Friday, June 27, 2003

Hello ppl!

Sorry I haven't posted for so long, but I'm still alive, never fear! I haven't been kidnapped by gorrilas in the jungles of Laos, or buggered to death in a back ally of bangkok.... No, I have just been lying around on beaches either enjoying the sun or cursing the rain....

It's almost impossible for me to write any amusing anecdotes, cos there's just too many. It's been so long!! The problem is that internet here costs a fortune, so I cant relax and let the words flow as I'm always racing against the clock! Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I'm still alive and I will try and get you all up to date next time i'm in Bangkok and have cheap internet....

Btw, more India photos (the Taj Mahal!) have been uploaded here :

bye for now!

Thursday, June 12, 2003

So much to write and so little time!

well, a lot has happened since I arrived in Bangkok, so i'd better start at the beginning....

As i may have mentioned, i met a swiss girl called Anna on the plane, and we found a guesthouse together in Khao sarn Road and decided to share a double room to save costs. The place seemed pretty nice although the room wasn't great. As we were arriving there was this big american lady having a huge shouting match with the owners, who were completely ignoring her. As she stormed off i said "what's up?"... "Don't stay here, it's a terrible place!" she cried! "why?" I asked " it just is!" She shouted and then stormed off.

Well, being a rascist bastard i just assumed that she was being a typical american tourist and getting in a strop about something trivial. As if to confirm this, a fellow english lager-drinking thug looked up from his beer Chang to say "I 'aven't ad any problems mate, it's noice n quoiet 'ere if you ask me"... so, i believed my fellow beer swiller and disregarded the fat american as being a silly fat american.

At 7am the next morning someone began trying to drill into my brain with a selection of larger power tools. Then i woke up and realised it wasn't my brain they were drilling, just the wall next to my head, which wasn't really any different to be honest. I went to the toilet to escape the noise only to discover that someone just on the other side of the toilet wall was methodically hitting it with a lump hammer. I decided enough was enough and set out to find a new guest house.

I found a nice little place on a road just off khao sarn called PC guesthouse. The old lady sat outside didn't speak any english, but she gave me a handful of keys, and someone had thoughtfully written the prices of the rooms on chalk on the doors, so i managed to find one without to much trouble.

After getting back and telling anna, we packed our stuff and left. After we arrived at our new guesthouse, anna suddenly realised that the 10,000 baht (US$200) from her money belt had gone missing! We worked out that the only time she had not been wearing it was when she had left it in her room once at the last guesthouse, but the door had been locked! So it HAD to be one of the staff at the guesthouse! I had also had my brand new shower gel stolen from the bathroom there, and the walls were covered in signs saying "The management is not responsible for belongings left in your rooms", which all added up to dodgyness...

We went back to the guesthouse and confrontd them. The old woman just laughed at us and waved us away with her hand (twice in 2 days!) so we went to the police station. There we were told that the police were all on a lunch break for an hour, but that even when they did get back they couldn't speak english, so we were better off going across town to the tourist police. This we did, and after a long wait a report was obtained....

Later that day we had a much nicer experience:

We went to see the Matrix, but the cinema was already fully booked! :( The guy told us we could get seats in the "Gold Class" cinema, but they were 500 baht instead of 140! We thought about it for a while, and then decided fuck it, we deserved it. Right choice! I cannot begin to describe how cool the Gold Class cinema is! We each had a huge leather lazyboy armchair with remote control reclinabilty, a blanket, a pillow, and socks to keep our feet warm in the aircon!!!! Each 2 chairs are sat either side of a little coffee table and you can order drinks from the bar. There's only about 30 chairs in the cinema, meaning you have loads of space! I actually curled up on my chair like it was a bed.... bliss! The movie was pretty good as I had very low expectations due to friends giving me poor reviews...

Today has been a tiring day:

I set out in the morning to see Wat Pho, which has a large reclining buddah. On the way to the bus, I was stopped by a tuk tuk driver who offered to take me around quite a few temples for 20 baht if I agreed to go to one "thai factory outlet" and look at the stuff there. I have seen this kind of thing before in india, so knew the score. I go in the shop and pretent to be interested, and the driver gets commision, in this case being coupons for free petrol. So i agreed and we set off. After the first temple, we go to a shop, which turns out to be a tailors, and I feign interest in getting suit made for about 10 mins before making my excuses and leaving.

Then we go to a second temple and it's closed, after which he asks me if I will please see another shop for him and he'll give me the rides for free. He seems very sweet so i agree, and once again spend 15 mins pretending to want to buy a suit. Then he took me to the golden pyramid (a big golden wat on a hill), but when I got down from my viewing, he is nowhere to be seen! Feeling rather stupid for being tricked so easily, I decided to get the bus, but while trying to decipher my out of date bus-route map, another tuk tuk driver approaches me.

I tell him that i'll only visit his shop AFTER I'been where I want to go, which he is not very happy about, so i offer to visit one shop first as a down payment, and then one more after as a bonus... He seems happy with this so we set off. When we arrive at the shop, I am filming with my video cam as I get out of the tuk tuk, and when i get into the shop the saleman greets me coldly. "Can i help you?" he says. "Yes, I'm interested in getting a suit made".. I say, but it's clear he is not going to serve me, and he bids me good day and ushers me out of the shop!!! All because I was filming as I got down from my tuk tuk!

My driver is very upset as he hasn't got his coupons, and he tells me to go and find another tuk tuk! "No way!", I tell him, a deals a deal, i went in your shop and did what you asked! He begs me to get out, telling me it's late and he has to go home! Still I refuse and tell him to take me to Wat Pho. I even offer to pay him for the trip, but he is not interested! He just wants the coupons, as today is the last day of the offer! I convince him to take me to another shop to try again, and this time I'm more convincing in my "customer pitch". Then i tell him to take me to wat Pho, which he almost does.

We arrive opposite a large and grand looking building, which looks decidedly like the Royal palace. "Wat Pho?" I say. "yes yes, wat pho!" he says. I know it isn't, but I'm too tired to argue by now, so i just get out. He pretends he's going to wait for me until I've crossed the road and then he burns off at full speed...

But my transport troubles aren't over yet! I decide I've had enough and head for the express boat which goes up the river to near where I stay. I've given up on seeing wat pho despite being 5 mins walk from it! I get a boat and ask for the stop which looks nearest to khao sarn on my map. After about 10 stops we still haven't reached the one on my map!!! I ask the conductor and she informs me that we passed it 4 stops ago! At this point i realise that my map is, for want of a better word, shit. All the names have been changed, as well as the routes.

I get off at the next stop, and then try to get back, which should be easy but isn't. The first boat I jump on I am told that it doesn't stop at my destination so i jump off. The next boat takes 20 mins to come and then the woman tries to charge me 6 baht just to do one stop!! The beauty of just going one stop however, is that if you refuse to pay, the conductor has to throw you off where you want to be, which is exactly what happens! :)

So now I'm back near my guesthouse and it's pissing down with rain.

This has been a VERY long blog entry, so I'm gonna go get a finger and eyeball massage....


Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Greetings from Bangkok!

Yes, the indian saga is finally at an end....for now. I have flown out of the rubbish of calcutta and into the comparative luxury of Bangkok. It's quite wierd to think that people who fly direct from europe to Bangkok having never visited asia think that it's crazy, dirty, smelly etc etc, but having come from india it feels like it could be Singapore! It's so clean! and the streets have BINS on them! BINS! Can you believe it?! So I no longer have to throw my rubbish onto the largest pile of rotten garbage I can see!

Having said that, in Calcutta I encountered a whole new system of refuse disposal: In most of India, people just throw their rubbish on the floor, and then other people, seeing a pile developing, follow suit, until there is a veritable mountain of rubbish, which rots and festers and is eaten by cows and cockroaches. Then the rubbish just sits there until god decides to remove it personally, which he rarely does in my experience.

In calcutta however, it is a different story. During the day, everyone throws their rubbish onto the floor just about anywhere, and over the day it piles up, creating "trash drifts" against walls and gutters, and then towards the end of the day it starts to putrify in the heat and smell bad, and then, at about 5am, the magic happens!! Trucks arrive and men jump off and begin shovelling the layer of trash off the road and onto trucks!! Then the trucks drive away and dispose of the rubbish in a special place called "Somebody elses problem"! It's amazing! The amount of trash involved is mind boggling. I rekon about 20 metres of street fills one truck!

Anyway, so now I'm in Thailand. One of first experiences so far has been to be treated with rude indifference by salespeople!! Amazing! I was stood outside a shop looking at the hammocks as i thought i might buy one for the beach. Then the old woman from inside came out and started rearranging the hammocks I had just moved. I thought she was going to offer to show me one, but instead she gave me a withering look that said "How dare you disturb my display!". I said "are these not for sale?" pointing at the hammocks, and she waved me away with a scowl! Some people just dont want my money! It's amazing! In india, they may be pushy, but damn they know their customer service. The old woman was Thai-Chinese, and I have to say it reminded me of Singapore... :o

Anyway, for those that dont know, Khao sarn Road is the Bangkok equivalent of Thamel in Khatmandu. Just loads of tourists and loads of touristy shops and pubs etc etc. It sucks. I have to leave asap! Will decide soon....


Monday, June 09, 2003

Well, last night I managed to see a cool indian movie! It was actually a Bengali movie, not a hindi one. The difference being that it's not "bollywood", it's made in calcutta. (Bollywood is west coast, Bombay). Anyway, it was actually quite good. It made me laugh in places where it was actually SUPPOSED to be funny! The humour was corny, but actually pretty good. The story was as follows. Raju like Rena, but Rena likes kickboxing champ, Ronnie, who recently beat Raju's brother Rana in the inter-college championships. Raju borrows car and money from Govinda, who is secretly in love with him, and pretends to be super cool hotshot to get Rena to like him. Eventually Raju gets found out and humiliated in front of everyone. Rena goes off with Ronnie, and raja gets in fight during which not one single punch or kick is in synch with the cheap casio keyboard sound effects that accompany them. Rana has to save him. Ronnie is pissed of, so runs over Rana, who can no longer take part in championship fight with Ronnie. Raju decides to avenge brother by taking his place in fight and sets about becoming world class kickboxer in the space of a week through the cunning use of rocky style training scene. Raju beats the shit out of ronnie in the ring, everyone cheers (in the cinema) and then Raju tells govinda he loves her (everyone cheers again). The End.

Pretty cool huh! And check this out, when the film finished, everyone started pushing towards the exits, but i thought I'd just wait until it had dies down a bit. When i finally walked out the door into the corridor I walked straight into an Indian guy who I recognised "Alright?" I said and nodded at him, and he smiled and nodded back. Then i realised where I knew him from... it was Ronnie! The bad guy from the movie! I turned back to sneak a second peek.... he wasn't nearly as scary in real life.... :)

This morning i had another bout of diorreah. I'm getting a bit sick of it now, but the thought of having to provide a stool sample is still putting me off visiting a doctor (see earlier entries). But i've bought some immodium now, so at least I have emergency precautions! I was discussing with a few travellers last night some of the interesting things that people start collecting when they travel. One girl had collected buttons from all the different countries and sowed them to her shirt..another had collected one bead from each country and made a necklace... I told them that i was collecting diseases, as they are easy to carry. The extra exciting thing about this is that i won't know the full extent of my collection until I actually return home and get some tests done! Ooooh the anticipation! I feel like I could burst! Oh no...wait...that's the diorreah....

I gave my clothes to the guy from my guesthouse yesterday to get them washed. Today he gave them back.... about twice as dirty as when I gave them to him! Not just "dirty", but with BIG stains on them of a brown nature! I gave them back to him to wash again, although i don't know if this was really a good idea. Oh well, i needed to buy some new clothes anyway. Perhaps I'll give up my role of undercover hippy and become a new-age part-time pseudo hippy like everyone else. I'll buy a top from nepal, trousers from thailand, and ethiopian necklace with a lions claw in it, a string of wooden beads, an anklet with a "om" sign on it, and most impotantly of all, one of those shoulder bags made out of hemp that are really impractical to carry. :) I have to admit, i was walking through the market just now, and I was very tempted to buy some "real" indian clothes. "Real" indian clothes, i.e the ones that indians wear, are the kind of clothes that you buy at the market in England. No name brands of polo necked shirts, maybe with a little lightning flash logo on the front, or maybe a Rebook t-shirt, or some Nikee trousers.....

oh well, I'll let you know what i decide... :)

By the way, more photos up at in the India 3 folder...

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Last night I went to see a hindi movie. When i got to the ticket counter with my friend, we were asked "which show?". "What the hell does it matter!" we thought, "they're all the same! Boy loves girl, girls family dont like boy, boy and girl sing while 1000's of extras dance whilst changing costumes very few seconds. Boy get's wrongly accused of awful crime and has to run away and track down his enemies and beat them up for at least 30 mins until they are covered in blood, then they all sing and dance again, then eventually boy proves his innocence and has to choose between shooting bad guy and going back to jail or letting police take bad guy. He chooses to shoot bad guy, but police decide he was bad afterall so let him off."

However, we were wrong. The movie we had bought tickets for was part of a new breed of Indian movie that tries to push the boundaries of hindi movie making. It was called "Into the woods....again". I dont know if this means it was a sequel or if it is just the name. Under the name on the poster is written in big letters "bought to you by Surinda Coconut Oil"... Anyway, the movie started with a girl in bed who was traumatised by watching the news showing images of ppl suffering as a result of war that she screams and throws the remote control at the tv. This is a bad start, I thought. Then there's lots of talking and eventually these two middle class families head of into the woods...again. Occasionally the music wen a bit eerie and i thought maybe it was going to turn into a horror movie, but i was always disssapointed. There was even a scene where one guy went down on his wife! obviously the camera didn't follow him but you saw her face and she moaned a little. Anyway, after half am hor of watching this drivel, with not the slightest bit of violence, singing, or dancing, we gave up and went to see X-Men 2 instead. :)

Today I went out to see the Victoria memorial, which is a big old british building from the time when britain "liberated" India (notice i'm using post Gulf war2 terminolgy). On the way there I was stopped by an old indian guy who wanted to chat to me. He was very friendly and I chatted to him for a bit. His name was Clifton, and he was from Goa originally, so he was Roman catholic, spoke very good english, and had recieved an english education. Now he worked as a gardener at the Victoria memorial and earned 1000 rupees a month (about 12 quid). I told him I was going to get some breakfast and he told me he knew just the place. After walking for about 30 mins I realised that we had just done one huge circle and ended up back where we started!! I pointed this out to him and he said "Yes" and smiled at me, as if that somehow explained why I had been walking for 30 mins in the sweltering heat and humidity! Then he led me to a restaurant that we had already passed and said "It's still closed, but we can eat at the canteen at Vic Memorial if you like". Ok, I said, not caring where we ate, i was hungry! So we walked for a while longer and eventually arrived at the memorial, which is a big old building like the ummmm, you know ....the big one in london with the dome and stuff..... anyway, we went to the canteen and it was closed apparantly, so he continued walking. I followed like a sheep and eventually I had to stop before i fell down. This is a little emaressing considering he is 66 and I'm 25, but hey, he's had more practice than me! So we sit on a bench for a while and chat, and so far he hasn'r asked me for anything, so i'm feeeling quite comfortable with his company. He does mention that i I have any old clothes i want to give him they'd be appreciated, which is fine, and I say no worries.

Eventually after lots more walking we arrive back at the first restaurant, and it's open! We go inside and order some food and then he tells me about this great new job he's got. Apparantly one of his friends at the church has offered him a job as a security guard. Instead of his current 1000 rupees, he'll be earning 4000 rupees, and all he needs to do is turn up at the beginning of the month with 2 pairs of khaki trousers and 2 khaki shirts and some black shoes. It's at this point that i start to feel it coming.... the classic guilt trip. And this ones a beauty. So after the food is finished, He tells me that he has a favour to ask. He needs 400 rupees to buy the clothes to start his new job, and anything I can do to help would be appreciated. So there it is, the classic guilt trip dilemma. There's 2 possibilities here, and in both of them I lose:

1: He's telling the truth, and I have an opportunity to make a real difference to his life by giving him that little helping hand he needs.

2: He's been engineering the conversation towards this point from the moment we met and has been working on this story for weeks.

So, I'm left with two options:

1: Give him the money and feel like a gullable fool who's just been conned.

2: Dont give him the money and feel guilty for not helping a possibly genuine friend in need.

Neither is particularly appealing. I opt for a compromise and give him 200 rupees. This way i feel a bit conned and a bit guilty, but both are kept at an acceptable level!

So anyway, enough of that, I've bought my ticket to Bangkok, and I should be flying on tuesday. woo hoo!


Saturday, June 07, 2003

By the way, more photos are now available at
look for the "india 2" folder....
Hello again.

I seem to be writing a bit out of synch at the mo. I'm now in Calcutta, but first need to write about varanasi... ok, here goes...

Varanasi is one of india's most spiritual places. It's situated on the banks of the river ganges, and the whole length of the town has ghats (steps leading down to the water) where everyone goes to have a holy bathe in the holy water. Apparently, bathing in this holy ganges water will purify your soul. Because it's so holy here, it is india's number one place to die. people come from all over the country, and even the world, to die here. Apparantly, if you are cremated here, you automatically go straight to Nirvana without any of the hassles normally assosiated with death like re-incarnation, karma etc etc. It's like arriving to the airport on your way to the states and being told that your criminal record has been wiped and you've been bumped up to business class...

It's so poular in fact, that lots of people come here a few years before they are actually due to expire, in order to spend the last few years of their lives begging to get enough money to burn their own bodies.... You see wood is very expensive, and the human body takes 3-4 hours to burn, so thats quite a lot of wood.....

The cremation Ghats here are much more raw than the ones in katmandu. Instead of the nice stone alters, the fires are just lit on the ground by the water's edge and there's a veritable production line.. or should I say destruction line going on.

Varanasi is also a poular hangout for Sadhus, or babas as they are sometimes known. Babas are people on an individual quest for enlightenment. they survive by begging for alms and denounce all material possesions. John, the american, was telling me about some of the babas he saw when he was here for the Kumb Mela a few years back, which is the biggest gathering of humanity in the world... (I think about 80 million people).... Here's a few examples: One baba had been holding his right arm in the air for 17 years. One baba had "rolled" (forward rolls) all the way there from Bombay (1000's of km's). One woman buried herself for 3 days. The list goes on..... sounds fun!

But anyway, Varanasi was too hot. The only time it was really possible to move was for 2 hours in the morning (5-7) and 3 hours in the evening (4-7). I did get about a little bit tho, with the help of Rustom, my faithful rickshaw driver and his son who remained nameless despite doing all the pedalling. Rustom became my guide after i tried to take his rickshaw to the train station to get a ticket. After showing me a few scraps of paper with "recommendations" for him written by other tourists, he proceeded to offer me just about every imaginable service I could think of. To be honest I didn't really need anything, but the sight of him was enough to make me come up with some "needs" to keep him busy... His cheeks were so sunken that it looked like you could easily have fitted two golf balls in the depressions they made. His arms and legs were like matchsticks. He kept telling me "i am poor man but rich inside". I'm assuming he was talking about his heart and soul, as his actual "insides" were unquestionably as poor as his outsides, which they kept threatening to join every few minutes when he was racked by a coughing fit. Luckily he was not doing the pedalling, but sitting beside me and trying to come up with new things I might like to spend my money on. I kept him for most of the day and gave him what i thought was a pretty hefty tip. But it's so sad, because even my hefty tip was only enough to buy medicine for about 2 days, and what's the use of that?

The next day I met Rustom again, and again found a reason to use him. I asked him to take me to a place where i could get a packed lunch made up for my train ride, and he said he knew just the place, so we set off once again with his son at the pedals. I bought him lunch at the restaurant, and as i sat opposite him at that table I couldn't help but feel guilty. It's so easy to hide from the reality of poverty here, by simply detatching yourself from the people who are suffering. Instead you worry that the rickshaw driver is overcharging you by 10 rupees and behave indignant at the prospect of being ripped off. Somehow your eyes look through the emaciated body of the man in question, or some pathetic yet stubborn part of your brain convinces you that he, and the children in rags on the street, are deliberately looking like that to make you feel guilty. You find comfort in fellow travellers who are not about to make you feel guilty with there obvious need for help... But ultimately, whether the beggers are being controlled by a begger master, or the rickshaw driver is overcharging you, there's no avoiding the fact that all of those people are desperately struggling to make enough rupees to buy a bowl of rice at the end of the day, and that's the thing that we westerners just find it too depressing to accept.

So anyway, yes, i felt guilty sitting opposite Rustom, not for anything i had done, but for everything i was not prepared to do. Yes i'd given him 120 rupees instead of 20, but why not give him a 1000? Why not 2000? After all, it's only 25 quid.... But once you start thinking like that India becomes an impossible place to be, as almost everyone you meet in your normal day to day life is in a situation not dissimilar to Rustom's. Everyone needs a handout, everyone needs your cash. So what's the solution? One possibility is to join Mother Teresas Missionaries of Charity and wash a few lepers. This has an almost instant purging effect on your guilt from what i've heard, and allows you to ignore beggers with impunity.... ;) But then who are you doing it for? the benefit of the leper or benefit of your own conscience? I guess it doesn't really matter, as long as the leper gets washed.

So, in conclusion, I didn't give Rustom 2000 rupees, but at the same time i didn't try to cheat him of the few rupees he deserved. I dont intend to join Mother teresa and wash lepers, but i do intend to continue giving small amounts to random people who look like they need it, just as i would in the UK. And if I start to feel guilty again, i'll come in here and moan about it until i feel better.... :)

Right, i got a bit sidetracked there. I'm in Calcutta now, after a fairly pleasant train ride (interpret "pleasant" as "screaming adults, hyper kids, food fights, sweltering heat, stomach cramps..).

I arrived this morning at about 7am. First i tried a hotel recommended by a girl from the train. The only single room thay had was like a prison cell, only not as nice. I gave it a miss, and headed for the Salvation Army Guesthouse. I asked to be shown the dorm beds and was pointed in one direction. I walked through a door and did a double take. I thought i had accidentally walked into mother Teresa's Hospice for the dying. It was a crumbling, long and narrow old room with about 7 iron framed beds sqeezed in against the walls. The occupants of the beds looked in desperate need of medical attention, and i really expected to see nuns walking amongst the beds and mopping brows whilst telling everyone that God loved them... It was a horrible sight. For some reason i decided to stay. I guess I just had to be able to say i stayed in a dorm. As I moved my bag in and sat on my bed, not one person in the room looked up or made the slightest acknowlegement of my presence. Everone looked as if they were too deep in the contemplation of their own suicides to say hello. I then had my first dilemma of dorm life. Do i leave my valuables in the room or take them into the shower with me? Opting for the wet cash approach i headed into the shower, feeling very conspicuous with my "I don't trust you guys" day-pack slung over my shoulder. In the shower the owners had obviously anticipated I might try this and so had removed anything that could be used as a hanging hook from the walls and created an inch deep puddle on the floor. However, by balancing my bag on the toilet i finally managed to take a shower....

anyway, that's enough blogging to write a book!


Thursday, June 05, 2003

Wow. It's been quite a journey.

I guess I ought to start from the beginning. When I last left you I was in Thamel in katmandu with a bit of a stomach ache. Well, later that evening I was on a bus to Sanauli (the border with India) clutching my butthole closed like my life depended on it, which in a way it did, as I'm sure the guy sat next to me wouldn't have been too pleased if I just let go the whole mess right beside him.
Before going on i think i should comment that it is now almost certain that Vishnu, the god of Buses, has put a curse on me. As you may remember from previous posts, every time I ride an overnight bus, I get Diorreah. This might be understandable if I often got it, but the fact is that the ONLY time I get diorreah has been on these overnight bus rides! I refer you back to ... 11th March, 18 March, 13 April 2003....

So anyway, back to this story. No sooner had I got on the bus than the telltale farts began. Then came the fatal fart. The one that you only just stop in time, the sheer effort of holding it back bringing out a cold sweat on your forehead. I clenched with all my might, but then the fumes coming in the window as we drove through central katamndu started to make me feel nauseous! I wanted to throw up, which would have been easy as there was an open window right beside me, but I knew that if I threw up there was no way i could keep my bum-dam operating. So I grimaced and beared it, and after a few hours of suffering we eventually reached a toilet stop. I rushed to the little corrugated iron cubicle and let rip a torrent the runny stuff. It was like turning on a tap in cambodia (if you haven't been there, the water is brown). The toilet was sooo hot that after a few seconds my whole body was literally drenched in sweat, my clothes stuck to my skin and my face dripped onto the floor. I waited in there until I thought there was nothing left in me, and then evntured outside. All the foreigners from the bus had sat in a long row directly opposite the toilet, and they all looked at me as if I was a freak. "What have you been doing in there?!" asked a Chilean guy. "Shhh, it's a secret!" I told him confidentially, before running back into the cubicle. After coming out the second time I went round asking if anyone had any immodium. No one did. The we got back on the bus.
No sooner had the bus pulled away than i needed to go again. Badly! For the next 3 hours i held on, desperately trying to control the situation. Every now and then I would nearly dose off to sleep but as soon as this happened my sphincter would start to relax and I would be woken abruptly by a loud alarm bell going off in my head "Wake up! Your about to shit your pants!!". Luckily i would always wake up in time to avert a disastor, but each near miss would bring me closer to my breaking point....

Eventually we reached the second toilet stop and once again I ran off the bus. This time the I had to share the cubicle.... with a large toad! After locking the door with a twig (don't ask) and squatting over the hole in the floor, I suddenly noticed a large toad trying to get out through the crack of the door. He was way too fat however, and every now and then he'd turn around and start looking for alternative exits, at which point he'd catch sight of me, look at me suspiciously for a bit, and then decide that maybe he could squeeze thru that crack after all and go back to his hopeless struggle. Anyway, apart from the toad, this stop was the same as the last. Bum becomes tap, tap washes hands, hands lift me over other passengers and onto seat, seat begins to bash bum, bum becomes tap again.....

After a few more stops, none with toilets (shit at side of road) we eventually arrived in Sanauli, or at least somewhere near Sanauli. The journey had been 12 hours of hell. I was sorely tempted to just get a hotel here and wait till I recovered, but the Danish guy I had sat next to convinced me just to pop some immodium and head onto Gorakpur, in India, to get my train ticket reserved. Ok, I thought, and popped some immodium.

After clearing customs, we got on a local bus to Gorakpur. the bus was packed to the roof (plus packed on the roof!) ans everyone was in the middle of a heated argument about something, so the bus couldn't move. We waited half an hour before we even started moving, and then after we started moving, i realised that I still needed to shit. great. I aslo need to sleep almost as badly as I needed to shit. Somehow i once again survived with clean pants, and we eventually arrived in gorakpur, where I was told that all trains to calcutta were booked up for the next 2 days. The thought of waiting in Gorakpur for 2 days was too much. It's a shithole. Luckily I met an american guy who also wanted to go to Calcutta and we both decided to head to varanasi, which is kind of on the way.... we got tickets and I spent the rest of the day in a hotel resting....
So now i'm in varanasi, which is a pretty crazy town. I'll tell you more about it later, cos right now my tummys starting to feel a little unstable.....

Oh by the way, Selene has put up pictures of our Nepal adventure. Check them out here :

Monday, June 02, 2003

My baby's gone!!!! :(

Once again I'm all alone in this big old world with only my imaginary headlice to keep me company... (I invented my imaginary headlice during a particularly lonely night in a train station in rajastan). But even scratching my imaginary bites isn't enough to take my mind off the fact that I can't see my baby any more.... :( And to make matters worse, the past two days selene has been really ill with Gastroenteritis (the shits) and hasn't been able to be her usual chirpy self due to the practical impossibilties of laughing and vomiting at the same time....

I took her to the doctor yesterday after she'd been up puking in the night, and he told her she had to give him a stool sample. Such a strange word to describe a shit... stool.... anyway, he showed her the bathroom and pointed to a stack of small plastic cups, like the ones you get out of coffee vending machines, and said "If you could just put a bit of stool in one of those cups and then inform the receptionist..." Hello! He made it sound like you could just reach into your bowels and fish out a nicely sized lump and pop it in the cup! Obviously he has never done a shit before. The thing about shits is that they are notoriously unpredictable, especially when you have an upset stomach. Lets imagine for a moment that you are holding the cup under your butt, trying to gauge the most likely trajectory, and then suddenly you have an explosive burst of diorreah!! It's not a pretty thought! Another equally disturbing thought is that you produce one of those prize-winning logs that you feel so proud of you want to call your girlfriend into the loo to take a photo. I mean it's not gonna fit in the cup is it!! Sure you could pinch it off halfway, but then you could end up with half a turd stuck up there, and anyway, with a pize-winning log it would be a crime to pinch it....

Ok Ok! I'll stop! But dont tell me you haven't at least once pondered on these matters in the privacy of your own bathroom.....

Anyway, back to the present. I'm hungry, low on cash, I have a stomach ache and I'm alone. Compared to Richard Branson I'm in a pretty sorry state. Compared to the leper with no hands or nose i just saw ouside, I might as well be Richard Branson..... It's a funny old world....

I'm gonna go and watch "8 Mile" again in a bit to kill some time. It's showing in one of these restaurants that show movies to try and entice customers because their food is so shit and they are situated down the end of a back alley full of shit. Sorry, a lot of shit in this post i know.... So anyway, I hope my baby is doing ok at the airport. I wasn't allowed inside the building! Bloody cheek! Not even as far as the cafe to sit and have a drink with her! I even offered to check my gun in at reception but they still weren't having it! ;)

By the way, could you all do me a favour and boycott ESSO. I have recently rediscovered (you know how people tell you these things and you forget them 10 mins later) that ESSO is run by evil goblins intent on destroying the world and building huge factories to cut up cute animals to be used as fuel for giant american cars.... or something like that.... Basically they are one of the main powers behind American policies on Oil, being as they donate huge sums of money to the Bush Administration. They are the main opponents to letting america develop any form of alternative energy or start using efficient cars like the rest of the world... To cut a long story short, they're bastards. Yes, it's all a conspiracy theory, yes I believe what I want to believe, yes it's all concocted by long haired hippies who spend too long surfing the net, but look at it this way, is it really that far fetched to imagine that a multi-national gazillion dollar oil company might be run by greedy heartless bastards? i think not. So trust me on this one and next time you think of putting esso fuel in your car, spare a thought for all the cute little animals and put in some "billyfuel" instead, coming soon to a highway near you.... :)

ok, I think I've said enough for one day. I've managed to take my mind of being all alone in a smelly city full of people who want to cheat me! When I write my blog i really feel as if i'm chatting with you guys, whoever you are, but I have to say, you're a quiet bunch..... please talk to me! all comments, no matter how dull, are appreciated.... :) laters.