Monthly Archives: July 2012

Day 3: things are starting to be exciting

I’m already starting to feel settled in this place. Yesterday I went and bought a whole bunch of local outfits to blend in.

Today I learnt that ‘Namaste’ (how to say hello, good bye and thank you) means ‘the divine light in me recognises the divine light within you’ and for this soul reason I have decided that if a country can have a greeting like that – it’s definitely worth the extra time and for that I’m very glad that this was one of my first stops in the round the world trip!

Jov and I also met a British girl, Liz, who also happens to be going to the ashram. I’m learning the art of battering better and NOT getting ripped off and learning many little handy tips. I thought I would share the cleverest tips I’ve learnt so far:
1. Battering with the rickshaw driver is not only a manner of getting the price down – it also helps determining whether or not the driver is drunk. If drunk – DO NOT DRIVE WITH HIM!!! The traffic and roads are scary enough.

2. Talk to the locals – have been sent to 2 very awesome local restaurants – ‘The old Indian coffee house’ and ‘The Regency hotel restaurant’

3. You should batter with the hotel owner/ manager for the rate of the hotel (who knew).

I owe most of these tips to Liz… Very very grateful to have met her!

So while I have Internet I thought I would give a quick breakdown as to what lies ahead in ashram life, as I will be out of contact for that.

Basic Ashram Schedule

0520 hrs WAKE UP BELL
0600 hrs SATSANG
0730 hrs TEA TIME
0800 hrs ASANA CLASS
1000 hrs BRUNCH
1100 hrs KARMA YOGA
1230 hrs COACHING CLASS (optional)
1330 hrs TEA TIME
1400 hrs LECTURE
1600 hrs ASANA CLASS
1800 hrs DINNER
2000 hrs SATSANG
2200 hrs LIGHTS OUT

I am also planning on doing a Panchakarma Detoxification Program. Panchakarma means ‘five treatments’ to remove toxins from the body and to support the natural rhythms of the body. It is a minimum of 14 days preventive and/or curative treatment to detoxify and cleanse the body and mind.

For now I know that 2 of the treatments are massages (YES PLEASE) and enema’s (um… Ja… Will report back on that one). But it should be good and I’m pretty excited.

So until I have Internet signal again… Namaste

Categories: India | Tags: , | 1 Comment

An introduction to India

Sitting on the plane I watched “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and while watching it, the thought struck me that if I told my family to watch it, it might cause more panic than anything else. However I highly recommend this movie – was such an awesome intro into what to expect. My dad has already asked me not to do any traveling by my myself and always stay with my travel companion – however anyone who knows me, knows I’m not very good with authority so “I’ll try dad” was all I could muster.

I happened to break the ‘no traveling alone rule’ within my first 30 minutes of being in India. Arriving at the airport, I looked around for the domestic arrival times so to know what time Jov would be in, only to be told that the ‘domestic’ airport is “some 6 to 7 kilometers away, madam” (in the typical accent you always think an Indian is going to sound like) with the gentleman wagging his head in a manner I had read about in books. HELLO India – can feel that I’m going to love this place already!

I asked a very friendly Indian woman inside the airport if I could walk there and she said it was better to take a rickshaw (which according to my guidebook should cost 40 rupees but the driver told me it would be 200). I managed to batter the driver down, but on route it occurred to me that I was traveling alone and would not know any better if he wasn’t taking me to the airport. So calmly I told him that if he got me to the airport quickly I would pay full fare. My god, the head can do crazy things to us sometimes. In hind sight – that was an uber stupid thing to do as I was told the ride should have cost me 30 rupees max – but you live and learn.

My flight over was relatively normal except for the Indian leg of it – where local Indian sitting next to me stared at me for 4 straight hours. You know those stares that even if you stare back, the person doesn’t look away… Hahaha awkward.

“Can there be anywhere else in the world that can be such an assault on the senses?”
-The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
And I happen to think she’s right. From the little time that I’ve been here, the colour; smells; sights and people are totally different to anything I have ever experienced. The landscape reminds me a little of Mozambique, but that must just be because of the millions of palm trees and the tropical climate. I’m starting to question my reasoning behind coming here… I know it’s day 1, but I cannot understand the language, waiting at the local airport for Jov and keep getting stared at! However it’s only day 1 and I’m sure once I get the hang of this place, I will start to settle down.

Today Thiruvananthapuram (a mouthful to pronounce so the English name is Trivanandrum)… And who knows where tomorrow!

Categories: India | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Things I won’t forget: Put Foot Rally 2012

It feels like I’m living a dream at the moment. I had wished to have a break from work, from life, from relationships and now that I’m on this amazing trip of a life time – it feels surreal.

Traveling with Ange, in Legend (her bakkie), meeting more people than I’ve met in the last few years. The funny thing is that we’re all in the same space of our lives – looking for meaning, looking for passion and just having fun while we’re at it.

Thing I won’t forget:
1. Being on the road for multiple amazing African sunrises and 2 incredible sunsets.

2. The feeling of cracked heals, hardened by years of walking barefoot to and from school, to and from fetching clean water miles away from their homes and to and from the nearest town in order to get the bare essentials necessary for survival. Putting clean socks onto these dusty cracked heals made me want to cry and hug the child all at once. I will never forget seeing purity in these kids eyes, purity and gratitude – something I forget about when life gets busy or when I don’t get what I want. I will not forget to be grateful for at least ONE thing a day in my life going forward. The shoe drop taught me that you don’t need much for happiness, the children taught me that by giving you get so much more in return.

3. “Are you going going hunting?”
“Yip, adventure hunting!”
And we did Ange!! We definitely did!

4. At a road block in Namibia, a cops question to Ange was “Where’s your license? You going on holiday? Where’s your husband?”. The last question was said with such confusion on the cops face. Ange’s response was “Shit I don’t need a husband to go on holiday!”. This seemed to confuse the poor traffic cop more and with a very perplexed look on his face he sent us on our way – welcome to the 1920s – hahahahahahahaha

5. Meeting Tersius in Namibia –
“Hulle veet nie wat is kak nie, I was born in Namibbbbbbbbia”. This was just an example of one of the funny things he said… Ters – you were a treat on the rally! You made Ange and I laugh often and from the bottom of our tummies!!!

6. YES there is a time difference in Namibia.

7. Rally saying:

“Raak betrokke vok…”

8. According to a reputable guidebook, the 28th of June is ‘Bang a local day’ in Zambia. Don’t worry dad I know better than that – but it was good for a few laughs with ‘Better the Globe’.

Things I recommend for Africa:
1. Forex for all the countries you are going to visit (or just know what the rate is).

2. GPS (preferably one that doesn’t take you off the main road and onto a small dodgy dirt road – quickest route my arse) or a good map.

3. An iTrip for your iPod. Epic fail leaving it behind – but the 10 CDs we had were a blessing (Kings of Leon rock). Luckily we won (aka stole) one along the way from another team.

4. A polaroid camera. When/ if you stop off at local villages the kids always ask for photos of themselves. It would have been awesome being able to give them a memory of themselves at their current age.

5. A whole load of PATIENCE, passion for Africa and the ability to laugh at yourself… Other than that – pack your car, take your passport and hit the road. It is one of the best adventures you will EVER have.

20120728-132056.jpg

20120728-132106.jpg

20120728-132128.jpg

20120728-132201.jpg

20120728-132225.jpg

Categories: Put Foot Rally | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Day 17: FINISH LINE

20120728-131542.jpg

20120728-131830.jpg

Final checkpoint party was at the white sands lodge and camp site near Barra. It was so so beautiful and right on the end of the land sticking out (that makes absolutely no sense to me either – but my brain is fried from the R&R’s and im struggling to think of the right words to describe it!). You kinda do need a 4×4 for this part of Africa as the campsite gets surrounded by water when high tide hits. Lucky for some though – there were other 4x4s to tow stuck vehicles to safety.

I was very sad to make it to the end of this rally… And because I’m busy choking up I’ll leave you with some pics.

I do realize that I have been vague with the route and the names of towns/ cities we passed – so if you’re the type who likes to know names – please check out http://www.putfootrally.com

20120728-131558.jpg

20120728-131615.jpg

20120728-131637.jpg

20120728-131656.jpg

20120728-131709.jpg

20120728-131730.jpg

20120728-131748.jpg

20120728-131809.jpg

20120728-131848.jpg

Categories: Put Foot Rally | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Day 15 and 16: Vilanculos wonders

Finally day 15 – Hello Vilanculos!! It’s awesome how beautiful and amazing this seaside town can be.

We arrived, put our bags in our very awesome rooms (yes we lodged again). Dakin commented that our trip has become a little more of a princess tour – but I think for first time camping we’re doing pretty well with a ratio of 1:1 camping to lodging.

Mozambique is picture perfect, with colourful dhows in the water, amazing sunsets and a BEACH, so off to the beach we went! We pub crawled around Vilanculos with ‘Kif and A’rus’ and ‘Better the Globe’- Cabah, Mozi bar and Smugglers. I’m loving these impromptu checkpoint parties. We were celebrating the American independence day – and instead of hotdogs Ange and I insisted on boerie rolls. I don’t think they went down as well as planned but it was fun nevertheless.

At Smugglers I met a bunch of random people who were taking a dhow out to a island for a day of snorkeling and it’s something I really recommend you do. Our only problem was the dhow driver was set to African time, which meant a late set off time and thus we kept getting stuck on sand banks. But we got there eventually!

I could very easily spend the rest of my life in Vilanculos. The people are friendly, beach really awesome and R&R’s flow easy, but be warned the tipantinto (Mozi rum) is lethal and you will wake up with a massive hangover/ headache if you join that train:)

20120728-130925.jpg

20120728-130942.jpg

20120728-130953.jpg

20120728-131006.jpg

20120728-131025.jpg

20120728-131039.jpg

20120728-131122.jpg

20120728-131105.jpg

20120728-131140.jpg

20120728-131153.jpg

Categories: Put Foot Rally | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Day 14: Mozam here we come

Today I’m exhausted! 5278km down, 6 checkpoint parties in and a body that is in huge need of a detox.

We have one checkpoint party left in 3 days time, and I’m hoping to get some relax time down over the next few days.

It has been an amazing adventure over the last 2 weeks though.

Mozam transit days… Why I love mozam –
1. Driving past kids washing themselves with rocks right next to the road. I get that this sounds a little strange – but I’m using it to show how open and free Mozam is as a country.

2. Feel an amazing vibe of the country – sun, sea, beach sand, R&Rs – what more do you need?

3. Getting lost in Tete trying to find Cafe Pino (the guide book said it was a must). Turns out it was actually called Club Pino, which we pulled into for some beers and pizza with another team.

4. Watching kids pumping water into water cans in their villages which are right next to the road

5. Border control – biggest no mans land ever! I kept telling Ange to turn back because I was worried we weren’t going to get our passports stamped. Turns out that there is a whole village of people living in this 20km of no mans lands.

6. National animal of Mozambique are rolled over/ broken down trucks, and even though these aren’t pretty – it makes for a pretty interesting sight.

We drove late into the night to Chimoio, 3 vehicles in convoy – lead by ‘Better the Globe’ and meeting new awesome people from ‘Kif + the Aru’s’. It was amazing that every village we drove past were having a massive party next to the road and outside the local bar with locals dancing next to the road. There was no electricity – I could just make out what was happening by the fires that were burning besides the dancing crowd. This is Africa, these are her people who are living together, happily and with passion.

We finally made it to Chimoio and I was doing the nodding off panda for the last 2 hours of the trip – how Ange got us there safely I will never know!

20120727-173837.jpg

Categories: Put Foot Rally | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Day 13: I Heart Malawi

20120727-172626.jpg

Random things you didn’t know about Malawi:
1. You get bicycle taxis where a person sits on the back of the bike in the bag carrier part. If the driver gets stuck in sand (which is a big possibility due to the seasand of the lake being everywhere) he’ll make the passenger get of and walk until the sand is firmer.

2. You also have bicycle ambulances for the rainy season due to the sand becoming to thick for vehicles to get into the villages. I am still trying to visualize how this works.

3. Lake Malawi is one of the rare freshwater lakes in the world where tropical fish can be found.

I spent the day in my cozi, tanning around the pool, doing yoga (admitantly after a few beers which meant my balance was a bit off), watched another incredible sunset and had a RAD Full-moon party (which was pretty ridic).

Malawi is definitely a country I will come back to – and SOON!!

20120727-172719.jpg

20120727-172701.jpg

20120727-172653.jpg

20120727-172819.jpg

20120727-172802.jpg

20120727-172640.jpg

Categories: Put Foot Rally | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Day 11 and 12: Malawi

Zambia was really the most entertaining, but definitely my least favourite when it comes to authorities. We crossed back into Zambia from Zim to get to Malawi and en route were pulled over by a traffic officer for ‘dangerous driving’ and here is the story…

Driving towards Lusaka, we were faced with the dilemma of a broken down truck in the middle of the road. This meant that in order to proceed with our trip, we would need to overtake this stationery truck on a solid line, and within 100 meters of this happening, we were stopped by a traffic officer. When we mentioned the truck to the officer, her response was “what truck?” and ordered us to pay a fine of 275,000 Kwatcha. Unfortunately between “Better the globe” and “Love and a 1/2” we only had 105,000 Kwatcha which she decided she would accept until she head an American accent from “Better the Globe”. At this point the dollar signs in her eyes were visable and the fine was getting larger and larger. Luckily for Ange and her ‘don’t take shit or prisoners’ attitude with Zambian officials – this was quickly resolved by her saying “LOOK! They’re with us, we don’t have anymore money and you aren’t giving us a receipt!’ and we were on our way again… Sometimes it is necessary to be stern in Africa – and I am grateful we didn’t spend anytime in an African jail.

1 km further down the road the Catholic congregation were performing a fund raiser in the MIDDLE of the highway. TIA (This Is Africa)… And all I could do was laugh – but we kept to our course – passed them and headed further down our road for a spot of lunch in Lusaka.

NOTE TO SELF – if traveling to Malawi from Lusaka, stop off for fuel as you will not find a petrol station for kilometers and kilometers after that (thank the pope for jericans).

Finally we made it to Malawi… It’s amazing how just by crossing a border the countries uniqueness can be seen IMMEDIATELY!

Malawi – the country of old school bicycles. Millions and millions of old school bicycles.

Day 12 will be remembered as having seen one of the MOST incredible sunsets of my life over the lake, with friends, a cold beer and some sand in my shoes – WOW!!!

More laughs – this time because Luke realized his ‘malaria pills’ were actually diarrhea pills and he was now able to explain why his stomach had been acting out (no Luke – it was not because of the ice).

We decided that it was time to lodge. I was in need of a good sleep in a bed and ended up passing out before room service arrived.

Categories: Put Foot Rally | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Day 10: celebrating life Checkpoint party!

20120727-172036.jpg

Ange and I were up at the crack of dawn. I’m starting to learn what that saying actually means!! On the road towards another border crossing to Kariba, Zimbabwe. After yesterday event, Ange is partially deaf and feels like she has a river swishing around in her head. I really hope this passes for her sake – I’ve succumbed to shouting in her ears when we talk.

After the last few border crossing Ange has taken on a new stance to officials – completely relaxed and non-committal to anything (especially bribery and corruption). At the border, Interpol (whose office is located under a Zimbabwean tree – literally a desk under a tree) informed us that due to the fact that we didn’t have the correct police clearance certificate they were sure we could not enter into Zim (aka if you take me around the corner and give me $10 I am sure that entry would be allowed). Ange, not having anymore of this, calmly walked away back to the bakkie to do make-up.

A few minutes later another team who were also trying to cross over, lost the plot with the Zimbabwean Interpol and was running around the car park shouting “you want me to bribe YOU? I am not corrupt, you are corrupt!!”. He stormed off, got into his car, slammed the door, spun his car around and sped off back towards Zambia. What a blessing in disguise… Within minutes the officials walked up to our car, stamped the gate pass and off we were to the Zim checkpoint party – no bribery needed.

We arrived at our campsite which was right next to lake Kariba. The next thing we knew there were hippos in the camp and we received a stern warning from the organizers to carry tourches with us as hippos and crocs frequented the camp often, with 3 people being eaten in the last month – GREAT! I choose life – so made sure not to have the drunken swim I like having after one too many…

The check point party ‘Ai Kariba Kariba’ was quieter than the others – mainly due to border issues other teams faced and visa requirements for internationals to get into the country. But we still had a fun party.

20120727-171817.jpg

20120727-172025.jpg

20120727-171951.jpg

20120727-171935.jpg

20120727-171922.jpg

20120727-171911.jpg

20120727-171856.jpg

20120727-171845.jpg

20120727-171825.jpg

Categories: Put Foot Rally | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Day 9: Africa is NOT for sissies

20120727-171051.jpg

Today Ange and I hit white river rafting. Our thinking was that the trip only left at 10 so we strolled into reception at 9AM (still in our party gear from the night before) and were told that the truck was already packed and we had 5 minutes to get changed…

Making a dash with inadequate clothes on and NO sunscreen, we just just made the truck leaving. Spirits were high and Ange and I were apprehensive but excited.

We were dropped off at the top of a very high gorge, met our international team (2 Aussies and 2 Americans) and climbed down on the worlds shakiest makeshift wooden ladder (my thighs burnt like mad and I was stiff for days after that – hehe). Voster, our guide, gave us a quick crash course in what to expect and we were off. After hitting 5 rapids, Ange mentioned that our rafting had been fairly tame, and then we hit Terminator 2… I would give it a drumroll or a da-dum da-dum like the jaws soundtrack, but I won’t. Instead I’ll give you a photo by photo take on what happened!

Back in the boat again, this time not feeling as cocksure as before, we were off again to take on the river.

Next thing we knew there was a red boat capsized in front of ours, going through a rapid at pace and before we knew it we were swept off the boat and into the massive rapid. The team was immediately split up, with myself and Adam being swept swiftly into a whirlpool and Angie no where to be seen. Adam managed to pull me out of the whirlpool (for that I was very grateful – sucked a mass of water through my nose) and we were immediately en route for another rapid without the safety of our boat. A kayak paddled to us quickly trying to get us to a boat, and while Adam managed to hang onto a boat down the rapid – I was less fortunate. Oblivion was the rapids name and that’s nearly where I sent the kayaker. I panicked and wouldn’t let go of the kayak, but unbeknown to me – the kayak was upside down and the kayaker couldn’t turn it over with me clinging to it. Babyface, adventure captain, kayaked over to me trying to get me off the kayak and out of the rapid. I honestly thought he was going to smack me in the face with his ore – but he didn’t (I would have been less nice to me if someone was drowning one of my teammates). I have never swallowed as much water as I did today.

Finally on the safety of my own boat I started looking around for Ange, and then I saw a boat in the distance with the occupants all standing up. You know that feeling where you know something horrible has just happened and you know that it’s Ange on that boat and there is nothing you can do? As we neared the boat I saw Babyface on the boat, Ange lying with her life vest off and eyes glazed over. PANIC!!

Babyface saw there was a problem when we fell off the boat and tried to get to Ange. He was about 50 meters away from her when she got sucked under by a rapid and finally popped up 50 meters in the other direction, having taken on more water her body could handle. She was dazzled and totally not there by the time I got to her boat, and I was very worried that we had lost Ange to the river.

The aim for the next 5 rapids was to get Ange off the water and to safety. And that’s what Voster did… We took the rapids easily (although everyone seemed like a massive mountain to poor Ange).

Finally back at the lodge, Ange was woman down and slept for the rest of the day. I’m hoping her hearing will be back to normal soon… Time will tell.

Ange, bruised and battered, found a letter from Masters under our windscreen wiper which made our day happy again. His message was to ‘Raak betrokke’.

20120727-171106.jpg

20120727-171127.jpg

Categories: Put Foot Rally | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.