beer. In their desperation, they ordered us more beer which we told them would DEFINITELY be our last. During that last round, my favourite one, Kaku (lol) started getting a bit handsy (literally) and kept stroking at and pawing at my hand. Yvette thought the entire thing was hilarious and didnt help me out at all, and simply laughed hysterically when the guy started trying to smooch me whilst I simultaneously pushed his face as far away from mine as possible. It couldnt have been any more awkward but because of Yvette's reaction, I couldn't not laugh about it so I was laughing my ass off as well. We threw 10,000 rupees on the table (£10) told the guys they could make up the rest (they wanted to go half way but we just wanted to get the hell outta there) and promptly left them looking a bit defeated...We would see them again though :)
Woke up pretty early and inexplicably with a bit of a cold; runny nose, fuzzy head, sinusey...and Yvette's toilet issues had somewhat worsened. We spent about an hour packing up our stuff and working out what we should do with our shit bucket which was absolutely stinking the place out (we decided to just leave it full of shitty tissues). After that, we went to say goodbye to Kaku (lol) and Santosh but we had to cut it short due to another stomach lurching bout of the shits (Yvette) and sympathy shits (Me) and head back to the hut.
We stopped in a cafe for breakfast and my nose, like Yvette's a-hole, became a tap of man-made liquid which caused us some anxiety for the hour long taxi back to Panjim. The taxi ride was possibly one of the worst I've ever taken; Yvette even had to emphasize our need to arrive alive with the absolute dick of a driver.
After another bout of obscene fannying in Panjim trying to work out how many buses it would take to get to Palolem, we decided to just pay the oh-my-god rate of £15 for a 1&a half hour taxi ride with an extremely desperate taxi driver with a hairy dashboard. When we finally arrived, we got a really nice room in a lovely guest house for a couple of nights. We were a little confused when we were finding it however and Yvette actually walked into some old man's house who responded by slamming the door in her face. Anyway the room was great...air conditioned paradise. By this point I really was full of a cold and Yvette was glued to the toilet. We decided on a walk along the beach, but I was feeling so crappy we had to stop in a restaurant to get out of the sun, and so I could order a hot honey & ginger drink. As I browsed the menu for some bar snacks, my eye was drawn to none other than the infamous 'Chicken Lollipop!' Well obviously I had to order it. But we were just left even more confused because whilst it did resemble a lollipop, it was also brown and crunchy with a bone sticking out. In what way did either me or Yvette look like one of these haggard things?! Someone please EXPLAIN!!! Pretty tasty though..
I was still feeling horrible so we went back to the room for a bit so we could each soil some more tissues...my nose was just streaming. Decided on a lonely planet cafe with western food as we had been dining on only spicy Indian food for a while now. Agreed we would both have eyebrows yet I dont think we took any pictures so it's probably a pretty redundant comment. After a great meal and some furious snotty nose blowing, I was ecstatic to find LOTR the 2 towers on tv so stayed up and watched that. :-D
Felt rotten again in the morning and ended up taking a rickshaw to the chemist to sort out my rapidly worsening cold, after which we went for lunch then hit the beach. The beach there was beautiful, just like the pictures you see in the travel brochures, and dotted with little boats and even smaller cows. I decided to swim in the bath-water hot sea...I was a little intimidated by some of the locals though and went fully clothed. It was really nice but the sun was making my head feel worse and I had to head back to the room. When I started to feel better, we agreed that enough was enough. I couldnt put this off any longer. I had to buy some rings, and ring shopping was now on the cards. I spent about an hour haggling over a number of rings and got a great deal. Back in the room, admiring my purchases, I discovered my camera was missing, and like a complete idiot I had left it somewhere. After a mad dash around the immediate area, I found it in a rooftop cafe. Is it just me this stuff happens to?? Jesus I am my own worst enemy sometimes.
The following morning we got up at 7:30am so that we could take a cab to a local Wildlife Sanctuary. The driver was going like a bastard and ran out of fuel and had to take a massive detour. He then helped us get our tickets and it become obvious that the santuary was massive and he would be driving us through it stopping at various points. When we finally got through the gates, the first thing I caught sight of was a fairly significant-sized animal carcass in the middle of the road. Well why wouldnt there be? I mean, this is India, one of the most backward countries I have ever visited. Of course there are dead animals in a wildlife sanctuary.
Anyway, we side stepped the carcass and continued up the road, revving and beeping merrily along the way pretty much eliminating any chances of us seeing any lions tigers or bears - oh my! He finally stopped and let us get out and walk unaided along a trail that lead up to a canopy platform. It was actually really nice and serene...no traffic noise, no people noise...just the intermittent sounds of my snotty sniffling. We saw all manner of jungle creatures. Everything ranging from blue jungle crabs, red jungle lizards, jungle monkeys, and possibly a flying jungle squirrel. We got to the canopy platform which was up a rusted-as-shit spindly ladder leading up into a tree some distance upwards. It looked pretty sketchy but I was determined to get up it and after about 15minutes of climbing, I made it. It was incredibly hot at the top and it became hard to see for all the sweat in my eyes so I made my way back down slowly...We didnt bother visiting the 'watering hole' which was depicted as a manky man made puddle in a concrete block, and instead got our driver to take us back.
Feeling pretty haggard again, we went to a cafe for more hot beverages and I fell asleep whilst Yvette played chess with a nice young fellow called Mantu. We literally jumped from cafe to cafe that afternoon, with the odd walk along the beach, then watched the sun go down before heading for dinner. After dinner, we grabbed our bags, dodged some young lads setting off firecrackers outside a church, and took a rickshaw to the bus stop ready for our overnight bus to Hampi, our next destination...

More to come next week :)

Posted by Lady-K 00:42 Comments (0)

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