Well yesterday wasn’t very successful: I intended to do quite a few things, then be asleep by early afternoon so that I could be refreshed for visiting Suriya today. It didn’t go as planned…
I bagged up a lot of stuff to post home. It now needed an outer wrapper and I couldn’t find a tailor to make one. However, I got talking to the lady who runs the cybercafe in the hotel, Mrs Khan, and she’s offered to make me one.
Although I love the rough romance of luggage racks and dossing, I realise there is a penalty doing too much of it. I’m not worried that I end up greasy and smelly (except that it might offend others) but it would not be conducive to me enjoying Indonesia because I’d be too tired. So after trying at two cybercafes (one’s server died) to book online, I got a motorbike to the station and booked the cheapest class of sleeper (not ACII or ACIII so I don’t know what to expect and am looking forward to finding out) for the trains to Mumbai and then on to Kolkata. I have a firm booking for the Mumbai trip and am waitlisted for the Mumbai-Kolkata leg. However I’m 5th on the waitlist so should get something. And if all else fails, I’ll upgrade. The total journey is 2733 km and my tickets have cost Rs 820. I should just shut up moaning because that’s 0.4 pence per kilometre!
The server death I mentioned above caused me to lose an hours keying of emails and other stuff. Grrrr!
I do recommend slow motorbike-rides in the evening cool here as a way to relax. The roads to the station aren’t too bad and there’s a fun flyover above the rail-tracks. On the way back, I was on what the driver called a taxi-bike. It had a rear handgrip that supported my back, a wide, flat saddle and felt as though I could be driven on it all day long. (Of course, driving myself would be another matter.)
Buying stamps and envelopes is fun here. Sticking stamps on is achieved by glopping on glue from a pot with the aid of sticks, straws or biro inserts. I found a stationer but it was closed until 3.30 (by which time the post-office would be closed). I’ve bought the envelopes and stamps I need and my next task is to post things.
My other major task was to try to change my tickets so I arrive in Pekanbaru, not Medan. I spoke to Singapore airlines and the operator there told me I should simply email my requirements to their central unit: I’d have a reply this morning. Er, no, so they’re going to get a shirty Bruce soon. I don’t mind if someone tells me ‘tough luck, this isn’t possible’ but I do mind if someone tells me ‘yes, we’ll do this’ and then doesn’t. GRRR
I also had a wee dose of Mughal’s revenge yesterday. It’s almost funny to get this now that I’m back in trouser-wearing, cutlery-using not-quite-India. I miss blokes wondering around in shirts and dhotis with their brollies tucked into their shirt collars. I miss most of the women wearing sarees or salwar khamise. Here many women wear midi skirts and blouses with leg-o-mutton sleeves and some wear jeans and tee-shirts. (I know it’s not my role to tell anyone else what to wear but I do enjoy the colours and fabrics of traditional Indian clothing.) I ate at the hotel’s restaurant: it’s relatively expensive and I miss so much Kerala’s routine chaya and parotta stalls. It’s a bit saddening that a single chapatti here costs more than four filling iddlies with chatni and sambar from a street vendor in Madurai. Goa’s officially in south India but the menu had no iddlies or dosas: maybe they’re too lower-class!
I think I got to sleep around 9pm last night and slept through until 9 this morning.
I’m now in the hotel’s cybercafe, venting my guts and chatting with Mrs Khan, her daughter and sister. Mrs Khan tells me she is also a social worker, mostly concerned with crimes against women. She starts the day here. Then her son and daughter take over and she goes on to her social work. This is them.
|Treza Rubello, Samira, Ershad and Bibijan Khan (social worker)|
Oh, while I was waiting for the stationer to open, I got a haircut. Blimey, I’m Boris Karloff!
|If not Boris Karloff, maybe Lux Interior?|
And finally the foot is doing well. Not so happy about sweat/insect rashes on my arms that appeared in Madurai but they’re responding well to neosporin, sunlight and sleep.
|My foot has been re-trod.|