Six months away exploring India and South East Asia
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  • Day51

    Day of fails

    May 31, 2018 in Vietnam ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    Today we tried to go to the Galaxy caves 🌌 where you can get a boat ride through some caves and see some limestone stalagmites and stalactites. We had a lazy morning and set off at about 12:30, a map our homestay gave us said it was 12km away which we expected to take half an hour on the bike. We were given directions before we left - to head in the direction of a sign to the caves we'd ridden past on our way to the nature reserve. When we got to the sign it said it was another 18km which was annoying because we'd already traveled about half an hour but we continued. A little while down the road after the turning I realised I should check with Fabien that we have enough money for the entrance fee as we haven't been carrying much money with us lately. Through a series of exchanges it became apparent we actually had no money on us whatsoever and our only choice was to head back.

    By the time we got back it was too late and we were too tired to jump on the bike and go again. So instead we decided to go to the Buddhist temple around the corner from our homestay. There are loads of gates to the Buddhist Pagoda along the road we drive down as we're leaving the homestay but they all seem to be permanently closed. We rode up and down past each of the gates trying to find our way in, had a couple of confusing interactions with locals and after maybe another half an hour of driving around realised we had to drive a surprisingly big loop around the Pagoda to get to parking and the entrance. We paid for the parking, started wandering around, then realised I wasn't well enough to cope with it and so left without seeing anything.

    On the way back we stopped to buy some essentials and asked a group of locals outside the shop where we could get some bia hơi. They couldn't understand us at all and laughed as fabien tried to act out what it was we were asking for. Eventually one guy came along who understood us and directed us down a quiet road.

    We stopped off at a tiny, pretty place. The lady there spoke good English. When we asked for Bia hơi we discovered we'd been pronouncing it wrong because of the ơ being a different sound to what we'd expected. I got out my notebook and spoke with the lady about how I've been learning Vietnamese. She taught me to say rất ngon" (very good) which also sounds completely different to its spelling so she wrote it in my notebook for me.

    While we were drinking some guy pulled up on a bike to buy peanuts and was talking to Fabien and me in Vietnamese a lot although we were really struggling to interpret anything he was saying. He showed us his tattoos and picked some blossoms and gave them to us. He was fun but it was totally confusing.

    A little later while we were still having beers I heard some music from down the road and looked that way to see a kid in a play car with an older sibling using a remote control to steer him up the street.

    When we got back I took this photo of our little home as it looked so cute with the lanterns just turning on.
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  • Day7

    I work out!

    April 17, 2018 in India ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    We got our second workout in today. Our first was two days ago on the day we found all the puppies but I didn't get many photos of our gym setup. We set up our Monki rings from a tree branch and did some pull ups and other things right by the restaurant area outside the huts. I still can't do pull ups so just working on negatives at the moment (controlled drop). Some old Indian man came over in the middle of my workout and tried to correct me and did some pull ups to show me. I think he was just showing off. Other than that just more beach and chill. Still no swimming for me because of my rash/sores.Read more

  • Day5


    April 15, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Today we wandered up towards the markets and found seven tiny puppies sleeping under a boat. They are so cute and sleepy. Lots of people were fussing over them. The beach is nice but all western tourists so doesn't feel like we're really in India, other than the fact there are cows roaming the markets and onto the beach! We mostly just relaxed and ate and drank and played cards. I've decided to start building a budgeting app so Fabien is going to re-teach me some javascript. Other then that we haven't done very much at all.Read more

  • Day4

    Palolem Beach, India

    April 14, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    The hut we stayed in the first night was not great! The fan kept cutting out in the night and it was so hot anyway even with it on. The bathroom was dark and full of mosquitoes and other insects. Fabien bought some bug spray and fumigated the room before bed, but we woke up in the morning and there were two upturned - but not yet dead - cockroaches in the bathroom, waving their legs in the air. We were both too grossed out to use the bathroom and couldn't stand the thought of showering in there. We spent the day walking up and down the beach finding out prices of other huts and speaking to the lady about getting the money back on our accommodation which she refused, in the end it was agreed we could upgrade to a fancy hut with air-conditioning for a night and get 200 rupees of our money back. It meant we were forced into staying in an expensive room but it was better than losing our money altogether or being forced to stay in the gross room.

    I also had a funny turn yesterday, my rash is getting worse and more painful, we were sat at the restaurant and I got heavy and dizzy for a while and almost blacked out. I told Fabien I thought we needed to go to hospital but after a lay down in our air conditioned room I started to feel a little better. On the walk up and down the beach looking at other beach huts we realised it might be shingles which makes sense because I was so stressed before we left.

    Today we moved to the nicest of the huts we found on our walk. We made a deal to pay 700 rupees per night for four nights but pay at the end. That's roughly £7.80 per night for a private beach hut. They aren't air conditioned and can get a bit hot, but they're so clean. No bugs. And brightly day light filled bathroom.

    We saw fireworks on the beach tonight, only about three, but it was fun. Also there's a cute little puppy and it's parents at this section of huts and restaurant. They play all the time.

    The yellow hut is the fancy upgrade, the tropical area is our new hut.
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  • Day2


    April 12, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    We arrived at Goa late last night and by the time we got through immigration it was about midnight. We had thought it would be a half hour journey in a taxi to the hotel we had booked in Agonda but when we met the taxi driver he told us we were an hour later than he expected and that the drive would take an hour, getting us to the hotel at 1 in the morning. We asked if the hotel would still be open for us to check in, he didn't really respond. We sat through the long journey not really sure what would happen when we got to the other side.

    On the route we were stopped for a police check. The taxi driver wound down his window and the police officer playfully flashed a torch in his eyes repeatedly without really saying anything, just like he was jokingly being annoying and blinding our driver. After that he stood back and let us drive off. It was mad. When we arrived at the hotel we checked in fine and had a couple of beers while sat outside in the courtyard. At bed time we attempted to put up a mosquito net my parents had given me but there was nowhere to hang it from and it turned out it was only a single bed net anyway. I tried pretty hard but eventually gave up.

    This morning we got a rickshaw from Agonda to Palolem, it was about a 15 minute journey and cost about 300 rupees which is roughly £3.30. We were dropped at the end of a street with markets and walked down with our bags with people shouting "taxi" at us from every direction. Quite a few guys came up trying to get us to rent their beach huts, eventually we followed one guy and checked into a place for 4 nights for 500 rupees per night (£5.50sh).

    We sat about and had beers all day. I couldn't go swimming in the sea because I had a rash with blisters forming and I didn't know what it was and didn't want it getting infected or anything. Fabien got his first paneer tikka masala which he had been so excited about. It was fun 😊🏝️
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  • Day1

    Leaving home

    April 11, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    This morning we arrived at Gatwick Airport at 6am. We stayed at my parents a few days before and went bowling and did fun stuff with them and Mia, but I was a bit ill from being so stressed with moving out the flat so couldn't do as much as we wanted. We met Fabien's parents and Giselle at the airport and had breakfast with them then said our goodbyes.

    Our rucksacks weighed about 6-7kg each at this point. I didn't get a chance to get a photo of the contents of my bag but Fabien got one of his. Here's a picture of Fabien at the gate with everything he owns for the next 6 months.

    We flew with Thomas Cook direct from Gatwick to Goa for £170 each. A last minute booking because it was such a bargain.
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