We can’t quite believe our time in India is up but this video will give you taster of all the fun we’ve had.
We hadn’t originally planned to go to Kerala but with several people recommending it to us we added to our itinerary. Coming from the dustiness of North India and after the aforementioned train journey, Kerala has been a much appreciated delight. It’s vast greenery, mountain roads, wildlife and insane views were more than we expected. With a new driver our 7 days were just a packed as our weeks in the north.
Munnar – The roads through the mountains, tea plantations and waterfalls from Cochin to Munnar were spectacular. We stopped along the way for our first taste of masala pineapple and to see cardamom, jack fruit and cocoa growing by the roadside. We walked up a mountain, saw mountain goats, went to a tea museum (a lot more interesting than it sounds) and watched the weirdest drama/dance involving mainly eyebrow movements and drums.
Thekkady – An upgraded hotel room (with floor to ceiling windows of surrounding mountain views) made this our best stay yet. The next day was possibly the weirdest so far. It started with a bustling queue at 5am for entry tickets to something or other, we weren’t quite sure. Then began the bizarre motor race through the nature reserve, next thing we know we are being thrown out of the car and told to join the flip flop clad sprinting Indians… only to join another queue. This line involved sweaty, belly pushing men and resulted in Roseanna getting lairy. All the chaos eventually concluded in a tranquil and beautiful boat ride. To make the most of our morning efforts we decided to go off piste exploring the reserve. We found monkeys, tribes people, many a bog and eventually got escorted back by angry officials. Rebels.
Backwater – With rivers instead of roads the only way to travel around this area is by boat. We spent a day and night on our own private house boat, equipped with driver and chef. We had a relaxing day with the best food yet – fish fry, in abundance.
Cochin – A 30p entry museum (not even worth it) and a boy of a driver with no sense of direction didn’t start us off well. The day began to look up when we discovered the Chinese fishing nets, beach and a man reciting “pineapple, mango, pineapple, mango… cool water?”. The evening brought us the first of the monsoon weather; I know we’re British but the torrential rain and lightning excited us so much we ran outside prompting questions of whether it ever rains in England. We made a friend on a bike who took us to the beach, we danced whilst he sang French songs and hijacked a ride standing on the back of his friends tuk tuk.
All in all Kerala has been our favourite place in India, fo’ sho.
Our final train journey made our last one seem like a breeze. We spent a whole day lugging our bags around in the mugginess of Madgaon (with a brief stop in the cinema to watch a non-subtitled Hindi film) to get the station around 8.30pm. We strolled onto the platform, fairly confident of our understanding of the Indian Railway system to find our train was delayed… until 5am. With minimal choice on what to do we had to join the hundreds of unfazed Indians who had already spread their blankets on the station floor and settled down for the night. The next 8 and a half hours involved sweaty backs, numb bums, starey men, story time with Roseanna, a Mike Reeves sermon (it was a Sunday), over friendly stray dogs, poetry writing, a questioning toilet lady, overheating faces and many men shouting “jay jay” (chai). The train came at 5, we welcomed the air-con with open arms and caught up on sleep. With an extra delay (partially caused by us not getting off at the final stop) we arrived 24 hours from when we first arrived at the station in Goa.
With all that time on our hands and partly to try and stop the staring man staring at us with the use of loud and angrily read poetry, we wrote some poems.
You scary man,
We’re already sweaty, uncomfortable and trying to sleep,
We don’t need your persistent stare permeating through the heat,
You’re so subtle turning around,
We’re not the only people lying on the ground,
Or is it that you’ve never seen two girls so white?
Has it caused your eyes to be set in permanent fright?
We catch your eye but you don’t turn away,
You’re making us feel like your unwitting prey.
White people aren’t tasty!
Oh, The Woes Of Modelling
“Can you take a picture?”
“Take it of you or take it wit’ ya?”
They say nothing but look expectant,
We look to each other to see what they meant,
All of a sudden we are surrounded,
By this time we’re used to being hounded,
Reaching for the camera, we’re still hoping,
We got it wrong again, we’re barely coping,
As everyone gathers in position,
We vow to make it our mission,
To never let this happen again,
At least for five minutes… or maybe ten.
We are in Goa. We had our first experiences of the Indian night trains, one successful, one more than stressful. We stopped for the night in Mumbai which took a turn for the worst when Emma got super ill, which is why the second train journey wasn’t a good’n. Let’s just say we had seconds to spare before Emma passed out on the station platform – we’ll leave it at that.
The trains are as full of weird scenarios as the rest of Indian life. Angry Indian ladies, various buckets of food, chicken lollipops and an Austrian man massaging Emma’s undernose.
After a disastrous taxi journey in Mumbai in which we ran out of petrol on the motorway we were ready to be taxi savvy on our arrival in Goa. The first fews days the majority of time was spent lying down in recovery. Finally we were able to go and explore. We found our local beach complete with choppy seas and packs of stray dogs. Confident in our English ability to combat waves we both wholeheartedly headed for the ocean, only to be accosted by the coast guard warning us of the choppy perils. Roseanna reassured him we were absolutely fine as Emma flailed around like a frail leaf amongst the crashing waves in the background, to the obliviousness of Roseanna. I’m pretty sure we convinced him.
The next few days have been much the same with little to report other than the fact we unwittingly bought and ate a pack uncooked meat (pork).
After the hectic first two weeks it’s been a relief to just relax. Now we are looking forward to what Kerela has in store.
Everyone tells you about the amount of horn honking that goes on in India. We were expecting it, for a while we thought we understood it but Mr Singh (our beloved driver) has introduced us to the sheer complexity of honking etiquette.
- Move please – Honk
- Moooooovvvvveeeee! – Hoooonk honk
- You’re going too slow (but you’re not in the way) – Beep
- I’m behind you, just so you’re aware – Beep
- I’m overtaking you – Beeeeep
- The traffic lights might change a second – Honk
- I’m joining the road – Beeep
- I’m turning left/right – Beep beep
- Hey, I know that guy – Hooooonk honk
- I might know that guy? – Honk honk
- The road is empty, let’s celebrate – Beeeeeep beep
- Someone just honked – Honk
- I haven’t honked in a while – Hooonk
Mr Singh, it’s been an eye opening delight and we have thoroughly enjoyed helping you post your slightly intoxicated videos on your instagram and help you reply to your one like.
Namaste my friends 🙏 (we’ve totally got into the Indian culture). We thought we would give you a brief update on our week travelling around Rajasthan.
Agra – We got up to go to the Taj Mahal at sunrise but we missed it. The Taj was nice at that time in the morning though as it was a lot quieter than it would have been by midday.
Jaipur – Some of our funniest days yet, supposedly the ‘Pink City’ but it isn’t that pink. We walked up to an amazing fort with many elephants, met Raj the half king and came back down again. As most of you may have seen we then had our own elephant experience in a car park, which led on to purchasing new handmade trousers. The evening also provided us with much hilarity in an empty restaurant with all the driest foods known to man, dancing girls and a spitting water incident. Interesting.
Pushkar – A beautiful rural town where we were finally let off Mr Singh’s leash, which meant we got lost fairly quickly. As per usual everyone in town was keen to say “hi”, even a man mid pee in a (very) public urinal. In the evening we went on a sick camel ride through the mountains, desert and the farming villages. Roseanna’s camel had a flatulence issue and Emma’s camel – “Lucky Boy” was just plain disobedient and clumsy. Not the best of combinations.
Jodhpur – Supposedly the ‘Blue City’ but it’s not that blue. We climbed another hill to a fort with a view over the city. On route we met a lovely Indian gentleman named Anop who, after twirling his moustache, asked us for a selfie. On the way back we confidently went off piste and found ourselves in a mass of tiny alleyways harassed by many excitable little children all wanting “one photo?” We recovered with dinner on the rooftop watching an impressive lightning storm.
Ranakpur – A quick stop in Ranakpur to see a man-made lake in the middle of mountains, where we watched the sunset with fighting monkeys as Mr Singh told us his life story.
Udaipur – We have now arrived in Udaipur, visited a craft fair that wasn’t really open and said good-bye to Mr Singh. We’ll be off on our first train tomorrow evening heading to Mumbai.
As a side note, we have had a mare with the pictures so if you want to see them properly then head to the gallery page
The other day we went on an elephant and it was a hilarious experience from beginning to end. First we were assured by Mr Singh that he was going to take us to a place to ride elephants that was ‘in the jungle and less touristic, where all the elephants go.’ It turned out to be a dusty car park with one elephant and about four trees.
Then came to boarding the elephant which you can enjoy above. We have watched it at least 20 times and still find it hilarious.,
Then Roseanna ripped a gapping hole in the crotch of her trousers which was awkwardly stumbled upon by the tailor later on that day as he tried to take her inside leg measurement..
So we had a bit of a trek to Delhi. A 2am flight from Dubai, followed by a five hour wait in Sri Lanka (with a frustrating trip to the visa office) and another four hour flight meant we arrived in New Delhi at 6pm, exhausted.
An unplanned visit to a tourism office opened our eyes to the fact that trains in India get booked up around 120 days before they actually leave and this unfortunately meant we could not make it to the orphanage as planned.We also learned that our hotel was located in the Prison district where a man at the desk beside us had just been mugged so we shouldn’t go there either. So at this point we realised we only had a very vague plan of action for the rest of the trip- which also mostly relied on trains.. Needless to say, it wasn’t looking good.
But then, Romey (the tourism man), worked some serious magic for us. He worked out with us a day by day route with recommendations of where to go and alternative means of travel. Unfortunately, the cost was a bit more than we had budgeted for but we agreed it was a good rate to have no worries and amazing things to look forward to. So then we came to pay.. and I couldn’t find my bank card..
The wonderful Romey made it his priority to find the card, after various phone calls and what seemed like forever, he found that it was at the airport and insisted that he would take us back to there to get it. After we had some beers with them of course.
So we went in Romey’s car with his smiley non-English-speaking Uncle Guru and arrived at the airport (just before Roseanna wet herself), got my card and drove off. To where, we had no idea but thoroughly enjoyed the Perks of Being a Wallflower moment as we stood out of the sunroof on the motorway.
We arrived at a nice hotel and it seemed we had fallen on our feet. But then as we got into bed, the day dawned on us. We had paid a lot of money and had nothing to show for it. So we freaked out. And prayed a lot.
After a regroup in the morning we went to the office to speak to Romey. First of all he got us breakfast and assured us, he had been working to get our tickets together today and we’d come back at the end of the day to collect everything. We then sat in a room with a couple of Swiss girls doing the same as we had last night and felt extremely relieved. We were then sent off with our driver for a few days (Mr Singh) and had a mental day of sight seeing in Delhi. We returned at the end of the day, got our tickets and went out to a bar with Romey, the smiley uncle and a couple of Swedish girls. Romey bought us beer and fried chicken so now we know, he is just a super nice guy and pretty much the Lad of Delhi.