A Travellerspoint blog

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)

Lost in the Crowds, Hassled & Heckled,and Gut Trouble in Goa

The 2 human tourist attractions (white girls) and their affect on Indian society in Goa

overcast 35 °C

Following on from my previous blog, we were heading back to Mumbai for the evening so that we could board a train to Goa the next morning; we wanted to travel through the day so as to experience the scenery on the way down the coast and infamous Western Ghats.
So we are on the train returning from Pune into Mumbai and we are told by a couple that its the last stop and everyone gets off the train...and all hell breaks loose. We were jostled off the train and submerged into a sea of around 10,000 dirty, sweaty, noisy people. Literally couldnt see anything but people, and as we were swept along and out of the station, I felt the unmistakable, sickening grope of my ass cheek being grabbed. hard. I turned around in shock to see a horrible old man slipping through the crowds with a disgusting look on his face. 'Yvette, we REALLY need to get out of here'....except we couldnt. We were literally trapped by the surge of people as far as the eye can see through a packed market place spanning about 3 square miles of area. As it turned out, we had got off one stop too soon and were somewhere north of Mumbai. Rather than getting back on a train in the midst of this human torrent, we decided to find a taxi but even the roads were blocked by people! We pushed along for about 20 minutes until we found road. Lovely road. With cars and rickshaws to lead us away from this orgy of marketeers.
It took us around an hour and a half to get to central Mumbai because of the crowds, and it cost us the pricely sum of 5 pounds. After that nightmare was over, we located our hotel with the usual rude-as-shit staff, checked in, and did something awful. It was clearly the trauma of the previous 2 hours. Really. We wouldnt have done it otherwise. Ok are you ready for it? Here it comes....we went to MacDonalds. I know. It was that or crack and I didnt want to find a crack dealer in Mumbai. We had goat burgers which tasted like horrible rancid anuses (anii?), and felt it was probably karma for going to such a god awful establishment. Sacrilege!
Okay so after setting 5 individual alarms to wake us up in the morning, just to be sure, we managed to vacate the hotel by 06:15 and lurched over to the station. A nice man with an insanely wobbly head helped us locate the train platform and seat number etc and no sooner had we got onto the train and into our relevant compartment, complete with comfy sleeper beds for long journeys, the man himself reappeared at our side apparently having gone out of his way to make sure we got on ok. Creepy or nice, I'll let you decide.
The sleeper train was great - just as I remembered! We were in a compartment with 2 other men, but it was so early, we got into our beds and fell asleep. I snoozed til around 10am then got up to check out the views which were spectacular. The journey trudged on and it began to get dark so we knew we were getting closer.
Finally, and after a very near miss of our stop, we got off seemingly in the middle of nowhere and took a pre-paid taxi to a hotel we googled called 'Manvins'...or Marvins as we referred to it as. We were confronted by the usual rude-as-shit staff and checked into a room that looked like it had been modelled on the inside of a cardboard box, for 24pounds. Had a great view from up there but seriously, this room was ridiculous. I cant begin to imagine what they were thinking when they put this place together. They had glued laminated wood look flooring to the walls and insides of the doors, the furniture picked up from a skip or maybe the side of the river, and some random planks and sticks of wood nailed here and there on the ceiling. It gave shabby-chique a new meaning put it that way.
We found ourselves in a Lonely Planet recommended restaurant called Upper House, where we had a great meal and drinks. There was unfortunately an incident that took place in their toilets which forced us to leave to pursue another venue. I dont want to talk about it but it involved a lack of toilet paper and a desperate need to have toilet paper. We sauntered on over to a bar called Mojo's which was an all-Indian nightclub come karaoke bar, however nobody batted an eyelid at our pale complexions when we walked in. In fact we made a few friends, had a little too much to drink, did some awful awful karaoke and dancing, and went home before we stopped being sensible. Somehow managed to get home however Yvette freaked out big time in the toilet and barfed everywhere. I didnt even comprehend what happened until she started yelling 'Dont go in there! no really...please dont go in there' was probably barf all up the walls or something. Anyway we both found it highly amusing the next day - my incident at the restaurant, and her being a lightweight. HA!

We woke up late and decided to take some more LP advice and book a nice trip with the government run tourist office. We took a rickshaw there to avoid hassle finding the place. What happened next I will try to describe but even now I am confused. We entered the building and followed the sign to 1st floor where we walked straight into a weird doctors style waiting room. Everyone looked at us and before I had a chance to ask anyone, we were directed up more stairs.,this time, it was a complete replica of the first room but less people. Another flight up and we walked into a massive open plan office with people working in their cubicles. Now at a complete loss as to what we were doing here, our confused expressions prompted a moment of hilarity and we broke down into a fit of giggles as a woman dragged us 2 chairs to her cubicle in the midst of all these folk trying to get on with their work.
We were advised to go to the Santa Monica jetty for an evening cruise. Now I'm going to try and explain this without getting mad thinking about it. There appeared to be one road leading to the jetty and it was like a highway with bollards down the middle and traffic going at crazy speeds. It took us 30minutes to realise there was no other way to get there than this road and there were no crossings in either direction so we spent a further 20 minutes getting across it. When we reached the other side, we found a building site on the jetty and a lone booth selling cruise tickets. We bought 2 then hailed a rickshaw to help us cross the road and dump us in a park where we were subsequently told off for playing on the childrens swings.
After that fiasco, we took a lazy walk back to our hotel area, taking in the Portuguese style architecture along the way. Yvette had that all-too-familiar tummy lurch and we ducked into a cafe so she could use the toilet. Except they didnt have one so we had to leg it back to the shitty hotel. On our way back down the elevator, we were confused by our own reflections and inexplicably thought we saw an Asian man and woman staring back at us in a mirror as we passed one of the floors. Why were they waiting there so close to the lift? We realised later that it was a mirror, and the Asians were in fact us. Idiots yes I know.
We had some nice lunch then went for a wander in a nearby market where I bought a beautiful sari for 2.50pounds. We stopped in an internet cafe to check hotels at our next destination and stupidly had to fill out all sorts of useless information to do so. They wanted our passports, home addresses, signatures...stupid stupid stupid. We found out what we needed to and went to the room for a quick relax before our evening cruise, which we will now refer to as the 'atrocious shit-ferry'. We took a rickshaw to the jetty (smart I know) and piled into a queue of around 200 people. Thankfully the queue was moving but as we neared the 'end of it', I realised we were simply being herded into a cattle maze in the sweltering heat and left there. There were no other white skins and people were staring, jeering and laughing at us. It was not at all apparent what we were even waiting for and we were getting very impatient. We then thankfully began to move but again, and inexplicably (my favourite word i know) we were once again herded into another cattle maze. What the f**k was this??! Why have 3 separate queuing stations? Pointless - as with most things in India, non-nonsensical and utterly pointless. When we finally got on board our 'cruise-ship'...better defined as a heap of rusty metal floating on an ocean of stinking waste, we were the subjects of everyones attention. It started as people posing very close to us for pictures, the backs of our heads as the background landscape. I mean, I know I'm not one to talk, but I have a pretty damn good back-of-the-head. People were now outright coming up to us and taking pictures. This progressed (along with my rage) to people rattling off the standard 'Madam where from?" "What name?" only for us to realise that they were incredibly, faking conversation with us whilst their friends filmed and took pictures of the scene. We were surrounded by disgusting horrible men and the photos just didnt stop. It would have been difficult to enjoy the so called view with that going on but as it happened, there wasnt much of a view anyway except for the brown river and rubbish strewn riverbanks. Finally off the shit-ferry, a thunderstorm was brewing and before we knew it lightening was piercing the purple darkened sky and thunder was rolling in. Once the rain got heavy, we hot footed it 1 kilometer down the main road to a safer place to cross and stopped into an all veg restaurant for the best thali I've ever had. Thali is where you get rice and roti or paddadam, and a melee of small dishes - anywhere from 5 to 25 - these will be lentil dahls, raita, hot curry sauce. spicy chick peas, potato&pea masala, that kind of thing. It was stupendous.
We rushed back to the hotel amidst the rattling thunder and managed to find an English channel so watched Polar Express and the Smurfs...okay not all of the Smurfs but some of it. Oh my God why on earth did Neil Patrick Harris agree to that?! Seriously...

Waking up the next morning, inexplicably (yep I used it again) The Smurfs was still on...we got up early so we could take advantage of the free breakfast which was being served by a weird Asian looking man with ball hair on his head instead of head hair. It was gross - the breakfast that is and not the hair. Actually that was gross too. Breakfast consisted of greasy naan bread with hot lime pickle, yoghurt and insanely sweet chai tea. Unimpressed we left for the market again and bought a few last minute goodies, including my first stash of silver rings - I am something of a ring-merchant. At 11am we got in a taxi to Arambol, a beachy resort recommended by the one and only Burnsy. An hour and a bit, we arrived, for the price of a taxi from Douglas to Onchan,. and set about trying to find some beach huts we found online. This involved walking through the cheesiest hippy-themed town I've ever seen. Everywhere I looked, embroidered sequinned wall hangings, tie-dye t-shirts, dreadlocks, skinny bra-less girls, and of course the continual offers of marijuana, mushrooms and coke. We had to actually walk along the beach to the other side of the bay, and then along through restaurants, bars and shops. We were carrying all our luggage and had been walking a while, wondering if we were even going the right way, but thankfully our perseverance paid off and we found the lovely Shree Sai Cottages. Little beach huts in a quiet area near Sweet-Water Bay, overlooking the rocks and sky-blue ocean crashing down on them. The cottages were owned by a Swiss gentleman - quite a hottie actually - who asked for 400 rupees a night, thats 4 pounds for both of us in a little wooden hut with a bed and not much else. It did however have a bathroom which we were both pleased about because we were hardly ever off the toilet at this point. In fact you might say toilets were determining and dominating every choice we made on where to go and what we did. They needed to be within 5 minutes reach as sometimes our 'notice' was only about 2 minutes before imminent disaster inevitably occured.

We unpacked and headed over to sweet-water bay where we made ourselves a couple of little brown friends (not poo)....but you will find out about them in the next blog ;)

Until next time :)

Posted by Lady-K 02:19 Archived in India Comments (0)

India : Take 3 : Scene 1

Brilliant Projects, Bombay Trains, Baffling Ticket Systems and Bollywood Bastards

36 °C

Well here I am back in India for the third time, still trying to work out what it is that continues to drive me back here. I have to say though, it seems to get better every time...
So travelling wise, we got here without any mishaps and even got upgraded to extra leg room seats on the plane by some friendly ginger on the check in desk (see they are good for some things). Arriving in Mumbai (or Bombay whichever) at 6am, we checked into our pre-booked hotel which great air con and cushiony soft bed and had a nice little sleep. It was a far cry from the India I knew before where slept on rock hard mattresses in leaky damp rooms with noisy back alleys. Waking up a little later we ventured out for a walk and some lunch. The first place we came to we stopped in and realised it was actually a chinese. Jesus. Our first meal in India was chinese food. How cultured.
Afterwards, we returned to the hotel and were met by Nirmal Chandna, the Director of CORP India who we raised the money for. Due to the language barriers, I wasnt sure where he was planning on taking us as there are more than a few centres based in and around Mumbai but we were delighted that he took us to Sharanam Girls home in Dharavi Slum in the North of Mumbai. It was a 30 minute drive and ironically picturesque. Parts of Mumbai look like a building site but without any actual building work going on, and other parts run down and decrepit but the overall impression is of a densely populated post apocalyptic world. Run down apartment blocks and high rise buildings are taken over by weeks and vined plants, balconies and other outdoor spaces crammed with multicoloured garments drying in the 35degree heat.
We finally arrived at the girls home which was on the 4th floor of a shoddy building. Going up the elevator, we peered into other peoples homes and were even confronted by a goat just chilling in someones hallway. Nirmal took us through into the main room where we met around 40 girls between age 4 to age 20. Shy at first, they sat in a circle and rattled off their names and what they wanted to be when they grew up. Dominating was 'business woman' and medical type jobs.
Following this, Yvette and I were asked to give a talk on how we had come across CORP and how we raised the money etc which we did, the girls then performed singing and dancing for us which was great. After, they had lunch which we were to be guests of honour, however after having just scoffed load of chinese food, could barely stomach more than a dosa and some drinks. Later we simply sat and chatted with the girls and they showed us some videos they had made on youtube - they had a great computer room - and after that they wanted to paint us with henna which we of course allowed. I showed them pictures of my own henna designs and to my delight they even thought they were very good! A true compliment.
Towards the end of the day, we were presented with an array of home made beautiful thank you cards from each of the girls, all of them referring to us as 'Didi' meaning sister. Welcome to the CORP family.We then presented them with the clothes and facepaints and things we had collected, including some Manx goodies such as calendars and flags, and then posed for some pictures, which no doubt you will have seen ;)

Even after just 1 day I was sad to leave them all. Much improvement can be made at the centre, which I will be looking into on my return home. This project isnt over yet.

After a quick blast of air con in our hotel room, we walked down to the gateway of India to see the sunset. It was full of people, obviously a popular time of day, but still very beautiful. Afterwards we meandered around Mumbai until we actually found the street I stayed in 6 years previously. We even found a bar Alison and I had frequented (the Mondegar). It had the best air con so we stopped for a few beers then sampled some street 'toasties' on the way home. Think baby food, in a toastie, topped with hot sauce and cheese. mmmmm....
We also made a little friend on our walk. His name was Ravi and he was very confused about my boobs. Real or Fake? he kept asking. Cheeky devil..we met him again several times and each time he accompanied us back to our hotel. He didnt seem to want anything though so we deemed him harmless.

We didnt wake until 11am the following day, so had a wander before getting lunch in a cafe that inexplicably had 8 staff serving us. There were no other customers. Slightly intimidating we laughed it off whlist they watched on.
We then decided we should probably book some train tickets to our next destination - Pune, pronounced "Poona". What an inexplicable painstaking process this was. Victoria station is massive and after a severe amount of fannying we got where we wanted to be which was in a room full of intimidating men, all eyeballing the crap out of us.
We sorted out the train we needed but the woman said she wanted photocopies of our passports. We therefore had to leave the station, find a xerox place and go back through the whole damn thing again. The xerox place consisted of 2 men in a booth with 1 typewriter, 2 printers, and one dirty computer screen. "10minutes" the main said. I stood there wondering why the wait and soon discovered it was so that man number 2 could finish eating his lentil curry. He then made my copies.
The entire ticket buying process took around 2 hours and after that we decided a walk down marine drive would be a nice way to end the day. We walked all the way to Chowpatti beach, avoiding the stares and photograph requests from all the passerbys. One strange man worthy of comment was some obscene douchebag with wannabe dreams of becoming the next bollywood star. He was so eager to tell us about his upcoming success and that we should look for his ugly face on the billlboards next time we come to India. He would 'Sit on the thone of SHELOB!' and wear 'upside down hair!' and 'my flat can be your flat, and your flat can be my flat' - What the f**k? He was very hard to get rid of and kept trying to hug us and show us pictures od himself with various wigs. I didnt like him at all and wanted to get away from him. We made that clear and left promptly.
Chowpatty beach was how you would imagine a beach in Mumbai, full of people and rubbish. Needless to say we didnt stay long!
Back near the hotel we had a couple of beers in Leopolds and tried some more street food. Whilst waiting for toasties we met 2 identical twins who posed for a picture with yvette (the one time we actually ask someone else or a picture!) We then found a stall selling, to my horror, those rancid balls of ass-juice as mentioned in my blog entitled ' the weirdest things i've had in my mouth'. They werent half as bad this time, maybe they do them better in Mumbai :)

We set our alarms for 6:15am as our train to Pune was booked for 7am.

At 06:59am we both awoke and with sickening dread looked at the time and realised than 1 minute would not be enough time to pack our bags, walk to the station, find our platform and get on the train. Typical.
We purchased new tickets from the sweatiest man I've ever seen for an 08:40 train riding in 2AC class which means large reclining chairs in an air conditioned carriage. A rather boring journey was interrupted by the presence of what can only be described as an Indian wizard wielding a peacock feather brush which he proceeded to hit random people on the head with whilst muttering some sort of incantation. I think he wanted money also. I did not however want to be hit on the head, or give up my hard earned cash for the privilege. The only option it seemed, was to laugh hysterically which we did. The old man was not impressed by us at all. Some local folk appeared amused by our reaction though.
When we finally arrived in Pune, we were immediately accosted by twenty five thousand rickshaw drivers all shouting destinations and fares. We felt it fair to go with the first driver, a muslim man, who turned out to be the biggest wanker we have come across so far. We told him we already booked a hotl and he quoted a price for us to get there which we agreed to. The entire 10 minute journey he tried unsuccessfully to talk us into other hotels, then seemingly didnt know where our hotel was and got lost. By this point I was having to go through my breathing exercises to stop the rage boiling inside me. Unfortunately for him it didnt work out and I exploded when we got there and he tried to ask us for a greater price than agreed. What a f**king moron. It was a little slice of the India I experienced in my early twenties and I desperately wanted it to go away.
Thankfully it did. We checked into our room at Surya Villa then sat i a nearby cafe for lunch. We decided there to take a rickshaw to Aga Khan Palace which was a temporary residence of Mahatma Gandhi along with his wife and personal assistant. Both his wife and his beloved assistant died in the palace which is now a museum devoted to all three. We picked a cheeky looking driver offering a good price. He proceeded to talk utter bullshit the entire drive but maintained a cheesy grin and kept chuckling throughout so we were kept amused. The palace was lovely and peaceful and muted out the sounds of beeping horns and noisy traffic. We were also amazed to find that Gandhi's ashes were kept here. It was a privilege to stand there and I have to say it raised hairs on the back of my neck. I love this kind of thing. As we were taking in the graves, it began to rain. And in india, it really rains. We took shelter and waited until it pewtered out then ran back to cheesy rickshaw man.
During the drive back, our man inexplicably kept trying to take us shopping. When we were almost back, we were overtaken by a massive lorry (the bigger the vehicle the more right of way they have) which succeeded to absolutely soak me all down my left side. Our man just carried on chuckling in delight. Gotta love him.
We hit Prems, a lonely planet reccommended bar, where we had a few beers (and poos). After leaving there we made another little friend who we nicknamed Ravi 2 as we couldnt remember his real name. He was very sweet and jumped on a motorbike only to reappear minutes later with a red rose for us both. As is the way with Indian folk, you can meet some real assholes, but mostly they are good sweet people.
Back at the room, we showered then dropped in our local travel agent run by 2 good lookin' Indian boys who proceeded to invite us to party with them. If I wasn't so terrified of being drugged and raped, I would have been happy to go along. We walked to a lonely planet reccommendation for dinner, called Malaka Spice, wihch we realised was Malay themed, and had the best meal in the most glorious setting imaginable. I wont even bother to describe it as it could never justify how magnificent this was.
We stopped for litchi drinks on the way home which would become our saviour during the night when we were both accosted with that all too familiar stomach luch leading to the inevitable stark realisation that something bad was going to come out of us. First it was me and my ass, followed by Yvette barfing. Sleep was hard to come by that night as we were thrown into bouts of crippling cramps and toilet trips. No wonder we slept until 10am.
Eventually morning came. I had a shower which consisted of me sitting naked on a stool and pouring buckets of cold water over my head. Up and about, we found a net cafe to make a booking for another hotel and inexplicably had to provide our hotel address, passports, signatures and all sorts of ridiculous informatio just for 10mins of internet time. During this time Yvette turned tome with a pained look on her face which couldnt be misinterpreted. She had to go. Immediately. Poor wee lass.
We decided to stop at the German Bakery at the end of the street. It was badly bombed in the 80's I think so there was high security in effect which felt odd but understandable really. We were approached by a waiter who gave us our menus and asked what we wanted to order. Before the words were out of my mouth (I wanted a veggie sandwich) he abruptly asked 'veg or non-veg?'...i said i knew what i wanted and can i order a veggie club, he said yes and presumed Yvette wanted hummus. We were so perplexed by his manner that we simply agreed. He then made me order a drink that I had never heard of instead of the coke I wanted. When it came, unfortunately Yvette was sick again and we took the sarnies to go.
After a walk around the Osho mediation & yoga centre (asylum) famous as being the birthplace of yoga, we got our cheeky rickshaw man to take us to the train station. Desperately needing the toilet again, confusingly we could only find gents ones so we boarded our train and used the hole in the floor one, which drops out directly onto the tracks beneath. We'd booked onto a lower class so we could experience a real Indian train, and it was a bloody riot!
The seats, made for 2 people but meant for 3, were squashed but we were okay. That was until our palid white skin was spotted by a couple of street urchins who boarded the train and held out hungry grubby hands to us rich whiteskinned millionaires. I handed over Yvettes cucumber sandwiches. There you go lads.
People came and went during the course of our journey; there was 'Staring Asshole, Hidden Motive' whos gaze was unavoidable, there was a lovely couple, and Grandpa Gandhi who after curious glances, struck up conversation with good English. Inbetween all these people coming and going were the usual Chai-wallas - men heaving tanks of hot chai, shouting 'CHAI CHAI CHAI CHAI CHAI!' down the carriage...also blind men selling childrens toys...everything was being flogged, from samosas to minature airplanes, wallets to whole cucumbers. It was all very interesting. Oh and who could forget the little girls singing (unfortunately badly) for tips.
The entire journey however was condemned with the overwhelming stench of shit and piss fromthe nearby toilet, which even bothered the Indian folk, not just us posh westies!
Well I'm going to leave it there, that's enough writing for today...will continue this blog from home if not before..hope you enjoy :)

Posted by Lady-K 03:09 Archived in India Comments (0)

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