Leaving Mwandi

12 June 2015

Two weeks have shot by, and the time has come to leave the wonderful village of Mwandi.

Since Will and Becca arrived, we’ve been at a new stage on the house building- throwing!

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So we can get the walls of the house from this:

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To this:

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So, that’s what I did up until yesterday, but  I used the today to get my bags backed ready to head off to Botswana tomorrow!

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The Flight to Zambia

Monday 25 May 2015

Having had a tremendously exhausting weekend and only 4 hours sleep, this has to be the sleepiest I have ever been at the start of travelling. I don’t even remember checking in!

I do remember Gary, the lovely helpful taxi driver, walking into the airport with me without prompt and showing me exactly where I needed to go for what, and even recommending I go upstairs to the Whimpey’s for breakfast before going through security where I can watch the planes on the runway from the window. A fine idea, which I absolutely went along with!

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I treated myself to a little Cappuccino Muffin and a Chocolate Milk here, only to have the common sense click that the airport had only just opened when I arrived, and my flight would be the first to leave. Therefore, there was nothing of interest happening on the runway at this time.

Once crossing through security, I immediately regretted my decision to go to Whimpey’s for seeing a Mugg and Bean café here in departures! Oh, Mugg and Bean! This might just be my last time to have you, and I’ve wasted it!

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Monkey Business

17 May 2015

With one week to go, I’m pretty excited to leave Kwantu and getting going to Zambia- particularly after receiving communication about the kind of charity work I’ll be doing there and what I can expect from the itinerary!

It occurred to me that, over the two months I’ve been here, I’ve probably obtained a lot of things not all of which need to stay with me. So I used this morning as an opportunity to have a “practise pack”.

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Ah. Where to begin.

Luckily, Sofia came to the rescue halfway through this quest (which, I’m pleased to say, found success in the end) with an outrageously delicious sandwich of ham, tomato and lettuce, secured in perfect harmony with melted cheese, lightly spiced and with a smoked garlic and rosemary olive oil drizzle…

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Sofia bought these ingredients yesterday and has been excited every moment since about the prospect of a week of making herself tasty sandwiches!

All I can say is, thank goodness she got one out of it, because less than an hour later a monkey broke in and stole her precious bread!!

I couldn’t believe my eyes as she went to the extent of chasing him down the road in an attempt to get it back! But then… It was a very tasty sandwich…

Lauren and Sofia’s Grand Day Out

30 April 2015

Today was a very exciting day indeed! The day of the night that we travel to Cape Town!

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As our bus was not due to leave until 21:30, selected with the intention to sleep more or less the entire journey, Sofia and I decided it wise to fill the day with lots of eating and walking around- the best way to get sleepy. What better place for this than Port Elizabeth’s Green Acres Mall!

We began with a very hearty lunch at Mugg & Bean, a lovely Restaurant/Café chaining starting up here. They provided us with delicious iced teas and coffees

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The Flight to South Africa

Monday 30th March

After leaving the lovely Coconut Creek hotel, I arrived at Goa Airport with plenty of time until my flight… This is one boring airport! I would suggest cutting it fine rather than leaving time for flights from here, lest you die of boredom.

This flight was my first experience of dealing with flight changes in order to reach my destination. I had no shame in hiding my inexperience in this area, and continuously act officials for information in a step by step manner! So, as instructed, when I arrived at Mumbai Airport I headed for the International Transfers section

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Here, I presented my ticket and passport, and was assured once again that my luggage was being transferred to my flight and that I didn’t need to worry about collecting it. I then boarded a bus to take me to the Departures section of the airport. It took so long, I started to worry at one point that I wasn’t on an airport bus at all and was perhaps heading to some hotel somewhere! I mean, no airport is this big… But then I discovered…

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Time to say goodbye…

28 March 2015

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Since say farewell to my fellow tourists and volunteers on Thursday, I must confess to having lived in luxury since at The Coconut Creek hotel in the Bogmolor region of Goa. Here, I have indulged in pork chops, and massage, a bubble bath and even a pedicure!! I am human again, and ready to take on my next stop… South Africa!

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India really has been a fascinating place. I would definitely like to return here again soon, ideally with people who have never experienced this country, so I can have the opportunity to introduce someone to all the sites and flavours I’ve experienced this last month!

Here’s a brief piece of advice I can pass on following my experience.

1. Don’t ask questions. Just accept that you’ll never know exactly what’s going on, but you’ll always have a rough idea.

2. Every post office has a different rule. There’s a complete lack of consistency here! My favourite by far has to be the Goan post office that insisted my packages my be wrapped in white cloth, and sent me to his friend the tailor just a few doors down… In no way a coincidence, I’m sure. But it was an additional cost of R150 (about £1.50) and I must admit, they looked rather charming sewn perfectly into white cloth, so… Just go with it!

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3. If you are in Delhi, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE SHOP IN A STORE CALLED THE DELHI HUT. They will go out of their way to rip you off. They charge R2500 minimum from a saari (you can get this easily for R300) and will even go as far as to misquote you, then stick another zero on the end when swiping your card. Con artists, the lot of them!

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DO NOT GO HERE!

4. Always ask questions, particularly to locals where possible. You’d be amazed what you can learn!

5. Use your head. Don’t be stupid.

Namaste, India!

See you soon!

xx

Welcome to Paradise.

Sunday 22nd March

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Goa is a wonderful place! The people are more friendly, it’s more diverse and extremely hot! We’ve had a welcome weekend to be as lazy as we like (no temples, no mountain climbs, nothing!!) so have been spending almost 24 hours a day on Majorda Beach eating at Mishmar’s. The food here is delicious, and I’ve been particularly impressed by all the variety of fish caught right here each morning!

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 Talk about fresh!

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So far I’ve indulged in a variety of delights

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The famous and coveted Goan Fish Curry is something I’ve been excited to try for a while, and it didn’t disappoint! I loved every mouthful!

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Now to work on charming the recipe out of them.

Tomorrow begins our volunteering. We’re all going separate ways on different projects this time, and I will be working in The Fisherman’s Village in Colva, teaching the children while the parents work. I’m a little nervous after my last experience of this in Jaipur, but let’s see how it goes!

Here I Goa!

Friday 20th March

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After a chilly week in beautiful Palampur, it’s time for some sun! We’re now on our way to Goa, where we’ll have a few days of free time, then will be spending the rest of the week volunteering before going our separate ways at the end of the week. Only two hours and 15 minutes of flying and then I’m getting my sun blanket on…

Camels and Camping

05 March 2015

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This day has held very many firsts for me!

We took the bus 3 hours from Jaipur to Pushkar, a small holy town effectively consisting of only one street running right the way through with market stalls and a great temple in the centre, and a Holy Lake where the people go to pray.

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We were first taken through an example of prayer, which culminated in a wish for our loved ones, and throwing flowers to the river to seal the wish.

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We then briefly explored the market and temples, but kept it quick as the town was all a hustle and bustle in preparation for tomorrow’s annual Holi Festival, which will take place all over India!

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So we grabbed a quick spot of lunch overlooking the beautiful Holy Lake

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Before heading off on our adventure!

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We took a camel ride, two and a half hours right through Pushkar’s Thar Desert, taking us past beautiful hills and mountains.

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I absolutely loved this! Considering I’ve never so much as rode a horse, it was very new and… bumpy! And my camel was a little naughty, more interested in talking to other camels than walking anywhere, but I loved him all the more for it!

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Finally, we arrived at our destination. Camp! Again, other than a night in mum and dad’s back garden with my sister, something I have never done before! We got there just in time to witness a serene desert sunset

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Before tucking in to some chicken and paneer tikka skewers.

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Mmmmm.

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Since then, we’ve all been relaxing together around the campfire. But now, at 10:00, the time has come to get a reasonably early night, (in a tent that, by the way, is held up by bamboo) as we need to make a sharp start tomorrow at 5:30, in order to be back to the bus in Pushkar and return to Jaipur in good time to beat the Holi Festival traffic.

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Night!