Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Final few days till home...

So as it rolls into wednesday the 14th december it signals 'two days left.

Unfortunately the weather during the last week or so has been pretty bad so we haven’t really had the chance to make the most of any sun. In typical 'sods law' fashion, during the weekend just gone, our final weekend here, we found a nice little pub. A pub that actually feels like a pub. It is within a hotel, but it still feels like a pub none the less. They have the football on. People sit in there all afternoon drinking. Etc Etc. Why we didn’t stumble upon this taste of home three months ago is beyond me. Why oh why do we find this place where we can hang out on the last weekend? The food in the place is lovely as well. If you sit there long enough, they first bring you crisps. Free crisps that they make there. Then, if you sit there a bit longer, they'll bring over some nice salad bits and some cocktail sauce. Free salad bits and cocktail sauce. Then, if you sit there a bit longer, they bring over some really nice vegetable pakoras. Free vegetable pakoras. Note - pubs should back home should adopt a similar policy. On top of all these free nibbles you can order more nice treats. Spring rolls. Chicken '65'. Lovely little fish fingers made with really nice fish, with lime and chilli sauce. And we find this place on the last weekend. I'll tell you what that is - Annoying.

Another 'sods law' situation - Agi, our cook made a lovely prawn masala yesterday. A little delight he has never cooked before, and one we didn’t know he could even make. Nice one, start making the nice food when we leave.

And another thing! - Get this. Suraj, one of the new lads (local) tells me about this great hotel near the beach, where you can go down and sit at the bar by the huge pool they have overlooking the sea. Apparently you can go down there with a load of CDs, drink in the lovely surroundings and listen to your own music. That sounds like a cracking place. I'm going home friday though so I wont be able to visit. Great.

Have you noticed that all my annoyances in this post so far revolve around eating and drinking? This points to the simple fact: I am looking forward to eating and drinking when I come home. There is a fact.

However, now that I can reflect on the india trip - aside from the basic things that have got on my tits the last month or so - I can honestly say its been great. There are so many things I am going to miss. There are so many things I won’t miss. I feel a list coming on:

* THINGS I WILL MISS

Enjoying the sunshine
The beach
Body boarding
The people
The innocence of the people
The cheap price tags
The optimism
The nice food
The continuous learning experience
My friends i've made at work
Wearing shorts in december
Baffling most locals I speak to

* THINGS I WILL NOT MISS

The rain
The confusion
Big spiders
Mosquito's
Cockroaches
The distinct lack of anything to do post 9.30pm
The lack of logic I have seen day in day out across the board
The malaria tablets
Having to check my room before sleeping for things that want to eat me
The roads

But even though i've been here for three months now, I still can’t explain what its like. Its one of those places that to know what its like; you'll going to have to come here. I'm trying to think of one thing that typifies the feeling I get from the place. Feelings of endearment, laughter, annoyance, enjoyment. Could it be within some of the signs I have seen? "accidents are not accidental", "no room service please", "van helsig starring huge(!) jackman", "any inconvenience caused is regretted" - no none of them quite do it.

Could it be yesterday, when my driver managed to freeze up the windscreen with the air conditioning? Freeze up the screen on the outside but repeatedly rub the inside to no avail. Continuing to do so until he couldn’t see and had to wind down his window and stick his head out the side of the car to see where he was going, ace ventura style. At that point I snapped - "Mate, why don’t you just use the wipers....? THE WIPERS!" - "oh, yes sir" - Wipers on, screen wiped, visibility returned, problem solved. Nope that doesn’t quite sum it up either.

Could it be the two blokes playing badminton at the petrol station? The car that smashed into the taxi in front, and the taxi drivers reaction? The reaction of poking his head out the window, pulling a stupid face and then simply waving the reckless driver past, not an ill word spoken? No.

I view this area as a great place, full of positive energy and kind people. But I’m also seeing india as a country that doesn’t quite get it right. Almost but not quite. It can be summed up in the old cars that are falling to bits but have top of the range audio systems. The lovely, huge, well built houses next-door to a hut made out of tin and wood with a whole family living in it. The lifeguards that look the part, keep and eye on you and blow the whistle but hate going into the water and send other people in to save you when you get swept out to sea. But the fact that it almost gets it right isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I mean, who am I to judge what is right anyway? It’s a developing place. Fast developing. They might construct new buildings using scaffolding made out of flimsy wood and string but the new buildings look good. And there are plenty of things they get right. The attitude, the friendliness, the mentality and the optimism.

Ultimately I think that’s what I hope to take home with me.

Can’t wait to see you all soon.

4 Comments:

Anonymous romo said...

Well James, you summed up your three months very well and having been to India twice myself, I can relate to everything you have said - pro and con. I am already plotting another visit in 2007 - next time with Marie. Dying to see you on Sunday and I know you will be tucking into that Sunday roast with gusto. LOL. Romo xxxx

December 15, 2005 1:11 PM  
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