Monday, 27 June 2011

I've had the same, Primart linen trousers, on for 2 days now...

No jokes, day and night.

Just a quick update because a lot actually happened this afternoon. (Just as an example of the food, I have just been handed "snacks" whilst on the computer. I asked what it was, he looked blankly and calmly said. "It's Indian food." Smiled and walked away.) So this afternoon I was taken to a village. It was pretty hot so the moped now felt as if someone was blowing a hair dryer in your face. I know I'm not going to get too much sympathy as whinging texts from Laura Milner have come in about how the heat in England is "loco". The village was as basic as it could get, but very compact and full of small walkways and paths. I was refrained from taking any photos as I feel it can often be distasteful, especially in someones home environment.
As I am sure you are eager to know I have had my first "bucket shower" which is a complicated procedure. I can't really see any results yet, one due to not having seen a mirror since the toilet on BA and two because you walkout sweating as much as you did when you walked in. (Now just been handed some bloody coffee!). Going to relax and see where I could possible hide this bowl of shredded brown stuff.

We no speak Americano and the "dickhead with the spoon"

Monday. I have had 2 days now and 1 night. Not including the huge sleep and rest I needed when I got here. Settling in has been pretty easy as everyone is so friendly but sometimes awkward in terms of not knowing what to do and say. Most people here don't really speak English, they speak Tamil. There are 3000 different dialects in India so learning one doesn't necessarily mean you will better understood. When I arrived I was allowed a good rest and although it took a while for me to nod off I did get to sleep all the way through until lunch. By the way I've changed my mind, the meal I had on BA, great food. I cant really explain the food here because frankly I have no idea what it is. I sat down to lunch not very hungry and was present with more food than everyone else put together. The food here may not come with a Michelin star but you defiantly don't walk away hungry. I was not so quick to realise however that the spoon I was eating with was a serving spoon, as here, you eat with you hands. I was too far into eating to just put it down and start eating with my hands like I knew what I was doing that I was forced to carry on, but have changed my style since. Yesterday was very relaxed. The children weren't in school so we went to the beach. The children live here permanently and although the people here look after them really well they haven't got any family. So simple things to us will make there day. They love to hold you hand and the small ones will love you forever if you carry them or let them sit on your lap. Despite not having a penny in the world they are beautifully well manner and polite. I am extremely well treated here. There was also a local (traveling) family that came past yesterday. They had a young baby, maybe 8 months who I scared to death as he had never seen a white person before. The mother was lovely although in many ways strange. I don't think she fully understood "the white man" and wanted all her family to meet me and kiss her children as if I was blessing them. Today it was much quieter as the children were at school. I took a trip into town to sort out a phone. I swapped a really bad Nokia that I bought at home for 30 quid that didn't work here for a phone that even Simon Williams would turn down, but at least it works. The traveling its self was the highlight of my day however. I was driven about on the back of a moped and was on the road with a thousand other mopeds with the occasional truck plowing its way through. As long as you don't think your about to die, its actually pretty fun. (I think helmets here are frowned upon btw). This is my base for now and I sleep here again tongiht. Tomorrow I am packing a rucksack and traveling to a village for 4 nights to help with the construction of their village school. I dont think I will be having internet... P.S The picture I posted aren't the most interesting but just gives you an idea of where I am and what I am talking about.

Home at the moment

House where I stay

Drive coming from the main road, (House behind me)

One of the son's of the family I am staying with and 2 of the children. (Chose this picture as this kid stupidly decided to cut his own hair and then realised it was so bad it was better to shave it off)

My Bed

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Pointless smiles and useless charm

As of many single travels, an upgrade was surely there to be taken. A smile and a friendly face would always put you in good stead with a check-in girl, I just didn't count on the one I picked to be the middle aged, grumpy one. I barely got a glance back, despite the endless "how are you today" and "thank you very much". I was early and, along with the fact I was starving, the recommendation from Oliver Tyler was fresh in my mind. I had a fantastically expensive fry-up at Gordon Ramsey's "Plane Food", which was in many ways a good English send off. However my good culinary experienced stopped there. I was quick to whip out the on-board entertainment and was well into Heston Blumenthal's "Mission Impossible" program when the food came round. This week it was his job to turn around BA's in flight food. Brilliant! As every other rational person would, I was excited to try this new, innovative menu. However I was greeted by rice, with a little bit of chicken in it. I was clearly not on one of the participating flights and in fact I am pretty sure my flight's food budget was cut to pay for Heston's seaweed shepherd's pie and 'real wine' gums. The flight was only slightly delayed and I arrived at 04.15 Indian time (4 and a half hours ahead of real time). The immigration que was horrendous and after a hot 40 minuet wait I got to the front. I don't know if I was still in my "charm and get an upgrade mode" but I really pissed off the Indian women behind the counter who refused me entry, due to address details, and send me to the interview rooms. Now they must have been short this day as I didn't even get my own room. I was sat next to a man who stole a visa and was working illegally. This stone faced women must have thought that both our crimes were equal as she spoke to us alternatively, switching from where are you staying and why, and this is stolen and your going down fool. After an hour I was told "you can go now" but that was a lie. I have to sit in an hour long que to get back to the same lady who refused me. I dropped the charm this time and it seemed to work. I was greeted at the airport by the entire nation of India, despite still being dark. I met my driver, given away my "Mr Oliver Rilley". As we got up to his car I apologised for the wait and then was quickly aware that the man who was going to drive me for the next 2 and a half hours spoke absolutely no English what so ever. The drive however was... fun. You may have heard the noise of the horn being used like crazy when seeing scenes of India on TV, and it may look chaotic, however it is amazing. It is like they are all animals communicating with one another and it does actually work... ish. I staying with a family (and 13 extra children they look after) but that is for another day. Sorry about no photos at the moment. Should be able to get some on here soon.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Short Hair, All Packed

Early in the morning (for a student anyway), all packed and ready to go. The short hair still feels weird but I quite like it. A daunting 6 weeks ahead of me, exacerbated by the fact I arrive at 3.30 am, miles away from where I am staying and completely on my own for the first 36 hours. Plenty of time to explore my surroundings though. Really looking forward to the trip but just so much to miss at home that I don't want to leave behind. Want to say a huge thanks to all the boys who gave me a nice send off, and the last couple of weeks have been pretty bloody amazing; driving experiences, birthday drinks, Ascot, etc. Will keep a keen eye out for computers so I can keep everyone updated. Talk soon!!