A Travellerspoint blog

Celebrating being born, in the USA

The comma in that sentence is very important

overcast 16 °C

In 3 days time, Helen and I head off to the USA.
We shall be travelling to New York, New Orleans, Austin, San Fran and L.A.
Follow me around... you might read some amazing tales, or simply be jealous at the length of time we are away.
On the first Sunday we shall be celebrating my birthday in style - NYC style!

More soon!

Posted by PennyJelly 20:23 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Devi Garh to Goa wake up call

Or rather, a very in tents experience

sunny 33 °C

After leaving the 5 star opulence of Udaipur's Devi Garh Palace Fort hotel, we took a car ride back to reality. Beeping horns, driving on the wrong side of the road around blind hair pin corners, cows eating garbage literally in the middle of the road, people living in shanty towns - we headed for the next leg of our journey. Goa.

Two planes with a weird Tarmac driven interval between, we hoped that our baggage would follow us somehow (you'd hope it would, otherwise I was felt-up at the airport for nothing - behind a curtain, standing on a platform with a woman gently singing in that oh so creepy lullaby in the middle of a horror film kind of way) and we arrived at our destination. The air was tropical and the night was all around us. This would be the first real experience of being out after dark.

We wrangled a pre paid tourist car and after 45 mins of major roads and 15 mins of dirt tracked wrong turns, we cajoled our driver into not letting us wander into the dark path near the beach between huts alone, and finally we finally got in touch with the owner of the place we were staying so he could offer advice and directions - but he just happened to be in Mumbai, where we'd just come from. But eventually we touched down at The Elephant Art Cafe tents and villas.

Back in Melbourne when booking the first night in Goa we had opted for a tent. I thought it would be like the huts in Thailand. Close to the roar of the ocean, breezy and quaint.

It was not.

It was mildew and concrete. "Toilet" with no toilet paper (luckily I had a roll of 14 squares or so, lifted from a previous 2 star hotel - I'd only just relinquished the plush 3 ply roll mere hours before in the hope that not needing it before would be enough reason to ditch one supply), a shower reminiscent of the plastic variety I had growing up, but with a rusty shower head, missing tiles, no curtain or curtain rail and only a dribble of cold water reluctantly released in fits and starts. No matter. We were in Goa. It was Helen's suggestion that we use the sleeping liners we had both brought from home. Helen fully admits that she rolled her eyes at the suggestion when in the midst of packing at our plush apartment in Abbotsford, but that clean home seemed so far away right now, and the sleeping sheet might be the last bastion of hope in us ever seeing that place we call home again. The bed was dank, the room was damp - your basic juxtaposition from going from air-conditioned, marble floored staffed room service with a turn down option, to this - one step better from sleeping outside with the cows.

No matter we were in Goa. Bring on the relaxation!

We headed to the bar to check in where our passports were taken and we were told that we would probably get them back in the morning. Sure. That sounds reasonable. We'll trade them for two beers. We headed to the beach side lounges and relaxed after our journey. I had managed to pull a muscle in my lower shoulder so was administering beer to the mouth and ice to the back. A sure fire remedy from the days of yore. It was a genuine surprise when our hunger kicked in at 12:30am. 8pm airplane peanuts really leave a dent in your hunger. So we shared a plate of carbonara (no spice for one night, just something carb heavy to send us off to sweet slumber in the tent of darkness).
And so we did. We slept like filo pastry parcels in our bed liners, baking at a moderate heat, fan forced. Around 6 hours later we awoke to the sound of birds and other wildlife. Little did we know we were closer to nature than we first realised.

Helen took/braved the first shower whist I read up on the wonders of Goa and looked forward to the day. It was after all a quaint little room. A basic meeting of our Maslow requirements. Shelter... Well, that's it, really. It provided a thin mildewed separation from the air and elements outside.
Helen and I have never yearned for the pitter patter of tiny feet, and today we didn't have to. I heard Helen squeal like a girl. Which makes sense, she is after all a girl. But this was a higher pitched scream than that of "Ew. I dropped my shorts on the floor" or "Eek. The water is really cold". This squeal was far higher than that. And for good reason. She returned (more calmly than the situation called for) to inform me that a cockroach had appeared in the bathroom and started to climb her leg. Ugh. She looked okay though, had survived the ordeal with aplomb.

And so it was my turn. I hung my towel on the only hook next to one of the two big roaches she had seen. It didn't move so I felt okay about that one. Then Helen pointed out the other big one and the baby. They were milling around the floor. Apparently more afraid of me then me of them. So, I have to ask: why did one get into the shower with me and try and climb one, and then the other of my legs?!?! They genuinely seemed troubled by the water and I managed to usher one of them out of the shower. I stood upon the 1 inch gutter edge of the cubicle (uselessly) providing a differentiation between the decaying floor and the fetid plastic of the shower recess. It was a balancing act, a battle of wills as I kept my eyes on the roaches approaching from either side. They had multiplied in numbers. Three had become 5. Five had become 7. They were like prime numbers and I didn't like where this was going. And they were big. The word Xenomorph kept springing to mind. And they were like dogs, too. Rounding me up. Scratching their feelers with their hind legs. All this and I still wasn't actually having a shower/dribble. All soaped up with literally no where to go. I didn't have a leg to stand on - or rather, everywhere I stood there would be legs. Filthy, vile legs by the half dozen. Then I realised the problem. The water seemed to disturb them. Or rather, seemed to have awoken the nest that managed to squeeze themselves one by one through the drain cover. It was reminiscent of Starship Troopers and the only thing to steel my courage to get through this ordeal was the humourous tale this would make. Look on the bright side and all that.

I dressed. We packed. We marvelled at the what looked to be a rabid cat that had somehow appeared inside and then skulked out of the tent. We laughed about this turn of events and enquired about another room. We shall be moving after breakfast. A/C. Doors that lock. Pure white heaven we we come!

Epilogue: the next room was delightful. A first floor villa with a/c that lasted 5 minutes before it blew its own fuse, a shower with separate sink, a cupboard, a ceiling fan - pure luxury. And the rest of our stay at Elephant Art Cafe was simply amazing. Beer, beach, books, sun, sleeps, Jenga. Far less in tents.

Posted by PennyJelly 00:30 Archived in India Tagged goa cockroaches intense funny_stories intents Comments (0)

Holy Cow! We're in India

The turn of events in getting us to where we're going.

sunny 35 °C

For some reason, I have decided to start at the very beginning. Just some really plane writing appears below.

The plane trip was a regular flight. After clearing customs and going to the TRS office to receive the GST back from our new Apple goods, we had a snack and a drink at the Movida airport offshoot: Pulpo. Delicious wine and scrumptious tapas. Where are we heading off to again?
We boarded the plane and passed by the sofa-wide business class seats and then continued through to cattle class. Appropriate seeing as we are heading to Delhi. Our seats were fantastic. We were on the upper deck of a massive plane, and i was delighted to play with all of the trimmings this new airbus had to offer. Very clever drink holders, lots of leg room, no-one sitting behind us so we could recline without compunction, and my favourite - an entire panel underneath the window that was a lidded compartment to store whatever we liked. It's my Ikea of plane happiness! Shortly after, we came up with the idea for a new hip restaurant/bar where the fit-out would be reminiscent of a airline travel. Without the turbulence. Fold down tables, funky cup holders and delicious meals in compartmented boxes. The Hanger, The Upright Position are just two of the names we are trialling. The group of four older ladies sitting near us were also very excited about the travelling and talked of many things, relevant and just plain chatty at a volume that was constant and pervasive. Helen and I both ironically commented "Thank goodness we didn't have any screaming babies near us". Why were they not drinking and falling asleep? How could they have so much to talk about. Should we show them how to use the fangled technology so that they could watch their ticket's worth of movies? Time to put on the headphones and binge and indulge in the in-flight entertainment, also to drown out the drone of the plane and the plain talk. We watched 3 films in synchronicity - The Perks of Being a Wallflower (okay), Taken 2 (just because) and Ruby Sparks (jury is still out). We drank our fill of gin and tonics and then red wine, which delivered us safely and drowsy to our stop over: Singapore.

Here we wandered swollen and tired through the numerous and bright Duty Free shops, checking the prices of Gin and perfumes, earmarking items for our Australian 2.25 litre goddamn privilege and right for our return trip. We then booked in a reflexology foot massage and back and shoulder rub. Try as we might, we could not rub away our tiredness, but we did wince with pleasure and pain at the strong delivery of this hour long indulgence. It was at this point that we decided we could discard our ever so tight in flight socks. No one else seemed to be wearing them and it was too difficult to get them back on. We herded ourselves back to the departure lounge and waited for the next leg. We were tired, surprisingly hungry - but happy.
Not so happy when we had to negotiate our way to our new centre location seats. There were already two Indian fellows firmly planted in our designated seats indicating that they were friends and wanted to sit there, and after some gentle pointing and the like, managed to get one of them to return to his seat on the other side of the plane, and conceded that the other could take one of our seats so he could at least see him on the aisle. All we really cared about was buckling in, blowing up neck cushions and inserting ear plugs to block the insistent and all pervasive sound of babies crying, children banging toy cars, and general loud murmurings of our fellow travellers. The strange thing about allowing these two friends to align themselves with one another on the aisle is that they both promptly did the same as us. Blankey tucked in, head back and mouth opened sleep.

No matter. We tried to sleep but were also hungry. Strangely so bearing in mind that we had eaten two full meals in little over 8 hours with minimal exercise in between. I would love to think that teeth brushing and drink ordering counts towards the recommended 30 minutes per day, but I know, and been told better than that. So when our meals arrived, we awoke and ate them with relish. Or mixed pickles to be precise. We were, after all on our Indian leg, so had our first rice bound meal of many. We ate our curry in a hurry and returned to the land of bad lumbar slumber.
Some hours later and after limited zeds caught, we touched down in our destination. Ticket holders at a Delhi counter. Holy cow indeed. What's to follow? Well, stay tuned...

Posted by PennyJelly 04:56 Archived in India Tagged plane trip Comments (0)

Guess who is heading to India tomorrow?!

And we're really excited about it!

all seasons in one day 16 °C

Helen and I are heading to India tomorrow for three and a half weeks.
This is for a wedding, but we are making best use of the ticket and the time.
So, stay tuned...

It's good to be back in the back pack harness again.
That's a song, right?!


See you in the pages of the interweb!

Thanks for reading.


Posted by PennyJelly 05:11 Archived in Australia Tagged india new_travel Comments (0)

I'm Back!

And I'm proud.

semi-overcast 15 °C
View I have been to here on on PennyJelly's travel map.

Hello all,
if you're reading this then you are either bored at work or have stumbled across this inadvertently. Or you're genuinely interested to learn about my return date to Australia.
Well, here I am!
I snuck back in around about 10pm. I say 'snuck' when in actual fact people could have smelled and seen me a mile off as I was stinky, tired and a little bit discombobulated. So I stumbled through the airport, carving a path through the duty free area, gathering bottles of cheap booze and spraying myself with perfume to mask the filth, collected my bags: one sexy backpack and one el cheapo sports bag bought in Spain but did not trust the zips and seams to hold so - was gaffer-taped to the hilt (Mmm. Nothing dodgy about that bag.) - and exited the no-man's land of officials, discarded trolleys and specially made litre bottles of 'it's almost christmas so we need to amp up the gin'.
But surprisingly, I didn't get sniffed out by any beagles or labradors (why do they make the custom dogs look so cute?!) and passed through the gates to freedom, debt and warm weather.

If you think this is the last you've heard of me on this site, then think again. And come up with a different conclusion. In direct opposition to the one you previously thought, nay, jumped to.
Don't assume the worst - it will only make an ASS out of U and ME.

Or rather, tune in for more travel updates, bashed out in retrospect - replete with photos and interesting anecdotes now that I shall be reunited with a full sized keyboard on my beloved Apple, a longing to share my experiences, and a camera cable that works - and see how many other times I made a complete ASS out of myself in various parts of the world. Clearly I don't need any one else's assistance to do that.

If lucky, I shall also make a nice origami swan out of some district maps I picked up along the way.

I'm back!

Jelly x

Posted by PennyJelly 13:32 Archived in Australia Tagged landed Comments (2)

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