Saturday, 21 June 2014

fifteen months.

Today was my fifteen month 'awayaversary'. Which means 15 months of no Saturday morning coffees with my BFF, 15 months of amazing new people and places and experiences and 15 months of wearing variations of the same 10 or 12 items of clothing that I have stuffed in my backpack (so they smell bad too). Seriously, I hardly even notice what I put on in the mornings now- if it is hole-free and doesn't have stains on it, it is my outfit for the day. So you can imagine the excited anticipation with which I await the arrival of a care package from home containing cheese, knitting needles (Will has a beanie to finish) and different clothes! And possibly even better than the thought that soon I will have a new selection of clean, rumple-free fancies to dress up in is the fact that they are being delivered personally by my mum. New clothes and a family reunion- what could be better? 

In my giddy excitement I decided that I shouldn't be the only one who gets to dress up in something new and gave wander with me her first makeover in...ever. I hope you like it. 

Other than blogstyling and planning Indian coffee dates with my mum, Will and I have been living the high life in the Indian jungle ever since leaving the farm a couple of weeks ago. We were couchsurfing/volunteering (but not really because we did nothing) with an incredibly hospitable English expat who lives in a tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu. 
 This was the view from the left side of the roof on his wonderfully airy house...

and this was the view from the right. Pretty nice spot he has there.

Apart from admiring the view we did (some) other things at Johnnie's place. Like cancel out all the physical work we did at the farm by scoffing so much home-made pasta, freshly baked bread, date-banana bread and entirely-home-made-even-the-cheese passionfruit cheesecake (I may have got a little over-excited at the presence of an oven) and drinking so many rum and cokes. And we swam in the pool and chatted to  Johnnie's elderly parents about living in India. 
And on a trip to the shops one day we saw twelve wild elephants. This little guy was just outside the car window, about a metre away. You would not want to be caught walking alone on this road...

And, most importantly, this is where we did our relaxing. Relaxing is a very important part of life you know.

We occasionally roused ourselves from catatonia to go into the nearby town for supplies. We saw this and decided the amazing packaging was well worth the $4 the packet cost. I'll give you a million dollars if you can guess what's inside...

We went for a wander one day and stumbled upon this colourful little temple. We couldn't decide if it was a tree growing around a temple or a temple built around a tree. Though considering the size of the tree, I would be inclined to go with the latter. Will walked along this path alone one afternoon- I was baking or sleeping or secretly eating cheesecake- and  eventually found himself in the forest. The forest that we had very recently been told hides an enormous wild elephant population, at least 100 Bengal tigers and bison and panthers and probably lots of other jungle creatures. Because of this, Will thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to get up close and nearly dead with some wild animals without a jeep, a guide or a cautious girlfriend. He thought it would be fine, as he told me sheepishly later: 

"I figured that I would keep walking til I saw an elephant, then turn around and go back. I forgot they aren't stationary." 

He lived to eat another slice of cheesecake, obviously, but it could have turned out very differently. When he came wandering back to the house hours after he left, he  told me the story of his walk. Of how he spooked a wild boar then came face to face with a bison (like a bull on steroids with horns the length of arms that could gore you to death with a single manouvre) and had to scramble to safety in a nearby Bodhi tree. Of how when he climbed back down the tree he followed the path to the river and saw an elephant bathing and just as he decided he was satisfied with this show and turned to leave he heard an ominous trumpet in the jungle behind him and realised he was stuck between two wild elephants and he really liked living. Of how he tried several times to get out of the jungle but he kept running into the elephants and subsequently clambering up his Bodhi tree in terror. And of how he finally escaped, by slowly walking up behind the elephant then briskly marching past, his face averted, pretending he couldn't see it- as you might do in the street when walking towards an acquaintance you really don't want to chat with. He told me this and I realised I would never be taking him on safari in fact even Monarto may be unwise.

On a lighter, less my-boyfriend-came-very-close-to-being-trampled-to-death-in-the-jungle note, these are some of the very fine products you can purchase in India:

Your eyes do not deceive you; it is indeed a padlock and a firework endorsed by the biggest Nazi of them all. And a sanctimonious box of incense, just for good measure. 
Oh India, you crazy thang.

p.s. the beautifully packaged package contains 400 handrolled Indian cigarettes, wrapped in leaf and tied in thread, called beedis. Did you guess it?

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