Monday, 30 January 2012

has anybody seen my mojo ?

I think I've lost my blogging mojo.
I had it before I went on holiday, I figured I'd left it at home with my laptop but it seems to have run away.

I keep trying to write the main post I wanted to about India, a bit more in depth about the place and the people and the effect it had on me, but the words just don't seem to want to come. Every time I've started it I just haven't been able to continue.
I think I'll leave it.
Honestly it would be impossible to do it justice anyway.

But even so there have been one or two things that have got on my nerves the last couple of weeks, and I had that "I think I'll blog about it" thought - but it never happened. I'm hoping it's got a lot to do with this fucking awful flu bug, as I've only just started to feel properly better the last couple of days.
I am (or I used to be) very OCD about the blogs I follow, so I decided that the best way to catch up on reading was to wait until there was a new post then read back, but I still haven't gotten round to doing that with all of them. And I love my followed blogs, you guys are like my own personal library.
So yeah, missing my mojo.

Even the mentalpause seems to have taken a breather.
Well at least that's what I'm hoping, although it's possibly still here and I've not noticed for a while due to the heat of India swiftly followed by sweaty flu. I suppose it's a good thing to be able to take lifes little calamities in my stride and just laugh at them - except that apart from the flu there haven't really been any since I got back.

So I guess I'm going to apologise to those of you who are waiting for the return of Sarcastic Angry Bird ( I have got a couple of things I've started writing that I AM going to make an effort to finish in the next few days ), and also to anyone who was looking forward to the promised post about India.
As all the pictures I've posted so far were kind of themed I've made another album on skydrive with some of my favourite random pictures, if you like you can view it here.

I'm off to see if they sell Mojo's on ebay.
I might check behind the sofa as well, missing things often turn up there in this house.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Goa . . . #3

I've been trying to write this post for about three days.

It's just not easy to look at a computer screen for long when your head is pounding and you feel like shit because you have the mother of all colds.
I think my body is trying to tell me that it wants to be back in the sun.
I haven't slept well either, it's been impossible to get comfortable, and a couple of nights ago I managed to convince myself that I just might have malaria.

Thanks brain.
Or course after worrying myself silly in the middle of the night sense kicked in come the morning and I realised that it's probably just flu.

I'm not someone who usually keeps a diary - well not since my Mum found the one I had when I was a teenager - but whenever I go on holiday I do, so I have been reading back through the one I kept in India. And it's a good job too because there were some things in there that I had forgotten about already, just about the little interactions I had with people and things I saw.

However my favourite story is one I have no problem remembering.

In our apartment was a guide book for Goa which I was reading and it mentioned snakes. It said that when walking about, especially at night and in the country, to take a flashlight with you.
From the gate to our complex you could walk two ways, one way was well lit and took about five minutes to get to a very busy part of the town, but if you walked the other way it was about 10 minutes of dark country lane before you hit the main road. This particular night we went the country lane way, I'm in front with one friend, the rest are walking behind us, and I have my torch.

My mate asked me why I had the torch, so I explained what I had read in the book and said I was on "snake watch".
She started to take the piss, saying it was hardly a country lane and laughing at me. About a second after this a car coming towards us stopped and in it's headlights crossing the lane was a fucking HUGE python. It had clearly just eaten as there was a large lump in its middle.
Normally at the sight of this I would've freaked.
But in view of the conversation I just stood there pointing at the snake and feeling very vindicated.

Because if I hadn't had my torch and that car hadn't come up the road. . . . .

After that if we went anywhere at night nobody took the piss out of me for being on snake watch.

I had a few animal encounters in India, although that was the only bad one. As well as the monkeys I've already spoke about I got up close with a couple of elephants. We went to a place where they let us get in the stream with one and wash it, and you can then climb on it's back and have an elephant shower from its trunk.

You'll have to excuse the blanked out bits, we had my friends granddaughters with us in this picture and I don't think it's right to put them on here. But that is me, I'm nearest to her head.

Cows are everywhere, Goa is a Hindu state and they are considered holy and allowed to roam free wherever they want. It's quite bizarre though, not just seeing them on the beach, but you will see a crowd of people walking down the road and there will be a few cows in the middle of them. Sometimes they are in small groups, especially where there is food to be had. In the middle of the main street where we were there is a statue surrounded by plants, and we often saw a couple of cows tucking in to them.

A bunch of pretty flowers to impress the visitors to your town or a snack spot for the local herd.

Supper time.

There are also stray dogs everywhere you go. Everyone says not to touch them, because of parasites and mange, and although many do look the worse for wear they don't look as if they are starving. The advice is that if you are bitten by one you need to have a rabies shot, but I have to say my impression is that they are generally quite docile. I guess they know that people will feed them, I gave our leftover lunch to one that came and sat by us on the beach but then the cheeky git went and cocked it's leg on my sunbed !

This ungrateful dog !

The Indian crows are quite cheeky too, and will approach you if they think they are going to get fed, but not too close. Although I took this picture walking up the lane by our apartment, at first he was halfway up the tree and as I stopped and got my camera out he came and sat on a lower branch and was about two foot away from me. Fucking poser.

We found this HUGE caterpillar one evening.
Not surprising really, as we also saw some beautiful and HUGE butterflies although despite my best efforts I could not get a picture of any of them.

And this little lizard was on the wall of our roof terrace every night, sometimes he brought a friend along too. I tried to entice it to come closer with fruit, but I guess there's more then enough insects in India to keep a lizard happy. Most nights he hung around near the wall light, so he was well fed.

I have one more post about India that I want to write and I promise that will be the last one, this must be getting a bit boring for you lot now. Of course I can't promise to never mention it again, the place affected me in a way I've struggled to explain to the few people I've spoke about it to.
But I'm going to try in the next post.
And share a few of the stories from my diary.

And after that normal service will be resumed.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Goa. . . #2

I'm starting to think I really am a changed woman.

Something happened at the week-end that pissed me off. . . for about five minutes. Then I found myself thinking "so what, no big deal, let it go".
And I did.
Pre- India Cowgirl probably would've wrote a scathing blog post about it and other related times when similar things had happened, but instead I just decided that getting annoyed was a waste of energy. Life's too short and all that.

Guess I really did chill right out on those beaches.

Well who wouldn't ? Just look at it.

Speaking of which.. .
Fucking amazing, every single one.

The beaches I went to are in North Goa and all are golden sands and border the Arabian Sea. It's quite tidal - you have to be wary of strong currents if you go out too far or when the tide is right out, but the waves are great for airbed surfing (my only favourite sport) and the sea is warm.

Every beach has it's own shacks, and you can get drinks and food from them. Tell them you want to have lunch when you arrive and they come round with fresh fish for you to choose from, which they will cook for you and either bring to you on your sunbed or serve in the shack.

Along the shore line there are lots of tiny shells, some with the fish still in them. At Ashwem there were so many crabs it was a bit off putting, especially when we saw the size of some that were in the sea. But I have never seen a real star fish before so that was quite incredible. As the tide went out they were everywhere.

There are always people walking up and down the beaches selling things, clothing, jewellery, drums and various souvenir items. To be honest at times they can be a nuisance, there I am trying to tan myself and constantly being asked if I want to buy a sarong. But at the same time I got some real bargains by haggling (they expect it) with them. And it's worth buying stuff because then they will sit and chat to you, and we had some very entertaining times with them. I also got a real insight into their lives. These people have to have a licence (which costs more then most of them can earn in a season) to be able to sell on the beach. If they are caught they are usually made to pay 5000 rupees, which is a bribe (Goa police are well known for being corrupt) not a fine ! That's about 60 UK pounds, but an awful lot in India and as one girl told me they don't really sell very much and generally only make about 10 - 20 rupees per item.
And all of those that I spoke to are just trying to support their families.

Some of the women also offer pedicures and manicures and I had my legs and eyebrows threaded for a couple of pounds.
There are also masseurs that have their own shacks on the beaches - no wonder I chilled out.

My favourite beach was Vagator. It's reached by climbing down steps that have been built into the side of the cliff . . .

. . . but when you get there. Oh. My. God.

The beach is best known for being one of the favourites of the hippies that first went to Goa, and is the site of the famous carving of Shiva into the rocks.

He's looking a bit worn now, and half of him is buried in the sand, but for me this carving (I have many friends who have been there and taken pictures) has always represented Goa. And finally I was there.

I met this Hindu holy man standing next to the carving. It is customary to give them a small donation, which I did, and received a blessing as thanks. But I also noticed that he had six toes on each foot !

It's quite strange to see a cow on a beach. Not something you might expect, even in India where they roam the streets freely, but this picture kind of sums the place up for me.

We even had one on that came and ate our left over lunch, let Pete tickle under it's chin and then laid down behind our sunbeds. And it was a bull, apparently they are not known for being congenial to humans and will butt you away, but this one obviously thought he found a kindred spirit.

And this . . .

is the sun setting for the last time on 2011 at Morjim Beach.
What a way to end the year.

Of course I took way more pictures of those beaches then I have posted, links to some more are below.
Ashwem Beach
Mandrem Beach
Morjim Beach
Vagator Beach

I'm still trying to catch up on reading the blogs I follow, but I'm beginning to realise that that's never going to happen. I've been trying to do so as each of you write a new post but I was away for so long it's been taking me ages. Apologies if I appear to be ignoring you - I'm not.
I just need a few days holiday to catch up on the reading, and that's not going to happen.

And don't worry, despite what I said at the start of this post I'm sure it's only a matter of time before normal ranting angry Cowgirl returns.
Sooner or later someone/thing is bound to wind me up.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Goa. . . #1

Tuesday was my birthday.

Urghhhh. Another year older.

Except I forgot. If it hadn't been for someone commenting on the date I wouldn't of realised until I got home from work to find a card from my Dad. Before I went away I was dreading this particular milestone, but it seems that my holiday has given me a new focus as well as a great tan and good memories.
Thank fuck for that.

I have so much to write about India that I'm not really sure where to start, but as I already put up a picture of the monkeys I guess that story can be first.

And how amazing that this happened on the 1st January, what a way to start the new year !

We set out to visit the Dudhusagar waterfalls which are to the East of Goa.
From the village of Mollem we took a 45 min jeep ride over some very rough terrain through the forest. Not for the faint-hearted - you get thrown around a bit, but great fun. The road is just a dirt track really and at times the jeep has to pass through the river. They deliberately keep it this way so that the site is not too inundated with visitors, but during the monsoon it is inaccessible anyway. The forest is inhabited by leopards, bears, monkeys and vipers - as we were driving through there were funnel webs everywhere so plenty of spiders too.

The start of the dirt track, it was impossible to take pictures once we got going as the ride was so bumpy.

Taken as the jeep passed through the river bed.

As we were passing along one stretch of the river we spotted a deer and the driver stopped the jeep. I will never forget the sound the deer was making, it echoed through the forest. We had our driver and a guide with us and they were both amazed to see it. Apparently it is a very rare sight in India, but then we saw the reason it was staying put and calling for help - it was being hunted by a pack of foxes. Our driver actually got in the water, chased the foxes away, and helped it to safety on the other side of the river.

You can see the reddish brown of one of the foxes behind the tree stump in the background.

He said this was very lucky for us all (even more so for the deer) and when we reached the car park at the end of the journey he wanted to see the pictures I had taken and was calling the other drivers over to show them. The man was a hero and it was quite clear from their reactions that the others thought so too.
I have his address (he has no email) and have promised him that I will send prints of the pictures.

As soon as we got to the car park there were monkeys waiting to be fed (they sell bags of fruit and nuts for them in the village).

We then had to walk the last part of the way to the waterfall. This involves climbing over some - at times - quite large rocks, and passing over the river on two precarious little bridges but the forest is absolutely beautiful.

Then we reached the waterfall itself.

The railway runs along about half way up the waterfall, the picture really doesn't do justice to how high it is.

The name Dudhsagar means "sea of milk", it's easy to see why it got the name but apparently during the monsoon it resembles one even more.
You can swim in the pool if you like, but we just sat on the rocks and enjoyed the amazing view and yet more monkeys that came and sat with us. They are very bold, and yet at the same time still quite wary of people. The guides tell you not to touch them, but I doubt that's even possible. It was enough for me that I was sat on a rock on new years day and a mother and her baby came and sat less then two feet away from me.

There's a lot I want to say about Goa and it's wonderful people in general, and I have a few stories to share as well. It's too much for one post so I plan to write a few and add just some of the pics to each. I will make albums on skydrive for the rest so you can see them if you want without using up all my picassa allowance.

In the meantime if you would like to see all the pictures taken at the waterfalls here's the link.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

the bitch is back !

And I am tanned, relaxed and totally chilled out.
I loved Goa - best holiday ever, I have washed an elephant, hand fed monkeys, laid on gorgeous beaches, ate delicious food and shopped (a bit too much), really didn't want to come home - stepped off the plane and England is FUCKING FREEZING.

Thanks for all the comments left while I was gone, and welcome to the new readers. I will get round to checking out your blogs at some point, and catching up on the ones I follow. But at the moment I have a suitcase that was twice as stuffed coming home as when I left (and it was pretty stuffed then) to try and sort out.

I have lots of stories, and I somehow managed to take about 700 photos, so best get ready to be thoroughly sick of me posting about India.
In the meantime here's a snap of one of the many highlights. . .

Thursday, 5 January 2012

just hot air

If you think you read this before you probably did. 
This is a re-post as the original was linked on another blog and I wanted to break the link.

Why do so many people have such a problem with farts ? Especially if a woman lets rip.

Ok if it stinks it’s not nice, but as long as you own up to it does it really matter. I find it hilarious how embarrassed some people can get over them - my own preference is to announce when one is brewing. At least that way I can gauge the potential reaction of everyone around me, and if it looks like there’s someone whose likely to be deeply offended I can point my arse in their direction move away from them.

Apparently to the Greeks it is a real insult and not at all socially acceptable. I worked with a Greek guy who said that even though he had been with his girlfriend for two years he would never fart in front of her. Of course my question then was what did he do if they were getting busy and he needed to fart - he said he would leave the room.
So your naked, horny and with a long term partner yet you leave the room ? What the fuck ? I asked how he felt if she did a fanny fart, but he just looked VERY embarrassed and left the room.
I guess that answered the question then.

Unfortunately how we came to even have this conversation was because this was one of the kids homes I worked in, and when one of the boys had farted at the dinner table his reaction had been completely over the top.
Big mistake.
Once the little monsters darlings knew he had a problem with farts he was forever damned to be subjected to them. If he was around and one of the boys suddenly ran up and stood by him we all knew what was coming.

The team manager and I then took to waiting until he was outside in the garden having his morning cigarette then join him for our morning farts. And the manager was a big Cornish fella - he could blow a fart that you could use to sail a ship.

Actually I think South Park might’ve been on to something when they made the episode about people spontaneously combusting because they were afraid to fart.
There are a few documented incidents of Spontaneous Combustion, the ones that I’ve read about in England appeared to happen in olden times when people were much more uptight about everything, so I would think even less inclined to fart, and women were laced up tight in corsets so it might’ve been impossible for them.

Lets face it if you have to hold it in it hurts - do that often enough it’s gonna have a derogatory effect sooner or later.
And if you’ve ever seen anyone light a fart you’ll have no doubt there’s potential for explosion.

The first time I ever saw anyone do that I thought it was the funniest thing ever. Well I was about 17, the problem was the boyfriend that did it liked my reaction so much he then proceeded to set light to it EVERY time he farted.

It soon got a bit old.

When I was even younger me and my two best mates taught ourselves how to fanny fart at will.
Our favourite source of amusement was to sit at the back of the bus and do them.

Even though they didn’t smell the looks of disgust we would get from other passengers was hilarious, people would make faces and wave their hands as if it stank - sometimes even moving seats.
That just made us worse.

I laugh about that even more now because none of us really understood what we were doing, we were young and naïve.

Farting has always had comic value - there was famous music hall performer in the 1800’s named Josef Pujol whose act was to fart musically, and the audiences of the day found this very funny. I wonder how those same people would have reacted had it been the person sat next to them, although the music halls were considered risqué at time - they were after all the original home of burlesque.

Did anyone ever fart while doing the Can Can ?

People are odd though, I’ve been sat in the Cinema and someone’s farted (no, it wasn't me) and the reactions varied from laughter to disgust, yet if someone farts in a comedy film everyone finds it funny.

I laugh at my own farts - and I don’t care if that’s as bad as laughing at your own jokes.
I do that too.

Who knows ? Wherever I might be by the time you guys see this post it certainly won't be snowing.

Yup. Fooled you, this was a scheduled post !! I'm still on holiday !! See y'all soon :)X