Friday, 30 April 2010

"Mama and the Killer Cow"

One of the reasons my father uses to explain his lack of interest in coming to visit us here in India, is the prevalence of cows. I don't think he has any particular problem with them (in fact I know for a fact he whips up a mean homemade hamburger patty from scratch, and makes an incredible minced meat and egg dish) but he likes to tease me about the fact that cows roam freely here in India.

He's right, they do. But they form such a picturesque part of the slowly moving landscape that you'd really miss the big lazy creatures if they weren't ambling the the beaches...down the roads stopping traffic...even popping their heads inquisitively into a fruit stall to try and nick a bite of watermelon (an amusing site I happened to be privy to the other day).

However, today was a different matter. I got chased by a bloody cow.

The husband was off on an all day motorbike trip with a mate, careening through forests and past brightly coloured temples and remote Dams...

Left in solo charge of the monsters, I took advantage of their being at school in the morning to nip over to the (now frequently closed) internet cafe on the main beach road.

As the local Dump is on the way, I grabbed a big plastic bag full of rubbish. (It's total role reversal in this family; for whatever reason, it's MY job to see to bin duty. I suspect this is because the husband takes advantage of my cockroach paranoia to engage in a regular game of 'who's going to cave in first' - knowing full well that there is no way I can leave a festering insect trap lurking in our 'open plan' kitchen for longer than a day. And he's right. In our family it's "He/She who cares most loses" and fyi that goes for a lot more than just bin duty.)

Anyway, as I turned left out of our dirt lane and headed onto the road proper, I felt a big brown cow come up behind me. I smiled, said something inane to it (I was in a good mood okay?) and was shocked when it forcefully nudged my bag and tried to grab it. Then it did it again.

I sped up and started walking faster.

It sped up.

I moved into a slow jog with some discomfort (it was midday after all and too hot to breathe let alone run).

IT began briskly trotting (do cows trot?).

I was getting freaked out. In a panic I suddenly darted across the road - not even looking for cars or scooters which might suddenly round the corner, signalling my demise.

Well wouldn't you know... the bloody cow dashed across the road in pursuit. Neck in neck we raced along, she now vehemently trying to chew the bag (and my fingers by proxy) with renewed zeal.

Still yards away from the dump I did a not very nice thing and let the bag go flying up into the air, watching as the cow attacked it upon impact with the ground and began to munching the contents with glee.

What did I learn today?

Cows can really run when they want to.

And they love watermelon.

And I'm a big old scaredy-cat.

I mean for goodness sake it was a cow.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

"Modern Malaise"

Let me paint a picture for you:

I'm sitting here in a polka-dot bikini top and a jauntily tied pink sarong (okay, not relevant but like I said I'm just trying to paint the picture for you) on my completely tiled blue and green front porch, feet up on a chair, surveying my usual landscape of picturesque coconut trees, screeching beady-eyed black crows and the huge sandy expanse separating our house from our landlords large red concrete one.

I've got before me a white ceramic bowl full of sweeter than sweet papaya pieces and chunks of gorgeous watermelon. This is my breakfast. Earlier I started the day with two strong cups of freshly brewed espresso flavoured with a touch of Baileys. Nice.

So what's my problem?

In my 'other', parallel life (ie. the one I left behind...the one I shall be returning to at some point) I am in a queue at Marks & Spencer's, trying to keep a squealing Dumpie from loading up my shopping basket with multiple packets of Percy Pigs (pink, rubbery sweets), and yelling that he wants crisps. It's overcast outside, and after a few more stops to get the days groceries, I'll walk all the way back to our home at the end of the road, unload numerous bags and look forward to a morning of tidying up, making Dumpie lunch, and doing a million tedious and thankless 'domestic' tasks.

At some point I will stop and wonder to myself, "Is this all there is? Has my life been condensed down to a mere shopping list of sundries, the paying of bills to all manner of rip-off merchants (British Gas...I mean you), and the drudgery of always being the one to pick out bits of gloop (or is that the name of Gwyneth Paltrow's 'lifestyle' website?) from the clogged drain in the kitchen sink - which no one ever seems to take responsibility for except ME......

But I digress.

What I mean to say is, "WHAT THE HECK IS MY PROBLEM?!!"

(Why am I not happy right now? Ecstatic even? Why, why why?!)

Much like an adrenaline junkie, I crave the next high....the next adventure....I get bored with daily rituals. Seems to me that all I've done here in Paradise is exchange one group of rituals for another. So instead of crowded buses, overpriced taxi's and packed trains, my daily commute involves trekking through the local dump to get to the internet cafe...trudging down sun-baked roads in scorching heat to get to the beach...hiking myself up behind the husband on the back of his motorcycle (okay that bit rocks!)...

Instead of buying groceries from Waitrose, I'm purchasing our daily foodstuffs from a tiny little cement hole in the wall beside the local chai shop - a place where the proprietor tallies up my purchases in pencil on a little pad and tells me what the total is (much more reliable I must say than the bored check-out staff back in London who are forever putting things through twice and making mistakes on my orders).

Instead of making dinner in our kitchen while sipping a glass of wine and wishing desperately the husband would come home from work and break up the wrestling match Egg and Dumpie are having in the front room....I'm hustling our little famiy of four out the door to dine at yet another beach cafe or local restaurant, where we will sit there dumbly looking at the menu and trying to figure out what we should order given that we've been dining out for the past almost three months and have grown rather tired of the predictable Indian/Continental menus.

You see? I'm utterly ungrateful for where I am right now, despite knowing that if I were to fly home tomorrow, after a week of London life I'd be ACHING to be back here among the palm trees, swimming in the ocean, and breathing the beautiful fresh air.

It's a modern disease: "Spoiliticus Modernus Bratticus".

I'll never forget an interview I read with the esteemed character actor Richard Dreyfuss many years ago, reflecting on his great career. He said that he's suffered from depression for much of his life because the only time he was truly happy was when he was trying to achieve success. When he actually accomplished his goal, everything went downhill from there and he found himself at the top of a hill, looking morosely downward wondering "where is there to go next?"

I wish I had a 'RESET' button which would jiggle the contents of my mind and jolt me into realising how beautiful life beautiful MY life is at this present time....and stop me from constantly craving the next high...the next adventure.

Will I ever be content?

(Stay tuned...)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

"Getting Nowhere..."

I am sitting here in an internet cafe next to the husband. Opposite us is a young woman who is supposedly a travel agent....after all we are IN a travel agency.

However, she is having great difficulty coming to terms with our request to find flights to Bali. I am not sure which part has her flummoxed, but it is clear that we would have much better luck taking a taxi to the airport ourselves and arranging from there, then waiting for her to get to grips with the whole 'booking flights online' scenario.

To be fair, she is probably someones auntie or something, filling in for her uncle the owner.

She's got great nails though, and a cool ring on her phone. And she's wearing rather tight fitting designer jeans.

What has become clear, is that we are getting nowhere. And that I have excellent powers of observation.

I wonder where she got her jeans?.....

Monday, 26 April 2010

"Hey Good Lookin'..."

Yesterday we paid the equivalent of £10 to hang out by the pool of the local hotel all day. The staff greeted us like long lost relatives, and the few guests still suffering from aviation-based frustrations due to the volcanic erruptions of a few weeks ago bid us a warm hello as well.

Most pleased to see us perhaps, were the trio of mature Eastern European ladies, who, skimpily clad (and still rather sexy in their bikini's it has to be said) took great delight in Dumpie most of the day - especially when he began winking at them and saying "Hey Lookin' Gookin'" (his standard response to when you wink at him and say "Hey Good Lookin'...")

I'm not sure however that they, or anybody else, were much amused by the series of chess games conducted round the pool side late afternoon with Egg. First the husband's 50 year old mate played Egg - and lost. Egg was jubilant. The husband was perplexed. Did we have a potential chess genius on our hands? Or was his mate still suffering severe enough jet lag to account for losing to a five year old?

The husband then proceeded to play a match with Egg, gently pointing out good moves, and steering his son into making a triumphant check mate. Egg was overjoyed.

Then Egg played me. (The other day the husband snidely remarked that given that I hadn't played the game in over a decade, I was probably a good match for Egg. I did not take kindly to this.) I, despite being half-heartedly committed to the game, and somewhat bored, making risky, uncalculated moves, somehow managed to win - in a clever manoever I can't really take credit for having orchestrated. Nonetheless, I was the victor.

Sure enough, great wails of despair, tears and pawns flying like shrapnel across the cement followed. Egg doesn't like to lose. He hasn't quite grasped the concept of losing graciously.

He proceeded to bawl me out for being a bad Mama, and told me he'd never play me again. Moments later he came up to me, eyes still red from crying and said, "Mama, will you play chess with me?"

Preferring to bare my bikini-clad body to the world rather than engage in another "Chess-gate" I firmly shook my head, stripped off, and dove into the lukewarm pool water.

You've got to know when to hold 'em...and know when to fold 'em...

Thursday, 22 April 2010

"Mango Mama And The Big Surprise"

Today the husband declared me the hands-down winner in " The most disgusting thing to endure in India thus far" category (and believe me, he has dealt with such disturbing fecal-based horrors, courtesy of Dumps, that I'm surprised he hasn't yet hightailed it down to the hospital and begged for voluntary sterilisation).

Well this morning, yours truly sliced open a mango by the kitchen sink, and proceeded to slurp and gobble it down with ecstasy. Not the prettiest sight granted, but It was so perfectly ripe, so perfectly juicy, and so utterly delicious that I simply couldn't wait to take it to the table and devour in a more civilised fashion.

I don't know when it hit me exactly, but somewhere near the end of my feasting frenzy, a casual glance down at the plate revealed a confusing bunch of squiggles I couldn't quite get my head round. Paralyzed with disgust I realised I was eating real, live maggots. I wanted to throw up, but instead spent the next five minutes manically rinsing out my mouth over and over again, stopping only for occasion groans of despair, in an effort to elicit sympathy from the husband. I was sure I could feel them slithering about in my mouth.


The husband duly distracted by my carrying on, left his writing desk to check it out. His sick smile said it all. Yep...maggots indeed.

So basically all of last week's diligent hunting for mangoes, and swiping them off trees has been in vain. Gone also is one of my favourite pastimes (eating mangoes), and one of the driving forces behind wanting to be in India (mangoes).

The husband chose this moment to tell me that on the weekend Egg's teacher had mentioned that in her experience, the local mangoes often had maggots in them.

I asked why he had not shared this information at any point - say, while I was shaking down branches and running to grab each falling piece of ripe fruit as it fell.

He shrugged.

Oh well, it ain't me who's going to be kissing a 'maggot mouth' for the next several months.

Serves him right.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

"The Ants Go Marching..."

Okay, so I can live with the fact that our bathroom perpetually smells like a petrol station loo.

And I can live with the fact that somehow, when the majority of local restaurants and beach shacks close up for the season in a few weeks, I'm going to have to concoct meals for our little family of four using a motley collection of substandard pots and pans, with a limited assortment of foodstuffs (dried pasta, baked beans, oatmeal, bread, flour, Nutella and eggs), whilst using a tabletop two burner gas contraption (which I might add, would not be out of place in a camping tent).

I've learned to keep myself relatively clean and fairly decent smelling (thought the husband might disagree) by taking numerous showers throughout the day.

And I've resigned myself to the fact that all my clothes now smell the same after they come back from the 'laundry' (not unlike if you took a dirty load of washing and put it through the drying cycle of your washer/dryer machine by mistake).

But what I'm REALLY having a hard time coming to terms with are the cockroaches and ants.

There is a baby cockroach that lives under our bed. This is bad. Baby cockroaches mean that there has been some serious bug lovemaking occurring right under our noses. I realised how immune I was getting to the whole off-putting scene the other day when I spied what looked like a giant cockroach on our kitchen burner.

"Is it a beetle?" I squeaked to the husband hopefully...begging - no wanting him to lie to me.

"Ummm. Nope," he said, making a grimace and getting back to washing the dishes.

"Get over it."


But I kind of had my revenge the other day when I noticed that the last of his beloved peanut bars (incased within a not-very-well-sealed cellophane wrap) was being molested by several tiny ants. I meant to throw it out but must have forgotten.

Later that day I passed the husband crunching away on that selfsame peanut bar.

I stopped.

"That bar had ants crawling all over it," I said with a smirk.

"Oh yeah? I don't see any ants," he muttered.

He looked closer, then threw away the bar in disgust, seeing that it was ridden with tiny crawling ants.

"Urghh!" he said, "I probably just ate a load of ants!"

("Get over it" I thought to myself)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

"Dumps On A Hot Stone Roof..."

Hit another all-time parenting low yesterday evening. The husband had disappeared on one of his epic 'wanna-clear-my-head-and-get-away-from-my-annoying-family' motorbike rides, and I was left to contemplate the utter cruelty of the humidity with two bored, sweaty monsters.

Eventually it became clear that the only remotely hospitable place in the now 98 degree house was lying directly under the fan in the master bedroom. So there I lay, on my back, spread-eagle like a half-dead giant starfish, when Egg wandered in with his trusty pack of cards - sans Dumps.

"Where's your brother?" I groaned.

"Dunno Mama - hey can I play Solitaire on your bed?" he asked.

(Egg's addiction for Junior Monopoly has FINALLY passed. Thank goodness. I couldn't take any more of the tantrums when he lost - and besides - most of the pieces are missing now so it's almost impossible to play a proper game. His 'Gramps' who was recently here, taught him how to play Solitaire, noting that it was the perfect game to play on ones own and least likely to cause the husband and I additional stress or annoyance.)

After a minute or two of blindly calling for Dumpie, I heaved myself off the bed in a sudden rush of parental guilt and quickly ascertained that Dumpie had flown the coop. He was gone.

Mild panic ensued as I called out his name over and over again. Finally, after what felt like ages, I heard a tiny muppet voice, calling from up in the sky somewhere.

"Mama?" he squeaked tentatively.

"Dumpie?! Where are you baby?!" I yelled, scanning the trees pointlessly. I simply couldn't figure out where the voice was coming from.

All of the sudden it dawned on me, and I ran to the side of the house, pushing aside the (I realise totally useless) makeshift 'pushchair gate' and tore up to the roof. The stone roof. The one the children are expressly forbidden to go up to, given that there is a fairly steep drop and absolutely no guard rails or border of any sort.

I spotted Dumps. Standing stubbornly on the far side of the roof, hands on hips, looking slightly bow-legged - not unlike a pissed off cowboy, and stark, bollock naked.

He winked at me.

But before I could respond, the foul smell that had been bothering me since I ascended, finally made sense. Right at the top of the stairs lay a fresh, newly deposited fecal speciman.

"Did you do this?" I asked incredulously.

"Yep. Me did," Dumpie confessed.

He then made me frantically chase him around the roof, his sweaty naked body slipping out of my grasp several times, as I tried to make sure he didn't just run straight off the roof in panic.

A short while later after showering the little monster and putting him in a brand new pair of pants (it is too hot and humid these days to wear clothes, so the lot of us tend to go around 'commando', semi-clad, with all manner of private parts on partial display for all interested parties - there are none) I again resumed my prone position on the bed. Eggie was still playing solitaire.

"Your brother just poo'ed on the roof," I told Egg dejectedly, wondering idly what the chances were that the husband might offer to clean up the al fresco mess as penance for ditching us for so long, when he came home.

I didn't have long to wait, for soon we heard the unmistakable sound of the Enfield's 'putt-putt-putt' engine. Dada was home.

Before I had a chance to speak, he came in shaking his head, asking whether I was aware that my youngest son was in our landlords house, sitting in front of their big telly with his best friend 'Sandkelp' (a 13 year old Indian boy), watching a violent wrestling match between grown men wielding big whips. IN HIS UNDERPANTS.

(No I was not.)

"Oh Yeah?" I said.

"Check out the roof..."

Monday, 19 April 2010

"The HotBox"

So it seems that the Icelandic volcanic ash is wreaking havoc on our airways. Many planes have been delayed from taking off here and the other day my husbands parents were in a bit of a state - not knowing whether they were going to be trapped here for some time.

I could understand their mild panic, for although lovely, the thought of being held hostage in a too-hot-at-the-moment country like India right now, was too much to contemplate.

We had spent the first week of their visit pottering about to various beaches and being fairly active, but in the second week, there was palpable relief as they left their glorified beach shack and checked into the only hotel around for miles (aside from the wallet-emptying monolith "The Taj" down the road - where for the price of one nights accommodation you could live quite easily for a month elsewhere).

I thought they would explode with joy when they realised that their room was not only CLEAN, but SAND-FREE and...get this...AIR-CONDITIONED!

To be fair, the lot of us ended up spending many hours in the lusciously cool confines of their air-conditioned hotel room. In fact Dumpie was rather candid in his opinion of the superior digs, by suggesting on the first night that 'Granny and Gramps' move into our house and we move into theirs.

He had a point.

In fact two nights in a row they hosted a sleepover for the boys. Whether it was the giant telly, the air-con or the freshly made up beds, we have no idea, but they loved sleeping there and on the third night the husband and I even managed to unload BOTH boys and have a night to ourselves in the "HotBox" (as our home is now known).

During the second week of their stay we pretty much set our sights on two main activities: swimming in the gorgeous pool - and eating our combined body weight in chips, ketchup and cheese/onion/tomato 'toasties'. Yum...

Being only a small 6 room hotel, our loud, shambolic group pretty much took it over during their stay there, and as the in-laws checked out, we felt as if we were being booted out of a luxurious tropical resort and being re-homed (ever see the brilliant "District 9"?!) in a cramped 2-bed council flat.

Don't get me wrong. We're rather fond of our little "HotBox" but I'm still not sure we've adjusted.

But save a sigh of pity for the husbands parents, who had to endure a 4 plane/37 hour journey back to Toronto, Ontario via Athens and New Jersey. Alas, at least the temperature controlled cabins must have been some relief. Somehow I think their next holiday is going to be within their own timezone...

As for us, we've merely been trying to move as little as possible, slathering on creams and prickly heat powder in an attempt to stave off heat rashes, and are in the process of defining new measures for 'slothfulness'.

Which of course isn't going to help our current quest of undoing some of the damage from last week's "beer, toasties, and chip-a-thon extravaganza" (sigh)...

Saturday, 17 April 2010

"How Many Flushes Does It Take To..."

This morning I spent my time doing the following:

1. Trying to break up Dumpie's gigantic toilet bowl turd into small enough pieces, so as to give it a decent chance of disappearing despite the notorious confines of India's severely limited sewage and drainage capabilities.

(Unfortunately this gargantuan turd was deposited in the sole toilet of the hotel pool we were hanging out at. Due to my numerous visits to said toilet over the course of a half hour, in all likelihood, the fellow inhabitants of the pool most likely assumed me to be the author of such fecal magnificance.)

2. Convincing Dumpie NOT to poke the cute black and white kitty-cat at the hotel with the three ketchup-stained toothpicks he had salvaged from his chicken nugget and chips meal at lunch, for precisely that purpose.

3. Nicking the long-handled pool net in an attempt to knock down some ripe mangoes off the trees for the boys here at the hotel...but getting caught when a large green unripe one went crashing down into the dining area and near missed an elderly mans head by mere millimetres - his only crime trying to eat breakfast in peace while a mango thief lurked above...unbeknownst to him.

4. Sorting my laundry into four piles:

'Dirty' (but one more wear possible)

'Filthy' (shouldn't really wear again but...)

'Hopelessly Stinky' (only the husband dares squeeze another wear out of this category)

'Beyond Hope' (stained, ripped, foul smelling but chucked into the laundry bag regardless in a vain attempt to exercise the power of 'Positive (however deluded) Thinking'.

All in all, successful use of this University graduate's degree in English and Psychology - not to mention several years in the television industry.

My parents must be weeping with pride.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

"Snippitty-Snap Super Cheap Cuts"

I've been off the blogosphere for several days now. Apologies for the absence. It appears as though playing tour guide to 'the grandparents' has taken precedence over internet time (...and shower time...and cleaning time...and attention to general grooming time - judging by the state of my no longer perfectly hairless legs). They depart these sweltering shores in a few days, and thus I shall resume my near-daily moaning about all things epic and trite.

The other day while introducing my mother-in-law to my favourite jeweller on the beach, the husband snuck over to the makeshift barbers under the corrigated tin roof and had Dumpie shorn within an inch of his life.

Knowing I'd probably murder him, in an effort to semi-appease me, the husband stopped short of getting Egg's hair entirely hacked off - thus inadvertantly leaving the poor child sporting a pudding bowl haircut (Beatles circa 1968).

So my little surfer boys are no more. Perhaps it's for the best though, as it is pretty damn hot here at the moment. Proper hot. And little Dumps looks so adorable with his new haircut that almost anything he does, however naughty, (so long as it's not of the fecal variety) is met with bemusement not anger.

Saying that, not sure how the in-laws took it this morning when he plowed right into me, got annoyed, then glared fixedly at me, accusatory finger curled maliciously in my direction,
"Go away you stinky, naughty poo-poo girl!"


That's what you get for giving them a one pound twenty pence haircut I suppose.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

"I'm Not Complaining But...."

I know that one day, when my little monsters are big hulking teenage boys, I'm going to pine and yearn for the days when they both crawled in bed with 'Dada' and I, snuggling up close (Egg throwing an arm around one of our necks, and Dumps burrowing in to my chest like a persistent little tapeworm).

However, the husband and I both agree, sitting here on our porch and surveying the hazy humid day laid out before us, that last night we had one of the worst sleeps ever. It didn't help that we both sustained minor accidental injuries during the night. First, I was abruptly woken by a hard kick to my right calf that left me moaning in pain. Later, Jay screamed out in agony when I accidentally cracked him in his sore and worryingly fractured elbow.

It didn't help that we were sleeping on a too-small sandy bed sheet which barely covered the dank, bright green and inch thick mattress that has goodness knows what types of life forms currently inhabiting it's rectangular domain (the unfortunate result of Dumpie wetting our brand new bedsheets brought from Canada by the in-laws and newly laid out the night before).

I realise that Paradise has many levels. We are living in a Twilight Zone version at present. We're neither stuck back in the humdrum mediocrity of modern urban life, but nor are we thriving free as 'artistes' - churning out beautiful music and excellent prose (like we thought we decidedly would when given the chance to opt out of everyday life). For you see, India has its own little set of everyday annoyances which must be overcome (the monsters must be fed, watered, scrubbed up, amused, rubbed down, and bedded nightly) and we also must be spurred on to discipline ourselves to do more than sip milk coffees and Kingfishers on the beach, entertaining a seemingly unending supply of friends and family, whilst visiting local beaches and making like permanent tourists.

Aside from the sub-standard tupperware which lines our homemade shelf above the fridge (full of semi-stale cornflakes, less than crunchy almonds and handfuls of savoury Indian 'snacks'), there is really very little distinction between us and mere holiday-makers.

My bikini's are getting worn and stretched out of shape from everyday use (they now double as undergarments during periods of laundry crisis). The husband's few shorts are so 'worn' that they are currently rebelling and on the verge of threatening to walk off his body themselves and off to the nearest town - never to be seen or heard from again.

And the monsters are now sporting shaggy surfer boy hairdo's and are perfectly content to wear dirty soiled clothing more than one day in a row (hey, if it doesn't smell....)

What is becoming of us? How did we get trapped in this unending circle of package holiday hell, no end in sight, despite things winding down for the season and people clearing out of here daily?

Why are we negotiating another month of rent with our bemused landlady? Where are we going to eat daily when all beach shacks and local restaurants are closed down for the season?

How will I refresh my depleted stores of dvds?

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

"There's No Place Like Home"

I am sick. After years of coming to India without so much as an upset tummy - despite the odd bit of 'street food' or freshly squeezed juices - I have finally succumbed to the dreaded 'dodgy tummy' syndrome.

Last night, whilst the husband was out listening to live music and making inane conversation with assorted revelers at a local music night, I was making love to our light blue Hindustani toilet.

For a solid two hours of the early dawn, in sweltering heat, I lay prone on our less than spic-n-span loo floor (imagine if you will the kind of toilet you might find in any remote petrol station restroom on an American motor way deep in the middle of nowhere) heaving my poor guts out. I feel like the entire contents of my intestinal system are now, as we speak, lurking in some underground sewer, ready to be made into bottled water to sell unsuspecting tourists (like myself) in the not so distant future.

The husband's parents are here visiting us for two weeks, and as a lark we decided to host a fun little dinner at ours last night. Thanks to three bottles of wine (NO, that is NOT why I am sick) and a bag of imported marshmallows which were toasted and roasted to within an inch of their lives by an ecstatic Egg and a delighted Dumps, the dinner was considered a great success - despite my less than perfect and hastily conjured up pasta salad and the bloody big black dog who nicked half the barbequed chicken from the homemade barbeque just as it finished browning.

And so it was with great dismay that I awoke this morning at 4:30am to find my innards in turmoil. I know this feeling. It is the 'you're millions of miles away from home and might die' kind of feeling, that only the cool soothing hand of a mother stroking your head, or the freshly washed crisp sheets on a pocket-sprung luxury mattress can assauge. Obviously, I had neither.

What I did have however was a totally dead to the world husband and two sweaty little boys with hot, tangled limbs wrapped around my aching body, reminding me that it is actually possible to get a preview of hell here on earth.

After a morning spent lying immovable in a hot, dark bedroom, fan whirring unhelpfully yet annoyingly above, I am feeling marginally better - enough that I can sit upright and type this this moaning missive. I have been listening to Enya on repeat on my little speakers in an attempt to self-soothe - and anything upbeat was making the possibility of further vomiting all too likely. The husband has been dealing with his own issues - having had the pleasant task of de-dumping the Dumps after breakfast, an activity I imagine does not sit so well after having indulged in a repast of omelette and toast.

Yes, the Dumps has regressed ever since his recent bout of sickness. Why deal with foul-smelling loos when you can simply soil your OshKosh undies instead. and have a wipe down by Dada. I'm sure it doesn't take a great deal of imagination to appreciate how utterly trying this is in the unrelenting April Indian pre-monsoon heat ... tempered with off-the-richter-scale humidity levels (we currently shed around 2 lbs of liquid perspiration a day in this heat I reckon).

What I wouldn't give to be in my big old bed back in London, remote control in hand, flipping through silly daytime telly and nibbling on some Kingsmill 'Toastie' toast (sigh).

Instead, I'm sipping tepid bottled water and trying to get enough energy together to merely put my contact lenses in.

I'm hoping that helps my overall state of unwellness, given that right now, through glazed vision, the our blue and pink tiled abode is making me feel like I've landed in a rerun of an old Miami Vice special....well that or a rather down market mental asylum.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

"Down the Dada Disco"

Last night the husband and his mad projectionist mate put on an impromptu disco for young and old alike at a really cool venue up the hill.

In true rock and roll fashion the police showed up to pull the plug on the sound system...

(Okay it was only 9:21 pm)

In true rock and roll fashion the dance floor stayed full for most of the night...

(Okay, so it was mostly populated by 'under-eights' and a smattering of Abba-loving 'mums'...but still)

We reckon the grumpy geezer who lives next door to the venue was responsible for calling in the law, but he left this morning, and so this can't be verified.

(Though his response to being cordially invited by the husband the other day, "Like Hell you're putting a night on! I sleep right beside there and the music keeps me awake at night!" is pretty much an admission of guilt anyway..non?
He's a big hulk of a man who several weeks ago threatened to 'drown' Dumpie in the sea after getting hit with a bit of sand. Well actually his words were, "I'm going to kill you" and then he went on to describe in detail the method of drowning he intended to use. I was so horrified I couldn't respond - my mother lioness rearing her mighty head, ready to bite his head off. In fact, I've spent the past several weeks cursing under my breath everytime we pass him sipping his Pina Colada's on the beach...grrrr. Dumpie, bless his little heart, stood right up to him, hands on hips, and said, "No you is not! I going to kill YOU!" That's my tiger.)

Anyway, the night was a success in that the husband got to spin some tunes, fiddle with some knobs and hang out behind the bar sipping Tuborg.

As for me, well any excuse to scrub up, 'un-scummify' myself, and don something tight and sparkly...well i'm there. One of the mums said, "Wow, you look nice. I didn't recognise you!", which is Goa-speak I imagine for "You've had a shower and brushed that rat's nest of brown ball you call hair! And you're wearing something besides those tatty rags you always swan about in..."

Fair play. It's all true. I even got an appreciative glance from the husband when I walked in - and for a headphone wearing, knob-twiddling DJ deep in da tunes, that's saying something.

Egg and Dumps enjoyed themselves too. Dumpie spent the evening chasing and getting chased by the same little girl. Near the end of the night he came up to me and said, "She loves me. You order chips so we share otay?" (So much for the anorexia theory...)

Eggie started the night off strong whilst playing musical statues on the dance floor, amusing me to no end by pulling the most hilarious (dare I call them dance??) moves I've ever witnessed in public. He even made his father look like John Travolta in comparison. Oh well, at least he didn't pull out the old 'giant itch' move which was last spotted at his Valentine's Disco in London. I still have trouble understanding where that one came from.

I think it's time I give him private dance lessons. Not that I'm so great, but the poor guy's social life is going to start to suffer if he can't learn to break a few moves in a fashion that is not reminiscent of one about to begin an epileptic fit.

(Darling Egg, by the time you read this, never mind because you will be the world's greatest dancer - just you wait)

Thursday, 1 April 2010

"Eat Don't Eat"

I'm sitting here at an outdoor cafe, eating my second banana porridge of the day, wondering what to do about the newly anorexic Dumpie. He is refusing to eat and his Gap 'Age 2' clothes are hanging off his skinny little body.

I suppose he's not properly anoroxic - in that he will eat chocolate, crisps or 'candies' - but he is certainly keeping those rosebud lips clamped shut to anything from one of the four basic food groups.

Part of me thinks he's doing it for the attention, as he thrives on the attention and loves the pleas the husband and I are issuing on a near-constant basis.

"Dumpie PLEASE eat? Pretty please? You're going to get sick if you don't eat...." (note the pleading and barely disguised begging)

And when that doesn't work...

"Dumpie, if you don't eat you're going to have to go to the doctor and have 'pop-pops' (injections) and you won't like it..." (issued in a slightly menacing tone)

And when that still doesn't work we pull out our last trick: predictable nonchalance (which fair enough will probably come into its own in the teenage years)

"Okay Dumps, don't eat. See if we care." (But we DO...we so desperately Do)

All out of emotional arsenal, we sit here, frustrated, looking at his knobbly little knees and his now non-existent tummy (it used to be so high and rotund, we couldn't keep our hands from occasional stroking it was so delicious).

The husband and I have no such problem ourselves. There is simply too much Kingfisher beer, savory cheese and garlic naan bread and strangely moreish Nutella (a desperate substitute for the lack of any decent chocolate) about for us to develop a proper eating disorder.

Saying that, we have done so many countless rounds of the many beach cafes and restaurants round here, that we're starting to get (dare I say it?) a wee bit bored with the various menu's (which we now know pretty much by heart). We're on a first name basis with most of the waiters here, and in some cases, they even have our 'usual' orders mesmorised (fish n' chips...dal fry...2 roti...malai bottle of LARGE Kingfisher - two glasses).

Although the food is delicious, I'm craving a delicious stone-baked baguette...some old cheddar....a bold Rioja...a bowl of spicy Spanish olives...and a giant scoop of Haagan-Daz Belgian Chocolate Ice-Cream.

Saying that, we did discover the most delicious homemade samosas the other day in the little nearby town. Straight out of the hot oil, they were a mega-calorific and spicy revelation of potato, filo pastry and mustard seeds. They were so divine as to illicit audible groaning from the husband and I, as we kept motioning for 'more' and washed them down with cold water.

Even the resident anorexic deemed them scrumptious enough to warrant a tentative nibbling round the edges.

Which reminds me, if anyone has any advice on how to deal with anorexic three year olds I'd love to hear from you (although I'm sure Channel 4 in the UK probably has a one-hour special in the pipeline).