Friday, 13 January 2012

The End of the Roller Coaster ... or is it?

I must apologise profusely for having not posted for over a week now, it's just that things have been a bit non-stop since I got back to the UK and it is typically rather ironic that now I am home it is more accessable to get on line that I should find less time to do so?!?! (does that maken sense or have I not had enough sun recently?!)
And so I would like to take you all back a few weeks, back to my last few days in the sunny village of Varkala, in the lovely State of Kerala in the strange but wonderous land of India.
I awoke on my penultimate morning in Varkala to the sound of the waves of the Arabian sea not far from my hotel room, as the sun shone through my window and I debated as to whether or not I should 'accidentally' miss my flight the following day ... with that on my mind I left for breakfast then a day on the beach!
It was lovely, the weather was just perfect for a day relaxing on a sun bed and doing ... nothing!! Well nothing apart from the odd dip in the sea - which is the perfect way to describe it: having waded out as far as I could, so as to still be able to stand and jump over the large waves that kept rolling in, I was suddenly hit with such force and knocked off my feet. Coughing and spluttering I stood up as quickly as I could and tried to act casual and not look like the pratt that I felt, then I realised that my bikini bottoms were fast approaching my knees!!! I yanked them up, hoping that no one had seen my 'tan line' when I saw a small black fin approaching me in the water! I yelped and jumped back, knowing that sometimes dolphins had been spotted quite close to the shore and therefore why not sharks too! Then I noticed that the fin was in fact floating on its side and looking slightly 'disembodied'?! And suddenly I realised that the little black triangular shape bobbing towards me was not part of some marine killer but in fact the padding from my bikini top that had been sucked out by the 'killer' wave as it dropped me to my knees. (Brings new meaning to the saying: "Getting the stuffing knocked out of you!!!")
After that the day continued to be pretty uneventful.
That evening on my way out to dinner, I popped into the jewellers to pick up the two rings I had bought and was having made smaller, (had originally gone in with the intention of buying one!) I tried them on, they looked great, I paid the rest of my money and was about to leave when the jeweller asked what else I would like. I smiled at him and explained that whilst I could be quite tempted into buying a whole lot more of the lovely jewellery, I had in fact spent all my money, so wouldn't be able to. I am not sure which part of 'spent all my money' and 'unable to' he didn't understand but his response was: "well if you buy something else I will give you a good price for it". 
I left and made my way over to the restaurant 'The Gypsy Kings' (serving authentic Indian, Chinese and Tibetan food!!) where I met Faye and her husband Carlos for my last supper.
The food was very good despite the fact that I had ordered the 'sizzling chicken' and it arrived in full flame looking like it was about to be set off down The River Ganges (please refer to my time in Varanasi!!) It nearly took out both my eyebrows and a good portion of my frizzy hair, but luckily I managed to shoot back in my seat before I caught fire and reversed into a gentleman sitting behind me trying to have a romantic meal with his lady friend!!
Romance seemed to be the 'dish of the day' (sorry but I had to), because at the end of the meal when I asked the waiter for the bill, he walked over looking all coy and smiled at me then said: "Rose". I smiled and nodded back, having given up on correcting peoples wrong pronunciation of my name Ros many, many, many years ago. Then he said - and I quote: "Rose is red, red is blood, blood is heart, heart is love, love is you, you and me?" He then sniggered and scurried away!!
And that was it! The end of my last evening in Varkala.
The following morning I left at 7, said my last farewell to the beach and headed off to Trivandrum airport and caught a plane to Bangalore, where I had a five hour stop over before catching a flight to Dehli!! I was hoping to get some form of breakfast whilst waiting at Bangalore, but unfortunately I was not allowed to check my baggage in until two hours before my connecting flight and not only where there not any lockers to store my heavy bags in and enable me to go and sit in a restaurant and have a hearty meal in preparation for my long journey ahead, but there wasn't a restaurant in which to have the said hearty meal in preparation for my journey ahead! The only thing on offer was a coffee shop selling various unattractive sandwiches, of which most were curry flavoured!! I decided to go for the chocolate muffin and a bottle of water ...
The flight from Bangalore to Dehli was thankfully on time, the only food on offer for the two and a half hour flight was ... a rather unattractive 'triple' sandwich that would even put a doorstop to shame! I picked out the tomatoes and ate them ...
I arrived at Dehli airport and phoned the hotel where I was going to be staying. At the other end of the phone, Amid welcomed  me to Dehli and assured me that the driver was on the way and would be there in five minutes. An hour later and three phone calls with a driver who could speak as much English as I could Hindi I was finally on my way to my final hotel in India!
Amid was at the front desk when I arrived and checked me in. The time was nearly 9pm and I was starving!!! And so he informed me that there was room service available and I would find the menu in the drawer by the bed.
I was quite pleased that Claudine wasn't with me that night! The room would not have come close to any of her standards and I really wasn't in the mood for trapsing around the building trying to see if another room was suitable. So I decided to settle for it, despite the hole in the sheets and the lack of space and the dodgy looking bathroom with the extremely noisy busy Dehli street outside.
I pulled out the food menu, the choice was either Chinese or Indian from the local restaurant! I chose Chinese noodles, thinking that having a curry the night before a 9 and a half hour flight back to the UK could be asking for trouble. I phoned Amid at reception with my order. He told me that I would not be able to have the Chinese food as it was considered a snack?! But he would be happy to get anything from the Indian menu!!! I took a deep gulp and ordered a bowl of Dahl and some rice - not spicy. It arrived a short while later, I took one bite and could feel my hair frizz out even more merely from the heat of the spice in it!!!
The following morning I checked out and waited for my cab driver to take me to the airport. Amid pointed to him standing outside by his car waiting for me - he had one eye!!!!
Someone was watching over me that morning, because by some miracle, even though my one eyed driver was talking on the phone as he drove, narrowly missing various 'obstacles' in his way, I made it back to Dehli airport in one piece!!
My feelings were kind of mixed as I checked my luggage in; mixed between wanting to stay and wanting to leave. I think that if it wasn't for my nieces Batmitzvah that I was coming back for, I may just have stayed in Varkala for another week or so. But I do think things happen for a reason and I was meant to come home after eight and a half weeks, refreshed, recharged and ready to get on with my life ...
I ambled around the Duty Free shop, trying to decide on which perfume to buy that would remind me of my adventure, (I would usually have bought a fragrance on the way out, but Claudine advised against wearing any perfume in India for fear it would attract Malaria ridden mosquitoes!) I picked up various bottles and sprayed, taking in each aroma, when one of the shop assistants walked over and asked if I needed any help, to which I replied: "No thanks, I'm just smelling".
It took a couple of minutes for me to realise why she was looking at me in an odd way after that.
The time was fast approaching 10am and so I hurried over to the restaurant section for a hearty breakfast. I smiled to myself as I sat down and reflected on all the events that had happened over the last few weeks as I tucked 'heartily' into my MacChicken burger.
Finally the flight was called and I made my way onto the plane. (no upgrade this time!!) As we took off I smiled at the obnoxious looking man sitting in front, who had got tetchy with me because I had managed to get my hand luggage in the overhanging locker, just where he wanted to put his. Then I took out my book and started to read.
About an hour into the flight, lunch was served. Believe it or not I was actually looking forward to some airplane 'delicacies'!! Well we were on a BA flight and so I finally wouldn't have to choose between Chinese or Indian food!!!
The Air Steward pulled the cart up beside me and asked if I wanted the Chicken or vegetarian option. I asked him what it was, he said ... CURRY!!
After lunch, I leaned back and thought about how I had felt about myself and my life on the way over to the sub-continent officially known as The Republic States of India. Then I put on my earphones, switched on my ipod and listened to my all time favourite song: Nina Simone's 'Feeling Good'.
To be continued ... 

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