Travels in India, Thailand, Cambodia
Monday 29th October 2001
Flew to London and connected with a flight from London to Delhi.
30th October 200
We landed in Delhi at 1 o'clock in the morning. We couldn't find our bags. I smoked cigarettes at the time and Cyril didn't. I hadn't smoked for ten hours at that stage and· was dying for a cigarette. So, instead of looking up our 'Lonely Planet' or making a plan of somewhere to go we just went outside. Cyril' s quotation of the day was "Fresh gimps off the plane" - as every taxi man in the place crowded around us to see how much money they could get from us. We discovered we had to tip them and we didn't have any change and didn't know how much to tip. We were, indeed, total "fresh gimps off the plane".
We went to Pargange which is backpacker place in Delhi and we arrived there at 3.30 in the morning. It was a bit of a ghetto. There were random dogs on the road and that was 'scarey'. We also met our first cow or ox with its horns and that was 'scarey' too as I was convinced it was bull. I ran down the road. That was the only time I actually ran with my bags during all our travels! While I was running up the road Cyril just stood there laughing. We stayed in the Visak Hotel (hostel) that night.
31st October 2001
The next day we strolled around Delhi to see what it was like. It was madness! People driving on the footpath and beeping their horns. People were peeing by the roadside. There were open toilets everywhere. No one used tissues and everyone was blowing their noses on the footpath. It was a big culture shock to me, but Cyril loved the whole atmosphere. We also went into a cricket ground and watched our first cricket game. This was so peaceful compared to the madness of the beeping horns and people outside in the city. We organised a trip and found a bank. At this stage our feet were really dirty and the dirt wouldn't wash off.
1st November 2001
The next day we did our tour of Delhi. We went to the Ghandi Museum. I so regret that our photos never came out as I had taken photos of Cyril standing beside the case with Ghandi's walking stick.
We also went to the Red Fortress and the Humeum and the India Gate and the Lotus Temple. We had a lovely lunch in a very 'snazzy' place. We actually got bored in that 'snazzy' place and we took a stroll outside where there was a man playing a flute. He had a little cobra snake and the snake was dancing out of his basket.
I think every tour guide in India gave us a tour that day and it was great.
We were very tired and we were walking back down the Pargange Street and we met a man, Mr Latif. He hassled and harassed us and wanted to organise our trip. We listened to him and got totally sucked in and booked a bus ticket to go to Shimla the next day. We got up the next day to go on the trip but no bus came. There was either no bus, or he told us the wrong place and took our money! Anyway, we found him and he denied it all.
2nd November 2001
We then booked into a better hotel. It was the Hotel Scott. I have noted it as 'Prison Cell Room'. There were no windows to the outside but there was window to the corridor. It was really hot and really claustrophobic and actually like a cell. I remember lying on the bed and I could see a head beside the window. Cyril ran out and ran the guy away.
We ate from the street stalls. The chips were fried with beautiful herbs. The plates were made out of leaves which were picked up off the ground. If we didn't get sick then, we were never going to get sick. We thought we were totally 'hard core' then! We checked out of the hotel and went to one across the road. It was very nice and we organised a tour ourselves to go to Agra as we wanted to see the Taj Mahal. Got a few beers and watched the triangular traffic in Pargange. This was how Cyril described it. There was no organisation of the traffic. Cars drove in all directions and there were cows in the middle of the road. People were riding bicycles and walking. Definitely it was the triangular traffic.
3rd of November 2001
Having spent nearly a week in Delhi we got the bus to Agra. On the journey to Agra we saw monkeys and camels on the roadside. It was a total desert landscape. We really loved it and were awestruck by what we saw on that journey. After about 5 hours we arrived in Agra and booked into the Hotel Host. It was a lovely hotel (they say 'hotel' but they are all hostels). The rooms were built around a courtyard with a little rooftop terrace and this hotel had an amazing view of the Taj Mahal. The first day in Agra was spent walking around and looking at the sights. That night we ate dinner on the rooftop terrace. It was beautiful looking at the Taj Mahal. The background was pink and the Taj Mahal was quite black in the light of the night. I have noted that there were 'birds' flying all around it, but now I wonder should it have been bats. At the time I thought they were birds and it was all lovely. We also saw loads of monkeys jumping around the rooftops and they were trying to steal food as well.
On the Sunday.
I have written down 'Taj Mahal beautiful. Instant celebrities'. This was because we were walking around the Taj Mahal ourselves. We were a little bit more clued in and we were not using tour guides and were doing everything by ourselves. Of course, we did not know anything about the Taj Mahal so we ended up listening to other tour guides. We were 'instant celebrities'. Indian people came up to take photographs of us and stood with us in our photographs. Cyril seemed to be a bit of a celebrity over there. They thought he was 'Bollywood' kind of guy! One lady actually handed me her baby to hold and took a photo of me and Cyril holding her baby. However I have a feeling Cyril was more a celebrity than I was.
During the India trip I had my first dose of the 'scaries'. On that trip there were lots of doses of the 'scaries' where one or either of us was afraid that we could have been a week in bed with it.
One night Cyril got mosquito bites. He was so hot that he opened up the window. He was worried that I would get bitten by mosquitoes and he covered me with a type of sheet but didn't cover himself. The next day the mosquitoes couldn't even fly anymore they were so full and they were flopped on the ground. Cyril’s arms had hundreds of mosquito bites. He looked as if he had leprosy! He was very self-conscious about that.
We visited Juan's house. Juan was an Indian rickshaw driver and he took us on a really big tour all around Agra and he looked after us while we were there. He showed us different shops and Cyril bought me a beautiful silver Ohm sign for a necklace. I still have that and it is my good luck charm. Juan brought us to his house and we didn't realise how poor he really was. His house was really poor and we went there for dinner. They cooked chapattis and lentils for us and they let me cook the chapattis, but it didn't work out that well. We really enjoyed our time with him and when we were leaving he brought us to the bus station and helped us get our tickets.
Tuesday 6th of November 2001
We got the 12.30 bus to Jaipur. It took six hours to get there. Cyri1 had serious cramps on that bus and when we arrived we went the Hotel Aria Niwase. Cyri1 was in the bathroom for a couple of hours after that.
Wednesday 7th of November 2001
The next day I had the 'scaries' all day and Cyril was in bed as well. However, we managed to get up and went all around Jaipur and again Cyril was a bit of a celebrity.
Thursday 8th of November 2001
We decided to go to Jodpur. There was no bus to Jodpur so we got the train and travelled in a local carriage which was packed full of people. We met a student on the platform who advised us to get out of the carriage and go further up the train to get a more comfortable carriage. We had to travel 200 kms which was going to take us 7 ½ hours.
There is a photograph on the website of Cyril travelling on the train wearing my light blue cardigan. We eventually arrived in Jodpur and booked into a guesthouse.
Friday the 9th of November 2001
We spent the day walking around the city. We saw the markets and an amazing clock tower which had a gorgeous latte shop. Jodpur is known as the 'Blue City' and we really liked it.
Saturday 10th November 2001
We went to all the markets and we called it the 'Spice World'. We found a really cool bar called City Palace Bar which played really good music. The bar was full of men - there were no women there at all. I was the only girl there with Cyril. We got lots of stares and everyone came up to us and asked who we were and all about ourselves. We were on TV World again there!
Sunday 11th November 2001
I went to the terrace in the guesthouse for a gorgeous breakfast. The restaurant was full of people and I was waiting for Cyril. I will never forget when he came. Just before he came up the stairs he just turned green and leaned over the puked into the flower pots. He was so embarrassed that he just ran out of the restaurant. So, I had my breakfast alone. Poor Cyril was mortified and died of a hangover that day.
Monday 12th November 2001
We went on the bus to Jazamir. It was a very long journey - all the journeys were very long. It was the worst journey of all. The bus had no suspension and the seating was very cramped. Eventually we arrived and it was like a desert town. It was very dusty and Cyril really liked the place. It was a friendly place and everyone knew everyone else. We organised a camel safari. The village had a castle built in the middle and the entire village is built around this castle. We spent our time touring the town.
Tuesday 13th and Wednesday November 14th 2001
We went on camel safari. Cyril had a very cranky camel and he was not happy. The camel was spitting at people whereas my camel was really chilled out and laid back. I was on my camel and Cyril's camel was behind mine. Cyril's camel decided to bite my camel's bum and my camel took off running across the desert. All Cyril could say afterwards was that he could just see me running and said "There she goes I'll never see her again". I thought everyone was running with their camels - I didn't think it was just me. Eventually I fell off the camel and that is where I got the name "Catriona Stump Bum". I had heat-melt, dehydrate. We were fried to a crisp.
I have a note "sleeping with the beetles". When we got to the dunes in the desert. It was lovely and we watched the sunset. It was absolutely beautiful. At night time they built a camp and a bonfire and it was like the Milky Way or the Galaxy. The stars were so clear. We had a little campfire. This was made especially for me and Cyril. Everyone had their own campfire. There were loads of blankets and it was so nice. All of a sudden, like a plague, loads of big scarab beetles came over the dunes. They were horrible and huge. Cyril helped me tie knots in the arms of my top. I put up the hood up so they wouldn't go in my ears. I tucked my trousers into my socks and I slept on my side on top of Cyril. Poor Cyril! All the beetles were tucked in underneath him. He didn't mind it as much as me. I kept saying "Call me a taxi! I want to go home!" Cyril thought it was hilarious.
Thursday 15th November 2001
The next day we trekked back the guesthouse and cleaned ourselves up. We then discovered that we had lost our credit cards. That was on Thursday and we couldn't sort it out until the Friday.
Friday 16th, Saturday 17th, Sunday 18th November 2001
We had to cancel the cards. I had to ring home and organise for new ones to come out. We had no money and the owner of the guesthouse took us in and said that we could stay there and eat there and run up a tab and sort it out when you get your money. He felt sorry for us and ended up taking us to his family. We met his cousins, his mother and his mother-in-law. They brought us all around the town. They adopted Cyril and tried to teach him about cricket. He took out his wedding photo album. In all the picture this guy is really cool, like a Bollywood guy and posing in all the pictures. His wife is beside him and she looks miserable.
Cyril’s face couldn't hide his amusement. We were brought to all the temples and Cyril got his first barber shave in that town. We met the e-mail man there. He had the phone to make long distance phone calls. He let us use the phones and the e-mails and we didn't have to pay anything until our money came. He trusted us and was really nice.
Monday 19th November 2001
We managed to sort out the banks and we paid our bills and bought cake for the Madhu family and beer for the e-mail guy.
Tuesday 20th November 2001
We decided to go to Jaipur. We had to go there to get the credit cards. It was a fifteen hour bus journey. It was crazy. People were sitting on the roof and in the middle of the bus. The bus stopped every two hours and everyone got their dose of Chai and Cashew nuts. When we arrived we were filthy dirty. We actually arrived in Jaipur the next day at 5 o'clock in the morning. We went to a guesthouse called 'Evergeeen' guesthouse. It was full of hippies. I think that is where Cyril coined the term 'Pirates of India'. Meaning that people were stuck there too long. We cleaned ourselves, played pool and hung out. We collected the cards and decided to have a Western day. We went bowling and went to a hotel bar and got quite drunk. We really enjoyed it and every now and then we would have a Western day. We then decided we would get out of the cities.
Wednesday the 21st November 2001
We got a train ticket to Mumbai. The train journey was for 24 hours. We couldn't even walk after we got off the train. It was unbelievable. Our legs were all 'jiggly' for days after the journey.
We arrived in Bandra in Bombay. We went shopping and went to see the India Gate but we didn't go to Bollywood. I don't know why because Cyril was treated as a celebrity there and I am sure they would have put him in a film.
We left Mumbai and got a train to Goa. We met some Aussies and hung out with them for a while. We arrived in Anjuna in Goa and fell in love with the place. We rented out a Moped and Cyril convinced me he could drive it. He hadn't driven a Moped before or a motor cycle. It was like a learning curve. I was on the back of it and he was learning. I was just keeping my eyes closed. We went to loads of different beaches when we were in Goa. One was Palangata Beach and I have written down 'The Scenic Route Home!'. It took us about a half an hour to get there and about 2 hours to get home because we got lost!! I think I swallowed about a million mosquitoes on the way home. We met the Aussie guys again and we all had dinner there. We had a session going.
We went to the beaches and the flea markets. We were in Baga Beach where we got a seafood platter and there is a photo of Cyril with it. He wouldn't eat the food. We went paragliding on Kalangata beach which was lovely.
We went to Kondolin beach. If I remember correctly, this is where the turtles lay their eggs and I think it is a protected beach. It was really nice. There was absolutely nothing there other than a little shack bar, but it was so nice. Then we left and we went to Pallalum which is far down Goa's beach line.
I have a note mentioning "Brendan's Place - Ahh!!!”
Cyril wanted to do it 'hard core' and not look at a travel book He wanted us to find our own way and not stay in snazzy hotels. We saw "Brendan's Place' on the beach and decided we would stay there. It was late when we booked in. We were there for about a half an hour when we looked at each other and decided 'Right OK. This is just a little bit too hard core'. It was basically beach mats in the sand with a little roof on it. There was no mosquito protection - just sand on the floor and I could see little bugs crawling around the sand. The next day we checked out and went into a much nicer place called 'Ciaran's Camp' which we loved. We spent our time there swimming and sunbathing. Cyril was going brown and I was going red.
When I got home my eyes were all white from where I had the sunglasses on and my face was very red. He thought this was hilarious, but I did get him back by taking a picture of him wrapped in a mosquito net and sunburnt to pieces as well.
We went on a dolphin trip. There is a picture of us in the boat when we were on that dolphin trip.
There is a little island just off Pallalum. We decided to explore it. We were doing really well and walked all around it. It was very small but very rough under foot and full of rocks. Suddenly, Cyril heard a loud hissing noise. It was a big monkey sitting on a rock in front of him. He was huge and very angry looking and he kept hissing at us. We decided to leave the island and go back to Pallilum! We hired a bike in Pallilum and toured the whole coastline of Goa. We left our bags in Pallilum and we went to Vagatur and got a ferry to Margen and travelled all over. We moved to the Welcome Inn. Cyril asked me to cut his jeans. I was cutting them on the balcony and when we looked over the balcony there were about 20 people staring up at the balcony.
We went parasailing. This is where you are in a type of parachute and the parachute is pulled along by a boat. It was brilliant.
We were running out of money in Vagatur and were living on fried egg and burgers. We got henna tattoos and went bungee jumping. We loved it.
19th December 2001
We left Goa at 7.30 and travelled by train all that day and night to Vijiwada. We spent two hours there and then spent another day and night on the train, and finally arrived in Calcutta on Friday the 21st of December. We couldn't find anywhere to stay as it was so close to Christmas. Everywhere was booked out. We wanted to stay in a guesthouse but they were all full. We eventually found a hotel but it was really dirty. A huge rat ran across the counter top. I nearly died! Even though the big rat was in the hotel room we still stayed there. The following night we went to a nightclub. It was kind of hip and cool and we were a bit surprised. There was good music and we liked that.
23rd December 2001
We decided we needed to find somewhere nice to stay. Before we did that, we went to a bar and had absolutely huge cocktails. We went to the markets and got Christmas presents for each other.
24th December 2001
We booked into the Polo Club.
25th December 2001
Cyril was being unbelievably healthy when we were in India. I was being a slob and eating everything greasy, and he was being healthy! On Christmas morning we did a little treasure hunt in the room. He woke up before me and hid the Christmas presents. He hid them all around the room so I would find them. Once I had found them he said 'Let's go to the gym'. So we went to the gym and then went to the swimming pool. It was nice and warm but the swimming pool itself was freezing. All the Indians thought we were nuts. We spent the day hanging out at the Polo Club.
26th December 2001
Left India and flew to Bangkok. Arrived in Bangkok and met Put at the airport and went to Dang's. The next day was a Thursday and we decided to go to the Koh San Road. We didn't want to use Dang's telephones. So went shopping and we rang our families. We then went back to Dang's, and Wichan and his wife came over to dinner. It was very tasty food.
The next day we went to Cian Square with Dang and Put. There was lots of cool stuff there and lots of tattooists. Cyril wanted to get a tattoo - something to show his Thai side as well as his Irish side. I think he wanted to design it himself. We also went clothes shopping and had rum coffees. With Put we went to see the first Lord of the Rings film. It was brilliant. Put really enjoyed it too.
29th December 2001
We went back to the Koh San Road because the Grand Palace was nearby. We did the tour of the Grand Palace and it was brilliant. We went back to Dang that evening and he brought us to China Town and we ate so much food there as well! We also went to the markets in China Town.
30th December 2001
There was a big family party and lot of Dong's family came to it and Wichan was there as well from Dang's side. They had tables in the garden and a karaoke machine and all the usual lighting. Dang sang 'I Did It My Way'. Cyril said he was a "Pink Panther" because he was so cool. Myself, Cyril and Put sang 'Islands in the Breeze'. It's a "BG" song and very high so we didn't sing it very well!! We took lots of photos and ate loads of food again! There were lots of lanterns with tea-lights and it was beautiful. Cyril really loved being there and proud to introduce his family to me but also he was delighted to be able to identify with himself and his Thai side. He really enjoyed that and was proud of his culture. We were really very happy in Thailand. We just loved it. After the party Cyril, Put, his cousins and myself went into Salem Street in town for a drink. We had a great time and got home at about 3 a.m. the next morning.
31st December 2001
This was a relaxing day at Dang's. There was a big street party and more Karaoke that night and danced and laughed and watched movies and had a wonderful time.
1st January 2002
We spent the day with Dang and he brought us to a wonderful restaurant. It was beautiful restaurant not far from his house. There were plants and lights everywhere and it was a tropical restaurant. The food was just amazing. Dang took charge of ordering the food and it ended up with a table full of food.
2nd January 2002
We went to Wichan's for dinner. There was a restaurant near Wichan's home and they had booked a table for Wichan and his family and Dang and his family and myself and Cyril. We all took a long table and sat down together. We had dinner together and myself and Cyril bought fruit hampers. We gave one to Dang's family and one to Wichan's family to thank them for taking us in and showing us everything and let us chill out. They were really lovely to us. Cyril wanted to give them something nice that they would like.
That night we took the night bus to Chiang Mai. We right up the front at the window of the bus and we could see everything on the road.
3rd January 2002
We arrived in Chiang Mai at 6 am. We had loads of energy and we had a look around.
We went to the Night Bazaar and spent the whole night going around the stalls and bought loads of things including DVDs.
4th January 2002
We went to Pi. We stayed in the PP Orchid and went to B-Bops that night. This was a local bar in Pi and they have live music. The band was brilliant. Cyril got me addicted to Harry Potter when we were leaving Dublin he bought a Harry Potter book. He read it and when we were in India he picked up the others. When he finished one, I would start to read the other one. We were totally addicted to Harry Potter. Cyril loved all the words that JK Rowling came up with and all the names of the characters. He thought it was brilliant. Classic!!
We went for massages and to B-Bops again and more Harry Potter!!
We went white water rafting. This was a two day trip where we were on a raft with Lance and Cameron and they were Ki-Wi and really cool. There was another boat and a Canadian couple and a Dutch couple was on it. I wrote down that "Cyril thinks that the American guy looks like John Goodman". He did actually. He had to swim or white water raft down the river. My arms were killing me. I was the weakest link on the boat. They would stop the boat and we would go swimming. We went swimming at a beautiful waterfall.
We camped that night at the campsite.
Buzz Game: It was a drinking game that we all decided to get into. I have no idea why we decided to do that when we knew we had to go back on the river the next day. The next day I have no entries except "IN TATTERS. The whole day on the river rapids and my arms are ... killing me". Cyril dunked me, pushed me off the boat into the water and thought it was brilliant, and then jumped on top of me. We have some brilliant photos of that.
We went to Me Hong Son. There was a little monkey tied to a tree and he was gorgeous. We all fell in love with him and played with him for about a half an hour before we had to go back to Pi. We spent the next day at the pool in Pi. Myself and Cyril loved the pool in Pi. We went there every day. It was brilliant.
14th January 2002
We did nothing but eat, drink a few beers, organise yoga sessions and went back to the pool. We spent all day talking, sunbathing - it was just lovely.
On the Tuesday we did yoga. We had to go there for 6 a.m. and could not eat for two hours. Of course, myself and Cyril did eat before we went as we were hungry. There was one posture called the Lion Posture. It was a facial posture. Cyril couldn’t keep his thoughts to himself because you can see what he is thinking exactly in his face. I could see when the teacher made this weird face - totally stupid face - Cyril was thinking "no way, I'm not doing that.
The next day when we were at the pool there was an 'posey' American there and he was trying to chat up a girl. He was saying he did the yoga and the facial posture etc. Cyril had to retreat to the pool.
Cyril was into healthy exercising and wanted us to rent out mountain bikes. At that stage I still smoked cigarettes - at one stage I was like a chimney. I had been doing exercises with cigarettes hanging out of my mouth. So, we rented mountain bikes and cycled to the Temple. There was a monk there who makes one do mini steps all around the Temple and did chanting and meditation with us. He gave Cyril a white band for around his wrist. We had our photo taken with him. We then cycled on the Hot Springs. Cyril was a good cyclist whereas I never cycled - again, the weakest link!
D-Juice: We spent the day d-juicing where we were squeezing the juice out of ourselves and just relaxed. We d-juiced that day.
The next day we went back to Chiang Mai. We met some American and Israeli and hung out with them. We did another bungee jump. Cyril did the jump and you land in the water. I did the catapult where they catapulted me off the ground. You showed me the photo of this and it's great.
We went to the Night Bazaar that night and we bought magic tricks. I think we were probably reading too much Harry Potter but he just wanted to know how to do magic tricks. It was really cool.
We went back to Bangkok. I have written down "Chess Championship". I have no idea what it means. I don't know if we entered into a chess tournament but would be really surprised if we did because neither of us could play chess. We got our Cambodian visa at that stage.
23rd January 2002
We travelled by bus to the Cambodian border. When we arrived over the border the bridge was down and we were stuck for hours on the side of the road. There was lots of traffic all along the dusty road. When we were on the bus the driver told us all about what happened in Cambodia and its history. It was in contrast to Thailand which is a happy world and Cambodia was a total change.
We arrived in ….. The guesthouse was so funny. Cyril went to brush his teeth and brown water came out. It was horrible and we didn't want to wash our teeth in it but we did. We had a look around the town and went down to organise our Ankor Wat passes. Once it was after 5 you could go into Ankor Wat free of charge and watch the sunset. It was just amazing.
We had a three day pass and spent the time going around Ankor and visting all the Temples. We had hired two guys to bring us around on their Mopeds. We had disposable cameras and we had a picnic one day. We didn't make the sunrise. We just couldn't get up out of bed. But we made all the sunsets! We waiting the stairs at Ankor Wat. It was a vertical climb. Rock climbing and mountain climbing would help you to do it. Cyril just booted it up and I was so near the top. Cyril was at the top saying "Jaysus, whatever you do don't look down". Of course I looked down. I nearly fell and was stuck. He got me to get up in the end. I have no idea how he got me up but he did. We went down by the normal stairs.
I made a note of "The Guesthouse Rules". Every guesthouse has rules. At our guesthouse the rules were - "Poisons, weapons, explosives are not allowed in rooms. They should be registered and put under the care of the hotel."
Cyril made a little rhyme -
I am a coconut
I live in a tree
Would you come and pick me
It would make me so happy
The next day we checked out and went to Phnom Penh. We stayed in a Water Guesthouse. The place was full of rats. It was rotten. We actually stayed there even after we discovered the rats and ordered food in the place.
In Phnom Penh we went to see Tung Sleng. It was a school which has been turned into a museum. A lot of people were killed there and they have recorded the genocide that happened there. We also went to the Killing Fields. So Phnom Pen was really a bundle of laughs.
We also went to a shooting range. The guide was driving a Moped and three of us were on it. I just couldn't shoot a gun after seeing all we had during the day. They brought out a menu. It was gun menu! I got some good pictures of Cyril that day.
We enjoyed Phnom Penh and explored the city. We got a boat to ????? and made a stop off at one town where there were rare dolphins. Cyril loved it. From that town we organised a pick-up truck with loads of Cambodian people in it to bring us to Ratnakiei. It was a hellish journey and lasted for hours in the pick-up truck. Our bums were killing us as the roads were just dirt tracks.