Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Traveling by train in India is an experience

Traveling by train in India is an experience by itself, most of the travel guide quoted this. Well I have high expectation when I first traveling by train here, but occur to me nothing so much 'experience' or extraordinary, until the day before yesterday.

Now I agree withe the sentence with an addition of the details:-
Traveling by express overnight train with an unreserved ticket in India is an experience by itself.

Day before yesterday I traveled by this kind of train. Since it is unreserved, you don't have a seat number. In ladies compartment, 20 seats are reserved for ladies but packed in more than 60 ladies. People climb and sat on the luggage shelf , and almost all the surface on the floor covered with bodies and faces (who lie down). The ladies screaming most of the time cursing each other (you can imagine the high pitch) almost damage my eardrum. One time, 2 person fight with slaps on the faces.

I was a bit lucky because I alight at the departure station. I get the last seat that available 2 hours before the train depart, but later I change the seat with a girl who sat on the luggage shelf because it is on top of the seat. At least when it is on top, you have less noise, less smell, and you don't need to mind someone dropping rice or water or dandruff from the top.

I hardly sleep because the lady on my left keep wanting to lie down and squeezing me too much. How can you lie down in width of a seat? And the shelf itself is so hard. It is an experience at last, and tomorrow night, I will be again in one of this kind of train..

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Just like Old Penang

I like Mysore. First sight, yes. It wasn't a place that in my visiting list, I just happened to think, why don't stop by Mysore. Yesterday when I arrived in the city center, it is almost dark, feeling myself comfortably walking with backpack on the street, it is a kind of familiar feeling, the feeling comfort me.

Most of the lodges that I checked had their single room fully occupied. It is festive season, they told me. Festive season? Yes Christmas. O I forgot. Christmas has never been an important day in my life. Finally checked in an old lodge with an attached restaurant downstair. Reminded me on the lodges in Old Penang which already abandoned by most, near the Sua Tao Ge, where me and my mum used to eat Hokkien Mee. The building perhaps built during the imperialism time, still with black marble table (like those in Penang), and wooden window frame and wooden chair (like those in Penang), and black and white tiles on the floor (like those in Penang). The room is huge, with attached bathroom with cement and bucket of water. Old furniture, wooden chair, table and bed, old style switch, with black socket. I like the room immediately.

At night, I cannot sleep. At first it is because of the noise of traffic just down stair. Then, my body started to itch with red bums appeared all over the body. I know I have drank dirty water. I scratched until early morning, woke up with tired eyes.

Just a few hundreds kilometer away from Kerala, Mysore is chilly in the morning. I am moving north, perhaps will need some winter clothes soon. Found a host in Bangalore, but all the trains are fully booked.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Belonging

I am in Varkala. A place where you will forget that you are actually at India. Foreigners everywhere, bikinis, restaurants. Indian looked just like foreign labors, like our Bangladeshi or Nepali, that work and serve. Which is not entirely wrong, as most Indian who deal with the tourists are not from Varkala, they are from Rajasthan, Karnataka or Orissa.

Met a flexible care-taker of a homestay that allowed me to stay for 150Rp a night, for a room of 350Rp. A smart one who know how to grab the mere 150Rp instead of rigidly leave the room empty.

Still suffer from headache this morning. Took one pill yesterday morning, but hopefully I don't need to take any pill today. *cross finger*

Wondering how fortunate I am, not being born as a female in Indian society. Yesterday at a small railway station in Karunagapally, had a conversation with a 67 years old Malayali woman. Knew that I am still single, she touched my hand, my arm and my ankle. With the help of a translator on the spot, she said, it is understandable that no man approach me, because I don't have anything on my body, other will think that I am a poor girl. I laughed.

It is a country of hierarchy, caste, class and status. It is a society of belonging. If you are a Gujerati, you will never wear the saree in a Rajasthani or Karnataka way. If you are a Rajasthani, you will never wear your turban the Sikh way. If you are outside your house (even for a minute) , you will never forget to put on earrings, necklaces, bangles. It is all about reputation and tradition, it is about others. In Goa, a few women with kids came begging, give me one rupee. They said. Give me the gold on your nose, I said. Even poor, they put up themselves well, even in a cheap way. If you are from a conservative family, that's it, your life story. It is written beforehand. Your parents will choose your husband even you don't like him, you need to get married even you don;t want to. The life is drafted and printed by your community and society, you just wait for it to happen.

I have some line printed in my hand palm and leg palm, they could be as if a society to destine me, too lucky I couldn't read them. To be able to read the future isn't such a good idea.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I thought I am done.

I thought I am done.

Had severe headache for the past 9 days. It started by pulling of the right back of the head, a few times a day, increased to every few seconds after a few days. It is not a joke if you have such sudden sharp pain every 30 seconds throughout the day, and waken by the pain at late night. I thought I am done.

Especially reading The God of Small Things. In the novel, Ammu died at age of 31. Not too old, not too young, a Die-able age. The author repeat this more than once. Not too Old, not too Young, a Die-able Age. It perpetuate in my mind.

After a week or so, I finally cannot take the pain any longer. While in Amma Ashram, I rushed to the hospital at 9 at night waiting outside the hospital for doctor. I think I am done. This time.

I described the symptom carefully with all the details, including the feeling of me getting stroke as my family has inheritance of high blood pressure, or a feeling of the tumor in my brain. Including an incident of me passing out in the train in Singapore a few years ago and the doctor insisted I have a thorough check but I refused.

The doctor took the blood pressure. It read 110/80. Perfect. He said. What do you do? He asked. I travel for the past 2 years, I said. You are just too stress, he said.

Stress??!! I asked. For traveling?
Well yes.
How could that be? I have nothing to worry about! Don't you suspect tumor? I asked.
No chance. He said.

So he gave me 10 Paracetamol.

I will tell you more on Amma Ashram in next post. This is the end of this one.
Ciao!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reason, season or a life time

So I left Candolim. Or more general, Goa.

It was hard to leave, just like that day we parted in Ohrid, Macedonia. Before left, Tina told me, people comes into life for a reason, season or a life time. I remembered after I left Tina's house in Ohrid, it was in September, I sent an email to a friend of mine, telling him that even leaving is hard, we wished it to be hard than easy. He agreed, and tell me not to send the email to his account anymore, until further notice. So yesterday when me and Tina said bye bye again, I remembered the email sent in the early Autumn, and the email received, and wonder if there will ever be the further notice. It is strange that sometimes you might expect someone to come in for lifetime, but it turned into a season, and ended up just a reason. It was not intentional, I mean to recall everything, but bits and bits of memory linked up by itself, without effort. Nevertheless, it does not change the feeling, it is still better to feel hard to leave than easy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Removal

Noticed that a small visitor from Denmark visiting my blog yesterday when arrived at the Paradise. A very dear friend of mine from the far away Scandinavia. I smiled. And today I have decided to remove the Feedjit in the corner that indicating who is visiting.

The idea of Feedjit came from Yuki, it can track who is visiting, and if I have a regular visitor, or to see where those visitors are from. You will be surprise to see people visiting you from all over the world, she said. And yes, the Feedjit done it's job, but too I am attached to the chart, emotionally tagged with who is coming and who is not, occasionally get disappointed by visitors that regularly come but no longer came, expecting the one you expect, etc etc.

After removed this, I know I will still ponder if who and who has came, and who and who has not. Curiosity is there, and it ended there; no more emotion from expectation.

p/s: By the way, chubby, thank you for dropping by ;)
p/p/s: for those who email me, postcard sent.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Zip your pant, pervert!

The neigbour staying beside our room is a fat old Italian guy. I knew him an Italian this morning when he initiated to give me a ride while I was walking on the street to the Internet. We talked two days ago after our room almost get broke in, actually not really a break in, but Tina heard some noise in the middle of the night, woke up and discovered 2 guys trying cut the mosquito net, she was just in time to scared them from putting their hand through the torn next, through the bar and reach her hand phone. So the next morning when we saw the Italian guy, out of good will, I told him to becareful because there are some thiefs around. And I saw he has a small plaster just below his left eye. I asked, out of good will again, what happened to him. He told me it is the mosquito bite. You need a plaster for a mosquito bite?! Yes, they were huge. He said, showing with his finger.

That's the only encounter. Then we met this morning. He stopped his bike beside me, and say, let's go for an Italian coffee, I am an Italian. I just had my coffe this morning, my leftover Bosnian coffee, but I agreed to go to the coffee shop to sit a while. We reached the coffee shop, he moved around, and I saw he left his pant unzipped. It was obvious because he is fat and the flesh pressed out. I cant be sured if he just unzipped it or it is already unzipped, weather it is intended or unintended. I am not sure shall I tell him his pant is not zipped, but the thing for sure is I shall not at all try to even take a small peep because I have a bad feeling the next thing he will do is put his hand on my lap. We chat a bit about nothing and the waiter came to take the order. When the waiter came, he moved his finger down his pant and zipped it. He did it intentionally.