Friday 7th December
This morning over breakfast Jay asked me,
"Nis, do you feel our big India dream is a bit deflated?"
I thought for a moment then answered truthfully that it wasn't so much deflated as needed to be dreamt up again…but slightly differently.
You see, having not been here for two and a half years, the changes are very evident to us, and not at all favourable. For starters, our cozy seaside hotel has seen a rise in room rates by almost threefold. This may be due to the fact that opposite now stands a horrid large wannabe posh Indian hotel which is an offensive eyesore.
We chose the same room as last time since we were in love with the view from our balcony (which overlooked a giant field where bullocks roamed, elephants often tread and women could be seen carrying baskets to and fro in the lazy afternoon sunshine). Much to our horror, when we first stepped outside this time, we saw that a brand spanking new motorway had been fashioned diagonally across it! So much for our tranquil setting. In the words of Joni Mitchell (who let's face it new a thing or two about such monstrosities) "they tore paradise and put up a parking lot".
Today we took an hour long taxi ride to our beloved 'Arambol Beach' where there is a 'sweet water lake' (which in local Indian vernacular often sounds like 'sweat water lake' – not far from the truth given the number of tourists who sit like grounded hippo's on the banks, baking in the boiling sun, submerging bright white cellulite-ridden legs and hairy beer bellies in the gloriously warm but stagnant shallow waters).
This time, instead of the majority of tourists being Brits and Israeli's, there seems to be a crazy influx of Russians who are apparently pissing off all the fruit/trinket/lungi sellers because of their rude arrogant ways and tight-fistedness with the rupees. We witnessed such a spectacle this afternoon whereby a hapless young girl hawking bedspreads was mocked and scorned by a Russian foursome spouting gutteral invectives – the men clad in revealing speedo's and the ladies puffing on cheap cigarettes, their bleached blond hair held back by 'scrunchies'.
There is the dawning reality that Jay and I are no longer part of the hippie/backpack brigade (thank GOD for that) and thus do not 'fit in' anymore. Where once we clad ourselves in woven bracelets, decorated cotton rags, haggling over 50p a night rooms and boomed around the country on a motorcycle feeling free as the wind, we now find ourselves chained (and I do mean CHAINED) to the here and now with our two little men.
Jay has nicknamed our youngest 'Bee-elza-dumps' this holiday as he rules our family with a fist of iron. One blood-curdling cry and we'll do pretty much anything the little prince demands, be it leave our newly served dinners to walk him around tables as he smiles and shouts out to fellow diners, or serve him up chocolate wafer after chocolate wafer to keep him from flinging bits of chicken and rice across the table and into strangers hair. Then of course there is his constant demand for breast. As I mentioned it is no longer a case of need but want, and he fancies it at least once an hour it seems. Nightmare. I don't think there are many locals who haven't glimpsed a bit of my bits recently.
At any rate, Jay and the boys have just walked in from dinner. I begged off for a shower and some peace and quiet. Given that Jay has been allowed to ride around on his motorcycle while the boys and I cruise about in a tourist taxi has made him rather sympathetic towards 'Mama's needs'. In a minute I'm going to take off, find an internet café and upload this. Then I'm off to a tailor for more comedic alterations on a skirt which is becoming more ridiculous with each stitch. But more on that later. In fact tomorrow I shall tell you all about 'Pramesh' from 'Leather World' and the whole soap opera which is ensuing. Bet you can't wait ?