Posts in "Travel"

How JFK Airport Saved My Christmas

“Honey,” I said, in what I hoped was my best loving husband voice, “something happened in New York that I need to tell you about. You are going to find out sooner or later so it’s best if you heard it from me.” It was perhaps also my guilty voice. My wife’s face, which up until that point had been blissfully happy that her husband had returned from his trip, was instantly a conflict of emotions. Was it something good, was it something bad, was I about to confess something that would test the very fabric of our marriage? It was quite possibly all those things.

Ask my office manager to describe me in so many words and the adjective “absent-minded” might be mentioned. Naturally, I bristle at the idea that I’m a forgetful person. However, she would point out the times I lost my company ID card (twice), left my ID card in the food court, left my intern in the office without telling her that we were all going out for lunch, left my phone back in the office (several times), and once, to my horror, misplaced the corporate credit card (it later turned up several months later at the bottom of my desk draw).

My wife might agree with my office manager. Every trip we go on, her every second question is “have you got your passport?” Puh-lease! Like I am ever going to lose such an important document. What am I, five years old?

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The Uluru Outback Adventure

If someone said to you why not spend nearly a thousand pounds to fly four hours into the middle of a desert to look at a rock, you might politely enquire what medication that person is currently taking.

Incidentally, that’s exactly the reaction I got from my wife when I suggested we forgo a trip the Great Barrier Reef and go to Uluru instead while on our Australia holiday.

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Touchy, Feely, Inquisitive Goa

Having lived in possibly the most conservative place in the entire world, where even at school, boys and girls are kept separated and even speaking to a member of the opposite sex can result in a 10,000 rupee fine, you kind of get used to the fact that you can never shake hands with, or pat on the back a member of the opposite sex. The thought of any kind of body contact is unheard of, and if it does actually happen it results in 1000 apologies as if they’ve just informed you that they’ve run over your pet cat that you’ve had for 10 years.

So, you come to Goa and it’s the complete opposite. As you walk down the beach, navigating between the hawkers, the girls and ladies come up to you with confidence, reach out to shake you by the hand and will even put their arm around you as they try to get you to buy their cheap necklaces. In England, this kind of behaviour wouldn’t raise any eyebrows, body contact betweem friends is acceptable, but when you’ve been in Chennai for 7 months, it’s a bit unusual and to be honest, a little bit disturbing!

Whereas Chennai is way too conservative, I think Goa is too liberal the other way, and there is a need to find some middle ground where they get it just right.

So far, everyone has been so incredibly friendly, the English is extremely good, and everyone is so curious to know about you. We’re told that this is the quiet season and that we should come in full season, but as we sit by our deserted pool, where there are more friendly, helpful staff than guests, having personal one on one service at the bars and restaurants I can’t imagine why anyone would come at a different time! Tell me where else in the world you can get your own waiter, your own barman, your own chef and your own tourguide for less than $10!

Summer Holidays

Just returned from a fantastic week long break in Crete – home of the first advanced civilisation in Europe, the Minoans. Greek Myth also says it’s the place where Zeus was born and where the Labyrinth is located.

It wasn’t all culture though…infact it was mostly not culture and consisted of relaxing in the sun by the pool, chilling by the pool bar and enjoying the nights out in places like Piskopiano, Hersonissos and of course Malia.

On one of the days we hired out a quad bike and let me tell you now, hiring a quad bike is like hiring some instant death. The things are lethal – with no differential on the axels, when you take a corner on the road the bike kicks out or wants to roll over – if you ever drive one just be careful!

Malia was the place to go for a good night out though with all the drink offers you can’t help but wonder just how watered down the alcohol is. As I found with Ibiza, hangovers simply do not happen in Crete and most days after a heavy night out I could wake up with a clear head.

I will be uploading some photos soon, so stay tuned!