I’ve been living in London for almost a year and have a love-hate relationship with this city. I can see that I need to make an effort to step out of the rat race and tip the scales in the direction of ‘love my city’. So for 2016 I’ve promised myself 2 touristy things a month, thats 24 touristy things a year. I’m already behind as January was a crazy months for me. I’ll be flexible about when I do things, but the goal is 24 touristy outings in London during 2016.
My wish list contains things like:
Tower of London
Buckingham Palace when the state rooms are open (Aug/Sept)
St Paul’s Cathedral
Greenwich and the Royal Observatory
See a West End show (a famous one)
Museums (incl, British & Natural History)
Yoga class at the top of The Shard
There is plenty more and I’m hoping to do some random things too. You know, go to a new part of town and do what the locals are doing. A few weeks ago my brother and I ended up in Ilford and went to an Turkish restaurant, it was very traditional and the food was so good that it took me back to Istanbul. London is a really good place to travel the world via visiting restaurants!
For my last two visits to Mysore I stayed in Lakshmipurum, a little suburb about 10-15min walk to the yoga slaha. This time I am staying somewhere new, I am staying in a little suburb called Krishnamurtypurum. This place is conveniently close to everything including the yoga shala, the coconut man and my favourite local restaurant. We are close to the main road yet it is still very quiet and there are lots of trees and all day you can hear the birds tweeting away in harmony with the traffic.
Usually I stay in a little studio apartment but this time I am staying in a REAL apartment (Indian styles) with my friend Gia who I met when I first came to Mysore 4 years ago. We each have a nice room with a lovely big hard bed, a simple kitchen, a living area and even a little dining room. There is a squat toilet which presented a challenge at first (due to the hip) and a large bathroom with hot water. The shower isn’t hooked up to the hot water but that doesn’t matter, I don’t mind having a bucket shower if the water is hot. We also have a little private balcony area and upstairs there is a rooftop that everyone can use.
I gave myself some a couple of days to get sorted before starting my yoga classes. This meant a trip into town which was fun. I was walking around with a big silly smile on my face and totally enjoyed the chaos in the centre of town. My mission was to change some money into rupees, buy some suitable yoga clothes and some groceries. By golly it was a mission… changing baht to rupees was a challenge and involved visiting 3 banks and 2 foreign currency exchange places! I must have looked fresh off the boat as one guy was going to give me 1rupee to the baht when it is at least 1.5 rupees to the baht!
On my first night here I went to Mahesh Prasad with Gia to celebrate and got Paneer 65 (deep fried paneer cheese) and my favourite curry (Palack Paneer). Good times!!!
So, as you know after I finished up being a wannabe yogi in India I headed back to Thailand to stay with my dad. I was pretty broke and needed to sort myself out – so Dad’s seemed to be a very good place to go! Thanks dad. 🙂
After India I couldn’t get over how nice, clean and quiet Bangkok is! I found the infrastructure to be overwhelming; it was like being back in the modern world – fast cars, motorways, mega shopping malls – consumerism everywhere – talk about a direct entry back into the rat race. I noticed an absence of rubbish, an absence of men urinating in the street, and of course… a serious absence of city cows! I guess it is kind of lucky I didn’t go straight back to NZ from India or I would have really had a sensory overload – all things are relative huh?!
While at dads I helped him out with a few projects, soaked up the warmth and enjoyed eating good Thai food and hanging out with family. I washed my clothes using a washing machine for the first time in months (instead of a bucket) and I had the longest nicest longest hot shower (much to the detriment of my Indian tan!) It was good to be back in into civilisation.
So I ended up spending about 8 weeks at Dads all up… during this time I managed to get my old job back in NZ, found a flat (ironically it’s the same flat I lived at before going overseas), had a side trip to Malaysia, went to the beach, had a day trip to Ayutthaya, ate plenty of good food and booked tickets to New Zealand!
Here is a random selection of photos, mostly of family and food!
When I think of Chinese food, I think of Chinese takeaways in New Zealand… I am pleased to report the food in China is much better than Chinese takeaways in New Zealand! Less deep frying and a little less oil (its still pretty greasy though – I really don’t know how the Chinese stay so slim!).
When we weren’t working in China we seemed to be eating. Our host Mr Mai took us to some very nice Chinese restaurants that were surprisingly quite different to the Chinese restaurants in New Zealand. The menus are more interesting too, check this out:
No, I didn’t order the ‘Give Birth Menu Beef’ it sounded plain scary!
Another restaurant we went to was rather interesting… it was a pick your food while you order restaurant. There are a lot of these in Thailand where you pick your fish you want to eat, but Ive never seen it taken to this level. This restaurant had soooo many different types of seafood (many Id never heard of before) and a few bits of livestock.
I can usually handle picking live seafood and eating it (except that time in Bangkok) but this took it to a new level. I couldn’t cope picking out a cute fluffy bunny rabbit and then 30 mins later eating him up! No way!
OK, I know this is a little bit hypocritical… When I eat a nice cut of lamb I do know deep down that it was once a cute little fluffy lambie skipping merrily in the New Zealand countryside enjoying his/her youth without a worry in the world.
I’ve been in the fridge several times today and didn’t think anything of the bowl of what I thought were lentils. Then our maid waived the bowl under my nose and I realised that the lentils are in fact MAGGOTS!!!
EEEEEEWWWWWW….. we have maggots in our fridge. That is a hell of a lot more disgusting than coming home to deep fried bugs on the table.
Seriously, I am horrified and traumatised.
The maid and her friend next door had a good laugh at my reaction though! As I type this she is making fish and maggot tom yum soup.