Hello all, been a while since I’ve written one of these. Think the last one was just after I’d had my military haircut which, you’ll be glad to know has thankfully grown out a bit and is now considered legal. Ok so three weeks to enlighten you on. Prior warning: This could be an essay!! … And so using the power of my memory (weak at best), my journal (yes I’ve been keeping a journal) & the car from ‘back to the future’ (a steal at 2000 rupees) we shall go back in time and ride the rollercoaster that has been my last three (ish) weeks in India.

Don Bosco School, Madurai

Don Bosco School, Madurai

Well firstly you’ll be glad to know that I have actually started my project … hooray!! That said its still a bit hit and miss in places … boo! But it has been good fun … hooray!! My first coaching experience in India was at a school called Don Bosco. The schools fairly nice, and the kids too …. All 80 of them that turned up for football at 4pm. Hmm … didn’t see that one coming, so much for lack of interest in football! 80 kids 4 footballs (the ones I’d bought with me) was never really going to work, we have now arranged that different standards/year groups train on different days. That said I’ve only been back once since then due to ridiculous number of school holidays. If it rains … school holiday, no joke. They also called a school holiday when a tornado was reported in Chennai … 300km away.

Early mornings I’ve been coaching a boys team at a local stadium complex. This has actually been quite regular and good fun. In contrast to the schools the lads are well disciplined and very athletic. The only slight problem is the coache’s insistence that we practice 30 yard volleys for at least 30 minutes each morning … not exactly what I’d call a realistic practice. Probably just as well that he only turns up on the odd day.  These two placements both got underway as of Thurs 26th Oct

Apollo 96, the effect of super strong Kingfisher beer

Apollo 96, the effect of super strong Kingfisher beer

The Friday night of that week was good fun. We went out to this hotel bar called Apollo 96. Its one of those places that is so tacky that you can’t help but love it, it’s like walking onto a mid 80’s star trek set. There were a few of us who may have had a bit too much extra strong kingfisher, and a few headaches were had the next morning. It probably didn’t help that we got a takeaway of booze from the bar and went back to the girls flat to carry on drinking into the early hours. The highlight of the night however was back at the bar where Mark was chatted up by one of the local men, who then proceeded to dance/grind on Mark (there is photographic evidence of this) and quite possibly grope him too. The rest of that weekend was pretty non eventful and the following Monday I continued my early morning coaching at the recourse ground. Tuesday we had a Halloween party which was cool, we bought pumpkins, made decorations and bought some fireworks which perhaps resemble small bombs rather than fireworks, a rather apparent crater in the road proving this point.

The following Tuesday, due to my ever faltering project (at that point), me and Andrew booked some cheap (95 quid for 4 flights) plane tickets to Goa via Bangalore. We left on Thurs 2nd Nov for Bangalore and stayed the night in what can only be described as a s*** hole!! Plain and simple. If you ever go to Bangalore be sure NOT to stay in a place called ‘Citizen Lodge’, think along the lines of THE toilet from ‘Trainspotting’, but in the form of a room and you wont be far off. That was not a pleasant night, not that we had much choice as our flight from Maduari to Bangalore had been delayed so when we finally reached Bangalore at 11pm it was our only option. The only place we could find to eat that night was a dominos pizza which wasn’t bad, we did however come to the conclusion whilst in dominos that their cups are either made from recycled condoms or come from the same production line. I just couldn’t bring myself to drink out of a latex cup. The Friday morning we had a quick look around the shops where I managed to pick up the new killers album for a mere 4 quid. We then actually had the chance to eat some meat as we also visited TGI Fridays for lunch, and then it was off to Goa.

I knew Goa was going to be awesome as soon as we got into our cab from the airport and the driver started blaring out ‘walk like an Egyptian’, other classics such as jailhouse rock and the birdy song soon followed, it was just magic!! I think (I hope I’m not the only one) a lot of people believe Goa to be one resort when in fact it is a state, so its bloody massive, we spent all our time in the north where its supposed to be a lot livelier. The next four days went something like this …

Fri 3rd: Vagator

Stayed in Vagator overnight. Had the most amazing curry before going to an open air rave where I’m pretty sure we saw Jesus and Chris waddles love child (THE most astounding mullet). The only problem was that this so called rave finished at 10 … HARDCORE!

Sat 4th: Anjuna

Had breakfast in Vagator before jumping on the bus to Anjuna the next beach south from vagator. We had planned to stay at a hostel called ‘White negro’ in Anjuna purely because its name was hilarious, maybe not politically correct but hilarious none the less. However it proved out of our price range. We soon found a cheaper hostel and were also promptly offered all manner of drugs by our host. Turns out that our hostel was somewhat of a drug den. We were also to find throughout the rest of the day that everyone in Anjuna is a dealer! The beach in Anjuna was beautiful and equally as funny as some of the hostel names. Local stall keepers kept coming up to us and asking if we want to have a butchers at their stall, saying that their prices were cheaper than TK Maxx, and than on the whole everything they sold was loveley-jubberly, had me in stitches! That night we had another awesome meal as we watched the sunset, which left me utterly gob smacked (see photos). I also ventured to another rave that night, although this time alone. Cant say I’ve ever been to a club on my own before at home, gave it a go anyway. It was actually quite a good night, met some nice people, Zoe & Michelle from Devon & Raphael from Fankfurt. The music may have been hardcore techno but that’s where the cheap booze helped. I eventually left the club at three and thought I’d have an easy stumble home, couldn’t have been more wrong. Three in the morning, half cut … chased by rabid dogs …. F**king fantastic. Hadn’t had my jab either, even better. After clambering over several walls, treading in s*** and scaling our hostel gate I eventually made it to bed about 4 and pretty much passed out. Happy days.

Sun 5th: Baga

We left Anjuna for Baga the next morning, again using the local public transport as it was and is ridiculously cheap. Baga was a bit more of a resort, and had certain seemingly Mediterranean influences. Again we sampled the beach for a bit and ate out in the evening at some fancy restaurant called fiesta. I was going to go out again to another club that night but was warned off and told it was only really for locals, so instead I dragged Andrew to watch West Ham do Arsenal in the last minute, and Tottenham beat Chelsea, the bars happy HOURS were 6pm –llpm, yes my head was slightly sore the next day.

Being Canadian Andrew wasn’t exactly into football, but I’d like to think we’ve changed that now. However I’m pretty sure that footy is the only thing this kid doesn’t know about. He’s so ridiculously intelligent (yes even brighter than Katie Wicker for those of you who went to Vyners), this kid knows everything about everything, even how LSD came to be, which is pretty scary, not sure he needs to know that. Good company either way, even if he did make me feel rather thick throughout.

Mon 6th: Candolim

Our last port of call on our whistle stop tour of Goa was Candolim. Candolim is the most commercial of the resorts we visited in Goa and hosts quite a few 5 start hotels. We didn’t do too much of note here, except watch an even more spectacular sun set … although my camera again had the last laugh running out of battery mid way though the blood red spectacle.

We spent Tuesday flying back to Madurai.  But once I eventually make it home from this 12 months trip it wont take me long to get back online and searching for a flight which can take me back to Goa, as its somewhere i’d love to return in the future.

Feel a bit hypocritical having gone to Goa and spent 4 days on the beach having argued that i was in no way doing such things, but in my defense my project was still not fully underway, a bit stop start …. Oh sod it, fine I’m sorry, I’m a knob!

The next two days I resumed coaching at the racecourse ground, but Don Bosco school was again called off. Thursday night was Marks last night so we set off to the Apollo bar again, and got thoroughly battered … again, although on this occasion they put on some western music for us. Its something special when you see a group of thoroughly hammered Indian men singing along to ‘Alice? … who the F**k is Alice?’. *Please note that in no way did we encourage this behavior.

Friday no one worked as we attended Dass’s (our driver) wedding. On the way we didnt have enough room in the mini bus for us all, unless …. someone straddled the gear stick, that someone just happened to end up as me. Having some random mans hand between your legs is unnerving enough but changing into 2nd & 4th just took the piss! The wedding was more like a photo shoot for the newly weds, complete with lashing of snow spray!?! Still haven’t quite got my head around the whole arranged marriage thing, he’s 24, she’s 17 and they’ve met twice before. Still, they both looked very happy and its tradition I guess. The wedding meal was, yep curry, served on bay leaves. Not my meal of choice at 11am with a steadily worsening hangover but it was quite nice … in places.

Friday afternoon I set off with some of the others on another weekend trip. Seven of us went down to Kanyakamari, India’s southern most point. Think it’s the only place in the world where three sea’s meet. It took us 7 hours to get there by bus, and the bus was India’s equivalent of the U1 so it wasn’t the most comfortable, but at just over a pound it was a bit of a bargain. We only really did anything on the Saturday but that was quite action packed. We took a boat ride out to the Vivekenanda memorial and the statue of Thiruvalluvar. Had a look around the markets, visited the Gandhi memorial and visited the Kumair Amman temple & bathing waters.

As of this Monday I have started coaching at a new school called TVS. It’s a private school, and is run in shifts which is a bit odd. I do two 45 minute sessions there, 11.30 – 12.15 and 12.45 – 1.30. This is to accommodate children from both school shifts. Its been good so far, and being a rich school there has for once been loads of equipment. I’m not sure what they told the kids there but in the last two days I’ve been asked for my autograph (not sure that’s worth too much) a couple of times, and asked what premiership team I play for (good job they haven’t actually seen me play yet). Shouldn’t really be that surprised, on my travelers profile I’m 28 and studied at Brunei university.

That’s about it I think, hope you’ve enjoyed my dissertation on my last 3 weeks, there’s a few pictures from Goa up on the site now , and I’ll add the wedding photos & Kanyakamari photos when I get the chance.

Over & out.

Proceed to Sri Lanka Pt7
Back to India Pt2