Horns honking. Cars. Tuk tuks. Honk honk honk honk honk. Motorbikes quacking. Quack quack quack (yes they quack). Consistent. Constant. Relentless. Never ending. Never. Ending. Assault on the senses. Noise. Noise. Shouting. Shouting. Burning rubbish and sewerage. Wonderful incense and fragrant spices. Hoicking, hacking, spitting; burning rubbish; mosquito coils; citronella; cows mooing, bellowing and grunting; dogs barking; sing-song bicycle. Wake up, wake up. Moo. Bark. Snort.
Much joy. Much laughter. Gentle, kind, funny, warm people. Much happiness. Big smiling. Big big smiling. Waggle waggle smile laugh. Waving hands. Okay okay no problem. Kindness. Smiling eyes. Glinting twinkling. Policemen on holiday breaking all the rules. Rules? What are they, like queues? Whatever yaar. Some sadness. Such poverty. Poor people. Poor animals. Send love. Send love.
Cows, buffalo, monkeys. And dogs, the sweetest, sweetest beach dogs. Falling in love with the beach dogs. Gentle, sweet and playful. Nibble nibble tickle my belly. Cows, cows, cows. Lying in streets, queuing at ATMs, going through handbags, wandering into shops, going to festivals and lying in the crowds.
Temples, temples, temples. Gods. Gods and more gods. This religion, that religion, singing, dancing, shouting, praying. Beads, saris, colourful robes, black robes, bindis, tilaks. Rangoli. Beguiling, mind-boggling and terribly funny boulders. Trees. Mad, mad trees. And more temples.
Two rupees. Two rupees.
Two rupees. (Three people now) Two rupees.
Okay, I’ll do it. Whatever it is.
I step onto the scale, hand swings around to point at 65. Turbaned man looks at scale, then up at me and exclaims “65!!”
We must send our friends.
Dusty, hot, sandy, parched, boiling, air-con, fan. Green, lush, shaded, chilly, grateful for hot showers and extra blankets. Warm sun, beautiful sun, blue skies. Sunsets, sunsets, sunsets. Stars, moon, midnight swimming. Lots of swimming. Floating on the water, playing in the waves. Getting boonked by waves. Meditating. Dolphins. Beach walks. Long long beach walks. Fireworks, lanterns, zig-zagging crabs.
Wonderful food. We won’t dwell on the food poisoning. Lassi lassi nom nom nom. Surprisingly good wine. Countless gin and tonics. Coconuts. Movie night (what decade?).
My blue hair; a source of constant fascination. Staring, ogling. Touching, inspecting, wide eyed, disbelieving, mouths open. Groups tapping shoulders and telling each other to turn back and look, hands over mouths. Every day, everywhere people, staring. “One photo please” turns into ten or fifteen. Day two: “Nice colour hair” big smiles, “Thanks”, “Is it natural”, “Haha!! I was hit by lightening!”, smile disappears, “Really?”, “Err… no”.
Happy travels. Happy travellers. I’m gonna follow the sun.