Having intended to go travelling since he left University, Julien
procrastinated for several years being thwarted by various humdrum
life non-enhancing events. Also, during this time, he did a whole
range of dull worthy and dull less than worthy jobs.
As luck would have it, he finally
found a reasonably well-paid job that he really liked doing (a first
on both accounts there) - but it was a 6 month contract. The very
week he decided to go travelling at the end of his contract, as
there was nothing looming and he was free of all commitments and
attachments de coeur - was the week that his bosses wanted
talk to him about extending his contract. There was much conflicting
advice sought and unsought by all and sundry, but ultimately, it
came to "If I don't go now, I'll never go", so
off he went.
He didn't go alone, but with
a friend Ed - they both bought a return ticket to Mumbai and so
the scene was set.
Welcome to India!
OK, so I reckon you're probably
at Heathrow now - but you'll be in India when you read this
- isn't the internet wonderful!
Hope the trip was smooth
and that the culture shock isn't too great yet - wish I was
there to see it too.
Don't forget if in doubt, clench
the buttocks - you can't go far wrong.
|From Julien - Oct
Hello. Just to put your minds
at ease, we arrived jetlagged and weary yesterday evening at 11.20pm
(6.30 UK). The experience has been a lot less intense than originally
expected, although it's still very early doors and I'm still
seriously jetlagged. Anyway, let Mum and Niall know that I'm
not dead yet and that my bowels are still in working order. (Why
only this lunchtime I passed my first solid in India. The first
of many to come, Krishna willing.)
I'm going to go and
look at some things now. Mumbai smells awfully similar to Mombasa.
Peace be upon you.
Glad to hear you're in one
piece. Mummy voiced the question "I wonder what Julien's
doing right now" earlier. Niall thought you were probably being
mugged, while I betted on the toilet option. It didn't seem
to comfort her...
Mummy and Niall then argued about who
should be the official custodian of print-outs of Bubbub's emails
- neither argument was convincing to me as they discussed the merits
of their respective record keeping facilities - Niall's room and
I hope that tomorrow will bring myriad
novel smells to your nostrils. Remember, don't have any spicy
foreign food and watch out for the darkies.
Looking forwards to my first weekly
Hope you have as much fun reading this as I did
writing it - you can always refer to it as an example of Western-Decadent-Imperialism
if held at knife-point by a thugee.
|From Julien - Oct
Arrived in Goa yesterday after
a pretty hairy rickshaw journey to the wrong airport. The taxi driver
on the way to the hotel offered to provide us with a prostitute
each, which we graciously declined. 5000 Rupees a night is steep
even for Brighton standards.
Hired bikes today and drove
along the coast and into Anjuna - a town not dissimilar to St. Neots'
Indian quarter. The roads may be a touch hectic, but the general
survival technique seems to be beep your horn and keep your eyes
peeled. What larks.
Much as I hate to disappoint, both Ed
and I are still passing regular movements. So much so Ed suggested
naming ourselves the So Solid Crew. I'm inclined to agree.
The food in Goa is truly incredible. Why only last night, over
my tiger prawn bilchao, I could swear I saw the face of Vishnu.
(In retrospect, I suppose it could have been Shiva.) Over a piping
hot chai tea, Ed and I discussed the merits of colonialism and the
British Empire before toasting the Queen and retiring for the evening.
Anyway, I'll leave you now tired, hot and thirsty, but
in extremely high spirits and keen to see what further adventures
Long live the Queen.
|From Paul - Oct 11th
Hairy rickshaw - now that must
be a sight to behold - India truly is the continent of great exotica.
I'm sorry but I don't believe the Anjuna story - Google
Earth and our atlas doesn't show any such place - we'll
just have to get a map I guess to follow you around. Thought you
were spending a few days at the Hari-Krishna temple? Very inspired
that there is a place in a far off land that is forever St.Neots,
have you been out at night and come back deeply disillusioned? -
ah that old town of yours.
So Solid Crew - "pride comes
before a squit" - Dr. Johnson. Pleased to hear of your bowel
movements nonetheless - old habits die hard. Always carry a toilet
roll, useful at unexpected fiestas as an impromptu streamer if nothing
Radha says that Goa is one of the most beautiful places
on earth - did you get the camera fired up yet? So what are the
mid-term plans? Niall and I are off to a dive show in sunny Birmingham
Did you state the purpose of your visit at
immigration? Expected you to be dined by the Viceroy by now - if
you've gone native then recruit a battalion of sepoys - they
will stand you in good stead. A stout elephant will be a good position
to command them from and make for some good "me on my holidays"
pictures. Have you sat next to any exotic nutters on the bus yet?
(Ed doesn't count - neither do you for him).
|From Julien - Oct
Greetings from Goa.
pace has slackened a little since our last communication. No longer
struggling against the human tide of Anjuna (it does exist, honest
guv...) we have decided to move to marginally calmer pastures. Just
outside a town called Margaou, we have found a charming little apartment
further south, about five minutes walk from the beach. Banalim to
We left Calungate (south of Anjuna) a few days
ago and headed by bus to Panjim, the capital of Goa. We stayed in
a truly horrific hotel replete with bedbugs, mosquitoes and foul
- but fading - memories. The city itself was pretty nasty. Everyone
seemed righteously pissed off to be there. Including, as I'm
sure is obvious, both Ed and I.
In Benalim, we hired some
bikes again and travelled, with our Muslim guide Saleem, to the
southernmost beach of Goa called Palolem. The beach was about as
delightful as any I've seen, but the drive down was absolutely
incredible. Rhada is right, after Worthing on Sea, Goa is one of
the most stunning places on earth.
We plan to head back
for Diwali which starts this Saturday. Unfortunately, Goa is largely
Christian so I'm not sure how much it will be celebrated. Still,
Ed and I have made some makeshift fireworks out of driftwood and
petrol to mark the occasion, so hopefully it should go(a) with a
bang. Forgive me. This heat is getting to me.
I regret to
inform you that we have already failed in our primary objective
of avoiding all fellow (dare I say it) travellers. We call them "Whiteys"
over here. It seems not all Americans are cretins, although most
of them are, and not everyone from Wiltshire is inbred (based on
a cursory search for webbed fingers, thumbs on the spine and eyebrows
on the cheeks) although most of them are. I'll spare you the
tiresome details, however,. suffice to say a most pleasant time
has been spent so far.
You'll be delighted to hear,
I'm sure, that despite the occasional "artists' spat"
Ed and I are still committed members of the So Solid Crew. So much
so that I believe Ed to have been constipated for a few days. He
wouldn't admit it, but with my amateur medical credentials and
keen eye for such things, I'm pretty sure my diagnosis is correct.
It would certainly explain the surly behaviour and "lie downs"
that he's been having. Now if only I could find those rectal
Anyway, all is still very well here: So far
I have: touched an elephant, gone to a spice garden, had an argument
with a certain "Mr. Nice", nearly driven into a heard
of cows, bought three pairs of trousers - on separate occasions
and which didn't fit - and found a cockroach in the sink. I
have not seen any monkeys.
All is well.
seems the Viceroy is an old school friend of yours. The ruddy-faced
gent was absolutely thrilled to make the acquaintance of the son
of his old Harrow polo partner and insisted on throwing a most elaborate
soiree in your honour. I confess to being a little giddy on the
champagne, but I could have sworn he mentioned you had both fought
in the Crimea...