India: Eye Gouging and Free Naan!

I woke up at 5am and crept out of the apartment, bidding farewell to Ricky, who sleepily reminded me I owed him 750 rupees. Arse. I found a few taxis in the street but the drivers were all sleeping, and so I was forced to bang on the window and wake somebody up to take me down the mountain to Dharamsala. I spent an hour or so waiting for the bus, and made the five hour journey to Amritsar, which for India is blissfully short. It was to be my final destination, and I was excited. Continue reading

India: Reunion at the Dalai Lama’s Place

After 7 weeks, Dave and I were reunited in Dharamsala. I woke up in the big double bed I’d shared with Ricky in our horrid bottle and ash strewn apartment, showered and left to find my buddy. I got a tuk tuk up the mountain to Dharamkot, and asked a few local people for directions to a cafe we’d agreed to meet at. I walked down the mountain path all lined with pines, crisp air filling my lungs and snow-capped peaks peering at me from beyond the green valley. Continue reading

India: Pellet Guns and a Glimpse of Tiger

The next stage of the road trip was a little less intense, thank heavens. Only 500km to cover this time, and with lovely company. Poppy and Michael were great, but something about the combination of myself, Ricky, Tali and John really kicked out sparks. Together they reminded me of some of my favourite people from Berlin. Tali was from Paris and wore floaty dresses that made it seem as if her feet didn’t touch the ground, and she would sing along to old French songs she put on the radio. John was from Vancouver and the same height as me and took nothing seriously. He spoke perfect French with Tali, and to my absolute delight we shared the same surreal anecdotal humour. Continue reading

India: Rapids, Ravines, and a Rant About Religion

Ricky, Poppy, Michael and I woke up from our hard earned naps at 4 in the afternoon. I was first up and went out onto the apartment balcony to gaze at the brand new landscape. It was green and pretty and a world away from Varanasi, but I’ve got to admit that I was a little disappointed in Rishikesh. But, if you’re willing to whip out the scalpel and hand mirror and perform a little key hole surgery into your soul, I reckon even crushing disappointment can teach you something. So here’s why I thought Rishikesh was wank. Continue reading

India: The Roadtrip and the Army and the Shotgun Wedding

Now, I wrote a 1000 word article that I  thought I’d published on my last few days in Varanasi, but it is nowhere to be found, so whatever, let me summarise: I spent 3 days living for free in the basement of a temple waiting for the arrival of a mysterious man called Ricky who I was told was looking for people to split petrol costs to Rishikesh. I went slightly insane languishing in my basement with naught but a family of mice for company, but no matter. After I’d passed a week in Varanasi, Ricky arrived: a small Punjabi dude who has lived in Melbourne for 8 years, with a tattoo that says ‘such is life’ and a finely tuned moustache. And lo, you are up to speed. Continue reading

India: Life, One Second, No Life

I arrived in Bangalore/Bengaluru in the morning and passed a couple of nights there, but nothing of note happened except a nice picnic in the park, a rowdy bottomless cocktail drinking session, and a ‘ladies night’ which I was invited out on by three boozy Americans but ducked out of because I was shattered and day-drunk. It’s a nice enough city; not too hot, clean, expansive and brimming with shops, bars and restaurants, but I was jaded from the past few days and was perfectly happy to take it easy. Continue reading

India: Monkey Bastard

Next day in Hampi was just as wonderful as the previous, but because I’ve once more fallen behind on these diaries I’ll run through it quickly. Or at least, try to, because we all know I can go on a bit once I get excited about something. And by ‘we all’ I mean everyone who reads this, which is like, me, and my mum, and the occasional old man from rural Tibet who is searching for a recipe for goulash or something and through several misspelled Googlings winds up lost forever in the digital foothills of World Hangover. Continue reading

India: SpoO0Ooky Bats!

The first night at Goan Corner was pretty brutal. I slept alone in my dinky thatch-roof mud hut and starfished on the double bed beneath a light blue mosquito net. Through the cracks in the ceiling I could see moonlight. It was all very beautiful until the fan broke at 3am and I boiled alive, and a succession of coconuts crashed down onto the roof, and a pack of dogs got into a savage brawl outside my door. I forgot to drink enough water too, which meant I woke up periodically with weak trembling limbs, lurching in and out of tragic sleepy hallucinations of ex-girlfriends. But ahhhh, I’m used to it all by now. Continue reading

India: Ferris Wheel of Death

Lily, Conor and I arrived in Hampi around 7am after a relatively easy night bus. After gurning my way through several hellish rides, at this point I’ve got night buses down to a tee. Long sleeved shirt and jeans to avoid the inevitable snowstorm from the pounding AC, a bottle of water, a massive, forced piss before boarding, headphones w/phone charged, an emergency jacket, and a seat rather than a bed – you can stabilise yourself far easier in a chair than a bed, where you’re left to roll around and smack into every surface available. I’m getting good at this. Continue reading