Thursday, 3 January 2008

Eastenders come to town!

Last weekend we had some really nice company at home – Preetkamal and Gurcharan are friends from London and they bunked with us for a few days.
Malaysia is just one of their stops; they are in fact on a 6-month backpacking trip round South East Asia!
Hearing their stories made me so envious – doing something like that is on the top 5 of my wish list, only I want to cover Latin America instead. The longest Surabhi and I were on the road for was a month. This is 6 months! Envy envy pure primal animal-like envy! :)
Imagine living out of a little backpack containing only the following: minimal clothes, a pillow case, water purification tablets, flip flops, a Lonely Planet guide (God bless Lonely Planet!), waterless hand cleanser, a good luck charm, train timetables, an insurance policy, a digital camera (totally out of place amongst other meagre posessions!) a secondhand book, pepper spray, a youth discount card, and not much else.
...Sleeping in strange hard/lumpy/springy/saggy alien beds in shared dorms where the women are slappers and the men snore
...Having your passport scrutinised and stamped at a new country every week
...Retracing history through the backdoor alleys of little towns
...Long, long, long dreamy train journeys
...Hauling your backpack around town in blazing heat because your hostel is closed during the siesta hour
...Swapping travel anecdotes (your most prized possesion!) with other skint backpackers
...Learning to say the 3 most important phrases in the local language:
– thank you;
– please; and
– where is the restroom? :p
...Desperately hunting for vegetarian food in the middle of carnivore-ville
...Enduring endless chatter and deafening silences
...Carrying the baggage of time while walking in ancient ruins
...Going into a church to pray because sometimes you simply can’t find a Gurdwara
...Balancing the budget every night and living on bread rolls and sleeping in train stations in order to be able to afford that museum/ opera/ château/ gallery/ cruise/ walking tour/ train ticket/ tacky souvenir
...Getting lost in sleepy little towns because that part is simply not on your map and where no one understands English/ your version of sign language/ your feeble attempt to vocalise the sentences in your phrasebook
Did I mention long train journeys? I LOVE long train journeys!
I have Louis Armstrong in my head...
I’m in Heaven
And my heart beats so
That I can hardly speak
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together
Dancing cheek to cheek
Hmm... maybe the last sentence needs to be adjusted :)
Anyway back to Preet and Gurcharan :p. So far they’ve been to Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Cambodia as well, and from what I’ve heard they’re having a blast!
While in Malaysia they also attended the Samelan – which they declare was an incredible experience. Still, wanting to make sure that they would never never ever forget Malaysia, we decided to treat them to some durians! The results were… erm… well. Perhaps you want to hear about that (and many other travel stories) first hand - by visiting their travel blog!
The next destination is Laos, and they go back to Thailand before heading to their last destination on this trip - India.
One of my backpacking trips led me to discover what the Empress Sissi of Austria once said: Destinations are only desirable because a journey lies in between.
So blog-walk with them and enjoy the ride!


Preet said...

Ah, the first to pop the virginal blog! Am so honoured! Welcome to blog sphere - land where countless hours strangely disappear!

Your dreamy version of backpacking is right on! Although you might want to add "watching out for nutters who try to feed you forbidden fruits!"

Was an absolute pleasure staying with you and your family (including the onslaught with the durians!), memories we will treasure forever. Remember, our doors are always open for you and your wonderful family - plus we'll throw in a 'magical' evening of tastebud torture! :o)
Lots of love
Preet and Gurcharan

g_singh said...

Awwww! How nice! thanks for having us round yours, we had a great time pretending to be part of normal family life after nearly three months!

I have read your description of travelling, it sounds a lot tougher then what we are doing!

But now we are in Laos, just arrived by bus to Vang Vieng- a strange but beautiful town after a few days in Vientiene, which has to be my favorite capital city so far, its so nice and clean, but quiet, with lots of Vegi options for food, which is really cheap!

All the best with the blog, the key is to keep posting, anything will do, but do post!

Gurcharan Singh

P.S. You all are the destroyer of taste buds, and your weapon of choice is the dreaded DURIAN! (Yuk!)

Harkiren Kaur said...

I'm glad the durians left such an unforgettable impression on you both :p

As for the description of travelling, it sounds tougher probably because at that time we were students (read: skint!) and every penny mattered! I guess we were really trying to make sure we did everything we wanted to do and not have any regrets about missing out on any experiences.

Glad you're both loving Laos - sound nice and sleepy and a perfect retreat. Will bookmark it as a future destination :)