Saturday, 17 December 2011

I Just LOVE India

I'm awake early and everyone else is fast asleep...a good chance to catch up with the blog...

'I just LOVE India,' said the 7 year old yesterday, as she got dressed to go out for another plate of shark tikka. Her new ankle chain jangled like sleigh bells, and I smiled as she admired the henna tattoo on her hand for the 40 millionth time. 9 little bangles on her wrist, a bindi dot on her forehead, a lovely necklace and that beautiful dress from Panaji market...'an Indian Princess,' the man at the restaurant had said, kissing her hand.

Its wonderful how both the kids have 'settled in' to the heat, the hustle, the noise, and the smells (not all nice!)
The Ashram. Spot the little white boy!

One of the little lads from the Ashram. He was trying to make one of those spinning toys
We have an Ashram over the wall of our apartment where a load of boys live with one lovely, cheerful lady. We think its some kind of orphanage. Every morning - early - we hear them all getting ready to go off to school. Chattering, laughing, teasing. They're all back in the early afternoon to do jobs and to get showered under one outside tap. They shout for the 10 year old each day at 4pm - 'Tom! Tom! You come now!' He climbs over the wall, ducks under the washing line that groans under the weight of their drying clothes, and they all play - football and cricket. One of the older boys took Tom inside yesterday and showed him round. They have a telly, and they sleep in a dormitory. The lad showed Tom his artwork, and he was very impressed. There never seems to be any trouble there. They live a simple existance, have very little possessions, and yet have the biggest, beaming smiles.

It is Saturday today. When everyone is up and ready, we're planning to catch the bus to the ferry and sail across to Panaji again. Our mission? Haircuts for the scarecrow boys. Last year, they both had a haircut there in an amazing little sidestreet 'hair saloon.' We ALL ended up having Indian head massages. Eddie and I also had our faces covered in a green cream which left our skin feeling lovely and soft. It was a brilliant experience, so we're off to see if we can find the same place again...

I just LOVE India! :-)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Indiahhhhhh (not Windermere!!)

Panaji market. A people watching paradise, and a glorious feast of colour.
When John the posty handed me the visas it was like the weight of the entire Indian High Commission building lifting off my shoulders. We were going. The holiday was on.

And we are here. Visas in our hands, no puking on the plane, no snow...

We're back in the same place as last year. It is hot, the skies are blue and there is the unmistakable smell of India in the air. Spices, incense, woodsmoke.

Since we got here, Eddie has slept a million hours. Whilst the mesh doors keep the mozzies out, all his stresses and worries are escaping as he sleeps. This is what a holiday does to him - especially a holiday in India. He is becoming soooo much more relaxed.

So we aint done an awful lot up to now. Whilst Eddie has given it big Zeds, me and the kids have had a whole swimming pool to ourselves. T has made friends with a gang of lads from an Ashram (which we think is an orphanage) over the wall of the apartment, and has been playing footy and cricket in the shade of the tall green trees.

In the late afternoons, as the heat from the sun subsides, we either make our way down to the beach or the football field and join in the many games of football and cricket with all the local lads we met out here last year. T has been so pleased to find them all again. And L has enjoyed showing off her new Corbridge United footy skills.

We have eaten well. Toast, bananas, and spicy snacks through the day, and big Indian feasts at night in the many lovely restaurants.

Today, we ventured out to Panaji market, drank in the wonderful colours and watched the hustle and bustle in this amazing little place. T even tried his hand at a bit of bargaining with a banana lady. She thought he was lush (but didn't let him get away with a bargain!)

He tried again later with a tuk tuk man....'how much to Candolim?' he asked, '250 rupees' came the reply.
'Yeh that's fine,' he said without hesitation. Eddie cringed. 'Why didn't you say 200?' 'Because 250 is a fair price,' said the 10 year old confidently. (He'd also chosen the old geezer which meant that he must have been a good driver as he was still alive - so I was happy!)

More adventures beckon - Anjuna, Mapusa, elephants, crocodiles...but for now I'm signing out. Hot and sweaty, but completely chilled...:-)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Liza Goes to Windermere

I've discovered that the best thing to do for me in a waiting room is to write. It takes my mind off things, it keeps me busy and I love writing so much that even after a long wait I tut when they finally call my name - especially if I was in the middle of a sentence.
It was my 6 monthly check at the oncology department today. I went, armed with writing materials...

It's deathly quiet.

The posters on the walls are the same as they were 2 years ago - 'catch it, bin it, kill it.'

The leaflets are the same - 'are you worried about cancer...' 'Cancer, the facts...'

The faces are different, but the expressions are the same. Tired, pale, worried.

The doctors come out and shout (and I mean SHOUT the names of their patients.) Last time I was here, the nice Indian doctor whispered my name. It took 3 goes before I heard him. Maybe its my fault that they all now SHOUT.

I've just noticed some colour. Some artwork on the wall - greens, yellows, blues. A bit of sunshine to brighten the gloom.

I can't believe it's two years. Sometimes we say 'God - it only feels like 5 minutes ago since...' But with this, it feels like a lifetime ago. Like it never even happened.

There's conversation now. A few more people have arrived, and there's some chat - but mostly there's silence - exchanged glances, sympathetic smiles, sighs.

One of the male nurses comes out. He looks as scary as hell. He's a tall, thin baldy fella with a permanent frown that frightens you to death. He's always here. I've just seen him laugh for the first time. He's sitting with a patient and cheering her up. Looks can be deceiving. He looks so nice when he laughs.

I wonder if I'll see the 'main man' today, or one of his little helpers. The Indian guy was lovely. He smelt of spices and I had wanted to ask him all about India. If I see him again this time, then maybe I will.

There's an old dad just come out with his wife and daughter. The wife is biting the inside of her cheek, trying to look brave. The daughter has been crying.

Come on, call my name now.

The room is filling up now. Mostly oldies. A sea of white heads with a couple of baldy ones covered with brightly coloured hats. I seem to be the only young'un.

2 wifies have struck up a conversation. They're sitting miles apart and talking so loudly that everyone else is looking up and listening. They're comparing notes on treatment, hair loss, hair dyes, lymph nodes, lumps...

30 minutes late now. Come on, shout my name.

A doctor yells, 'Margaret somethingorother.' She leaps off her seat - more from the fright of hearing her name said so loudly. Everyone has been called Margaret today. Seriously - she was the 4th Margaret. Amazing.

A male nurse comes out and shouts 'Liza Scott,' as in Liza Doolittle, as in 'Liza that rhymes with Tizer.' I actually laugh out loud because it sounds so funny. He looks at me strangely, saying 'this way Liza.' I chuckle again, and don't correct him. I like being Liza here. It makes it even more unreal - like I'm just acting in a play.

I get to see the main man. The man with the big bushy beard and the white hair. I think briefly that he should have a sign on the door saying 'Mr B's grotto.'

I'm in for 5 minutes. He does his inspection, has a little chat and I tell him I'm going to India on Friday.

'Ooh,' he replies, 'I think there's snow forecast there next week.'

'Eh?' I say, 'Snow in Goa?'

He laughs. 'Ohhhhh, India!' he exclaims, 'I thought you said Windermere!'

We both laugh. He tells me I'm fine, have a great time, and he'll see me in another 6 months.

I book my appointment for June, thank the receptionist very much, buy a little Charlie Cancer Bear in the shop, then get the hell out of there.

Happy Christmas everyone :-)

Liza and her family - soon to be enjoying the 30 degree sunshine of Windiamere