Monday, October 31, 2005

Sweaty Halloween!!

It's a funny thing this global warming. Obviously I don't mean I burst out laughing every time I read about carbon emissions, but it's kinda funny wierd sometimes. Like yesterday for example. I was lying on the beach, watching people swimming, soaking up the sunshine, and lamenting the demise of the polar ice caps. Ok, so the last bit isn't true, but it should be, considering the only reason that I'm lying on the beach at Halloween is because of global warming. I only discovered last week that this weather isn't normal for Barcelona. There was a front page story in the newspaper about the bizzareness of people eating roasted chestnuts on the beach in their swimwear. Apparently it hasn't been this hot in October since the 1800's. Then again, they didn't have global warming in the 1800's, so maybe it's all just natural after all.... sure feels that way as I lie there soaking up those cancerous rays and inhaling the pollution... ahhhhh.

Did you read about the lastest weapon in the fight against Malaria? Apparently they've just created a genetically modified mosquito with glow in the dark testicles! Sounds like a joke huh? But no, it's true. The glowing gonads help scientists separate males from females so that they can sterilise the males and release the back into the wild. The only problem now is whether or not female mosquitos will actually be attracted to a guy with flourescent blue bollocks. So anyway, now that they have the technology, it's only a matter of time before it hits the human market. "Are you fed up of trying to find your balls in the dark? Sick of having 'normal nuts'? Get new "GLOWING GONADS"! One simple operation and your balls will be the envy of your friends and family forever!".

By the way, I'm coming back to England for Xmas! I'm flying into East Midlands Airport, conveniently located just below Sheffield... talk about false advertising! Anyway, hope to see some of you then. Otherwise, hasta luego!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ahem.... Ahem.... May I have your attention please... I would like to announce my return to the blogging community as of now. I hereby do swear upon the almighty internet that i shall do my best to write seemingly inconsequential yet strangely compelling stories about extremely personal matters, and shall post them on this blog for the world to see. By the powers vested in me i now pronounce this blog... re-opened!

So, you may be wondering what I've been doing all this time... the problem is, it's top secret, and if i told you I'd have to kill you. With this being a public blog, that would mean killing everyone with access to the internet just to be on the safe side, which is just plain impractical, so lets just say i've been "lying low" in an undisclosed seaside city on the soath coast of england. Ok, so where am I now? Well, actually I am in Ester's flat in the old district of Barcelona, Spain. Yes, I have once again escaped the pain and misery of the english winter just in the nick of time. So, Barcelona...

To be honest most of my time here so far (about 3 weeks) has been spent running around like a burning rabbit (use your imagination) trying to find a job and stuff like that. So now I have a job teaching english to rich teenagers with gucci sweaters, hemp bags, and suspiciously bloodshot eyes... I have managed to do some sightseeing tho... the weekend before last was the Merce, which is the festival of barcelona... it lasts 4 days and has bags of shit happening all over the city... in fact right outside my balcony I managed to see a beautiful display of the spanish love for combining children and fireworks... For those who don't know, in England fireworks are given the same respect as grenades and semtex (except in Hyde Park, in Leeds, where the local kids use them as a substitute for grenades and cemtex), meaning that children under the age of 25 are not allowed near them, and instead are forced to stand behind metal barriers whilst "professional" (drunk) adults try to ignite the fireworks with their ciggarettes.

In spain however, adults recognize the imortance of being able to hold fireworks directly and spray their beautiful shower of sparks at other children. This is why they organise an event where about 1000 children aged about 7 - 18 dress up as devils and march down the high street holding catherine wheels on sticks and waving them erratically. You may imagine that everyone with any sense would keep a safe distance from these flamethrowing pyro-kids, but you would be wrong. In fact, the idea is to take your kids (the ones too young to hold the fireworks, i.e under 7) and run underneath the shower of sparks, taking care to try and cover your eyes and hair to avoid blindness/baldness/3rd degree burns. By the way, did I mention that each catherine wheel explodes when it finishes? Oh yeah. And not with a "Phut" like british bangers, but with a proper "KERFUCKINGBLAM!!", sending extra sparks and burning debri everywhere.

Wait a second, I almost forgot the best bit! The kids are just a warm up to the main even, which is a "dragon competition". People make large dragons on wheels, some as big as a transit van, each with an assortment of fireworks sticking out of it at a variety of angles. When the signal is given, all the fireworks are lit (usually by someone holding another firework) and the blazing dragon is then spun around and pushed threatingly into the crowd of spectators, who all run laughing and putting out their hair...

I somehow managed not to take a single photo, so you'll have to trust me on this one. :)

Anyway, I have to go and teach some more delinquent spanish kids... let me know if you're still listening people! Maybe this could be the start of something special.... :)

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Farwell to my love, hello to black slime and chos...

Alone again! :( Ester and I had to say a tearful goodbye at Siliguri Station, as she flys from Delhi and I fly from Bombay... But it's not all bad, as we are going to meet up again very soon, either in England or Majorca. :) So, since that parting I have been rediscovering the "joys" of solo travelling, namely having the exact same conversation with every stranger in the street, generally involving my precise itinterary and a ten point list of reasons why I like India. In fact, from the moment Ester's train pulled out of the station, things started to revert to their usual level of difficulty...

I only had an RAC ticket, which basically means my seat is not confirmed yet. You have to go and check your name on a list to find out if you have a seat, however I had been assured by the guy who sold me the ticket that my bed was 99.9% guaranteed. When I eventually tracked down the list however, I was surprised to discover my name conpicuously absent. I went into one of many offices lining the platform, each with it's own handpainted sign proclaiming the title of the occupier: Deputy Sub-Division Officer of Canned Goods Transportation; Chief Divisional Sub Clerk of Latrine Maintenance and Air Conditioning... I'm not sure what my office was, and it made little difference as the uninterested official inside just waved me off to a different office. The next official I found was much more helpful. In return for a ten minute oratory explaining my six months in india and the reasons why India was such an amazing country, he told me to look for the Travelling Ticket Inspector, or TTE for short (!).... He said that when my train pulled in (Platform as yet unknown), the TTE's would get off and pass "the list" to replacement TTE's, and I would have to try to intercept them and find out my seat number before the train left. This didn't sound too hard so I sat down to wait for the train.

When it arrived I realised this wasn't going to be so easy after all. Firstly, the train was loooong, and secondly, it was BUSY! The platform was packed with people trying to get on, and being as every indian man wears a shirt exactly the same as a train conductor, finding him was gonna be tricky. Eventually i did find one guy with a list, but it turned out it wasn't THE list. He sent me off to the other end of the train. I found another guy with a list, also not THE list. Each of these guys was surrounded by frantic people like me trying to find their seat numbers, and had pockets full of wads of folded paper lists, which they would pull out one at a time, going "noooo...nooooo.noooo, not that one...ummmm...nooooo.... mmmmmm..maybe this one? oh, nooo..." It was complete madness, but they were all Zen masters, and didn't rush in the slightest, despite the crowd of people and the impending departure of the train...

Eventually I found THE list, and was given my magical code: s4/7. I finally found Coach s4, conveniently located between s1 and s3, but found a frail old man sitting in my seat. No problem I thought, as he coughed his cocktail of diseases in my face, I'll just sit opposite him, he's probably getting off before bedtime... When the ticket inspector arrived, it turned out that they had double booked the seat/bed, and we both had number 7. He told me this as if it was the most normal thing in the world, and should hardly be considered a problem. Luckily it turned out it WAS a problem for the guy whos seat I was now occupying, who started having a loud argument with him in Hindi. The men in the surrounding seats, sensing some entertainment, crowded round to join in the fight. A big argument ensued, in which everyone got involved except me. It was a classic indian argument, with everyone shouting and looking angry for 5 mins at a time, puncuated by everybody laughing for 5 seconds as if it was all a funny game.... which i suppose it was.... ! Eventually they found the old guy another seat, and gave me seat/bed 7, which was one of the side seats that are too short for me... but then a lady asked me if i'd mind swapping for an upper berth as her elderly father needed a lower berth!! so after all that fuss i finally got the exact bed i'd wanted all along.... :)

So now I'm in Calcutta again, just as lost as last time! I arrived at 7:30am and my train doesn't leave till 1:30pm... I tried to make a plan to see/do something, but calcutta is just not tourist friendly!!! It was hard enough just getting from Sealdah station to Howrah Station and putting my bags in the cloakroom!!! The taxi driver wanted 200 rupees to go from one side of the bridge to the other. I got him down to 40 providing I shared the taxi with an indian family...but then he spent the entire journey telling me i was stupid (never tell a taxi driver "I'm not stupid you know?!") and insulting me in hindi and bengali!! Then the cloakroom ppl refused to take my guitar, saying they didn't do instruments. They finally agreed to take it if i locked it, but then said it was no good using one lock for my bag and guitar, as each item had to have a separate lock. They refused to be swayed by my logical arguments, smiling at my naivety, and made me go and buy a separate lock. The biggest irony is that locking my guitar case does nothing except stop someone taking the guitar out of the case!!!! As if they would take it out of the case to steal it!!!! Anyway, I tried to read the paper in the station, but finally gave in when the cleaning man started throwing water over my feet and bag, and came to Sudder Street, the only "Tourist Street" in calcutta.... So here I am, coated in a sweaty black grime that I can collect in rolls under my fingernails and flick onto the floor, wasting time in a small oven-like internet cafe and waiting for my next train, a full 36 hour marathon to bombay... hooray!!! :)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Oh my goodness, is it that time already?!

I'm afraid it is kids, it's time to go home. By this time nest week i'll be back in the beautiful land of britain, just in time for the General Election! Hooray!! Anyway, I've got loads of stories, and no time, so then how? Anyway, who's in the uk now? Where do you all live? What do you do? Is it fun? Can I join in? With a bit of luck I'll be goin on holiday to majorca to visit Ester a few weeks after i get back... sweet! I know, I'm a lucky bastard, what can i say?

Well, Sikkhim was lovely. After weeks of planning, we finally set off on a 5 day trek last sunday. After 1 hour of climbing down the side of a very steep mountain, my knees began to give way. Then I realised I'd forgotten my sungalsses at a rest stop near the top. 2 hours and 3 litres of sweat later and I was back in the same spot, trying my best not to cry out in pain every time i put my weight on my knees. 30 mins later and they gave way for good. Luckily we had reached a road, and managed to hitch a ride in a jeep to the lake we were heading for. We stayed the night there, without even visiting the lake, and got a jeep back to Pelling the next morning. And there ended our 5 day trek! No more trrekking for me until i get these bloody knees replaced!! Now i'm back in dusty, noisy, smelly lowland india! wish me luck! :)

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Hey Guys!

well, despite being utterly shit at writing my journal, I have somehow managed, using Microshit's Paint program, to resize some photos and upload them for you viewing pleasure! (extra swearwords just for Uncle Jim!). You can see them at

Incidentally, if you haven't joined, go and do it so I can get weekly updates of your new photos and stuff. I could move my journal there as well, but that's just too much like hassle... Anyway, shall I attempt to write a journal entry? Mmmm, we'll see....

So, me and Ester, my new girlfriend/true love/soul mate, have spent the last week being sick as dogs. I have had my intestine invaded by parasitic bugs from Mars. I have been taking drugs to kill them for a week now, but if anything it has just made them angry. When they get angry, they display their annoyance by producing deadly toxic gases that smell of rotten eggs and expelling them through my bumhole. As you can imagine, this can be rather upsetting, not just to me, but to anyone within a 10 metre radius of my butt. Ester has had a really bad cold, which has now evolved into a full chest infecion, requiring a small pharmacy of drugs administered through the mouth and nostrils on a regular basis. We have been in darjeeling for a week and so far we haven't seen a mountain. We spend much of the time shivering in our bed and dreaming of tropical beaches. But not to worry, pretty soon I'll be back in tropical england where I can warm up and recover! Anyway, I'm not complaining, I have a bed, 2 large duvets, and a beautiful spanish babe to keep me warm! :)

So, amusing stories..... Hummmmm.... Hmmmmm..... Nope. I've just finished reading a book on buddhism. Unfortuanely I chose a book written by a complete sceptic of buddhism who has painted a picture of buddah as a pessamistic, obsessive, manic depressive ego maniac whose main message was "give up, there's no point, commit spiritual suicide!". At one point in the book, whilst trying to convince me of the existence of God, he made an analogy where he talked about the "seemingly absurd possiblility" of man one day, centuries from now, building a large torpedo powered by exploding rockets that might be able to pierce the earth's atmosphere and actually land on another planet!!! At first I thought he was being sarcastic, then I realised the book was written in 1938!! My god things change fast these days!

Right, Tirupathi. Tirupathi was pretty mad. We met a family on the train, who apart from being completely insane and trying to give us their children, entertained us for the entire journey. Actually, I think it may have been more the other way around. Anyway, they had been displaced by the Tsunami, and were living temporarily in Chennai. They were now very poor, explained the teenage cousin, whilst sending text messages on her mobile phone and eating ice cream simoultaneously, so they were going to Tirupathi to see the living God and ask him to sort them out with some more cash. The "Living God" is a black statue of some god or another, which apparantly, according to sources long since forgotten, is actually a living avatar of God himself. 100,000 people a day, not just Hindus, make the pilgrimage to Tirupathi every day to see him. This is not surprising, as apparantly he actually grants wishes, no matter how fanastic, for the small price of some gooey sugar balls, your hair, and an 8 hour queue. So anway, our new friends were on their way to see him and ask for cash in return for their hair... well actually the hair of their men and children; the women, despite their claims to the contrary, had no intenion of cutting off their long black tressess! After a few more hours of travel during which we danced, laughed, and sang Britney Spears, we arrived in Tirupathi station and said our goodbyes.

In the station we got our first glimpse of the baldies. They were everywhere! Whole families of skinheads sitting around on their bags waiting for the train home. "This better be worth it!" you could hear them thinking as they imagined their reception back at work and school. In India people take a lot of pride in their hair. Most indian men cannot pass a mirror without pulling out a plastic comb and spending a good 5 minutes restyling their John Travolta or McFly hairdo. And the women usually have perfect long black hair that often hangs right down to their waists. So it's a pretty big sacrifice to give it to God. Not that God doesn't appreciate it. He's very greatful in fact, to the tune of 6 billion rupees a year (trust me, it's a lot), making Tirupathi the richest temple in India. Not that they spend all the money on prostitutes and smack of course. If they are telling the truth, the money all goes back into servicing the 100,000 pilgrims a day, and whatever's left goes to fund orphanages, help the poor etc. We met some guys on the train out of Tirupathi who told us an interesting story about the reason behind all the donaions of hair and money that people make to the God. Apparantly this God stole a large sum of cash from another God at some point in history, and all we are doing is paying the interest on his capital. Sounds fair. :) They were absolutely flabbergasted to hear that I had been to the temple and not actually queued the 8 hours to see the Living God. "This is a very big mistake" said one gravely, shaking his head. I think they decided we were a bit mad after that and left us alone.

So, enough for one day I think! I finally managed to tell something resembling a story!!! hooray!!! ok, maybe more later.... :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Room with a View...

I am staying in a room with a view at the moment. I can see the sea, palm trees, and lots of piles of rubble that used to be buildings. The town is Mammalapuram, the State: Tamil nadu, and the reason for the rubble: a 10 metre wave, the imapact of which is still clearly visible all around me. A lot has been rebuilt, especially the tourist hotels, restaurants etc, but the fishermen and their families, who bore the brunt of the Tsunami, are still living in makeshift tents on the edge of town. We discovered them today whilst exploring on a moped. First we met the woman who ran the school. All she had was a room with no windows made of bolted together panels that the government had provided. We promised to go back tomorrow with paper and crayons etc. Then we were invited into the tent of a smiling young fisherman's wife, feeding one baby and pregnant with a second. She offered us food despite not having enough for herself, and showed us her one remaining photo album rescued from the tsunami. They showed a happy family living in a nice house full of all the mod cons of modern life: TV, stereo, cuddly toys etc... It's weird, but it seemed so much more shocking to see a moderately well of family reduced to living in a tent than it would have done if she had been living in a shack (as many fishermen do). I guess it's becasue it made you realise that it could have been you. In India only the truly wealthy will have something as luxurious as house insurance, so when something like this happens, your on your own. Well, not quite. The local church organisations have been providing a large amount of the support, as well as international aid. The Goverment on the other hand has done very little. Apparantly they are building new houses for the refugees, but it all sounded a bit vague to me... There are lots of new boats being built for the fishermen, all sponsored by foreign investment, but in the meantime no one has a livelihood and there are lots of people lying around in the shade trying to pass the time. Despite this, everyone was very positive. I didn't see anyone looking miserable or hear one person complain about their situation.

After leaving the camp and promising to return tomorrow, we wandered along the beach where there was a small village of half destroyed, half intact houses. We were quickly invited in by one family and given soft drinks from the local shop which they refused to let us pay for. These people never cease to amaze me with their generosity and kindness. If you guys gave money to the aid effort for this disastor, good on you. But it's not finished yet, and the goverement is doing practically nothing from what I've seen. The foreign aid that gets through really does make a difference, building boats and houses and getting people back to work, so if you can, why not give some more? :)

So anyway, me and Ester, my spanish travelling companion who I'm amazed I ever manged to live without, are heading to Tirupathi tomorrow to visit the richest temple in india. Every day 100,000 pilgrims pass through the temple and have their heads shaved as a sign of devotion and a means to reduce the ego. The preists then sell the hair to foriegn wig makers, making them 6 billion rupees a year! This I have to see... I'll tell you more about it when I've seen it!

right, I'm too tired to write more.... sorry for the long silences! more soon... :)

Sunday, February 27, 2005


I'm lame huh? I totally haven't been writing my blog this trip... it's not that nothing exciting has happened, it's just that... well.... I just can't be arsed to be honest! I know, I'm sorry! Anyway, I'm staying in Kodai Canal at the moment, which is a town in the mountains (they call them hills here) with stunning views blah blah blah... sorry, but i just wrote all this in a mail to my mum. See, I am getting seriously lazy! How am I ever going to adjust to life in the real world?! Actually, I've decided to be a famous musician, so with a bit of luck I'll be able to skirt around the edge of the real world without getting close enough to be burned by it. According to Hinduism the world's not real anyway, it's all just "Maya", meaning illusion. So if it's not real, I don't see why i should take part in it! Damn my feet are cold. Well, they feel cold anyway, but perhaps it's just maya also. Damn my grammar's getting fucked up! Speaking pijin english all the time plays havok with your grammar let me tell you.

I'm staying in a proper house at the moment with open fires in every room, a kitchen, a garden, a veranda etc. And it overlooks a lake, so there. I think part of the reason that i am unable to come up with anything interesting to tell you is that I have become so used to india that all the craziness seems quite normal really. Maybe next time... actually, i promise that next time I will have at least one interesting thing to say. In the meantime, please go to and sign a petition for me. Come on, it's the least you can do! After all the favours I've done for you! Ungrateful bastards. Right, I'd better go before I lose my entire readership. (don't go! I love you both!)... tara.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Watch out for the Dark....

I've been in Varkala for the last 2 days, and so far have managed to have a few classic misadventures... I managed to meet my cousin jed on the day I arrived and we headed off to find a restaurant to have dinner. The restaurants in Varkala are all perched in a long line on the edge of a very high cliff that looks down over the beach. It is very beautiful but insanely dangerous. The path that runs along the front of the restaurants is only about 3 feet from the edge of the cliff, which is completely sheer at best, and a large overhang at worst.

So anyway, Jed and I have dinner, follwed by a few beers and a couple of spliffs, and finally at about 1am we decide to head home. This is when I realise that I have managed to lose my torch. No problem I think, as there are still enough restaurants open that they shed some light on the path and we can see. Fifteen minutes later we are back at the alley leading to my house, and I say goodbye to jed who heads off for his own house. Walking down the alley, I realise that it is very dark at my house, as the family have gone to bed, so I stop under the last streetlamp to find my key in my bag. Only it's not there. Bugger. I suddenly remember that some things fell out of my bag in the restaurant and I thought I'd picked them all up. Obviously not. So, walking rather too quickly, I set off back along the now very dark path towards the restaurant. I make it there safely and amazingly manage to find my key in the sand under my table. Things are looking up!

Walking back to my house the second time turns out to be more hairy... Most of the restaurants are closed and the street lamps are only every 100 metres or so... I end up having to just aim for the next light and hope I'm not walking over the edge of the cliff! Eventually I reach the end of the cliff and breather a sigh of relief. I start walking down the alleyway to my house, but when I look for the streetlight to stop and get my key out, I realise that it's gone out. In fact all the lights have gone out... in the whole town. Yep, a power cut. Suddenly it is pitch black. I hold up my hand in front of my face: nothing. Shit. I remember that I have to climb over a wall and then go through some palm trees and around the side of the house, so I start trying to imagine the path and follow it. After a few attempts that find me walking into trees, falling down holes, and generally getting more disorientated, I finally make it back to the alleyway where I started.

Realising that without a torch this is going to be impossible, I start racking my brains for a way to make light. I curse myself for deliberately removing my ciggarette lighter from my bag in the name of making it lighter!! Stupid ass! Then I have a revelation! My digital watch! It has a small light for illuminating the screen! armed with this faint blue glow and bent double, I begin scouring the ground looking for clear patches where I can place my feet. 10 minutes later I have made it to the house! but hang on a minute... that washing wasn't there before... that courtyard didn't exist... Shit! This isn't my house!!! I've just spent half an hour scrambling through some stranger's garden and now I'm trespassing in their courtyard with no way of getting out again. I can't face heading back through the light absorbing darkness of the garden so I start manouvering around the wall as it reflects my small light better. Then I see something familiar... "rooms for rent" is scrawled in red paint on one of the walls... this IS my house, I was just on the wrong side of it!! 30 seconds later and i have found my door and made it inside!!! Safe at last!!! :)

Friday, February 04, 2005

Murder on the Shadapti Express...

Hello again! fancy seeing you here! Ok, ok, I've been a bit slack i know, but I've been hanging out in pretty remote places so haven't had access to these new fangled computing machines. Anyway, here's some highlights of the last few weeks:

Left Mangalore on the 10:30 bus, which left promptly at 11:30. Spent most of the journey so desperate for a piss that I had difficulty breathing. The four hour journey only lasted six hours, so arrived in time to bump into Yannick, a French dude, at the check-in desk of the Viyanaka hotel in Madikeri. We decided to share a room as there was only one single room and it was pretty depressing. Our room had a lovely view of a rubbish-slide (like a land-slide but made of rubbish) and if the wind was right you could smell it as clear as if your had buried your face in it. That evening we ate Masala Dosa's by candlelight in the Capitol Hotel, one of the many "Hotels" in India that doesn't actually offer accomodation, only cheap veg food. The candlelight wasn't for romantic reasons, but rather because elctricity in Madikeri seemed to be distributed on a TimeShare system, i.e. if the shop over the road had it, we didn't. After the meal, the power came on and I got up to wash my hands. The scarily enthusistic old man who had served us followed me to the sink and grabbed the jug to pour water for me to wash (there was no working tap). Just then the lights went out again, and in the resulting confusion I found that I seemed to be washing with three hands. It seems my new friend didn't trust me to wash my own hands and had started helping me a little, which was very strange as it made me feel like a 5 year old again, this being the last time someone else washed my hands for me! What with it being pitch dark there was very little i could do except continue trying to aim for my own hands and attempt to ignore the other eager five fingers that had infiltrated their soapy way into my grip.

After one day in madikeri spent walking to a rather pleasant waterfall, I decided it was time to find a quiet place to write some songs. After a few phone calls i managed to book a room at the "Palace estate", and the next morning me and Yannick, (who is often mistakenly refered to as Yanicka due to his introducing himself in a classic french accent: "My name ahhhh is ahhh yannick ahhhh"), jumped on a local bus and set of for Kakkabe, the nearest village to Palace Estate. Another jeep ride later and we were there. Palace Estate turned out to be amazing. It is located in the middle of forest and coffee plantations, halfway up the side of a mountain, and from the vernada of my room I could look down into the valley, which in the morning was a sea of mist with green islands popping up through the cloud. The family who run the place are amazingly friendly, and all meals are eaten together. They all spoke that wonderful victorian English only heard in india. "Will we be enjoying your company for dinner this evening Billy?...". The evening dinner was something straight out of an Agatha Christie novel, partly thanks to two older brit-canadian couples who had just the right hairstyles to complement the picture. I guess it was also because we all sat on the veranda of a very colonial looking house, sipping tea, and slowly getting to know one another by telling anecdotes.... when I woke up each morning to find no one had been murdered I was most dissapointed I can tell you!

One morning whilst getting my breakfast in the kitchen of the Palace Estate, I was lucky enough to catch an episode of the legendary Indian tv show, "Shakti Man". Shakti is power that exists in the cosmos and can be channelled by Sadhus and holy men. Shakti Man, however, is a slightly plump middle aged indian man in a lycra costume who is India's answer to Superman. He is truly hilarious. He looks like he should be selling vacuum cleaners. And the special effects are mind blowing. I saw him use his "heat vision". Two red beams extended slowly out from his eyeballs, and then, when the job was done, they were slowly retracted. Certainly very useful as long as your not in a hurry... :) I've been searching today for a Shakti Man T-shirt, but so far no joy.

Anyway, we finally left the Palace Estate, and headed for a place called Muzhapillangad beach, which we had read a recommendation for in the visitors book. It isn't in the Lonely planet, so i wrote down the name of the beach and we set off to catch a local bus to Cannore, the nearest town. Three buses and countless pot-holes later we arrived in Cannore. It was dark already so we decided to catch a rikshaw to the beach. We tried asking rickshaw drivers for muzhapillangad beach, but no one seemed to have heard of it. Eventually, by pronouncing it muapilangad, we found someone who had heard of it, but they insisted there were no hotels there, as did the group of curious young indians who had gathered around us. Against their advice we decided to go there anyway, and squeezed into the rickshaw. 5 minutes into the journey we realised that the driver didn't speak any english and had just been using the usual indian "say yes to everything technique" to overcome the language barrier. Despite this, he did manage to get us as far as muzhapillangad beach, but that's where he gave up, suggesting we get another rickshaw, and trying to charge us an extra 30 rupees for not actually getting us to our destination. Our second rickshaw was more successfull, being driven by two drunk young indians who drove us 3 k's down the beach (on the sand) staring at each light under the palm tress that we passed. Amazingly they did actually identify the right lights, and we finally reached our destination.

Since then I have moved to a smaller place on the same beach, which is basically a house with a kitchen and everything! Last night I cooked for the first time since arriving in india. It was a nightmare. Withing 5 mins I had got raw chilli juice all over my hands and face, I was sweating like a sumo in a sauna, and then the power cut out. I had to continue by candlelight, sweat pouring from my face in rivers as the kitchen heated up. When the food was finally ready, i discovered that I had misjudged the amount of chillies, and was forced to eat my own mistake whilst my face leaked profusely onto my plate. Tonight Yannick can do the cooking....

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Well, I've finally done it! I've given up the sand and surf for the bright lights and glittering piss soaked pavements of Managlore City! On the plus side, i actually slept in a bed with a real matress and a real pillow last night!! Pure heaven!! So anyway, I' actually just here on a stop-over as I head towards.. ummmm.... madekiri?? I think that's what it's called. Apparantly it has lots of trees and bugs or something.... To be honest I haven't got a clue, but I figure I'd better start moving or I'd spend the whole next few months trying to decide where to go! I've said goodbye to my dear Bro, who is heading back up to Mumbai to catch his flight home. It's been a real pleasure travelling with you bro, have to do it again soon! :) So... ummm.... funny stories.... I did actually write some down, but I forgot my book.... Hmmmm....

Well, I did test out my theory of the west coast of karnataka being a tropical paradise and the Lonely Planet omitting it as part of a conspiracy to keep tourists away from it's unspoilt natural beauty. Turns out it's just a bit shit. Me and Joel rented a Hero Honda (the ultimate Indian motorbike) and burned down the coast to the next town of Kumta. We arrived and cruised through the centre of town, which seemed to consist of one long chaotic road. We parked the bike and started wandering past numerous identical shops selling an assortment of unidentifiable goods... but something wasn't right... something felt very odd indeed... Then it hit me! Everyone was ignoring us and getting on with their normal business!!! What was wrong with these people!!? Having got so used to being stared at, smiled at, scowled at, and generally given huge amounts of undue attention, the annonymity of being ignored was overwhelming! What's wrong with me?! Is it my hair? Does my breath smell!! Why don't you love/hate me anymore? I can't bear the indifference!!.... Some people did glance at us, but no one would meet our eyes, like everyone had been given a special order from the head priest not to acknowledge any foreigner's existence. We tried ducking into a cold drinks shop to have a drink and chat to the locals. No such luck. An old man sat down next to me and I stared at him, waiting for his glance to cross mine before unleashing my most charming smile possible. He scowled and looked away as though he has just smelled something rotten... Oh well, it was a response at least!

Eventually we gave up and headed out into the countryside. As soon as we were away from the town the atmosphere changed. We wandered down a small track and met a family living by a temple, who we chatted with for a good 25 minutes, despite not sharing a single word of common language. Much nodding, smiling and gesturing later, we headed back towards the bike, our faith in humankind restored.

Joel's face has pretty much recovered from it's puss filled grossness, thanks to the wonders of anti-biotics... You can knock them all you like, but when it come to a choice between taking anti-biotics and being eaten alive by a puss-producing bacteria, I know which one I'd go for... :)

Right, i'm gagging for a piss, so i have to cut this short!!


Thursday, January 20, 2005


I can't be long becuase I'm actually melting and I'm afraid I might drip molten flesh on the carpet... Fuck me it's hot! Anyway, in case you were wondering, I am no longer wasting my time doing very little lying on a beach in goa. I am now doing even less lying on a beach in karnataka. It's a really rather special little beach called Om beach, becaue it's in the shape of an Om... You may remember it from my last trip to India... well I'm back sleeping out under the stars in the exact same spot as before. The beach is inhabited by a rare tribe of hippies who occupy there entire day sanding small pieces of coconut shell with the noble intention of making "mixing bowls": basically a small bowl for mixing tobacco and charras to use in "chillums": a device designed to make sanding small pieces of coconut seem fulfilling.... and so the circle is complete. These "Coconut Hippies" have also been known to sometimes break out of the shackles of bowl production and branch out into pipe making and even the occasional digereedoo... I however have resisted the temptation to give myself blisters doing manual labour all day, and have instead opted for the more realxing pastime of hammock testing... this involves buying a hammock, lying in it for a day, and then having it stolen, leaving you free to buy a different one.

My brother joel has been suffering lately from an infected mozzie bite which got worse after the chemist gave him steroid cream instead of anti-biotic cream... in fact he has just been to see the doc again and been told he needs to stay in town and get injections every day for 3 days! poor bastard. We're gonna go back to om beach now and move our stuff into town... well, that bought Om beach to an abrupt halt! By the way Mum, Joel's fine, no need to worry... just a nasty infection... Ok, I better go find him and start the move!!


Monday, January 10, 2005

Sunset Surprise...

There's something magical about the light at sunset. The way it seems to make everyone look 10 years younger, hides blemishes, deepens suntans, and saturates the whole world with warm apricot. It was during such a sunset that I found myself strolling down the beach with my friend Michelle the other day. It was a stunning piece of beach, where the mouth of a river estuary joins the sea and the two opposing tides battle for right of way. The tide was out, and the stretch of unmarked sand was practically deserted, save for a few romantic couples taking hand in hand strolls and enjoying the sunset.

I stopped for a moment to take a photo of this beautiful piece of natural watercolour art in the sky before continuing to stroll aimlesslessly up the beach. Then I realised that i no longer had my slippers (flip-flops). Realising that i must have put them down to take the photo, I turned around and scanned the beach where I guessed they must be. Imagine my surprise when I saw, in exactly the spot where my slippers should have been, a man squatting and taking a shit smack bang in the middle of the beach! Now I've seen some fairly public shitting in my time in india, but even when people shit in the road, they always use the SIDE of the road! This guy had chosen without a doubt the most exposed, open, and visible part of the beach possible. Add to that the fact that he had not bothered to dig a hole. Add to that the fact that he was in the process of creating an ihumanly large pile of shit that would have put a horse to shame. Finally, consider the fact that he is doing this apparantly ON my slippers and you can understand my surprise.

But what to do? Even from the distance at which I was stood I could already see more than I wanted to. There was no way I was going to walk up to him mid crap and ask for my slippers back! So, I did what any normal person would do: I started taking photos. I got a few real crackers. Very artistic framing and everything! So anyway, after he finished creating his mountain of poo, he held his trousers round his ankles and waddled down to the sea to wash his arse. I saw my chance and headed back to reclaim my slippers. You should have seen the look on his face as, returning from the sea, he sees me making a beeline for his pile of poo! Obviously oblivious to the presence of my slippers, which turn out to be about 2 feet from his turd, he must think I am moving in for a close-up inspection! Holding my nose i make a grab for the slippers and run away as fast as I can, the haunting image of his mega-shit following me like a bad smell..... :)

Friday, January 07, 2005

Are You Too High?

I had a pretty hectic day yesterday. I decided to go to Mapusa, the nearest town, to see a dentist and get some new CD's made. Everyone told me to rent a motorbike to make the trip, but being stubborn, i decided to take the local bus. Silly me. You see, my mistake was that when picturing the ride on the bus, I had imagined myself sitting down. Sitting down on the local bus is actually fairly pleasant, if a little bumpy. Standing up however, is a different story, especially when you are tall, as you have to have your neck constantly bent at a 45 degree angle whilst your head gets pounded into the hard roof. Anyway, I got there eventually, and set about finding the dentist. 20 mins later and I'm siting in the dentist's chair with his drill in my mouth. Now, compared to the 1 year waiting list I was offered in England to get dental treatment, I'd say that's pretty fucking quick service! So anyway, there I am, lying back trying to ignore the fact that some guy is willfully destoroying important parts of my anatomy, when the dentist leans back and says, "Are you high?". After struggling for a few minutes to understand the significance of the question (and failing) I eventually answer "Nnnnggg" (my mouth is packed full of cotton wool), and look at hime questioningly. "Are you too high?", he asks again. I start to wonder if maybe he hasn't been slipping me some gas and air while I wasn't looking... hey, maybe i do feel a little high after all! Or then again, does he maybe think that I'm really stoned, and it will interfere with the treatment.... "Too high??" I finally manage. "Yes, the filling, it is too high?" he finally clarifies. Ahhhh, the filling. ok. oops.

I also managed to get a load more cd's made whilst in mapusa, and sold 5 last night at the jam session at lokies bar. I made 1500 rupees for chaaarity! i wonder if they'll make me a saint?... Right, i'm starrrrvin, so i'm gonna go buy some super cheap food while i'm in town (at the beach everything is tourist prices)... masala dosa sounds like a plan....

laters! :)

Monday, January 03, 2005

Man. I've just been reading the news again. It's fucked. So many places I've been have been completely destroyed. I keep thinking about all the people I met there, locals working in guesthouses, shopkeepers etc. For most of them life was a constant struggle anyway, without having some random geological event destroying everything around them. Always seems to be the people who are already being fucked over who get hit by these things doesn't it? Or maybe it's just cos when it hits developed countries they're always well prepared and insured. Either way, reading the news it's hard not to start feeling the weight of all those suffering people pulling on your heart. It feels so wrong sitting here on the beach a bus ride away from the devastation and watching people play frisbee and sunbathe... but what to do? I'm thinking of trying to organise a benefit concert to raise some money... better than doing nothing i guess. anyway...

Happy New Year!! hope u all had a good one. I'm still recovering from mine... went to a rave and danced in the baking sun... :)

right, gotta go. promise to try and write something interesting next time... lot's has happened but just not in the mood to write abt it!