Posted in True Story, Inspirational

Moving to Adelaide (Part 2)

SA-map

Sorry for the slightly long silence.  Let’s blame it on my health.  I am someone who believes that it is my duty to keep the medical industry well funded.  Nothing major this time, just minor repairs.  But happy to report that I am on the mend.

My fingers have been itching to tap that key board for sometime.  Finally free from heavy pain meds and confident I wouldn’t sound like a druggie and thought of continuing where I left off.


There are many theories on Money.  ‘Money is not everything’, ‘Money cannot buy happiness’ ‘wise man should have money in his head and not in his heart.  the list goes on.

I ride on the middle most times on most issues.  I am not ready to give up everything and live in Nimbin.  It sounds great in theory.  Smoking pot and singing Bob Marley, yep sounds like heaven. But it ain’t me.

Moving to Adelaide – South Australia seemed like a happy medium.  Hubby and I started to do our research on Adelaide.  Our main concern were the kids.  Will there be good doctors to take care of their medical needs? It has taken us move heaven and earth to bring them to this condition, will they slip back? Hari is rather a reserved kid will he find it hard to make friends? Will this affect them socially? Will their education be hindered by moving to a small city,  a city that the rest of Australia laughs at.

My heart still kept prompting me to take the plunge.  But there was so much at stake.  Our decision to leave our mother nation and migrate to Australia seemed an easier decision than this.  At that time we had no kids.  This time around it was not just about us.

The kids were not happy at all.  The main reason was the “The Roaches”. Even for us the main reason that was keeping us back was some of our friends and family.  There are many, I am not going to list them all, but they know who they are.  The Roaches get a special mention because of the type of relationship we had.

We met them when we first moved to Castle Hill and Hari was just an year old.  I was working full time and mum was taking care of Hari.  She would take him to the local church once a week for a mothers play group.  On my day off’s I would join in too.  Met some really nice mothers and kids.  This is where we met Sylvia.  Her eldest Michael was a few weeks older than Hari and the two got along really well.  The youngest Anthony was an infant.  It just happened that they happened to live behind our house on the street parallel to us.  Sylvia was very helpful to mum.  She would make it a point to bring an additional baby seat to transport Hari and would give them a lift home or when they went on picnics etc.  In return Sylvia enjoyed mum’s Sri Lankan goodies.

Gradually our friendship grew.  The older boys were very close.  They had now moved onto the same Pre-School (Montessori).  Sylvia was now back at work.  She was a theater nurse.  She initially enrolled Michael at a pre-school near her work.  It was hard getting him to settle so she decided to join him in to the same pre-school as Hari.  The two boys were rather inseparable.

I was now pregnant with my youngest. After all the hiccups and scares finally the day came to pop the bundle.  Sylvia was already at work.  Not sure who rang who, but Glen (her hubby) found out from mum that I had left for the hospital.  The same hospital Sylvia was working.  A few hours after I had Arj, (about 3am) Sylvia rushes in with her gown and gloves, elated to see the new born.  She sheds tears of joy while hugging me.  At this time only my husband had seen the bub.  Mum nor Hari had seen him.  Hindu’s don’t have a ‘god mother’ system, if not I would’ve asked her to be the god mother.

 I think the happiest was Anthony, he had a play mate now.  In a world where class, colour and creed matter we remained friends in spite of all the glaring differences.  Sylvia hailed from Germany, Glen was from New Zealand and we were from Sri Lanka. Our boys learnt that was more than the normal ‘Coles’ brand sausages and those two kids learnt to eat rice.  My mum gained another two grand kids.  My boys now had an ‘Oma’ (Grandma in German) and ‘Uncle James

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA‘.

Both families had their trials and tribulations and both helped each other out.  We took turns to take care of our injured or at times sick soldiers. Michael and Hari had their tonsils out.  I think all four boys had grommets put in.  Sylvia was paramount in saving Arj on his 2nd birthday.  The four boys took turns to fracture a limb or get stitches. Anthony poured hot honey on himself. Sylvia sometimes joined in with getting injured too.  It was normal for the boys to have a shower and sleep at each others house.

Once all four started to go to school things became more of a routine.  We couldn’t see the point in two cars heading towards the same destination.  So all four kids drove to and from the school together in one car.  It was usually myself or Glen as we had more regular and flexible working hours.  The boys didn’t even notice whose car they were getting into.  Each morning they were too excited to see each other they would just start to yap as soon as they are together.

After school most days they would go for sports together.  So in the morning we would exchange their relevant sports bags and snacks for after school. It was usually banana’s and ‘Up and Go’.  They did swimming and Karate together.  Most times Glen would pick them up after swimming.  As after the swim the boys will go into the men’s side to have a shower and change.  The boys don’t get the rush of the parents. It’s not for them worry that the parent has to go home and start dinner etc.  They just loved more play time.  So we decided it was better for Glen to pick them up as he can go into the men’s and hurry the boys.

Even on the weekends it was rather normal for us to meet up again.  Just like the car which car they got into, they didn’t care whose pool they jumped into.  I still remember watching the 2003 Rugby finals England Vs Australia where Jonnyy Wilkinson snatched the victory from us at the last minute.  We were watching the game together with food and drinks and as time went along it became just drinks. Well we had to swallow the grief.  It was a great night.  Don’t remember much of the finale.  Well our boys slept over there while hubby and I crawled back home after my hubby’s failed attempts at cartwheels.

Many a days, when all four of us were unable to pick the boys, uncle James, Oma or Angela (Sylvia’s sister) took the role.  It takes a village to raise a child was very much the case for these four boys.  They were the happiest four boys.

And now we were going to separate them.

To be continued … hopefully tomorrow.

 

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Posted in True Story, Inspirational

It was an year ago…

one year ago

It was an year ago…

The words ring in my ears.  It was my father in law’s one year death anniversary a couple of days ago.  Jan (my sister in law and bestie) calls me after her temple visit for her father.  Fighting her emotions she utters the words “It was just an year ago that we went on that trip and then all hell broke lose”

It was just an year ago, that Jan and I decided to celebrate the fact that we have made it to Fifty.  Life served each of us a fair proportion of trials and tribulations. But thankful we are still here and still in tact.

Jan living in Canada and me in Australia, our friendship is held together tightly with ‘skype’ and “whatsapp’.  We decided we needed a good R&R and decided a holiday together somewhere.

So it was an year ago that she and I frolicked the streets of Goa.  We would yap till the early hours of the morning.  Partly because each of us was fighting jet lag from different time zones.  So when I was sleepy Jan wouldn’t let me sleep and vise versa.  We giggled, we laughed and we even cried.

I remember a similar scenario when we were nineteen.  We hadn’t gone on any holiday, I had just moved to Colombo with my mum for studies and Jan was about to migrate to Canada, my dad had fallen ill and was hospitalised.  Jan stayed the nights with me for support.  Jan and I shared a room.  This was about the same time I was falling for her brother as well.  Well, let me rephrase that, he was falling for me.  She was going out with my cousin too.  So we had many things to giggle and laugh about.  Then came my fathers demise.  And now we had things to cry about.

Each year we accumulate memories of all kinds.  Some happy, some not so. But they are memories nonetheless.

I like to think that an year ago was all about 50th birthday parties and reunions. But unfortunately, last year did come crashing down at the end.  Jan lost her dad (my father in law) just after our Goan trip.  He was a larger than life character and his death came unexpectedly.  Yes, we can console ourselves to say he did not suffer and he went peacefully.  However, I always wonder if I had done everything I can to let him know that we loved him very much – in spite of all the arguments and disagreements, to let him know that I admired him more than he will ever know.

I am grateful for the memories he gave us/me.  Some funny, some sad and some utterly mad.  It was a great theatre.  He was truly an amazing man.  His achievements surpasses the stains of his childhood. But he is not one to bury his past to parade his success.  He lived a humble and frugal life.  Sometimes too humble and too frugal.  But anything more made him unhappy and we had to let him live his life the way he wanted.  Rest in Peace mama, you have earned it.

I lost two of my favourite aunties.  I call them aunties but neither of them related to me by blood.  I loved them dearly and each one had an irreplaceable impact on my life.  Again the two deaths came from no where.  It was as if God had a quota to get through before Christmas.  Bang, Bang, Bang three in a row within a week.

I recall Aunty Ponmani. I can’t help but break out a smile and a chuckle.  She was a mischievous, cheeky old woman. I hear the word ‘Faminist’ thrown around loosely these days.  This woman was a pioneer. She didn’t waste time putting a label to her actions.  She just went ahead and did them. She was a tough women who took no prisoners.  But for all that tough exterior she was rather mushy on the inside.  I loved her cuddles, I miss her cuddles.  Truly grateful to the man up there for letting me cross paths with this amazing lady.  Rest in Peace Aunty Ponmani Ps.  Can you please allow others over there to rest in peace as well Aunty? I can picture her smiling at me and saying “why should I’ with a twinkle in her eye.

Then came Aunty Mahasen.  I have no idea why she loved me so much, but she did.  She was a triple threat.  Grace, elegance and class all donned into one.  Again a mere chance that made us cross paths, but a path, with rainbows and butterflies.  And many pot plants.  Missing your gorgeous smile aunty, rest in peace.

It didn’t stop there. Arj my youngest learnt a hard lesson in life.  A cruel lesson.  Life is short, especially for his nineteen year old mate Jack.  Arj reluctantly bid good bye to his mate Jack just before Xmas as well.  He was found dead in the shower.  No, not drugs.  Not sure what, coroners baffled too.  It was only an year before that they bid good bye at school and Jack moved to Melbourne and Arj left for Japan. They kept in touch on facebook and promised to catch up that December.  Time and tide waits for none and in this case not even for a nineteen year old with so much promise.  Memories – I am sure Arj would have many, although I wonder if the last one has sealed off the older ones. Easy for me to preach – to say “don’t linger on the sadness, don’t let his passing dictate your memory of your friendship”.  Memories are too raw, too soon I guess.  I don’t know Jack’s mum. All I know is, she is weeping now.

Without memories, without musings we are mere robots.  Each year just like dust we gather more memories.  Some of them turn out to be Gold dust.  We hope all of them to be gold dust, but unfortunately sometimes its just black soot.  We don’t dictate what is dealt next.  But we can at least influence it.  That’s what I think anyway.

 

 

 

 

Posted in travel

Destination Goa (final)

Goa beach

Four am start.  Jan and I hardly had any sleep.  We were planning on a early night as we thought we need it for our 4 am start.  Didn’t exactly stick to our adult like responsible decision.  One more night of being back to our teenage days.  We weren’t exactly throwing up into the toilet bowl.  Just more chatting and reminiscing our past, the last couple of days and making promises for the future.  Relationships, Kids, loss, survival…. both of us in our own ways have been through a lot.  We are like two weeds that stood stubbornly through the storm and now looking a lot lusher.  We did bend, we did mellow, but we refused to wither.  I guess, neither of had a choice.

I so wish she lived next door and not in the opposite hemisphere. Every time I needed a hug she would have come running to me and every time she needed that hug I would have happily run over to her. But I think my hubby is relieved that there is a reprieve on the credit card and shopping. I treasure these holidays.  It’s truly a blessing that I can meet up with her once in awhile. Even though there are many days and weeks and years in between, thank god to Whatsapp and Skype, it makes it bearable.

Our bags gets rolled out at 4.00am.  We stood at the middle of the airport hugging and hanging on to our tears within our eyelids, interrupting and maybe blocking the other rushing passengers.  One big heave and then we headed back to our mundane travel procedures.

Getting through security took a lot longer than in Australia.  However, it wasn’t chaotic like it was in Chennai a few years ago.  I had about an hour or so before boarding.  For a small city, the airport was pretty good.  Very clean toilets.  Yes, this was in India.

Some Murals that caught my eye

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An hour went quickly with a bit of writing and taking pictures.  Next an uneventful flight to Mumbai.  Plane was clean and service was better than Jet star.

I had a long stop over at Mumbai before my next flight to Singapore.  After my stay at Niranta transit hotel on my way over I had decided I wanted to go back there again and get a room for a few hours.  This would give me a chance to meet that young man who helped me so much last time as well.  Unfortunately they were fully booked.  And that young man was not on duty that day either.  But, the young lady at the counter was still very sweet.  She asked me to stay in their lounge area, instead going back to the main airport area.  She even offered me a bottle of water and the ever useful wifi password. At this stage I had not spent a dime with them.  I was astounded by their empathy which went over and beyond the call of customer service.  I had breakfast with them, and left a small token of thank you in an envelope and left with plenty of time for check in etc.

I thought my bubble on perfect trip was going to unravel when the guy at the counter said my visa has expired.  I knew it hadn’t, I had checked and rechecked, so with a stern and irritated voice I replied “no it isn’t”.  On checking with another officer (lady officer) he realised he needed to have a “mummy look”.

This time around I had more time look around the airport.  Rather a big, classy, clean airport.  Yes, it’s in India and it’s clean.

This was a mural by the side of the travelator.  What a great welcome as you get off the plane.

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More quirky cafe’s and art work.

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As usual I was rushing with something and I think it was my bag zipper made a cut on my finger.  Nothing major, but the darn thing was bleeding.  So I got to the toilet and kept my finger under the tap trying to stop the bleeding.  But no joy.  The cleaning lady saw this and came to my aid, she couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t understand her.

Language didn’t matter, the beauty of humanity expands past language barriers.  

She got me a band aid from the first aid kit.  She didn’t know or didn’t care that she probably should be wearing gloves when dealing with blood.  I thanked her in English and went rummaging in my hand bag to get some money.  She held my hand and shook her head saying words, I think that meant “no, no need” and she left.

Yes, this was India.

How wrong was I to pass judgement, that India was going to be dirty and crawling with cheating, thieving vermin’s.  Am I a racist who was hiding behind past experiences as an excuse? I am not going to say entire India going to be this rosy.  Jury is still out of Chennai for me.  I hear Delhi is no paradise either.  But, lesson learnt is that there is going to be good and bad places every where, there is going to be good and bad people every where.  If you aren’t willing to give that destination a chance, you will never know and never experience and that would be a damn shame.

It’s a red hot yes to Goa and maybe even to rest of India.

 

 

Posted in Daily post

Bud and Two leaves

tea

I was pleasantly surprised with the Daily word prompt – TEA.

My glorious childhood was among’st this backdrop.  Sri Lanka’s upcountry was mainly adorned by Tea estates.  But this was no ordinary Tea Estate.  This was my little utopia.

My dad worked as a Scientist at the Tea Research Institute (TRI) in Sri Lanka.  Tea being the major export of the country, this research facility also was one of the largest organisations of the country.  It was also important to establish the research centre where the Tea actually grew rather than in a major city.

Very large laboratories of all disciplines such as Bio Chemistry, Entomology, Pathology etc were established with the latest equipment’s.  All the staff were given Housing. Rather beautiful and luxuries houses were built for the staff.  They were maintained by TRI as well.  The lawns were mowed, regularly painted and furniture’s were upgraded. Most of these things were primarily established by the British.  So you did get a feel of the British presence in the decor and style of the Bungalows.

We had our own transport.  Buses for the staff and their family to go to school, shopping etc.  A large fleet of cars with drivers for staff and family.  Our own little hospital and medical facility, Post Office,  Telecom and even a  Water dam and purification plant. Our own club house, sporting venues the list goes on.

We were all removed from our core extended families.  This became our extended family.  It’s not a cliche’ when I say, we lived together in harmony without any racial or other disputes.

The labs were my playground.  This was the era before Occupational Health and Safety or Work Cover mandates.  But we didn’t have any accidents, this was also an era where people used something called common sense.  We didn’t need a sign that said “Slippery when wet”.  Anyway, coming back to my playground or playgrounds, I had no siblings and no playstation or any other electronic device.  Not even internet, so I had to learn to amuse my self and I lived mostly outdoors.

The soil here was really great.  Everyone had a great garden filled with flowers, fruit treas and vegetables.  Constantly we would exchange our produce.  I spent most of my time up a fruit tree.  When I got bored with that I would walk to the lab. On the way I would frolic through the Tea fields, run up and down the extensive stairs that went from the Tea Factory to the Lab.  Every one knew me.  I was like the common village dog, that was fed by every butcher.

I mainly played in the Bio Chemistry Department as that’s where my dad worked.  But I knew the entire geography of all other labs as well and had at least one friend in each department.  Yeah I know they were grown ups and I was a kid, but they were still my friends and showed me “cool” stuff.  I knew to operate the centrifuge and I played with Magnets.  I knew about Poly Phenol’s long before I went to high school.  When I think about it now, it wasn’t really playing, my dad was teaching me Science and I was doing science experiments.

One bud and two leaves – all that is plucked to produce tea.  Silver tip is the only one uses just the buds and hence the high cost.  I would accompany my dad on many of the guided tours he would take our visitors and I knew all this information long before I started school.

dad stamp

The above is my dad on an old Sri Lankan Postal Stamp. He is injecting radio active isotopes into tea leaves to study the pattern of the nutrients movement.  Nutrients from the root did not evenly go all over the plant.  The mother leaf (the bigger leaf on the bottom) fed the one on top and so forth.  When you removed the big leaf right underneath baby leaf, the leaves further down acted as a surrogate and fed the bud.

That was one amazing child hood, it all came to an end when I lost my dad at 19. Such is life, still grateful that I had this childhood and to all the uncle’s and aunties of TRI who were there for us then and even now.  Children of TRI hold a special bond.  All of us grown up and adults now.  But most of us are still in contact even from different parts of the world.

Disclaimer:  It’s a long time since I left TRI, some information shared here may not be completely accurate.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tea/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/soil/

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=two+leaves+and+a+bud+book&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjV17SrzLDVAhXEF5QKHS14DU0Q1QIIdSgB

 

https://www.google.com.au/search?biw=1280&bih=894&q=tea+plantations+sri+lanka+nuwara+eliya&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjHvd7KzrDVAhWLe7wKHX6UATAQ1QIIuwEoAQ

 

 

Posted in Goa, India, travel, True Story, Inspirational

Destination Goa (Part 9)

Goa beach

We moved from Baga Beach to Candolim for the last leg of the Holidays.  Beautiful Hotel, slightly pricier and more up market than Acron.  Can’t really fault any of the facilities. customer service, etc.  Beautiful setting right on the beach, amazing gardens, decor etc, etc.  however, I felt it lacked the personal touch.

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HA..  Yes, had to snap that one.

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Amazing spa, massage treatments. We got ourselves thoroughly spoiled. We didn’t do too much sightseeing after we came to Candolim.  But we did roam the roads during the day and sometimes late evening/ early night.

We came across couple of great restaurants.  Soi was one of our favourites.  For many reasons – good food, great service and so close to our hotel.  When the mercury hits high, along with humidity, you just don’t want to drag that leg of yours too far.

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Loved the sign in front of Tuscany, showed that when you are on holidays just take it easy.  Throw away that schedule.  Gutsy move for a business though. We wanted to check the place just because of the sign. But neither of us were in the mood for Italian food.  Maybe next time.

Months of planning, then finally the day arrives for our flights from opposite hemispheres to take off, then 1.00 am in the middle of Mumbai Airport, two 50 years old’s, hugging and almost shrieking like two teenagers, then the late night chats about our personal lives, we cried for each other, we advised each other, we laughed at each other and tomorrow it comes to an end. We say good bye to Goa and to each other.

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Adios Goa.

I will make another post to cap off everything.  Especially about my trip back via Mumbai, my misconceptions about India etc.  I think I owe them that much.

 

 

Posted in Goa, India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, travel, True Story, Inspirational, Word prompt

Destination Goa (Part 3)

passport

 

Passport – check, Tickets – check, Phone – check, Phone – charger check, Ipad – check, Thyroxin – check.  I was anxious that I was going to leave something behind.  I was already anxious about this trip but to make things worse, just days before the departure, the Indian Government called in all the 500RS notes.  This in turn caused a massive shortage of money in the country.  Also couldn’t buy any Indian currency in Australia. And we heard reports that there were massive queues at atm machines and banks. “just our luck” we thought.

I was anxious of the unknown safety issues, I was excited about meeting my buddy and having a well earned break, I was sad about leaving hubby, son and my baby dog, (well I had to include and hubby and son to avoid judgement. But then again no shame in admitting that I was glad to lose them for a week or so to get a bit of rest, but my doggy on the other hand, I am really going to miss him).  Those droopy eyes were telling me “mummy don’t leave me”.

Australian immigration – it took me all of 5 minutes to clear.  Just like Jim Jeffreys said, Aussie airport and it’s security practices/measures are rather unique.  Not exactly unique but definitely very different to most other airports.   Don’t get me wrong, it is safe as anywhere can be.  But, just don’t have the same panic and stress ridden atmosphere.  The guy checking your passport, no sorry there is no guy checking your passport, a machine does matching for you. You have almost no human contact.  You see plenty of humans, but no one seems to care about you, they just want you to just piss off, without giving chance to form a queue.  You will be rushed through automatic sliding door after door and you are now way too early for your flight.

Took my tablet out and started to write, continuation of my story “friendship and war…” well I haven’t settled on the heading yet.  With all the travel plans I hadn’t touched this for sometime.  Read the last page I had written, did some editing.  Then continued on with the story.  Couple of times I stopped and glanced around to see what everyone else was doing.  It looked like they were practicing boredom.

Finally time to board.  Once again I had to smile sheepishly at the young good looking guy, well not sure if he was good looking, but he was definitely tall and ask him if he could put my hand luggage up in the overhead locker.  He was only too happy to oblige. Again not sure if he was happy as such, but nevertheless helped the short damsel in distress.

The problem with living in Australia is that, it is really down, down down there.  And also it is a such a huge country.  And if you are from South Australia, it takes nearly 3 hours before you can leave your own fricking country.  I watched a movie and some comedy skit on a tiny screen, with screen moving as per the front persons movements.  It was better to get back to writing.  I put the tablet on my lap rather than on the moving tray table.

Drinks cart was a welcome interruption.  “Sav Blanc” didn’t taste like any “Sav Blanc ” I’ve ever tasted.  But it was free.  Also, this was the beginning of the “girls” holiday.  So, I convinced myself, “holiday begins now”. So rubbish Sav blanc or not I had to have it.  But all in all it wasn’t too bad a flight.  Spoke to hubby from the airport.  Sent a couple of messages to Jan. But she didn’t answer.  She must have been still mid air.

I did some window shopping.  I planned what  to buy on my return journey.  Had a cup of tea, a massage, visited the butterfly garden and time passed.  Time for my next flight. The one that I was most anxious and nervous about.  Mumbai here I come.

 

Cont…

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/passport/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/security/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/luck/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/clean/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/automatic/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/nervous/

 

 

Posted in India, Sri Lanka, travel, True Story, Inspirational

Destination Goa (part 2)

Goa beach

We both liked the sound of Goa.  We started to do more research about the place from the internet as well as from known people.  Glenn was great at calming my nerves. As well as giving me valuable information about the place and giving me tips on the do’s and don’ts.  We got to know Glenn through my youngest son.  He was the Director for many of the drama productions my son was involved in.  Glenn is white on the outside but truly an Indian on the inside.  He visits and at times lives in India for long periods. At this particular time he was living in Mumbai and regularly visiting Goa.

The advise we heard from many was to avoid South Goa.  Russian mafia seems to have an influence in that part of Goa and makes it an unsavoury place for Tourists.  But, then again it would depend on your age group and your interests I think.  Glenn summed it up nicely.  He said South Goa for Russians is like Bali for Aussies.  Glenn also gave me places to eat and have a drink.  Places where if I say his name and said I was Glenn’s friend I would be treated well.

I also had a chat to another friend and work colleague.  She was from Goa, or her family was from Goa.  She was born in Africa but her family originally comes from Goa and she still had many cousins who lived there.  She gave me a array of phone numbers, just in case we needed some help.

Armed with places to eat and phone numbers to call we were now feeling a lot more confident in booking our flights and accommodation.

Once again my buddy became a fly at the buffet.  For weeks we were stripping Trip Advisor website to shreds. Every review was scrutanised.  In the meantime one of her friends parted the words “you must stay at Taj holiday village”.  https://vivanta.tajhotels.com/en-in/holiday-village-goa/

We had looked at this previously (many a times I might add), but now when we were finally ready to book, they did not have the dates available.  The only option given to us was that they could accommodate us for the last two of the dates of our holiday.  Jan was happy to take it, I was happy to take any thing.  Horray, at least two days of our holidays we had a bed to sleep on.

So now we had to find another place for the beginning.  Finally we settled on Acron Waterfront.  In a way it was good that we did not get more than two days to stay at Taj as it was very pricey.   https://www.acronwaterfrontresortgoa.com/

Along with trying to get accommodation in Goa, we also tried our best to align our itineraries. So, for me it was Aus to Singapore, Singapore to Mumbai, Mumbai to Goa.  I was supposed to reach Mumbai around 9.00pm and then our flight to Goa was next morning at 5.00am.  Jan after her million flights would reach Mumbai at 1.00am and leave for Goa on the same flight as me at 5.00am.  Return journey, we would reach the airport at the same time but I leave to Mumbai and she would to Bangalore to get her connection for Kerala. This way we thought we could share the same cab/shuttle to and from the airport.  Strength in numbers was our thinking.

I had a five or six hour stay in Singapore. I wasn’t concerned about that, I love that airport.  I could spend a whole day without any trouble, my credit card might, but I have no issues of a lengthy stay at Singapore airport.  On the other hand I was rather worried about my stay at the Mumbai airport.  Found out that Mumbai had a Airport Transit hotel. So I made a booking for me, per my memory they do hourly or 4hr blocks. http://www.nirantahotels.com/

I was taking every precaution I could, I even bought a new handbag just for my travels. No, it wasn’t an excuse to buy another handbag.  All my handbags are designed so I could just dump stuff in there.  No zips or any other sealing mechanism.  So I bought one that had a zip, straps that I could put it across my shoulder.  All this to prevent the bag snatching.

Glenn kept assuring me that Mumbai was very safe and there was a lot of respect for “aunty” age people.  But, I kept thinking what would a “white man” know.  And he had just ticked me off by putting me in the “aunty” age group.  For the benefit of other possible travelers to India, the other advise given to me was mainly regarding water.  So only bottled water and no salads.

I did get a few jabs.  Can’t remember what they were for… possibly for Malaria, Hep B and Hep C and something else.  Not sure which Hep I took.  Sometimes people have natural immunity to one of them.  It’s best to do a blood test to find out if you have this natural immunity.  You need to start on the jabs about a month before.  My advise would be to check with your GP a month ahead rather than rely on the above information.

Applied online for the Indian Visa.  Be aware there are many bogus websites.  I guess one way to find out if you are in the right website is in the number of stupid questions asked. If you are in the right website, then you would need information on pretty much everyone and everything.  I was surprised they did not have a question about my cat.  It would have been hard to explain that I do not own a cat.  The problem also was that until you answer the question you cannot go to the next page.  My dad passed away 30 years ago, they needed his occupation, qualification etc. Anyway, I diligently got all the information and submitted my application as I did not want to be deported. I uttered “bloody Indians” many a times (don’t judge me yet, I am apologetic for my judgement by the end of the trip).  My visa arrived within about 2-3 days.

My dog was sulking as I started packing.

Cont….