A change of pace

Trip Start Jul 2003
Trip End May 2005

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Flag of India  ,
Monday, December 22, 2003

Number 11 (21st December 2003 - 20th January 2004)

Well we hope that you all had a very merry Christmas and eventful New Year.
Thanks for all those who sent Christmas cheer and told us about all the slushy rain and congratulations to JB and Jane on their creation!

We've not moved very far since our last 'Oooops' on the beaches of Goa but have had some adventure. Whilst sitting quietly, sipping cocktails overlooking a beautiful saffron sunset an enormous cracking sound awoke us.
Instead of falling from our barstools and running this way or that we watched a huge tree lean over, crash into a coco hut then narrowly miss an English couple sunbathing on the beach but smashing all their stuff. Termites had weakened the 200yr old tree, but as the local saying goes, 'When palm trees fall, they never kill anyone'. Emma also received a coconut firmly on the head whilst lounging in a hammock one evening but being only the size of a golf ball it came off the worse. It didn't half bounce.

Christmas Eve saw us dipping our toes in the sea and eating lobster in a rather too romantic setting for the pair of us, so we went and whooped it up at a beach party for a few hours to see us into Christmas Day. The turkey for lunch cost more than our lobster last night. This is because even the most skilled old local fisherman type hasn't caught a turkey for years. Early morning swim, presents and food all day so just like home really with sand instead of sleet.

So why is it called Boxing Day? Four answers were provided for the Goan locals but none really seemed to satisfy. A traditional walk was in order after the usual 12pm over-consumption on pea curries, masala everything and prawns with salt and pepper. The picture-perfect Monkey Island looked feasible at low tide, and having studied the sea from our tree-top lookout hut for the past week we set off. On arriving at the causeway we timed everything to complete perfection. With the beautiful Bounty bar scenery all around us Will stepped into the water and, amid claims of terrible under-currents, surf and huge crustaceans, fell over in the shallow tide dropping the camera bag. As he floundered in the 'surf' 2 old ladies strolled off the island past him on on an unseen sand underwater bridge.
The rest of the afternoon was spent cracking open coconuts and drying everything out on the rocks. Failure, the island had beaten us.

We were greatly saddened to hear about the earthquake in Bam, Iran. It was one of the places we had raved about after spending a few days there with some local people barely a month before this devastating event. It was also where we had left our first (and last) 2 soap carvings.

The rest of the festive period was spent lying around in hammocks under the palm trees or in the very pleasant Nature Bar, Palolem, Goa with lots of nice people. And what was that business about Channel 5's Matthew Wright? Don't think we'd recognise him anyway. I do, however, keep giggling when reminded of Pete walking into that wall.

And how did we manage to drag ourselves away and on to a train for the beautiful temples and ruins at Hampi? How did we get us and our bulging bags on to those corracles to cross the river (see photo above)? All very enjoyable and the early evening view from the Hanuman (monkey) Temple over the rice, banana, palm tree and rock shattered misty landscape really quite outstanding.

Stacked on to the 3 storey sleeper train we headed off to Bangalore with our new travelling companion, 'Wandering Fran'. Not very impressed with the 'garden city' accommodation in the early morning we hopped on to the 'all food included' Shatabdi Express for Mysore. A 15p horse and trap took us off to see the wonderfully extravagent Palace, reconstructed in 1912 by an
English architect (Irwin).

We should reach Sri Lanka in a few days so it's just more cricket and curries all round.

Will and Emma
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