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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stories I haven't shared


In the past few weeks several people have enquired about the lack of posts, more specifically—the lack of posts on India and Sri Lanka. I thought I had shared enough, but I guess I was wrong. I also haven't had much of a writing spirit in me. Sometimes it just pours out and other times(like the past couple months), I am as dry as the Sahara. But in the spirit of sharing, here you go...

After leaving the fresh hell that was Delhi and Jaipur, I wondered what new agony would await me upon my arrival in Agra. I was miserable, hot and tired. At this point, I just wanted to see the Taj Mahal and get the hell out of dodge.

The train pulled into Agra station, the doors opened and there he was waiting, right outside my carriage. His name was Babloo. He was a short, sprightly young man. He stood there, in 30°C weather, in a long sleeve dress shirt and slacks. This seemed to be the young Indian man dress code. He held a sign with my name, smiled and said "Rhodesia? Welcome to Agra!", in his heavily accented English. At that moment, a calm came over me and I knew I would be taken care of. I trusted him immediately.

I was escorted to my hotel, where I showered and put on my Taj Mahal outfit (a white and rust coloured salwar kameez that I had purchased in Chennai). On the ride there, I got to know Babloo. He explained that he had been in the travel industry for twelve years (he was only twenty-three). He told me of his family and life in Uttar Pradesh. There was something about his energy that I knew I could trust and that he would protect me.

We arrived at the complex and went through a thorough security screening, where a female guard pulled out my pepper spray and asked me what it was. I told her it was dog spray. She gave me the side eye, handed it back to me and I went in. The moment we reached the archway and I caught my first glimpse of her, I was overwhelmed with unexpected emotion. I had seen the Taj Mahal in photos and documentaries countless times, but to lay eyes on her...I asked Babloo to give me a minute. I just stood there staring for a long while. A hardened traveller, who has seen it all, might find my awe of the monument pedestrian, but for me it was simply unforgettable.

It was a Sunday, the sun was blazing down and it was extremely crowded. We walked around the perimeter, I touched the marble, ogled and took countless pictures. There were many people staring at me, but I didn't care. A few people yelled out random countries at me " Kenya, Nigeria, West Indies!" I paid them no mind. A man in his 20's with his girlfriend and family saw me and was urging his girlfriend to take a picture with me, like I was a monkey in a zoo. She didn't want to and I told him no. He gave me look a that said "how dare you say no to me!" He urged on, Babloo interjected on my behalf and spoke to him in Hindi. The guy pulled in close to Babloo, whispered something in his ear, smiled and patted him on the back, then walked away. I didn't have to understand Hindi to know that what he said to him was of a sexual nature. Babloo was visibly upset as we walked towards the line up. He wouldn't tell me what the man had said. He just shook his head and said " these people they don't understand. I work with tourists. They don't understand it is rude!"

We stood in the line up for a glimpse of the mausoleum (the only part that is open to visitors). You're herded in like cattle, given one minute to take pictures and then ushered out. We stayed on the grounds for a while, chatting. Babloo, my protector, would block people as they tried to photograph me or get in my personal space. I knew without him my experience would have been a lot more frantic and unpleasant. After the Taj we wandered for a bit. I then went back to my hotel, had dinner and marvelled at the day's events.

The next day Babloo was absent. It was just me and my driver (whose name I can't recall). He was a nice young man, mildly handsome but had a mouth full of teeth the colour of tar from chewing tobacco— which(to my delight) he indulged in on several occasions throughout the day. I was taken to Fatehpur Sikri to marvel at more Mughal architecture. For two hours, I wandered through the site and met a bus load of Indian tourists from Kerala, who were incredibly sweet and inquistive.

I had several hours to kill before my train left, so my driver dropped me off at Babloo's office, right in the centre of busling Agra. It was the size of a small walk-in closet and adorned with maps and posters of India. He had a small desk, on which he managed to fit a computer, hard drive, modum, antenae, papers and countless wires.  I sat on a tiny wooden bench,which could barley hold my rotund ass but would end up seating two of us.

I would spend the next five hours, just hanging out with Babloo and his dear friend Harish, in a shoebox. My suitcase was just outside the office and I was paranoid about someone walking by and swiping it. Several shady characters came by and spoke to Babloo, some stayed for a while, but when he sensed my uneasiness, he sent them away. My solo female traveller mind said" WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!" Hanging out in a plaza in the middle of Agra with two dudes and less than desirable characters strolling by. My instinct told me I was safe. I knew I could trust Babloo. He was also two inches shorter and 80lbs lighter than me. Harish was as sweet as apple pie, didn't have functioning legs and walked with his arms. I relaxed but my spidy sense was always alert. We added each other to Facebook, shared pictures of our friends, discussed Bollywood stars.

Harish went home and Babloo took me to the train station in an auto-rickshaw. We said our goodbyes and I gave him a big hug, which from all the peering eyes, I knew was inappropriate. I headed back to Delhi and another ten days of travel. Agra and Babloo were the turning point of that trip. It started off great and then it went to shit. But then, you get off a train, someone holds up a sign with your name and smiles at you and all is well again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Another asinine conversation with my brother

ME: National Geographic has a program about the Amazon. Look up "the English monkey" also known as the Uakari. Also look up the Harpy eagle.

BRO: Ahhh! The backyard of my formative years.


We are originally from a country that borders Brazil and shares a minute portion of the Amazon, but we lived nowhere near it.

ME: Ummmmm...So you grew up in the Amazon basin? Where the fuck was I?

BRO: I don't want to get caught up in the adoption drama. Ask mom of your whereabouts.

ME: Oh, I will! So you lived off the land with the Amerindians? Do you even know how to start a fire?

BRO: I would rather not get into it. I could start a fire with my bare hands. My native name is "Redda fire".

ME: It's probably because your hands are dry and ashy. It's as if turds are flying out of your mouth.

BRO: My hands convey manliness, while at the same time, worthy of a dove.

ME: Words escape me... So, you were a fire starting hunter as a toddler? Perhaps we should go back to the Amazon basin and relive your formative years. There is another one at 10 if you're interested in watching.

BRO: I was a prodigy of sorts. I would love to retrace my formative years. What channel?

ME: It's quite easy to return to a vivid imagination. Channel 250.

BRO: Nice jaguar.

ME: Yes indeed. We are kindred spirits.

BRO: Yeah, OK.

ME: Actually I think I maybe closer to the sloth. Slow moving, they hide in the trees and come down once a week to defecate.

BRO: Really, once a week? You defecate 3 times daily. Are we really going to see sloths shagging?

ME: Ewwwwwwwww. That must take like 12 hrs.

BRO: It must. I have some fond memories of the Amazon delta.

ME: Wow. Do those include shooting poisonous  blow darts at howler monkeys and then eating their brains?

BRO: I never partook in the eating of monkey meat.


ME: Because you were never there!

BRO: Whatever.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

VERITAS

This happened quite a while ago and most of my friends already know this story. When it happened, I decided it wouldn't be appropriate to share. But... I recently remembered that I have never really been appropriate, so I am sharing it now.

Most of you will remember Edelweiss from here and here. A few people inquired about what happened to him because it seemed like we had a good rapport—some chemistry even.

Edelweiss studies eastern medicine and I decided to go for an acupuncture session at his house. That was the last time I saw him...

I arrived at his Victorian style residence and immediately had second thoughts. The lawn was unkempt, the paint on the front door was peeling, and I swore a black cat walked by and glared at me. He answered the door all bright-eyed and bushy tailed in a white lab coat. We walked upstairs to the top floor where he led me to a room with a massage table. He was very officious about the whole thing and made me fill out forms about my ailments, liability, blah, blah, blah. I thoroughly filled out the forms and he instructed me to disrobe when he left the room. I did so and lay under the paper thin white sheet. He returned and sat on a chair across from me, in his white lab coat, studying my forms. He then started with a line of questioning that was...just read on. (Please insert Austrian accent in Edelweiss' lines.)

Edelweiss:You put that you suffer from back pain. What caused this?


Me:A car accident a few years ago.


Edelweiss:You also put that you have menstrual cramps.


Me:Yes.


Edelweiss:How many days is your period? How intense are your cramps?


Me:I don't know 5 days... My cramps are quite intense (starting to feel extremely uncomfortable at this point)


Edelweiss: Ok. Are there clots? And what colour is the blood?

Do you want a f**kin sample? It was at this point I knew I would never bone Edelweiss. EVER! If I had a penis it would have gone flaccid, curled up inside of me and become a vagina. I know he was doing his job, but the combination of the white lab coat, Austrian accent, period questions and the fact that I was lying half naked under a thin sheet was just too much for me.

I flipped over onto my stomach and as he tucked the sheet into my underwear he made a sound like "hmmm" or something to that effect. I think my choice of undergarment surprised him. I wore thongs with a bow at the back...just in case I was getting poked by something other than needles. I KID!

 I think I had more than 30 needles in various points, all over my body. I lay there for maybe 30 minutes. He came to take them out and stood at the head of the massage table. As I looked down through the hole I couldn't help but stare at his feet. He wore black socks and flip-flops. The flip-flops were rammed into the socks creating webbed looking feet. I don't know why but this disturbed me more than anything else. We chatted for a little while afterwards but the whole episode left me with an irreversible anti-boner. Alas, I never got a sample of his wiener w├╝rstel.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

29 Dates

I almost made it to thirty. I purposely went on twenty-nine. I had an opportunity to go on a thirtieth with an ex-pat Brit in Mumbai, but my instinct told me not to. There was something shifty,underhanded and slightly sociopathic about his aura. Better to be safe than end up floating in the sewage system of a Mumbai slum.

It's embarrassing, but the main reason I negated the number 30 is because I was saving it. I wanted it to be special. In my deluded thoughts, I envisioned number thirty would be my last— la ultima. He would be the love of my life and I would never have to go on another date again—EVER! He would come riding in on a unicorn, cotton candy in one hand and a pulled pork sandwich in the other. We would frolic through the black forest discussing secular humanism and Japanese bondage. We would trek through the foothills of Kilimanjaro, tango in La Boca, explore the temples of Angkor Wat. He would tell me I look beautiful without my eyebrows on and caress my jiggly bits.

It's quite possible this man does not exist. Perhaps I am delusional for thinking that he does. But I'm ok with that. To think otherwise is far too grim and depressing...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

So I know I turned 30 two months ago....

I turned the big 3-0 two months ago. I was in India at the time and I was too busy soaking up experiences to sit in front a computer screen. This is long overdue, I know.  I remember the day it all started. I had joined the on-line dating site Plenty of Fish, at the suggestion of a friend. My first day, I received twenty messages from complete idiots. I sat there staring at my computer screen, in horror at the atrocities that flooded my inbox. I immediately composed an email to my closest friends, with my suitors messages and my thoughts attached. My two initial blog posts are those emails(read here and  here ).  I was convinced by two people to start this blog. I did it reluctantly, but  soon found that I couldn't live without it. It revived my love for the written word and it was a chance to share my pent up anger and vulgarity. When people would tell me that reading my blog made their day, I knew I had something. Some days I would wonder if anyone was reading the shite that I wrote.  I knew by the stats that they were(even if done furtively). I realised I should just write for myself. That led to some lengthy absences. Sometimes I had nothing to say or I just couldn't express it in the manner I wanted.


My tagline'I turn thirty in... I realise that procrastination, sloth, gluttony, cynicism, flatulence, and sheepishness are traits that are not desirable in a woman of a certain age. This is about my journey to become a lady of discernible character. I have compiled a list of 30 things that I need to complete before that dark day comes and my youth vanishes before my eyes.' summed up traits that I found troubling and wanted to change. I have changed...somewhat. I still procrastinate, I'm less slothy, still glutenous, astoundingly less cynical, as flatulent as the the day is long and as sheepish as a ram. I've always been a lady of discernible character, I've only realised it now.  I've learned to accept a compliment without uttering a self-deprecating reply(most of the time). I've learned how to meditate and to speak my mind. I've learned that I'm only as desirable as I see myself. I've learned that I have remarkable people in my life, who patiently put up with my lunacy.

Although I didn't complete everything on the list, I'm still going to work on it. Much like my academic career, my grade is mediocre. Somethings didn't happen because of timing, fear, self-sabotage,  and did I say fear?  Here is how I fared:

1.SMOKE A CIGAR.
In a beautiful villa, in the Dominican Republic

2.LEARN TO SWIM
I kept quiet about this one because I took two swimming lessons that were...not that great. I shall make another attempt this summer. Lesson learned: don't look for swimming instructors on Craig's list...


3.SCUBA OR SNORKEL
I went snorkeling in India, in the Arabian Sea. I stayed in the water for four minutes and returned to the boat. I don't consider this long enough to cross it off.


4.DRINK ABSINTHE
I drank absinthe and it was awesome! Read about it here. Does anyone know where I can get some more?

5.TWO MEAT FREE WEEKS
I upped the ante and went for two weeks as a vegan. It was truly a miracle that I didn't cheat once or punch someone in the face.


6.GET A COLONIC
Butt flushes are awesome! You should get one too!

7.DECREASE MY CURRENT WEIGHT BY 37.9%
I failed massively on this front. I lost about 20lbs...and then gained some of it back and then lost some more in India when I shit out half of my body weight and then I gained some of it back. I'm still working on it...


8.DANCE and maybe sing IN THE RAIN
I envisioned this happening in India, with some street children dancing behind me to Bollywood music(beyond obnoxious, I know). The only time it rained was while I was on a flight. I'll have to rethink the set up...

9.TRY ON LINE DATING
We all know what a disaster that was. I deleted my account a few weeks ago and I don't ever want to venture into on-line dating again! I would rather have fire ants crawl up my behind.


10.START A BLOG
That one was easy.


11.FORGIVE AND SPEAK UP
I have forgiven and learned to let things go, instead of harbouring feelings of ill will. I have spoken up in situations where I would have kept quiet before. I went to the other end of the spectrum in India and lost it on a few people. I think I've found a nice balance.


12.TRY ARCHERY
I took some archery classes with a friend and now I've got the aim of a middle-earth elf goddess.

13.TAKE A FENCING CLASS
I took a private fencing lesson with my former fencing instructor, in a park. I was thoroughly embarrassed when people walked by and laughed. I never went back...


14.VISIT ONE OF MY FRIENDS IN EUROPE
I unfortunately didn't have the budget for this one. Although I really miss my friends there, I have visited them previously. I was just being greedy. It's still a possibility.


15.FALL IN LOVE
I've fallen in love with myself...with a man...no.


16. GO TO INDIA
A trip with so many layers to dissect. Unlike anything else. I loved it, hated it. More to come...


17.SKY DIVE OR BUNGEE JUMP
I chickened out. I shall make another attempt this summer.

18.RUN A 5K 
This didn't happen due to my ankle. I also re-injured the same ankle a few months ago. I am now aiming for a 10k in October. Wish me luck...


19.GO SAILING
I went sailing on a catamaran(a Tamil word BTW), in the Arabian sea. I learned about close reach, beam reach and broad reach, jibing and tacking...only to forget what they meant a few days later. Even though the technical aspect didn't stick with me, the experience was unforgettable.


20.RIDE ON THE BACK OF A MOTORCYCLE
Read about it here. It happened a couple times after that as well. It's a very freeing feeling, riding on dirt roads through the Goan country side.

 21. IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
Animals hate me. They always have. I became friends with my camel Raja and I didn't run from the rabid stray dogs that are in abundance in Goa. I have improved relations with certain species in the animal kingdom. Cats and I...are still on rough terms. They creep me the f#@k out. I won't cross it off until I'm friends with my feline enemy.


22.STOP USING CHEMICAL RELAXER
I kinda crossed this one off because I kinda almost made it...I lasted about 8 months without using chemical relaxer. On my return from India, I gave into the creamy crack...It was the longest I lasted without it in my life. I'm going to attempt to ween myself off once again. 

23.PERFECT THE ART OF MAKING ROTI
I had a few lessons from my not so patience mother. My efforts turned out pretty good. I'm not sure I can make them with out her breathing down my neck and barking instructions...


24.GO HIKING OR CAMPING
My first time camping was in the Thar desert in India. How can I beat that? It was also my first time being offered oral sex in the desert. Read here.


25.BE MORE SOCIAL
I have always been a bit anti-social. It's just my nature. My 29th year saw a social increase of about 15% not including my dates. It's an improvement.


26.JOIN A MAS CAMP WITH MY FRIENDS FOR CARIBANA 2010
At first I was petrified. In the end I loved it! I'll be participating again this year.


27.LEARN TO MEDITATE
For the past seven months, I've been meditating every day for at least 15-20 minutes, sometimes longer. I'm comfortable crossing this one off the list. I really do find it helpful. Surprisingly, I didn't meditate once in India(although I could have used it on several occasions.)


28.KARAOKE
I had refused to do karaoke before this. In case you forgot how magical it was here you go ...


29.GO ON 30 DATES
I went on 29. This will get it's very own special post, where I will explain why I haven't gone on a 30th.

30. RIDE A BIKE
This is truly embarrassing...I had two separate people try and teach me, to no avail. I still cannot ride a bike...There are pictures of me on a girl's ten speed bike, with a pink helmet and goggles that will never see the light of day. I shall make another attempt in the next few weeks.


Thank-you for reading my gibberish and I hope you continue to do so. This is not the end. I still have work to do.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rhodesia's tips for the solo female traveller

I'm no expert, but I have travelled alone a  few times, for four to five week periods. Travelling solo requires an astute awareness of your surroundings and razor sharp instinct—especially as a woman. People will often question why a woman would travel alone. The answer is simple: BECAUSE I F**KIN WANT TO! I have been followed, mistaken for a prostitute(and no I wasn't scantily clad), scammed, etc. Here are some tips that may be helpful if you're a woman considering travelling unaccompanied:

-Trust your instinct and if you have horrible instincts, trust NO ONE
-Carry pepper spray
-Carry a pen knife
-Carry a sharpened pencil or fine point pen(for writing/sketching/stabbing)
-If you notice someone following you talk loudly to yourself about your herpes flare-up
-Develop a death stare or what I call my "I'll shank you" face.
-Even if you are petrified and want to shard your pants, SHOW NO WEAKNESS, use your death stare and rely on a tight anal sphincter!
-Do not let strange men buy you drinks unless they are hot and have long tongues
-Do not get intoxicated
-Don't give out too much personal information(I often make up stories about myself)
-Carry a cell phone and text your location
-Sharpen your upper canines with a metal nail file and strengthen your jaw muscles with a kettlebell
-Have fun

I hope this doesn't deter anyone. Happy travels!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What did I do on my 30th birthday?

A few people have asked. So here it is...

I went to the beach. I met an expat. We played Frisbee. I drank coconut water and lassis and beer. 6 hours spent on the beach. She invited me for dinner. I called and couldn't get a hold of her. I went to dinner by myself. I had an amazing meal of giant prawns. The owner of the restaurant showed me his tents(which I fell in love with and spent 3 days in). I walked in pitch black darkness back to my accommodation, through a field of empty bamboo shacks, then some bush and I almost ran into a cow. Pepper spray for protection, massive lighter for luminescence . One of the only times I was truly scared. I didn't want to die on my birthday. I made it back. I was invited to a trance party. By the time they knocked on my door, I was happy were I was and told them I would stay in. I locked my door, took off my clothes and spent the rest of my birthday dancing to Bollywood music videos in my birthday suit.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

VERITAS

A few years ago I engaged in a colourful conversation with some girls at work. They were chatting about their couters in the most graphic and obscene way. Being a lady of unshakable virtue, I steered clear of the conversation. I personally think you shouldn't know what my couter looks like, unless your face is buried in it. The instigator demanded that I give a description. I offered these three words " medium rare steak".  Riotous laughter filled the room. Some were horrified, others wanted more detail. I told them to think of a medium rare steak:dark on the outside, warm ring and pink centre. How much more descriptive could one be?

 A few weeks later the instigator told me that she went out for dinner and ordered her steak medium rare(as she usually does). When she cut into the steak, she said all she could think of was my flower. I had ruined that glorious piece of meat for her. Personally I think medium rare is the only way to eat a steak...and a couter.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The absence of love

I returned to Vijay's guest house after my eventful camel safari. After freshening up, I took to my balcony, plonked down on a wicker chair and stared out yonder. I watched dusk fall and  listened to the call to prayer from a nearby mosque, while sipping the nectar of the gods(orange Fanta). It was such a simple, banal moment, but it was the kind that etches itself into your travel memory forever. As I enjoyed the simplicity of  it, an overwhelming sadness enveloped me. I was alone; Unattached, mate less, solitary. I have travelled solo a few times and never felt that itch, that clawing sadness before. There was something about that unspectacular moment that  illuminated my solitude. Perhaps it was turning  thirty, or the comforting/irritating Indian familiarity and the frequent questions about my unmarried status and comments about my eggs, beauty and youth that would soon expire. Whatever brought on my melancholy moment(which lasted about an hour and then I let out a series of rip roaring farts that made me laugh and reminded me why I was single), it lead me to write this piece of poetry. I think I'm only good at writing poems about pork, but I'll share it anyway.


The absence of love

Why do you elude me so?
Do I not deserve you?
I await with bated breath for your arrival
I await the flutter in my heart and butterflies in my belly
Your admirers so often speak of


But time does not stand still
How long am I to wait?
This bated breath  incapacitates my lungs
My heart, she murmurs, not flutters
My belly, she pangs with the hunger of unrequited love


Tell me, what am I to do?
I have searched for you
amongst countless unworthy men
Your tree seems fruitless, barren
I am told you are unsearchable
That you must find me
Until then...
I await with bated breath
An open heart
And a ravenous belly



Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hello sister

"The real hypocrisy, I came  to  realise, was in the eyes and minds and  criticisms of those who came from lands of plenty, where no-one had to fight for  a seat on a train." Shantaram(Written by an Australian escaped convict, who lived in Mumbai for several years)

I read this line shortly after returning from India and it engulfed me. I read it over and over again. It made me re-examine my experience there. Like I said before, this can only be done properly with a bit of distance. I shall remember India not for the people who gawked, took pictures and pointed. I shall remember it for the simple man on the bus who told me I looked hungry and shared his chapati with me, or the Rajasthani man on the train who sang for me, or the owner of the tents who showed me true Goan hospitality, or the group or children who ran up to me to say "hello sister!" and shake my hand.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Date#29- What's my name?(Part Deux)

Name:Dementia
Age:32
Occupation:From a family of farmers/ran his own e-commerce business
Nationality:Punjabi- Canadian


The next day, I tried my best to avoid them. I spent most of the day on the beach, getting a massage, drinking several mango lassi and Kingfisher beers. It was my last day in Goa and I wanted to soak up every minute of it.  I had moved to the Canadian's house because they no longer had room for me in the tents(I sprung on them last minute that I wanted to stay an extra day. They were gracious enough to put me up in their home.) It wasn't until the evening when I ran into the trio. Skeet rushed over and gave me a big hug. I silently wondered what his brother told him. Chipper said hello, but it seemed awkward and tense. I joined them for a few minutes as they discussed their evening plans. They didn't invite me and I wasn't about to invite myself. I also had a very early wake-up call. When they were leaving, I asked if I could hitch a ride down the block in their taxi (it's a seven minute walk but not lit at all). During that very short short taxi ride they convinced me to join them for the evening.


We drove for about  20 kms to a night market. Shortly after we got there, Skeet and white-dread went ventured off and Chipper was engaged in some asinine conversation with other foreigners. I was busy looking at earrings. He came strolling over and asked where his brother and white-dread were. I thought he knew of their whereabouts. We had lost them. We spent about twenty minutes searching. It was a very large market and none of us had cell phones(well I had one but I wasn't prepared to use it and incur large roaming fees.) We came to the realisation that our search was futile. We decided to enjoy the night market. After all,they were adults and they had one another.

We strolled through the market, he held my hand and tried kissing me. I let him even though I hate PDA and I had no interest in him. I stopped at a booth and wanted to purchase some paper stars. He said" let me handle this." He haggled with the vendor, in Hindi, to the point of exhaustion. The man told us to leave. I did not get my paper stars. Great handling...

We stood listening to some live music, when he saw someone he knew. He chatted for a while and then went to introduce us " Shawn this is........Umm....Umm....Sorry what's your name again?" OH NO YOU DIDN'T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The same guy who stuck his tongue down my throat, and wanted to come into my tent and hold my hand, also forgets my good name. BLASPHEMY! I stood there in shock for a couple of seconds. I managed to utter "Rhodesia" through a clenched jaw. My mind was a flurry with thoughts of how to punish the heathen. After his friend left, I remained quiet. He asked me what was wrong to which I replied" the same guy that sticks his tongue down my throat and wants to come into my tent, doesn't recall my name...interesting." He apologised profusely for several minutes. It was then it dawned on me that I was stuck with this turdbasket for the rest of the night. His friend and brother were nowhere in site and I didn't want to take a taxi back to the tents on my own. It was also my last night in Goa. I swallowed my pride and decided to continue  on with the evening (although I was cruel to him on several occasions and I thoroughly enjoyed it.)

We decided to head to the club called "Tito's". It has the distinction of being the largest and cheesiest club in Goa. That was the original plan and we thought maybe, we might run into his party. We arrived and paid some ridiculous entrance fee(well maybe $5). The club was separated into two sides:Indian music on one, and Electronic/Techno music on the other. We stayed on the Indian side for a while. At times I felt like he was trying to be controversial by dancing extremely close to me...just a feeling I had. When a Punjabi song came on, he went crazy! With the subsequent Punjabi songs, he felt the need to translate the lyrics for me...After the third song, I had to suppress the urge to stab him in his trachea. Instead, I suggested we go to the other side. Loud, infuriating techno, was the music of choice. I took a swig of some liquor and tried to dance to the repugnant music. He spotted a young Indian man dancing with his girlfriend and said "sometimes I look at my people and think we can't dance. Lemme show him how it's done. "

What followed was something I could only describe as a  mystifying display of jutting arms, moving out of sync with flailing legs, something not unlike this. I saw two Russian girls laughing hysterically in the corner. I was too horrified to laugh or speak or breathe. I had no intention of giving him the poon, but now there was a better chance of him mounting a cow. We left shortly after.

 I decided to be nice to him. I didn't slap his hand away when he went to hold it. I didn't pull away when he went in for a kiss. It was all part of my plan. We searched for a rickshaw and I stood on the sidelines and watched him haggle with the rickshaw driver. He grabbed my arm and said "let's start walking".

I said "why can't we just get in the rickshaw? We can't walk from here."
"He's going to follow us and I'll get my price."

I was beyond annoyed. The rickshaw driver, as predicted, came roaring up beside us. We only paid 50 rupees less than the original asking price, for twenty minutes of my life that I will never get back! Was it worth it? Really?

We arrived back at the tents. We ran into white dread, who had lost his brother at the market and was hopping on her scooter to go find him. I used the bathroom in his tent and when I emerged, he looked surprised that I came out. I think he was expecting me to disrobe and lie there waiting for him. NOT BLOODY LIKELY! I asked him to walk me to the Canadian's house, which was a only a block away, but at night its frighteningly dark. He agreed.

We stood outside her house, where he proceeded to assault my mouth. I waited until he was sufficiently aroused and said "What's my name?"
"Rhodesia!"
"Peace out!"

I left him standing there on the porch.


Date#29- What's my name?

Name:Dementia
Age:32
Occupation:From a family of farmers/ran his own e-commerce business
Nationality:Punjabi- Canadian


I had settled into my favourite accommodation in Anjuna, Goa. (I'm cautious in my wording of this entry because I am paranoid that certain people may google things and find this blog.) One of the owners was an amazing Canadian woman who took me under her wings. When another batch of Canadians came to stay(which is rare, as it's mostly European tourists) she introduced me during dinner. They came in three: twin brothers Chipper and Skeet(these were not their names but close enough) and their female friend of the white-dread variety. They hailed from Vancouver and made a few jokes about Toronto. Skeet told me of his life back home with his partner. Chipper showed me pictures of their trip and a luxurious wedding they attended in Punjab. I noticed Chipper kept giving me the eye(which I'd promptly turn away from). Chipper was about 6'1, fair(Indian)skin, clean shaven head and face, thick dark eyebrows that framed his large brown eyes. He was moderately handsome, but no panty-wetter by any means. They invited me to spend the evening with them. I agreed.

We went to a bar that played live music. The hippies played blues, jazz, blue grass and everything in between. I tried Caju/Feni(local potent liquor made from cashews) for the first time.We left to attend some lame ass trance party. For me, trance is the kind of music that requires youth and inebriation to enjoy. I no longer had the former, so I went with the latter and had another shot of Feni. Shortly after Skeet left. So the three of us, Chipper, white dread and I decided to walk to the other end of the beach to check out another party. When we passed our tents white-dread decided she wanted to use the washroom and she'd meet us further down the beach. Chipper and I walked until we found a lounge chair and sat there staring at the full moon and stars. He ruined the moment by saying"this would be a great make-out spot!" He then turned and kissed me. I knew from that moment I had absolutely no interest in him, but as he swallowed my face I thought" well, I've got nothing better to do." I interrupted the succubus to tell him we should keep walking and find the other party. We trekked for a short while and then he suddenly stopped. We stood there, on the rocks, with the Arabian Sea crashing against them. As he tried to stick his tongue down my throat, I couldn't help think about how perfect this moment would be with someone I actually liked. The white dread returned and we looked for the party in vain. We decided to call it a night.

As we entered our tent area, security(from bamboo cabanas on stilts) flashed light in our faces, making sure we were guests. White dread headed towards her tent and I noticed someone trailing behind me. When I got to my tent, I turned and said" ok then, goodnight." To which he replies" oh, um, I thought I could come in and snuggle." Ummm, HELL to the NO! Instead, I politely told him that eyes were watching (I could see the staff in the cabanas flashlights aimed at us, watching it all go down.) I told him he could join me on my terrace for a chat. We sat there for a while until I declared I was tired and going to bed. He leaned in for a kiss. I said no and pointed to the cabana. He asked me why I cared what they thought. I had become friendly with some of the guys who worked there. They already view western women as easy. I didn't want to solidify this image. Perhaps I would have for someone I liked...

Continuation in part deux


Monday, March 21, 2011

Date#28

Name: Deepak(that was actually his real name. I know there is no chance in hell of him seeing this so...)
Age:25
Occupation:Waiter
Nationality:Nepali


I took a stroll down Palolem Beach, looking for somewhere to dine. I randomly picked a spot and a young, handsome waiter approached. I ordered a Goan steak(because I knew for the rest of the trip, finding beef would prove difficult). We spoke briefly. I noted his accent and features were quite unusual for the region. I asked him where he was from, to which he said"Nepal" with a big endearing smile. I ate my meal and left in search of a lame party(because of noise laws, loud music must cease at 10pm. So they have headphone parties...which is as wack as it sounds).

The following night I attempted to walk past the restaurant to use the Internet cafe next door. I had to intention of eating there again(the food was good but I like to mix it up). Deepak saw me and inquired where I was going and if I was coming to eat dinner. There was something really calming about his presence, so I promised I would come back.

I sat down to an enjoyable dinner with Deepak frequently coming to my table to check up on me and engage in conversation. When I finished my meal, he asked if we could sit for a while. We walked over some tables on the beach and he pulled out a chair for me. He spoke in short,terse sentences and often apologized for his English.  He felt like he spoke too much. I told him to keep talking, I found him something about him intoxicating—not in a sexual way, but he drew me in.  He told me of his family back in Kathmandu, saving money for his sister's dowry, and turmoil of living far from home. He wondered why, at my age I wasn't married. I tried to come up with a feasible answer. I didn't have one. I asked him why he wasn't married or engaged. He wanted to ensure his sister was married and then his mother would find someone for him. He told me of his dreams to start a restaurant in a smaller town near by and told me about how delicious Nepali food is. We sat there for a long time, just chatting. There was something about his energy that was calming for me. I liked him.

 Loud techno music blared from the other end of the beach. I asked him if he went to the parties to which he replied"No, no. I make 100 rupees a night. Enter is 500 rupees." I was embarrassed at my ignorance. It was getting late, so I told him I had to go. He said "wait,wait,wait one minute". He ran to the shop next door and came back with a small Goan treat that looked like peanut brittle. I was moved by the gesture(even though I had no intention of eating it because I detest peanuts). I clasped his hand and slipped a $10CAD note to him. I told him it was for his restaurant. I didn't mean for it to be demeaning, condescending or charity; I genuinely wanted this to go towards his endeavour. He promptly put the note in his pocket. He gave me his email address and password. I told him I didn't need the password and tried to explain that he shouldn't  give it out.  I gave him a kiss on the cheek and said goodbye.

That night I had a very strange dream. I lay sleeping in my beach hut, when a sudden swarm of locusts enveloped the room. The bamboo door burst open and a shirtless Deepak swept me off my feet and rescued me. The dream flashed forward to a life in Nepal. I had abandoned any semblance of my life in Canada. Deepak and I trekking  through the foothills of the Himalaya's with our two children Lakshmi and Deepak jr. The sound of roosters crowing, just outside my hut, awoke me from that blissful dream...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Images from the sub-continent

I thought I would share a few of my favourite images from my trip.


Bullet hole at Cafe Leopolds.

Anjuna, Goa

Palolem beach, Goa

Anjuna, Goa

Anjuna, Goa

Anjuna, Goa


Delhi

Jaipur

Jaipur

Jaipur

Agra


Village near Bikaner, Rajasthan

Village near Bikaner, Rajasthan

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rampage

If you were keeping up with my tweets, you know a portion of the trip was quite...rough for me. I don't regret any part of my  journey to India. For the first three weeks it was pretty much smooth sailing. I had been to Mumbai, Goa, Chennai and Sri Lanka. Sometimes people stared but it wasn't overwhelming. When I got to Delhi, things changes. I don't want to make my trip seem all negavtive—it wasn't, but I like to get the bad stuff out of the way first and then move on to the good times. There was about a week of rough times. Out of five weeks, that's not too bad.  There will be more posts coming soon. I just needed to vent. Here we go:


I arrived at the Delhi airport, arranged a pre-paid taxi, found the stand, loaded my luggage and hopped in. My driver spoke no English and neither did his partner in the passenger seat. (I am not a fan of people going to foreign country and expecting locals to speak English, but when you work from an international airport, minimal English would be nice). I showed him my hotel's address and we went on our way. We weren't even driving for five minutes when he saw two friends on the road and stopped to talk to them and was about to give them a ride until I said "UM, NO! HOTEL!"

We drove until we were in the general area( Karol Bagh). From the time we left the airport until I reached my hotel, was 90 minutes. This trip should  have only take 30. The simpleton couldn't find the hotel. Imagine being in a taxi with two men(who don't speak English), in the middle of Delhi, lost. A barrage of phone calls ensued. I called the booking office because the number listed for the hotel was wrong. They spoke to my driver and he still couldn't find it. It was a nightmare. When we finally got to my hotel he demanded a tip because he had used his cell phone. The hotel staff were telling him to go. He wouldn't. To get rid of him I gave him 100 rupees. A decision I still regret but that was before the fire was ignited in me.

The next day I went of a tour of Delhi's various sites. The moment I stepped outside, the incessant stares began. Everywhere I went people stared relentlessly, glared, intruded my private space. I had experienced this before on my travels, but never to this extent. I tried hard to suppress the fury that began to rise inside me, but I knew it was uncontainable. The anger only grew when I noticed people taking pictures of me. I'm generally a calm person and when I tell people these stories, they are shocked and say they can't picture me doing and saying these things. I liken my personality to a volcano. I may lay dormant for a very long time, but unexpectedly I erupt and it's impossible to contain the hot molten lava that I spew. (Side note:I was also in the midst of a cyclical mood which only added to my blind rage.) Here is an excerpt from my diary on one of those rough days:" I hate this place. I wish they didn't let me back in from Sri Lanka. There is swamp water coming out of my ass and if one more person stares at me I am going to shank them in the ribs and then I will end up in an Indian prison, never to be seen again. " Ummm, yeah. You get the jist of it. Here are a few examples :

#1. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. I had already had enough, when a hawker followed me for two blocks trying to sell me some useless trinket" Ma'am I give you good price. You no speak? Ma'am look at my things. Very nice things! Why you no answer?" At block number two, I stopped dead in my tracks, turned to him and yelled "I SAID NO!". He jumped back and scampered off.

#2. I was at a site when I noticed a girl (in her late teens)look at me, her eyes brightened and she raised her camera. Before she could snap a picture I walked up to her.
 "What are you doing?"
"Oh, um I just wanted to take a picture?"
"Do I know you?"
"Ummm no."
"Then why do you want a picture of me? It's very rude to just walk up to someone and take their picture without asking!"
"I'm sorry. May I have your picture?"
"No."

This story happened several times. At least 20 times a day I would see people trying to capture my image. Some of you may wonder why I was so offended by it. One of my reasons is that everything is so viral today. I have no idea where that picture would end up and what kind of caption would accompany it. In a place where fair skin is revered and I am the complete opposite of that, I don't think  they wanted my picture because they thought I was beautiful. I was a novelty, something to show their friends and say"look what I saw". I wanted no part of it.

#3. I was at the fort in Delhi. A few young men were sitting on the grass. When they saw me a lively conversation in Hindi began. I took the pepper spray out of my bag and held it at my side. One of the young men got up and hid behind a pillar. I knew exactly what he was doing. He was attempting to take an ambush style, paparazzi shot.  As I turned the corner I uttered" OI! FUCKFACE! You take a picture of me I will smash your face and your camera!"  He promptly lowered his phone and went back to his friends. As the words came out of my mouth, I couldn't believe I said them. When I told my friend this story, she asked me if I was scared. The answer is no. Blind fury kept me going.

#4. I waited in line at another site. Most sites have separate line ups for foreigners and locals. This one didn't. I watched as man after man pushed his way ahead of me. The anger started to rise and I said " I JUST WANT TO BUY A FUCKING TICKET!" They parted like the red sea and I walked to the front of the line and purchased my ticket. It was then I realised, that nice quiet, Rhodesia needed to take a back seat. The bitch was now in charge.

#5. The next day I went shopping. I purchased two dresses and a pair of pillow cases. I was now adept at haggling and got a good price. When I was almost back at my hotel,  I noticed my pillow cases weren't in my bag. I was furious because I am sure they did it on purpose, thinking it would be too much trouble for me to argue over 300 rupee pillow cases. They were wrong. I got back to my hotel and called them immediately. They passed me around to several people. I told them I was leaving the next day and they needed to deliver it. They asked where I was going and said its on the way and I could swing by and pick it up. I said no, deliver it. Almost two hours passed, no pillow cases. I call them again and ripped them a new one, telling them I would call the Indian consumer rights agency and tell them that they scam tourists. They delivered my pillow cases a few hours later, albeit with a 100rupee delivery charge. I cussed off the delivery guy for having to pay for something that was their fault. I feel bad for that one because he wasn't involved, but sometimes when you're on a rampage there is collateral damage.

#6. I arrived in Jaipur after my crazy bus ride. When I got off the bus there was no driver waiting for me. I had to call him(I didn't rampage on him then, but I had other reasons to later). I arrived to my hotel, which looked decent enough...until I took a closer look. There were two holes in wall that they covered with cello tape(no big deal, it made me laugh)Then I saw the duvet..filthy wouldn't be an adequate word. I went downstairs and asked for them to change it.  I waited 45 minutes, no one came. I took a picture of the duvet and marched back downstairs and went on another rampage. They changed my sheets within five minutes.

#7. My last night in Jaipur my driver took me to a traditional Rajasthani village where they serve dinner and perform folk dances, etc. It was about a 30km drive from the city. On the drive back this happens:
" Ok, so you pay me 10,000 rupees"
"Excuse me?"
"Sorry  you pay me 1000 rupees"
"For what?"
"Taking you to Choki Dani."
"No...No, I don't. It was included"
"No, no, no, no. It no include! Is 30km out of way. You give me 1000 rupees."
"I'm not giving you anything. I'm going to call Manesh(agent who booked the tour for me) and he'll sort you out. If it was an extra charge, you should have told me before hand and I would have stayed my ass at the hotel! Don't try and pull this shit on me."

Needless to say the rest the ride was quiet. I called Manesh and he dealt with it.

That night I had a phone call from my saviour—Stephanie. I was able to relay all of my frustrations to someone who completely understood. She gave me perspective and kept me sane in a moment where I wanted to hurt people.

The same driver was to pick me up at 5:00 am to catch my train to Agra. In the morning there was no driver. My hotel  had to call him and he arrived at 5:30am. The ride was silent. We arrived, I collected my bags and left. No goodbye, no tip.

When I walked into the Jaipur train station at 6:00am, I was the only foreigner on the platform. There was only maybe five women( one girl came and stood beside me for a while. I think she felt sorry for me and a bit protective) and about a hundred men. All eyes were on me. I wasn't scared, but I kept my pepper spray at my side, just in case. Several young men circled, openly looking at my bags. I glared back with a defiant "I will shank you" look.

Things started to look up from there. There are a few more incidents that I didn't share because this post is long enough as is and I think this was enough to give you an idea. It was my conversation with a friend and a subsequent conversation with a stranger that put things into perspective and calmed my frayed nerves. I am beyond grateful for these instances because there were plenty of times in the past, where I did not stand up for myself. This was my boiling point.

Monday, March 14, 2011

ZIE LIST #24

#24.GO CAMPING

While in India, I went on a camel safari. We camped in the Thar desert overnight. This was an unforgettable experience, in many ways....


I settled in Bikaner, Rajasthan for a few days. The first day I went on a tour of local palaces and havelis. I also ventured to Deshnok to see the infamous Karni Mata temple(also know as the rat temple.... more on this in forthcoming post). Joining me on this tour was a slender, fair skinned Punjabi man in his late thirties. At first glance I assumed he was Persian and also gay. He was neither. I found him a bit odd, but day one went off without a hitch.

The following day, my unforgettable camel safari commenced. Joining Punjabi Perv and I, was a couple Sara and Dave(she was American, he was a Brit). On our jeep ride through small towns, we engaged in a lively conversation about our experiences thus far in India. I complained about people staring and taking pictures of me. She bemoaned about having her breast grabbed. She thought because she was a ginger, she received a little extra attention.  I concurred.

We arrived at the camel station, where we were instructed to select our  desert beast. I picked a young male named Raja(which means king, fitting for someone as regal as myself). It ended up being a wise decision because the rest of the party got stuck with older males, of mating age that kept doing this vile thing. Raja, like me was virginal and had no interest in mating. As I got closer to Raja, I had a change of heart. I wanted to go back to the guest house and not mount the smelly beast. I quieted my inner coward and mounted Raja like a queen( not really I almost fell off). Each of us had our own camel guide. My guide kept leaving my camel unattended to go smoke cigarettes and talk on his cell phone.

Our jaunt took us through small villages(I captured two of my favourite images on this ride). After two hours of riding we stopped for lunch. They cooked us an amazing Rajasthani vegetarian meal. We continued for another two hours. My couter bone was incredibly sore and my right leg was numb. For an hour I wanted to remove my foot from the stirrup to stretch, but I feared Raja would lead me into yet another bush; I would tumble, get trampled by a herd of camels and then they would have to ship my battered body back to Canada and I would end up on one of those shows like "100 crazy ways to die". I kept my foot in the stirrup.

We stopped and our guides set up three tents. They made us  afternoon tea, then dinner. Even though the surroundings were sparse, I had to pinch myself— I was eating dinner in the Thar desert, gazing at the stars, with  Rajasthani folk music in the background, from a temple over the dune. After dinner, they set up a camp fire. Punjabi Perv and I went and sat in front of the fire. That is when the following exchange happened...(insert Punjabi accent in PP's lines)

PP: So do you know where my tent is?

ME:(I turn and look at the three tents wondering where this turdbasket is going)Yeah...Its the one at the end.

PP: Ok good, good. I just wanted to let you know that I can offer you very nice oral sex and also full body massage....

ME: Ummmm.....No, I'm good thanks.

PP: But we cannot have sex because I do not have a condom
(yeah, because that's the reason we wouldn't be having sex)

ME: Yeah, but NO. No thanks.

PP:Shhh. Do not answer yet. Think about for a while. I am very gifted with the oral. You know where my tent is.

I was amused and horrified at the same time. Amused that this would happen to me in THE DESERT. Horrified because we were sleeping in tents, in the desert. I wondered what kind of man would offer to mangia a woman who had been riding a camel for 4 hours and peeing in a bush(my friend Josh said I should've let him at it).

Thankfully Sara and Dave came and sat by the fire. We all chatted for a while. I would catch him looking at me over the fire. When the fire died they went to get more thatch from a small house. I thought F**K! He starts again...

PP: I think they are going to have some fun

ME:No... No they aren't. They are going get stuff for the fire.

PP:No they are going to have fun. The house will shake soon. We should have fun

ME:No...no we shouldn't.

When they returned, I asked Sara the accompany me to the ladies room(the bush) and I told her about PP. She said she thought he was a bit weird. She offered to share her tent with me and have Dave sleep in the middle tent.  I declined and said that my pepper spray and pen would be enough protection. We returned to the fire and I stayed for another hour and then retired to my tent. I put my backpack in front of the zip, inside my tent(as Sara instructed). I tried to settle in sleep until I heard something flap in the wind. I sat up in my tent, pepper spray in one hand and my pen in the other. (If you are wondering what I planned on doing with a pen...I planned on stabbing that bitch in the jugular). I settled again, until I heard what sounded like an animal at the back of my tent. I listened for an hour.

The next morning I commented that I thought I heard something at the back of my tent. Dave agreed. PP said "Oh really."
Later on, I looked at the back of my tent, I saw animal footprints but I also saw shoe prints...

We ate breakfast. Dave and Sara continued on a camel safari, while I had to head back with PP in a camel cart. It was a two hour ride in that cart with PP. In that time, I found out he was married with three children...He spewed crap about eating organic and staying away from processed foods, clean, healthy living, blah, blah, blah. Then he said the following "I don't smoke or drink I eat healthy. I'm turning forty but I have the body and agility of a twenty year old." I nearly tossed my breakfast. (Side note:He drank three large Kingfisher beers during the safari and also smoked two potent Indian hand-rolled cigarettes on the camel cart) I called him out on his hypocrisy. He said he was on vacation.... On vacation without your wife and three children. Brilliant. Upon arrival at the guest house I promptly fled the jeep(without saying good-bye)locked myself in my room and took a very long shower...


Saturday, March 12, 2011

HIGHLY EXPLOSIVE MATERIAL

As I was writing this post the other day, thousands of people were dying in Japan. I stopped writing because it was inconsequential compared to a massive earthquake, tsunami and people loosing their lives.  The post is actually about valuing life and the reminders I got along the way...

Reminder#1
I boarded a tourist bus headed to Jaipur(from Delhi). It was one of those big volvo buses; Images of Rajasthan plastered all over it. I sat in seat #1. I noted that the bus had a sizable crack that started at the base of the windshield and flowered into a lovely pattern at the top. I thought to myself "that's just great".

I gingerly sat in my seat. I shifted from side to side trying to find a comfortable position. This proved quite difficult as I was suffering from an acute case of "Delhi belly".  As icing on the cake, my monthly friend came for a visit(only women will understand how herrendous this was) and it felt like hobbits were attacking my couter. I self-medicated with about eight Pepto Bismal chewable pills(which turn your tongue black) and advil.

I eventually settled into my book and the musical horn of the bus as he drove at high speeds, overtaking everyone and narrowly missing other cars, buses and rickshaws coming in the opposite direction(I was used to this by now). More than half-way through the journey, the bus came to a screeching halt.  I lurched forward, a few people gasped. I look up to see that he narrowly(and by narrowly I mean a few inches) missed a stalled truck. The driver uttered some expletives in Hindi and started backing up. It was then I noticed the "HIGHLY EXPLOSIVE MATERIAL" label at the rear of the truck. I started to laugh(I'm sure the other passengers thought I was a nutter). But what else could one do?


Reminder#2
In Mumbai I ventured to the venerable Cafe Leopold's. It was very busy on the lower level so I was told to go upstairs, where I picked a random seat in the corner. I ordered a mango lassi and naan. I sat for a while, people watching. There was a window right beside me, from which I could see the lower level. I noticed a large crack in the glass. I traced the origin of the crack only to find a bullet hole. When my waiter came by I asked him about it. He told me it was from the Mumbai attacks.  I sat there staring at it for a very long time, thinking about the lesson, the fact that I randomly sat there and said aloud(to myself)" I get it".

I had many small reminders along the way. Like the day my ankle was swollen from walking for hours on end. I was annoyed by its  numbness and bulbous appearance. I looked out the window of my car and there was a man driving a scooter with a wooden peg for a leg. I stopped complaining. India taught me many lessons, all for which I am grateful.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dark and lovely

I stopped into a chemist in Chennai looking for deoderant and facial wash. Here is how that exchange went down.

Me:Where is your facial wash?

Clerk: I'll show you. I have a great one for you. This one is called Fair and lovely. It will give you a nice, clear, bright complexion.

Me: By brighter you mean?(I knew exactly what she meant)

Clerk:Clearer.

Me:By clearer you mean?

Clerk:Lighter.

Me: Naw...You got any dark and lovely?

*Blank stare*

Home

Hello Loves!


I am back from the subcontinent. A new woman. A new decade in my life. India was exhilarating, infuriating, luxurious and squalid...I could go on with a slew of contradictory words to describe India—it wouldn't do it justice. If you have been reading my tweets, you know this trip was"a bit like a camel ride"(as one reader Ro aptly stated). Someone asked me what I thought of India, while I was still there. I don't like to give an opinion until I have left a place, have some distance from it and clarity of thought. I will give you a full synopsis of the trip with notes taken from my journal and I may even share a few pictures. Sri Lanka(I love you) will have its own special post(or my sister-in-law will shank me). It's 4am and I've unpacked and I'm counting my mozzie bites and staring at my tan lines. Goodbye for now.  I love you and namaste.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bless up from Sri Lanka!

Hello my loves,

Its been a while. I can't believe I've been gone for more than two weeks already. So far I've been in Mumbai, Palolem and Anjuna(both in Goa), spent a blistering and scary 9 hours in Chennai  and I am now in Sri Lanka and loving it! I have so much to fill you in on, but I want to take my time and do a proper job—not rushed at a seedy Internet cafe. For the next little while, I will post updates on twitter @intrepid30. Deuces for now!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

ZIE LIST

#20-Ride on the back of a motorcycle

This happened the day before my birthday. I stayed at a place called Bayan Soul in Anjuna, Goa. Very simple, but clean and it came with a reasonable price tag.

I told Gani I needed to exchange money. He said he would take me(which I assumed meant walking). He came to my room to get me and we walked over to a bike and I said " Oh, we are taking that?"  He said "yes, of course".

I'm glad it happened this way, unexpected. I didn't have time to process it and think of ways to walk or get out of it. If anyone has witnessed driving in India, you understand my trepidation. I took a deep breath and hopped on. There was no helmet or protective gear shielding me from becoming one with the earth. We started out, I held on for dear life(which I realised after was highly inappropriate). We drove through winding dirt rodes, over speed bumps and weaving in and out of traffic. I slowly let go of him and rested my hands on my thighs. I changed my money and we headed back, hands resting on my thighs, feeling like all was right with the world.

With a new sense of bravery, I toiled with the idea of renting a scooter. I saw all these cool hippie chicks riding around and I wanted to belong. A wave of common sense swept over me and I remembered how accident prone I am. No two wheeling fun for me.

Date#26

Sorry peeps! This one is from before I left. Don't get excited because it was just as dismal as most of my dates. Enjoy.

Codename:Separated
Age:38
Occupation:Contractor
Nationality:Italian-Canadian

I tried to make my dates as diverse as possible. This one was my first divorcee. I cheated a little bit and went on a coffee shop date. It was only a couple days before I left and I still had loads of crap to do. He drove to my area. He was there first. He was moderately attractive, medium build and height, dark-haired and olive-skinned. He looked a bit homely. He wore a sweater that looked it came from the Sears young men's collection and dad jeans.

He got me a mint tea and he had coffee. We spoke of our lives. He's not officially divorced yet(I didn't particularly care because I knew it was going nowhere.) He told me of his favourite ex-girlfriend(who was Jamaican). He spoke of getting married to early and being emasculated by his wife. At that point, I felt like I was becoming his therapist. I told him I was going to India on my own. He told me I was nuts. I told him I had to get home and pack. This one lasted about 35 minutes. While saying our goodbyes, he mentioned that he would love to see me on my return. Not bloody likely.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

WOOOOOHOOOO!

Today, I am thirty years old. It feels good. I have a whole long post to write but the Internet is unbelievably slow and expensive here in Anjuna. Just know that things have been done and a full report is on its way. Peace and love.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Palolem

This is my last night in Palolem. It's a wonderful little haven. The tourists mainly consist of middle aged Russians, Scandinavians and other Europeans. The only thing I would change is where I stayed. It's a beach hut complex called Chattai. I told the driver to take me there, although I had intentions of checking out other places, I was too exhausted and stayed there. There are much nicer huts, directly on the beach for around the same cost. Lesson learned.

I had a Ayurvedic massage for 600R. This is the second time I've had a massage in a foreign country and this is the second time they've spent an inordinate amount of time massaging my buttocks. While undressing, she stayed in the room and unhooked my bra...During the massage, she coaxed and soothed my muscles into relaxation—she must have found my ass very tense. She asked me to turn over, I did. She massaged my legs and my stomach...and then my breasts. I wanted to bust out laughing, but I just closed my eyes and waited for it be over. It's a shame I leave tomorrow. Until next time Jyoti....

Friday, February 4, 2011

Zie list

#16-GO TO INDIA
I was so exhausted yesterday, I forgot to cross it off my list. I'm currently in Palolem Beach, Goa. I will try to update as much as possible while on the road. Check me out on twitter @intrepid30.

#19 GO SAILING
I had my very first sailing lesson today. An expat Brit named Micheal showed me thr ropes. It's quite complicated. I have another two hour lesson tomorrow. I have pictures, but this craphole of an internet cafe has no memory card slot and smells of cumin and armpit. Ciao for now.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hello India

I flew into Mumbai via Brussells. It was an exhausting 17 hours of travel. I checked into the Mirage hotel(near the airport). It's a four star hotel(which I don't usually do). I wanted a soft introduction to India. This morning I flew to Goa. I had checked out a beach huts on-line and even messaged a few. They all wanted pre-payment by wire transfer. Yeah...not so much. I decided I would just show up and hope they had room.

At the Goa airport, I retrieved my suitcase quickly, stopped at the pre-paid taxi stand inside of the airport(apparently if you don't take a pre-paid one, you get scammed). I was led to my taxi and hopped in. About 15 minutes into driving my driver stops the car and another car pulled up beside us. My driver gets out, and hands my suitcase to his friend and says "this my brother, he take you". My heart sank. My suitcase already in the other taxi and cars were whizzing by I hopped in. I realised my pepper spray was in my suitcase. My new driver introduced himself(he could probably sense the "I'll cut you" aura I was emitting.) His name was Yogi. I thought one of two things: I'm going to get robbed or he is going to try and charge me a higher fare.

 Driving here is like nothing I have ever seen. There were many times I just had to close my eyes. Anyway, Yogi got me to my destination and I paid the pre-arranged fare without any problems. I'm staying in a beach hut. It really is a hut. I've got my own balcony. As I walked to the Internet cafe I passed two warthogs and two back packers walking barefoot. Really people?

I'm exhausted. I need a nap. Ciao for now!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Deuces#2

Hey homies! I know I suck ass lately but I've been busy. I leave for India today and I promise they updates with be ORGASMIC. There are still 2 dates that I need to write about. They are on their way! For now PEACE OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Date#27

SPEED DATING

Last week I took a dive into the speed dating pool with my friend "Amarula".  We met up to discuss my India trip and she mentioned she was going to a session. She was thoroughly excited and her fervour was infectious! I decided to join her.

I've been in a bit of a slump and looking like a shlumpadinka . For days before speed dating I looked homeless, my moustache was in full force and I left the house in jogging pants that had a bleach stain on them. I just didn't care. That day I gussied myself up: did my hair, painted my face and got dressed. I picked up Amarula and she could sense my nervous energy. She assured me, there was no need for it.

We arrived to a crowded restaurant. The turnout was bigger than I expected. We signed in, put on our name tags and they explained the process. I surveyed the room. There was no one that I was attracted to. I sat in my assigned area and shortly after the parade of men began.

I think I saw about 20 men, four minutes each. Everyone was friendly. There was one eastern bloc guy that wore a severely tight muscle shirt, the American that wore a hoodie, the awkward but friendly video game store owner, the Egyptian pharmacist and it goes on and on and on...

There was a break half-way and the one of the hosts came up to me and asked how I was doing. He looked at my sheet and noticed there were X's(no) beside every name. He told me I should be more open-minded. I listened. At the end I checked off two guys: the Egyptian pharmacist and a firefigther. I wasn't super interested in either but I thought I would be "open-minded".  Its only considered a match if both parties select one another. The next day I got an email saying " sorry there were no matches for you. We are pleased to offer you 25% off our next session." Blow me.


Date#25

Codename:Daft
Nationality:Canadian
Age:34
Occupation:Insurance


He works downtown and the original plan was to meet there. He decided that we should meet closer to his residence in the burbs. I obliged because it was closer for me and I really don't give a flying f**k. We met at a big chain restaurant that serves local peasant fare. I ate dinner prior to our meeting(I didn't want to spend money needlessly, in case I had to pay my own way).

I sat at down and waited for him. He was seven minutes late and more cock-eyed than I remember in his picture. I think he went home, showered and tried to look his best. I barely combed my hair and I also noticed some dry, peeling skin on my nose and I left it there(a sign that the apocalypse is near).

He ordered dinner(I thought about how this would prolong things). I just ordered a drink. He talked about insurance and asked if I was insured. I lied and said yes. He said he loves to travel. When I asked him where he's been he said "Florida and California".

We didn't have much in common. There were countless awkward silences. As soon as he finished his meal. I said I had to meet a friend. I lied I went across the street to a book store and purchased an India guide book.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Date#24

Codename:Prince of Persia
Occupation:Transportation business
Nationality:Canadian(Iranian descent)
Age:36



This date happened since last week. There is no fire left in me. Someone asked me the other day if I take these dates seriously. The answer is no. I don't think I'm going to find the love of my life this way. I view this soley as an experiment. Anywhoo, here it is:

We met for a drink(banning me from coffee shop dates doesn't mean I can't make them quick). I was there ahead of time. He walked in sporting some tight jeans and when he took off this jacket, he was wearing a Jamaican zip-up hoodie. From that point(in my mind anyway), it was over. Perhaps he thought I was Jamaican. I am not. We settled in. He wasn't bad looking, good height, nice features, but he had a mild version of this. He went on to say that he loves Jamaica and how he had been on several occasions. I told him I'm not Jamaican. His disapointment was palpable. He asked me if I like dancehall. I told him no. He joked "what kind of West Indian are you?" The kind that pulls out a cutlass and chops your kebab off.

I had one drink and said I had to meet a friend who was in distress. He told me I seemed a little cold. I told him I wasn't feeling well. What I wanted to say was "I'm not feeling you". He paid the bill and we parted ways. This one lasted just under an hour.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blog

A friend put me onto this blog about a couple travelling the world for six months. Check it out!
http://www.minandtom.com/

Why I love travel

Someone asked me that question the other day. I don't have a simple answer. I find it difficult to verbalise.

 I went on about how some of the most memorable and euphoric moments in my life, have happened whilst travelling. I told her of my very first (and only so far) safari, in the Kruger national park. We spent almost 12 hours on a blazing hot date, trolling the park(well 1/4th of it because it's the size Wales). The day was almost fruitless. We only managed to see three of "The Big 5" . The sun was setting as we headed towards the gate. I tried to suppress the tinge of disappointment that was rising in me because I was beyond grateful for the experience. Up to that point we had seen elephants, rhinos, buffalos, giraffes, impalas, wildebeests, springboks, water bucks, duikers, bushbucks, civets and a martial eagle. As we took a leisurely drive to the gate, there they were, waiting for me: Two male lions sleeping on the road. I shrieked so loudly, I think I woke them up. That moment made the enitre day worth it. I was now satisfied. As we continued to the exit, the elusive spotted leopard(along with her cub) appeared. Our guide informed us that out of the 40 plus times he's been to the park, he'd only seen them twice before). We drove on and spotted some baboons and two rare birds. The floodgates had opened.

For me, travel has a redemptive quality to it. There have been moments of extreme frustration, sadness or fear and then you turn the corner only to meet someone amazing or see something that blows your mind. Travel opens your eyes, your mind, your heart and your palate.

I've been to 29 countries and India will be my 30th(just before my 30th birthday!) but I still feel like there is much of the world I have yet to lay my eyes on. I am beyond excited for this trip and I can't wait to share the journey with you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Woefully behind

One thing you must have learned about me by now is that I am a notorious procrastinator. I know I am woefully behind on the tasks I have assigned myself. I am thrilled to tell you that February will be an exciting month! The last month of my youth. I'll be frank, some things on the list will not happen by my 30th birthday, but shortly after. I'll be late, but for me the timing is just right. People have asked me what I'll do with the blog once I turn thirty and the lights have dimmed on my youth. I'll keep writing when the mood strikes me I guess.

Date#23

Codename:Handkerchief

Nationality:Chinese-Canadian
Occupation:Defence contractor
Age:28

You may remember Handkerchief from dates #14 and #15. I hadn't heard from him in a while. He contacted me again and I decided to try him out, one more time.

I tried to cancel on him because my eyes were hurting and I was tired. He was extremely busy for the rest of the week. I sucked it up and met him for dinner at a Japanese restaurant of his choosing. I arrived before him and got seated at a booth. When he arrived, we hugged and he proceeded to sit beside me in the booth(which means I had to crane my neck to look at his bloodclawt mug).

We got reacquainted and I realized I had absolutely no interest in him. He would touch my hands and try to give me puppy dog eyes. He said he felt like he didn't know me. That I'm hard to read. I told him he seemed conservative and I that I didn't think he could handle my sense of humour. He said that I should ask him questions to get to know him better. I feel like I did that on the first and second date. Is this a dating show? If you want me to know something, tell me. Discourse should flow organically. It didn't. He said I seemed  uncomfortable with PDA. If I have no interest in you, yes..yes I am.

We were there for about 90mins. At the end, I think he could tell I wanted to skedaddle. The bill came, I did the reach. I gave him money for half of the bill(minus tip) hoping he would say"no, I've got it". I'm on a tight budget and if I knew I would be paying my own way I wouldn't have had a glass of wine(which he encouraged me to have) and he ordered two appetizers. He said" Ok, I'll cover the tip as well". Mother f@*ker ! You had two glasses of wine! Please don't think I'm a gold-digger but I'm penny-pinching these days.

He helped me with my coat and tried to open the doors, but I opened them myself. He escorted me to my car and I think he was hoping for a kiss. He had a cut on his chin from shaving and his lips looked a bit dehydrated. Not a chance in hell. I haven't kissed any of these dates. Not-a-one. He looked at me with sad eyes as I went in for a hug. I think we both knew this was our last date.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ela

My dear friend Ela has always been an inspiration to me; She's gorgeous, well dressed, articulate and focused. So focused, she's created her very own handbag line. The line is true to her aesthetic of "humble luxury". Clean lines, classic silhouettes with a modern twist. She's launched an amazing capsule collection. Here's a sneak peak:

The collection can be found at the Narwhal and Rac boutique. Follow her on twitter @elahandbags and follow me(I gave in and joined again) @intrepid30! Ciao!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Date#22

Codename:Frown
Age:34
Occupation:Civil servant
Nationality:Canadian(Portuguese/English descent)


We met a cafe. He arrived first. I recognized him immediately. He looked like his picture— dark hair, medium-olive tone. Not ugly, but not a panty soaker by any means. He smiled, I walked over. We sat at booth in the corner. I ordered a latte(at 7pm which was an asinine idea because I don't drink a lot of coffee and I was unable to sleep that night) and sweet potato fries. He ordered espresso and quiche. He seemed nervous. He said he hadn't been on a date in a while(he recently ended a 5 year relationship). He spoke for maybe twenty minutes about what went wrong in his previous relationship. I feigned listening intently...instead this was playing in my head. I wondered if I farted quietly, I would remain undetected. I decided against it and suffered in silence for the rest of the date.

He continued to speak of his life and how he suffered with depression and how he conquered it. He talked about his dog, his love of hockey and it goes on and on. It wasn't until more than half-way through the date he asked me about my interests. By then, I had forgotten who I was, my chin hairs had turned gray and I had gone through menopause. I lied and told him I had two cats named Pussy Galore and Whiskers. He asked what kind of cats. I told him I don't like to talk about them(because I don't own any bloodclawt cats and have no clue about breeds. I should have thought that lie out more thoroughly).

It was as dry and the Sahara after that. Once someone monopolizes the conversation, I lose all interest. It lasted about 1hr and10mins. Only 8 more to go!!!!!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Take me to the zoo...

Only a few weeks and I will be rid of this experiment, these wretched dates and the nauseating experience of on-line dating. I will never look back...I've got a date from last week to write about. It's getting harder and harder to write about them. It's like I can't find the humour in it anymore—only my suffering. If you haven't guessed, I am having a cyclical mood swing again. Brace yourselves.

hornyfire: wow ur a real cutie i was wondering if i can invite u for a drink or to the zoo....cause i realy would like to meet such a cuteness like u r.
 I just want to inform you that his screen name really did include horny. I only tweaked it slightly to protect his anonymity. I can't  fathom why you would want to take a date to the zoo? Perhaps he thinks the raw, carnal nature of it all would make a woman want to mount him. Not this woman. Not in this mother fuckin lifetime. This was on his profile:

Profile:You know Confidence attract women. As long as you believe what you're saying, you can pretty much say anything that isn't about yourself and they'll eat it up. Women are like some jungle predators: if they smell fear, they'll destroy you, but if you counter, they'll back down. When you go up to talk to women, you're cornered, but your goal is to back them down. i try to be confident, n i lke to be there for my girl everytime and try to be playful when necessary.
 I seriously think he's into beastiality. What's with all the animal references? A part of me wants to tie him up, throw raw meat at him and whip him until he performs tricks. I don't think he grasps that women and not men will be reading his profile. What woman in her right mind would be interested after reading that shite?



zilliionaire:YO!
Yo what you freakin twat? When reading these messages, I sometimes envision myself relaxing my anal sphincter and taking a big heaping s!@$ on them. After all, that's what I feel like when I open my inbox most days—like someone took a big heaping crap on my face. I only want to pay it forward. Here is what his profile said:
Profile:Am kool headed and easy going likes all kinds of music interest include out door activities ski some times during winter and goes watching live games .Outside of all these i takes time to better mai self and expand on mai own business and build aa better network.
I have no words to express my sorrow; It lies in the absence of punctuation, in the total and unabashed degradation of the English language,  and in the possibility that this man may spread his seed and repopulate the earth.