India and it’s CHOCOLATE DAD vs. BLACK BARRY!!!

So, although this is supposed to be a blog about my travel adventures through New Mexico, it isn’t.  In my mind, this is terrible.  For it means two things.  Primarily, that i haven’t finished telling you about the rest of my travels in the States and Canada.  This is because of recent events in my World that have made this a tricky task to complete.  And much less primarily, it means i have to interrupt, at least for now, a blog that was to run as a series of blogs about one part of the World and my life within it.  This in turn means that it all seems a bit disjointed to me.  But as you couldn’t give a hippo’s bottom, i guess it doesn’t matter.  In fact, why even bother reading this paragraph at all…?

The next few blog entries will be about my trip in the sub-continent, we call India, they (the Indians, not the other ‘they’ who always seem to know a lot and say many things but to which there are no faces!) call Bharat.  Not Baharat, the spice.  Why would you think it was Baharat when i didn’t say Baharat initially?  (i once cooked a hideous dinner for my bro and sis-in-law, replacing Cajun spice with Baharat, a faux pas i don’t recommend copying)

I started my travels in this country with a person, then continued with another person and am now alone.  Just so you know.

Oh, and excuse the lack of photographic evidence, one’s camera has ceased to do its proper duties and so forced one into being more wordy than per usual…  Yes, it is indeed possible…!

So, we’re about to land in Mumbai and I’m peering out of the window, wondering, as i tend to, if these are to be my last moments on Earth and feeling strangely relaxed about the possibilities (weird) when this whole World of shacks, shanty’s, call them what you will (palaces would be a li’l wide of the mark) opens itself up to my gogglers.  If it wasn’t the most horrifying but also intriguing sight i had seen since Danny Itter pulled a moony (poor boy, probably never pooped his pants in his whole life.  Huh, school boys, eh…?).  Thousands of people living in squalor right next to the runway of a major airport and not an orange tabard on any of them.  Clearly these people had no idea of health and safety, something i was to learn first hand not an hour later.  Still, the kids seemed happy playing in piles of garbage and faeces.  Huh, kids, eh…?

Taking a rickshaw in any part of the World seems like it could be a li’l risky when you see the size of one against a big truck.  Taking a rickshaw in one of the craziest cities in THE craziest country for driving on this planet is mental.  But in my eyes, also the most exciting thing you can do, besides being shrunk down to the size of a blood cell and being injected into a bloke, but i see that’s already been done…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14R9pfNDm3E

How i didn’t die 73 times i don’t know.  But then that’s been quite a theme so far on this journey, so I’ll just assume that up to this point, i wasn’t supposed to be dead yet and be thankful for it.

Whilst my travel buddy flew to Goa to celebrate the 30th birthday of someone neither of us really care too much for, i decided to embark on the mentalist taxi journey ever undertaken by man, in which my driver was clearly trying to break the record for the most sharts exerted by a passenger.  He’s in the Christmas 2012 version in case you wondered!  I then waited 4 and a half hours at Mumbai station, which i plead with none of you to ever do then took a 9 hour train ride in the sleeper carriage which is THE most oxymoronic statement i will ever utter.  I did this cos a) i don’t really like the 30-year-old wench whose birthday it was and b) because Goa is the last place in India i wanted to go to and so the fewer nights there the better.  This is where my journey took me (eventually)

http://www.google.co.in/imgres?q=palolem+beach+goa&hl=en&sa=X&biw=1280&bih=699&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&tbnid=9MAlparwD8t1XM:&imgrefurl=http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Asia/India/West/Goa/Palolem/photo1002320.htm&docid=PrtpdslnF3WI3M&imgurl=http://i1.trekearth.com/photos/93270/palolem11-1990.jpg&w=800&h=524&ei=gIMAT5emD4nZrQf0u72gBg&zoom=1

Seems pretty nice to most of us, right?  But stick a bunch of white kids in the piccy who wanna get all ‘Sexed on the Beach’ and, well, still seems pretty good to most of us right, but y’know…!!  For some reason my travel guidebook stated that this was one of the 35 best places in the whole of India to check out.  I’ve been here less than a month and I’ve already hit up two beaches that were much more interesting and much less white.  Or red, depending on the time of day.  But i did drink out of a coconut (always a novel experience), have a cold shower (always THE Worlds worst experience) and swim in the sea (mostly always a Rad experience).  I also saw the Worlds most beautiful child stand in front of me and beg me for some change.  My first realisation of one of my many weaknesses i am experiencing on this trip, how to stop myself from giving all my pocket innards to begging children.  I would have given her my entire bank account if it didn’t say minus before all those horrible numbers.  A li’l piece of my heart that i reserve for children broke right there. But instead of ignoring her, i chatted in English, a language she should clearly understand at 3 years old but obviously didn’t, said so long and got the most adorable smile and wave goodbye from her as she happily trotted off to her mother who beat the hell out of her for returning empty-handed or for talking to strangers, i couldn’t tell which.  Serves her right if the latter, i say…

I also saw something properly shocking but also most whimsical in Goa.  There are many cows in this part of the World as I’m sure you know.  I expected to see them everywhere.  What i didn’t expect to see is them eating out of garbage cans.  And i certainly didn’t expect to see them eating tin cans and swallowing them whole.  I guess that’s why they have four tummy’s.  Pretty crazy and a li’l bit sad, huh?.  Like the dude who ate Aeroplanes and shopping trolleys…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6Pl2-lx12A

Anyway, we left Palolem and headed to Udipi, home of the Masala Dhosa and a huge Krishna temple.  The train journey was amazing, as most train journeys in India tend to be, the countryside providing this particular piece of amazement.  As we trundled past palm forests and rivers the size of Wales, the scenery resembled something out of Apocalypse Now and totally blew me away.  Train journeys here are seldom boring, even if they last days, cos the scenery is always unbelievably beautiful and spectacular.  Some kids on the train took us on our first public bus journey when we got to Udipi and, well, with the other 498 people on board, we were a li’l ‘Sardined’ for the 10 minutes it took us to get to where we were going.  Then it was a trawl around the finest Hotels in the whole of India to find a suitable room, including going up one staircase that had poops sprayed up the wall on every floor (something told me i didn’t wanna stay here) before we settled for the greatest half-star, zero board place around and after i managed to barter 100 rupees off the price (about 1 quid 15p), dropped our bags and headed into our first night in ‘real’ India.  And that’s when i fell in love with this place.

India in the day is mental.  India at night takes on a whole new level of craziness.  Try crossing the M25 at 8 o’clock on a Friday night, in the dark.  Then imagine doing it when there are no lanes, no rules and no interest in whether you, as the crosser, lives or dies.  It was worse than this…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DGu5X3Dy0I

But every time we did it, we got better and better at it until i just didn’t even bother looking anymore!

Eating out here is another Russian Roulette moment.  Every time my hands go to my mouth i wonder if this mouthful is the mouthful that sends me to the bathroom for the next two days.  As yet, it hasn’t happened and i think it’s cos i have decided to only eat in places that are proper busy.  That way, if I’m going down, I’m taking my fellow diners with me!  But the food is superb.  It’s Masala Dhosa for breakfast with a cup of Chai (cost – 60 pence), Thali for lunch (cost – 50 pence) and some curry thing for dinner (cost – a pound tops)… EVERY DAMN DAY!!!!!  If i even hear the words Masala Dhosa in the next week, i’m gonna rip my ears off and throw them at the next guy on a motorbike i see.  That way, at least i wont have to listen to anymore of the incessant beeping that happens every 1.8 nano-seconds in this country!!  Seriously, its like having road runner constantly chasing you around, 24 hours a day.  Any bus journey you take is punctuated with a beep every time someone on the bus blinks.  Thank the lord for the Indian pop music that’s played at 6 gazillion decibels for the entirety of your 7 hour bus journey!!!!

Udipi is a special place though.  It’s a very holy town, with i think the largest Krishna temple in India.  We were lucky enough to meet an old chap who decided to take us on a tour of this amazing place one evening.  He showed us a supposed 6,000 year old Krishna statue, a 60 foot tall Wooden chariot with the most ornate carvings you’ve ever seen (or I’ve ever seen, i don’t know what you’ve seen), told us the story of why there is millions of pounds worth of Rupees buried under the temple and even helped my travel buddy get blessed by an Elephant!!  And the next night, he led us around the temple whilst a diamond encrusted chariot and some men with real live fire followed us!!!  This was my first real experience of how amazingly friendly and open Indians can be.  This man was such a wonderful soul and I’m sure he’ll be reincarnated as the next Dalai Lama, if that form of after death experience exists.  We also had a fascinating tour of the greatest coin collection i have ever seen, including a coin that was from the place and time that Jesus was (supposedly) around.  I actually touched a coin that Jesus may have touched.  How mad is that?  The best part of the tour though was when the collector told my travel pal that her huge tattoo was ‘Repulsive’!!!!!  I’ll never cease wanting to remind her of that!!!

However, Udipi will always be most remembered for one thing and one thing only.  Easily the most difficult decision i will ever face in my entire life and probably not even just this life, but all other lives i may live in this realm or any other realm.  The impossible choice between these two TITANS of the desert World…

CHOCOLATE DAD and BLACK BARRY!!!!!

Yes, that’s right, the two Heavyweights came head-to-head for the first time on our menu and boy was it a close one.  I’ll let you guess who won out and reveal all next time.  But man, it was a decision i hope i will never have to make EVER again…

CHOCOLATE DAD or BLACK BARRY…

That night, a sleeper bus awaited us to take us to Mysore.  Sleeper bus.  Another Oxymoron.  I had 6.8 seconds sleep in 9 hours before, at 6 a.m, we arrived in Mysore to be greeted by a dozen rickshaw drivers trying to take us to our hotel we didn’t yet have.  And cos of that journey or the fact that i contracted Dengue Fever (one still doesn’t know) from a Mosquito, i spent the next 2 days with a fever of 740 degrees.  But it didn’t stop me seeing another one of my books’ 35 things to see in India, Mysore’s Old Market.  A word of advice to myself.  Stop following the damn books advice!!!

We did get taken on a tour of a bidi factory though…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beedi

…where guy’s sit for 8 hours a day, constantly making these things.  For 20 years this one guy has been churning out over 2,500 a day, non-stop bidi making.  He makes about 3 quid a day and supports his family on this.  My travel buddy and i tried to make one each.  She was a natural and starts work there on Monday…

Another constant in India is the fact that you always feel you’re gonna get ripped off, which is sad cos most of the people here are Ace o’ Base.  But we did get taken on a tour of ‘supposedly’ The Body Shops only oil making facility in India, where we were fleeced buying some Lotus Flower oil to stop bite 3 million appearing on my cohorts body.  Later on we paid a quarter of the price for Citronella oil, the ONLY thing that stops the buggers biting you, at the market.  But when you’re being fleeced for little more than a few quid, you don’t really mind so much.  Well, i didn’t anyway, my fellow traveler eventually let it go yesterday!  But when a meal for two costs less than a fiver, and I’m talking about a proper meal with drinks and cakes and EVERYTHING!!, you realise how li’l money you are spending and that a few quid here and there is meaningless.  One crazy thing that happened in Mysore though was this:  As we were walking along, a man walked past me and brushed his hand against my penis…  At first, i thought, ‘Surely a mistake, a over-zealous swinging of the hand perhaps’ but as i looked back, a face was smiling at me, one eye closed in the form a of a wink.  Slightly perturbed, i carried on my jaunt only for a few seconds later, the perpetrator to walk in front of me, over-zealous hand again brushing against my sensitive region, cheeky face again staring back at me, grin accompanied by wink.  ‘The little bugger’, i thought.  “Travel buddy, that man keeps walking past me and brushing my penis, please can we turn left down this side path” i begged!  As i looked back, i saw we’d lost our tail.  Moments later, we were at a bangles stall, admiring the owners finest wares, when out of the corner of my eye, i see the cheeky li’l pot-bellied chap heading straight for my loins.  Not being one to have his penis touched by a strange man for the third time in quick succession, i barked and pointed as he approached “Dont you touch my penis”!!  It worked! He sailed past with a grin on his Chevy, straight for the public loo’s where he had a three-minute love-making session with me and his recently penis tarnished hand…  in his mind…

We stayed in Mysore a night too long, due to my slowly reducing fever and then headed to the hill station of Ooty.  The place wasn’t that great to be honest and i have since been to an infinitely more beautiful hill station (more about that another time) but we stayed in a nice YWCA and it was somewhere i could completely kill off my fever.  I felt bad that it had taken a coupla days out of my travel pals time away but when you feel sick in India, you really feel sick and so recovery was needed.  However, one thing certainly helped the healing process happen quicker than usual.

On the bus to Ooty, i saw one of the greatest natural wonders i have ever seen, surely the missing 8th Wonder of the World.  I wish i could have had a picture of it but i think i stared long enough for it to be forever emblazoned across my mind’s eye.  Sat opposite me, with feet in sandals, showing the full extent of the miracle, was none other than this.  A woman with 6 toes…… ON EACH FOOT!!!!!!!  Yep, ol’ Tapani 12 Toes was on the bus, flaunting her dozen digits in front of all and sundry!!!!  And during one rest stop, she stood legs straight and leaned over to her right, hand on cheek and rested her elbow on the floor, still in standing mode.  Imagine Michael Jackson in Smooth Criminal.  She did that but sideways.  “That’s what an extra little toe can do for you”, i mused!!

Then it was off to Trivandrum on another night bus journey and another trawl to find a decent room.  But for a fiver a night for the most expensive, you can’t really grumble.

Sadly, Trivandrum was both pretty boring and also where i had to say fare-thee-well to my travel braud.  With much regret, we parted company.   Soon after, i packed my bag and it was off on yet another train ride to meet travel buddy number two in the AMAZING hill station of Munnar, which, before arriving at,  i undertook possibly the greatest bus journey i had ever taken… up to that point at least…

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5 thoughts on “India and it’s CHOCOLATE DAD vs. BLACK BARRY!!!

  1. Yes, I think you could rightfully subtitle your blog: “How I Didn’t Die 73 Times” !! Jeez Saul. The food sounds mostly awesome, and I can’t wait to hear your further adventures. Happy New Year, wherever you are right now.

  2. Repulsive indeed, one mans treasure is another mans trash! Just like his coin collection I suppose! Glad you a recounting all it’s wonder and seeing even more amazing stuff!

  3. My brother has six toes on each foot. Or had really.. since they removed some so he could fit into normal shoes (no lie).

    Also, I love reading your regurgitations!

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