Date: 24 April
Location: my favourite seat on the bus, somewhere on the Malabar coast near Alleppey (now Alappuhza)
Notable sightings: first glimpses of the famous Kerala backwaters from the bus
Because my bitchy side refuses to contained, more on my travel group.
Battle lines have been drawn.
Team Puff, so named for their not so cute habit of holding everyone up with their nicotine addictions, have fallen out of favour. Consisting of a Welsh, liposuctioned and botoxed widow; a bottle blonde Londoner who rambles around India in high heeled thongs and didn't bring a single pair of pants and a rather nice older South Yarra gent of uncertain sexual orientation, Team Puff does not like vigorous activity, being unable to smoke or being deprived of beers for any extended period.
On the other team, we have The Adults: two plain-spoken Aussie farmers from NSW, the cool Victorian coupe who are spending their retirement building houses across the continents with Habitats For Humanity and the sassy Sydney chick. The Adults like working to a schedule, cultural activities and Jo Nesbo books.
As an example of the conflict: yesterday, Team Puff had a hissy fit declaring it too hot to do a cooking class and demanded alternate activities be arranged for them. Complained loudly when it was suggested they make their own arrangements to fill time, despite being in the middle of lovely old town Kochi. Blonde apparently tried to enter famous temple and was annoyed at Tour Leader when knocked back for her singlet top and mini skirt: 'I should have been told earlier!' Team Puff dissappeared for beers and then, before dinner, made the whole group traipse through the various bars they had frequented to find one Team Puff member's glasses (later located in the tour bus). Passports, cameras and hats have been similarly 'misplaced'. It's constantly too hot, too cold, too short, too long or the wrong colour. Whingy Pom, like Holy Cow, is an expression firmly rooted in fact. Team Adult tsktsks a lot and makes snarky remarks just within earshot about the whole palaver.
As the baby I'm forgiven for not choosing a side.
Shopaholic Bahamanian appears to have lost all grip on reality. Witnessed her purchase 40 elephant magnets from an ecstatic street side vendor yesterday. Unable to imagine even one person who will be grateful for aforementioned elephant magnet. Concerned that she has not factored in this or suitcase weight issues. These join a harem's worth of bejewelled pillow cases, lurid silk scarves, ugly earrings, a spice bazaar and rainbow handbags in her suitcase.
I continue to be enamoured of Sid and Wendy. Sid tells the most hideous jokes, complete with an impressive spectrum of European accents, and has the quickest or wits. He is a doppelgänger for Tony Robinson/Fat Tulip/Baldrick. I've learned more about Gandhi (and John Howard for that matter) from him than any other source. Wendy, at 70, always looks stylish but appropriate and takes everything Sid-related with a grain of salt and maintains that's she is “still waiting for her last 'kid' to grow up and leave home”. Their slender appetites are an excellent match for my voracious one and they have labelled me their 'Labrador'. They're the best couple I've ever met: even now, across the boat, he's scratching her back for her with his nose in a political bio.
Ginger Cat Roomate has run out of unique observations but continues to keep me up to date on her evey thought (including on bowel issues) and join conversations by contributing stories about her 'boys' (both cats). On my election not to take malaria meds or get rabies shots, when in mossie territory/near mangy dogs: 'I am just ever so glad I've taken my meds/had my shots'. On my three month planned trip: 'I do think travel is just so much better in short bursts, don't you?' Gold star.
Suspect Tour Leader Suki is at his wits' end and has a date with a very large bottle of Black Dog whiskey tonight. May join.