Christmas Eve

Today we have decided to stay in for the morning and get the place tidied up a bit. It is very windy although still boiling and I can’t face putting sun cream on my bites and going to the beach as I think it will irritate them more.
Simon does an hour or so of maths with the kids, I have told them they can have tomorrow off and they said I’m tight!

In the afternoon we catch the bus to Panjim, I have decided that Maisie and I need to look smart for tomorrow’s dinner and I want to buy myself a dress and us both some shoes.

Before we reach the clothes market we have to go through the fish and meat market. The women are sat on slightly raised platforms with piles of fish in front on them. I watch as they sprinkle water with their hands on the fish to keep them wet looking. There are lots of different types of fish, squid and prawns.
In this heat the smell is unreal; I have my hand clamped over my nose and try desperately to breathe through my mouth. The flies are everywhere crawling all over the fish and the women don’t make much attempt to swat them away, I think that this can’t get any more horrible until we reach “The Lucky Mutton Store” – and there suspended from hooks are 3 sheep’s heads chopped off at the neck and dripping blood.

Not very lucky for them.

At this point Ali starts heaving and we rush away I don’t want him throwing up everywhere. Maisie surprises me again, I would have thought she would have hated it but all she said on the matter was- “Some of those fish looked nice didn’t they Mom?”

I buy a dress and shoes for us both for under a tenner, not the most classy outfit ,as I realise when I try it on at home that it is quite see through at the back but I solve that problem by wrapping my sarong around my hips underneath like an underskirt.

We walk through the park after buying an ice lolly, by now it is red hot, the temperature has rocketed up again and it must be over 35 degrees it certainly feels hotter than at any other time since we arrived in India. We skip from one shady bit to another and decide to make our way back to Dona Paula as it is too hot to wander about.

I want to phone my best friends and we get the auto rickshaw to drop us by the telephone, I manage to speak to Shirley and Nicky for ages, which is lovely listening to what they have been up to. Christmas Eve is my favourite day of the year, I love the anticipation of what’s to come and we have missed out on that this year. Speaking to my mates does bring that home a bit and it’s a shame that I miss Lou. I manage to have a quick word with her mum though and she says she will pass on my message.

We then check emails and we have one from Dad and Pauline. Pauline describes a dinner she has cooked for my brother and Tarl and for the first time I get really strong cravings for some English food .I’m not sure what to expect from tomorrows meal but I don’t suppose it will be roast turkey and all the trimmings.

We get back to our apartment and try and decide where to go for dinner. I am a bit reluctant to go out anywhere as I don’t want to put insect repellent on my hands and arms.
My vision of looking good on Christmas day with a sexy tan has disappeared as I look like I have some horrible tropical disease!

In the end we decide on take out Chinese, Simon goes of to get it and the power goes off. Needless to say it doesn’t come back on for about 3 hours. We sit in the dark eating Chinese and drinking beer by candlelight, playing charades and listening to Christmas songs we have a laugh and I’m sure we won’t forget tonight in a hurry.

Lazing by the pool

After an early start to the day we head off for Cidade de Goa. Simon leaves me and the kids lazing by the pool and goes off to Panjim to get them some Christmas presents.
We didn’t bring anything with us and don’t want to carry extra stuff so he is going to have think carefully what to get them. I have written a few things down though and they know not to expect too much.

We never go too mad at Christmas anyway and I try and put a limit on what I spend, particularly on Ali and Maisie. We have got a big family and they are always very spoilt, although I love Christmas sometimes the cost of it does seem a bit obscene and I try and curb it a bit. We have decided to pay some money into their savings accounts for them and go and do some water sports on Christmas day.

We unfortunately then get busted by the hotel staff and they come and ask me for our room number. As I can hardly make one up I have to come clean and admit we aren’t actually staying there and we’re not members of the health club either!
Its bad timing as I haven’t got any money to offer to pay for the use of the facilities so I just act dopey, tell the fella I know nothing and he will have to sort it out with my husband later!

He clears off and leaves me in peace anyway and I carry on reading my book, it’s really good and I decide that I want to visit Japan to see the tea houses and Geisha district of Gion. I have no idea whether Geisha are still trained today but my ideas for travel usually come from reading novels and I start to investigate places I get interested in based on stories I have read.

We did think about adding Japan onto this trip but time constraints mean we will be rushing from place to place as it is and although we have seen a lot in India in some ways I feel we have hardly scratched the surface. I would have liked to have gone to Calcutta also but it was too far from other areas we have visited and I have to remind myself that this isn’t our only opportunity for travel.

After a couple of hours Simon comes back and sorts it out with the hotel staff ,we end up paying just over a fiver for the use of the pool, 3 sun beds and 4 towels and I don’t feel this is too much at all. We get some lunch, burgers and chips for everyone and eventually make it back to our apartment around 5pm.

I’m upset as I now have similar bites to the kids and although they aren’t too itchy they burn and are painful. Maisie plays Doctor Maisie and sits for ages putting calamine lotion all over my arms and back what a sweetie! I spend the next hour wrapping the kids presents up, Simon has done brilliantly and got them lots of bits and pieces I know they will like. I don’t need my Christmas CD on as I can hear Boney M blasting out from the apartment above us!

We found a leaflet from Domino’s delivery service stuck in our gate and order take out pizza for dinner. Simon gets some beers and cokes and nips across the shop to get chocolate and sweets. We bought Casino Royale on pirate DVD in Mumbai and although there is the slight problem of it being in Hindi there are subtitles and I reckon it makes a welcome change from The Wizard of Oz or re runs of Morecambe and Wise.

Dona Paula

We didn’t wake up until 10.15 today, that sounds so lazy but we have been going to bed late and because I usually make us get up earlyish we’re all tired.

I ‘m not sure what has bitten the kids; they look more like mosquito bites now. We counted them last night and Maisie has 130 and Ali over 250 so they look terrible -poor things. I spoke to a fella last night who reassured me that as we have been very careful about taking our malaria tablets and not missed any they will be fine but still it must be horrible for them. Also because we have been using repellent every night and burning mosquito coils you get complacent and think you won’t get bitten now, how wrong could we be?

I can’t be bothered to get up and lie in, listening to Ali playing his guitar, he has written a song about travelling and it’s very good. I might record him on the webcam and put it on the website. Simon has gone to book our Christmas dinner, it turns out it is going to cost us about 150 quid but I don’t worry about that. I want us to have a lovely day and I’m sure it will be great.

I was thinking about the changes we have seen in this place since our holiday here. Certainly I don’t remember any internet cafes and it is a lot busier now. The roads have improved and I haven’t seen any cows wandering the main roads. I saw more signs advertising roast beef than Goan food and it is a shame but maybe that is the demand of British tourists. That said outside Calangute and Candolim it still seems very quiet and if we came back here in the future I would probably head further south for a more peaceful time .Dona Paula on the other hand is a lot quieter but for us still doesn’t really fit the bill as it is an expensive area and quite exclusive here.

Maisie and I spend a couple of hours doing some literacy while Ali makes a Christmas video we are going to put on the website. I guess that counts as IT for him and don’t push it and make him do anything else.

We go for a walk around 5pm as it has now cooled down a bit. We have booked dinner on Noah’s Ark, this is a converted rice barge and Aruna tells us has a reputation for fine dining. This sounds a bit posh but the boats look very pretty lit with fairy lights and as we didn’t have chance to do this before we want to go tonight.

There are other boats with no food and more of an 18 -30′s atmosphere but I don’t want to do this with the kids and we decide we have definitely made a good choice when we have a lovely evening. The boats travel up the river, past a large catholic church that has been beautifully restored and is all lit up. We are sat at the front of the boat and even though it goes quite fast and gets breezy it is still really hot.

There is an extensive menu and we have a Goan prawn curry and Thai style red snapper .The obligatory Kingfishers are ice cold and we end the evening with Irish coffees which are extremely strong and I wonder if they have been laced with the local fire water feni instead of whisky.

After updating our website with our Christmas video we catch an auto rickshaw back to our apartment, another lovely day has come to an end and I’m off to bed now.

Calangute and Candolim

Ali woke me up at 5am asking me to look at a rash and I’m upset to see he is covered in bites. I spend ages looking for Piriton and by the time it’s found I’m wide awake and don’t manage to get back to sleep. I sit reading my book which is a fascinating story and get really absorbed in it and soon its 8.30 and I hear the alarm. We go and wake the kids and Maisie also has a similar rash. I’m sure it’s not an allergy and am convinced its bed bugs. The kids tell me it is really itchy and it looks very similar to the rash Ali had in Mumbai. That did clear up quickly so I hope this will too.

Simon goes to get the milk and again asks about our laundry. It was supposed to take a few hours but they have had it for 3 days and still no sign of it. I’m hoping they haven’t lost it and now especially want our sleep sheets.

We spend the morning doing some science the kids are really coming on now and I’m proud that they are coping with the high level of work I have set them. We finish the digestive system and start on the kidneys and they do really well.
I’m not giving them any break over Christmas as I don’t want to get behind our schedule and there seems to be so much to cover, I may let them off Christmas day!

Our laundry eventually turns up and we start to make plans for the day but the rashes they have now look awful and I am reluctant to let them go in the sun too much. They both shower and I apply some cream to their bites but we decide not to go to the beach after all.

Eventually we catch a bus to Panjim and from there get the bus to Candolim. The journey takes ages and the bus is packed. We all sit separately and it’s so hot, I feel really drowsy and nearly drift off to sleep whilst daydreaming. We arrive in Calangute and jump off and decide to head for a Chinese restaurant where we had some great food before. The service is excellent but the food isn’t very good and we are a bit disappointed.

We decide to walk to the beach and wander along the shoreline in bare feet for over a mile. The kids find Hermit crabs and as it’s a lovely walk we soon find ourselves in Candolim. I know we have arrived there as we reach The River Princess. This oil tanker broke free of its mooring out at sea around 10 years ago during the monsoon season and drifted inland until it eventually ran aground just off the beach. Apparently some efforts to refloat it were made but eventually everyone gave up and now it’s a part of the seascape.

We share a beer at one of the beach shacks and the kids play bat and ball with some little toddlers. It all makes for a laid back afternoon and we sit and watch the world go by. As the sun starts to set the stray dogs seem to take over and a large pack run around and play fight. I watch some paragliders gently drift down and I can hear a jet ski in the distance.

I love the beach at this time of day when it’s not scorching hot and it looks busier with people running and playing games. Some people of course just come to pose and we have a laugh at some fella marching along in his thong with that type of dark tan you can only get if you live here and spend all day lying in the sun.

For me though, wandering along the shoreline, carrying my sandals and admiring the sparkles that are caused by the low sun reflecting of the water is enough and I feel very happy and relaxed.

We decide to have dinner in a restaurant called The Bom Sucesso, we have been here before on Dad and Pauline’s recommendation and although it’s not the best food we have had in Goa it’s a really friendly place and the owner is nice. There is live music which is terrible and it makes us laugh listening to some well known songs being massacred.

Lastly we check our emails I have had an e card from one of my friends with a snowman on it and it reminds me that most people will break up from work tomorrow. I remember how pleased I was the last few years to have a week off, after working a crappy night shift on Christmas Eve for the past few just so I could be home on Christmas day exhausted having been up all night but at least there.

It makes me appreciate how lucky we are to be travelling this year and I’m definitely going to make the most of it.

Cidade de Goa

Woke up at 7.30, hardly surprising, the combination of red wine and Chinese food isn’t good and I never sleep properly after eating Chinese. We put the Christmas CD on and try and rouse the kids who aren’t too impressed with The Little Drummer Boy so early. Still they wanted to be woken up early as we are planning to go up to Cidade de Goa and spend the day there using the pool and lazing on the beach.

By the time we actually get sorted out and ready to go its 9 o’clock but it is slightly overcast at the moment so I don’t think there will be a huge scramble for sunbeds.
We walk up to the hotel and as we know where we are going we probably look like we are in fact staying there. Simon gets us some towels and we’re sorted.

We have bagged some loungers in a prime spot on a wooden veranda, facing out to sea.
Lying there listening to the waves, I am sheltered from the sun by a coconut tree and I notice on the temperature monitor it’s a bit cooler today- 32 degrees.
I have only stayed in a hotel like this a few times and its lovely here, especially as it is fairly quiet around the pool. Simon and Ali walk down to the beach and play cricket with an Indian family, Maisie jumps in the water and I daydream about people at home.

I have always felt I wouldn’t enjoy staying somewhere like this for more than a week at the most. We have enjoyed more independent travelling over the past few years and feel that in order to experience the culture of somewhere like India it is better to stay in smaller places. Looking around today, I think that if someone told me I was in Malaysia, The Maldives or The Seychelles I wouldn’t be able to see much around me to enable me to dispute that. There is also of course the cost factor and I’m too tight to pay well over 2 grand each for a 2 week holiday!

All that said I wouldn’t swap being here for anywhere else today. It’s perfect and we have a lovely lazy day, so much so that I don’t even make it to the beach and only venture in the pool a few times to cool down. I do however manage to drag my bum to the boutique and have a look at the jewellery and eventually buy a book (Memoirs of a Geisha) to read when I get fed up of doing nothing.

We spend an hour doing literacy with the kids. They read stories and then answer questions and Maisie does quite well and is able to tell me a lot about The Blue Whale. Alister is tired though and can’t be bothered to put in too much effort. We talk about this and decide it is expecting too much of them to start school work so late in the afternoon and will do some science tomorrow morning before we go anywhere.

Back at the apartment now, its 6.30 and we are going to a restaurant called Sea Pebble for dinner. Aruna recommended it so we thought we would give it a try. We walk there which is about a mile and we’re not disappointed when we arrive. Its on the beach and the waves come right up to the tables, its very dark lit only by the stars, candles and fairy lights wrapped around the trunks of the palm trees.
We ask the waiter for a mixed fish platter and get huge tiger prawns, kingfish, red snapper, dressed crab and mussels. The kids have mocktails, we share a couple of beers and round it off with caramel custard and ice cream – Yum!

Power walk back to the apartment, it would be easy to put on loads of weight and sometimes eating healthily has been difficult as lots of food is deep fried here. We have also eaten lots of fattening curries and Maisie and I march everywhere chanting “hips thighs and bum” like a mantra to each other.

We are going to Calangute and Candolim tomorrow as the beaches are postcard gorgeous there. I’m sat on the balcony listening to Ali playing Oasis on his guitar now and looking at the lights on our Christmas tree, the best ending to a perfect day.

Panjim

We seem to have lots to do today and get up at 8.30. Ali goes up the road and gets the days supply of bread and milk. Yesterday we made sandwiches for lunch and all really enjoyed some homemade food so we will do that again today.

We have decided that we are going to leave Goa before New Year. Aruna has been doing her best to persuade us to stay and it is very tempting but if we don’t leave here until January we would be very pushed for time to make our way to Kerala and then across to Chennai ( Madras) where we catch our flight to Singapore on the 11th.

Subsequently we have to go to Panjim today and try to book our train tickets, because it is the holiday season we want to get them in advance and will also start looking for accommodation in Kerala. We figure that New Year will be celebrated everywhere and neither of us are too bothered about it anyway. Having a good Christmas day is much more important. We are going to try and get a Christmas tree and also want to buy the kids some presents and get some decorations for the apartment.

I could hear Bing Crosby’s White Christmas yesterday as I sat by the pool. This was fairly surreal, as the temperature monitor next to me said 34.4; I reckon the odds on a white Christmas here are about a billion to one. I haven’t spent Christmas day away from home before so it will be strange, but we did have Christmas day at mums the weekend before we came away. My brother Will, Tarl and Hope were there and as we had presents, Christmas dinner and went down the pub as usual I don’t feel like we are missing out.

Simon gets the kids going on some maths this morning, Maisie is doing long divisions which are a complete mystery to me and Ali is doing shapes and areas .They are both really bright and are thriving on one to one tuition. Ali is in the top sets at school but despite this they are lacking knowledge in some basic areas for example Ali didn’t know all the months of the year and Maisie struggles with telling the time.
We have been surprised that they have put up no resistance to schooling and in fact have asked to do extra which is nothing short of miraculous.

I also want to write some Christmas emails today. Christmas is always a massive stress for me as I can never think what to buy anyone. I don’t mind wrapping presents or writing cards but as I don’t like shopping much anyway I have got myself into a complete mess previously by putting it off and leaving all the shopping until Christmas Eve. I reckon I have got off scott free this year and I’m so pleased about this and feel very lucky.

Just got back from Panjim, we can’t get the train to Kerala as the tickets are already sold so are going to catch the sleeper bus to Mangalore on the 29th.
We bought some Christmas deckies and managed to get a tree, baubles and lights for under a tenner, a bit of a change from last year when I spent nearly 50 quid on a tree alone.
We went and checked our emails, Shirley’s made me laugh, she was complaining that I hadn’t written anything for a few days but internet access isn’t always easily available to upload it. She tells me that I should think of all the poor bastards left behind who are hanging onto my words- somehow I doubt that!! But we will try and update it as regularly as possible. If I was at home or stuck at work I probably would be glued to a site like ours. So I do see her point!!

We got back to the apartment and made mulled wine, we bought red wine, brandy, oranges, cinnamon sticks and apple juice. Traditionally I always decorate the tree and we get pissed on mulled wine whilst listening to my cheesy Christmas album that I have had since about 1997 and this year is no exception. Actually the only difference is that I have my bikini on, I’ve just had a mango ice lolly and am about to light the mosquito coils.

My favourite Fairy Tale of New York has just been on; I’ll probably be blubbing by the end of the evening!! Feeling surprisingly Christmassy now, every one has their deckies up around here. I’m getting really excited, don’t know why, we won’t be having any pressies but I’m a sucker for Christmas and I can’t wait!

Just got in, we have been for a Chinese and I telephoned home. Simon and Ali have gone to find internet access and Maisie and I have come back to the apartment. I am feeling tired and the mulled wine has kicked in so I’m off to bed. We have planned to spend the day at the beach tomorrow so I need a bit of sleep as we will be getting up early. Oh the hardship of lying around all day on a sun lounger – how jammy are we!

Goa

Today we have had a quiet and relaxing day. Simon went out early to get some water, fruit and breakfast cereal and we eventually wandered up to Aruna’s apartment around 11am. I lay in the sun for a few hours and listened to my MP3 player while the kids had a good swim. I did make it into the gym, but decided that 81 calories burned on the treadmill was more than enough energy expenditure for one day and gave up on that quite quickly.

Goa is India’s smallest state and has a completely different feel to it from the rest of India. The Portuguese colonised Goa in 1510 and didn’t leave until 1961 and this is reflected in the character of Goa. Catholicism is a major religion here and huge catholic churches sit besides tiny Hindu shrines. There are also lots of derelict Portuguese villas and some beautiful architecture.

The beaches here are supposed to be the best in India and there is a large expat community. The food is wonderful and there are lots of interesting markets and shops to see. When we visited Goa in 2002 we completely fell in love with it and I remember climbing up the aeroplane steps after a 2 week holiday here and swearing to myself that I would come back as soon as I could.

At 2.30 Aruna took us to Cidade de Goa which is 5 mins walk away. This hotel was Goa’s first 5 star hotel and we have decided that we will spend Christmas day there. The cost of the gala dinner is 5000 rupees per couple (57 pounds) but Xmas on the Beach sounds good and we sit and have a drink at the bar and check out the facilities. The hotel is fantastic and in a gorgeous location right on the beach. Simon is quite brazen and strolls into the healthclub and asks for some towels and although I am a bit worried as he signs for them and scribbles down some random room number nothing bad happens and we have a lovely afternoon chatting to Aruna.

She is quite an amazing and inspirational person and has travelled all over the world to 26 different countries mostly alone. She has me completely hooked listening to stories about South America, China and South Africa especially and I think to myself maybe sometime in the future we will travel to those places also.

We get back to our apartment around 6pm and have a quick shower. Tonight we are going to Candolim to a restaurant called After Eight that we visited a couple of times when we were here before. We met a weird but lovely Asian couple from South London when we were here on holiday and spent a lot with them and it will be strange going back to a familiar place.

10pm and we are back in Dona Paula, the restaurant we visited is now called After Seven and is of course bigger and smarter than we remembered. The areas of Calangute and Candolim are also much more developed, when we came the roads were little more than tracks in places but now are all tarmaced and there are loads more bars and restaurants.
We were pleased though that the food was just as good and had a fantastic meal.
Simon, Ali and I all had fillet steaks and the combination of good service and great food washed down with a couple of Corona’s definitely made a top night out that would be hard to beat.

Travel to Goa

Its 9.30pm on Sunday evening. We caught the train to Goa as planned last night and fortunately it all went smoothly with no hitches. We travelled through the state of Maharashtra and when I woke up at 8.30 this morning the landscape passing by is very different to anything else we have seen with lots of trees, flat green fields and rivers.

We pulled into Karnali Sation at 10.30 and immediately the place seemed familiar although we didn’t travel to this part of Goa when we came on holiday a few years ago.
There are signs everywhere for The Rotary and Lions International Clubs and the Goan people are very friendly. Although most educated Indians speak English many of the Goans speak almost perfect English and I can remember being surprised about this before.

We got in a taxi and 20 minutes later arrived at Casa Kailash in Dona Paula. We had arranged to meet Aruna who owns the apartment and she seems very nice and showed us around. It is complete bliss to have a bit of space after our stay in Mumbai. The apartment is quite big with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a kitchen and living room. Each room also has a balcony off it and it seems very spacious and luxurious to us.

We then walk up the road to Aruna’s apartment, this is only 2 minutes away and she tells us we are very welcome to use the pool and gym facilities which will be great. The beach is 5 minutes away and apparently one of the best beaches in Goa for swimming, this is good as the sea is extremely dangerous here due to a strong undercurrent and swimming isn’t advised on some of the beaches.

We spend a few hours lazing around by the pool and all have a swim. Ali and Maisie have a great time splashing around and Maisie who has been a bit off colour with a sore throat for the last few days looks better already. The sun is really fierce and although I plaster the kids in factor 20 I am worried about them burning, I saw on the Mumbai news before we left that it is 33 degrees here.

I walked back to the apartment around 3pm and lay on the bed and went out like a light for a few hours. I am feeling quite knackered after all the moving around and just want to rest for a few days and do nothing. We have planned to get back into a bit more of a routine with our bedtimes and diet from tomorrow. I spent a couple of hours learning about the digestive system with the kids yesterday and we want them to do some more regular schooling.

We went out for dinner around 7.30 and had some butter fried prawns and pomfret fish, the food in Goa is simple and tasty and we all remember having some fantastic meals here previously. We sit and watch a small firework display and decide to walk back to the apartment, its uphill all the way but I want to walk our dinner off a bit before crashing out and it’s not too far.

I’m lying on the bed now, listening to the fan whirring away, we’ve got The Killers on in the background and have just realised our bed which is a big old wooden art deco style thing has a light up headboard. Wicked! What more could you want than that.

…but Sir, this ticket is for the 16th!!

We had a horrible experience last night that I never want to repeat.

We arrived at the train station around 10pm and found our platform, someone told us the train was an hour late but we took that bit of information with a pinch of salt and the time flew by as we got talking to a family from Leicester. At 10.50 the train arrived and we battled our way through and found our carriage. As our tickets were 3rd class sleeper this means we have to share our compartment with two people and when 2 scruffy old hippies get on I’m a bit nervous. They seem friendly enough though and we help them decide which station to get off at in Goa.

Ali is tired so he gets in the top bunk and settles down and I start to get Maisie sorted out. The conductor then appears and asked to see our tickets and imagine our horror to realise we have in fact got tickets for the 16th which is tonight. We offer to pay extra for any available tickets but he insists the train is completely full and boots us off at the next station. The feeling of being stood in a train station in Mumbai past midnight with no accommodation and no train ticket and two brave looking children was awful and I had to bite my lip not to cry.

Lots of people seemed to want to help us but no one from the train station was interested and trying to think clearly and make a decision about where to go was really hard. The conductor told us there was another train to Goa in an hour but the taxi drivers seemed to be saying that the chances of us getting a ticket were nil.

Eventually we got in a taxi, as most hotels close their doors at 11pm we had to ask the driver to take us to a hotel he recommended and we were both painfully aware that this would put us at risk of paying well over the odds and we could end up somewhere really dodgy. The drive to Victoria seemed to take ages and neither of us could recognise any landmarks to get our bearings. I had to fight to stay calm and not panic.

Eventually we pulled into a side street and outside a hotel, Simon ran in while I stayed in the car and came out giving it the thumbs up. I ignored the monster rat sat watching us on the steps and we finally made it into our room at gone 1am, exhausted and furious with ourselves for not checking the tickets properly.
This has been a lesson to us both; we have tried to be so careful and mindful of the fact that we have precious Ali and Maisie with us and I guess until something like this happens its difficult to foresee every possible eventuality.

We are now a bit lighter in our wallet, but this hotel is fine and a vast improvement on the last place. In the cold light of day it’s easier to stay more objective and actually everyone last night was really kind. From the old hippie on the train who gave us a hotel number and carried my rucksack off the train, to the taxi driver who, seeing me clutching the kids hands tightly kept saying” Don’t worry, I’m a family man, Bombay is very safe at night and everything will be ok”

I was just asking Simon what to call this document and his suggestion was “Simons fuck up” I know he feels bad about it but I don’t blame him, I didn’t check the ticket either and all we can do is learn from it to ensure nothing like this happens again.

Its 5pm now and we have had a very quiet day, I rang home this morning and had a chat to mum who was surprised to hear we were still in Mumbai. The area we have found ourselves in is not touristy at all and when we went to a cafe across the road the menu wasn’t that appetising with a choice of brain plain fry, brain butter fry or brain masala fry.
We settled on some fried rice and pepsi.

We spoke to a friendly Muslim family from New Zealand who were on their way to Mecca for their sons pilgrimage and they told us we are in fact not far from Victoria Station and weren’t skinned too much last night by our taxi driver. In some ways I guess we were lucky but this does remind me that although I often worry about stuff and am quite wary of people on the whole most people are good hearted and kind and will help you out in a crisis.

We are going to check our emails now and then plan to go out for dinner, if everything goes to plan we should catch the train to Goa tonight at 11pm. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Second time lucky I suppose.