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June 14th 2016
Published: June 18th 2016
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Monday 6 to Thursday June 2016 – Bangalore

Monday was a tough day. I started off optimistic… got up early, had a good breakfast… left for gym at 9.30am… and got there 10.20am. 50 minutes to get 1km!!! I know I could have walked faster (or as Brian suggested, jog… take it off the cardio time) but I had too much stuff. The delay was a combination of taxis not turning up and traffic. But I still did my workout J The way home was also frustrating. I left at 7pm and I got home at 9pm. I wanted to do some food shopping but was too late and as the monsoon had started and the rain was so bad I couldn’t get out to go to the ATM without getting soaked. I had ordered a home delivery food shop (as realised by about 8.30pm I wouldn’t make the stop) so needed cash. Thankfully the rain eased off closer to home. I was beat by the end of it all and only just about had enough energy to watch Game of Thrones. The nice thing about the monsoon rain is how it sounds… I love listening to rain and I can hear it from my bed so it chilled me out.

The rest of the week felt much more successful, mainly because Jane was staying so she helped me chill out J We had some takeaway and lovely meals out with locals and friends and I was very grateful about the hospitality and kindness shown to us. I also think Jane appreciated how nice the area I live in is as for the first time since she’s been here she was able to walk home from dinner. Koramangala is lovely… it has to be one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in Bangalore… I just wouldn’t walk on my own so unless someone is around I’m a bit stuck once Noor has gone home.

We did have a crazy night of mishaps though… Jane arrived back and wanted to put the TV on… I explained how to do it but it wouldn’t work and she found that the Sky box was unplugged and if she plugged it back in it tripped out the electricity… I got home and we got the caretaker involved and found that indeed yes, it was tripping out the electricity. So we took the plug from the Sky box in my bedroom and that fixed that problem (I now just need one for my bedroom!). I’m still not sure who unplugged the Sky box in the first place though…. And then a few hours later we heard water… and upon investigation found a waterfall of water coming out of the air conditioning unit in Jane’s room… all over light switches and plug sockets… again the caretaker got involved and one of us (can’t remember who now!) bravely switched the unit and the lights off… I know I was the one mopping the floor afterwards!

But anyway… this update is all about the Maldives so on Thursday night we were in bed early ready for an early start on Friday…

Friday 10 June 2016 – Bangalore to Angsana Ihuru, the Maldives

We were up at 5.30am ready for Noor to pick us up at 6am and we left on time (Jane’s influence J)! We had a nice quiet drive to the airport… it only took 50 minutes at that time. Our flight was ON TIME and after some breakfast in the airport (we found an almost western one) we hopped on our 50-minute flight to Kochin in Kerala, which is where we would connect to Male.

We were up and down before you know it and in Kochin, which had a very different feel about it to anywhere else in India we’d been (very tropical!). We only had hand luggage and easily moved from the domestic to the international terminal and through immigration and security. In the airport I tried to get some sort of pedicure but most of what was on the spa menu wasn’t actually available so I went for a foot and shoulder massage instead… it was quite nice and passed the time.

I did not appreciate the flight to Male… I’m not a good flyer at the best of times (quite frankly it’s a miracle I’ve got to as many places in the world as I have!) and this plane was a small propeller one AND we were warned about turbulence because it was monsoon season. The female captain (there are a lot of female captains in India) seemed quite on the ball though so I tried to chill out. The flight was about 1 hour and 45 minutes and before we knew it we were descending into Male… flying over the Maldives! It didn’t feel quite real. But they did look very nice from the air J

On arrival in Male we were quickly through immigration (another new country stamp in the passport J) and a lovely guy holding a board with our name on it met us. He got us quickly organised onto the speedboat transfer to our resort, Angsana Ihuru. It was a pretty cool speedboat J Thirty minutes later we arrived at the resort and was very impressed… not too shabby for Rachel!!! In peak season it was $500USD a night but clearly we did not pay that. We were welcomed with a drink and ice cream in the bar and then shown to our room… which was really really nice… it even had an outdoor shower. But the best bit was the private garden leading down to the beach… wow J I can see why it’s a honeymoon destination.

The beach was lovely… although the sea was a bit rough that day. Jane and I went to the bar so I could have something to eat and there was a funny little bird that Jane worked out was a type of moor/sea hen. We spent the rest of the day on the beach, chilling out reading and then going for a swim. The water, even if it was a bit rough, was so lovely. It was really warm and felt really nice. I saw a fruit bat as it was getting dark! I'd missed them from Australia.

In the evening we went to the bar for dinner… we were so excited to have a beef burger! With real beef (not easy to find in India!). A few cocktails later and we were ready for bed J

Saturday 11th June 2016 –Angsana Ihuru, the Maldives

We got up relatively early for breakfast, which was AMAZING! You could get anything you wanted… Jane and I both opted for fruit… omelette and then cold meats and cheese. It was REAL cheese (again something not easy to come by in India). We spent the morning on the beach and then in the afternoon went snorkelling. We had a guided snorkel as Jane hadn’t really done it before and the one thing that still hurts my bag leg is swimming so I wasn’t sure how it would go for me. The guide was great and I was absolutely fine snorkelling… the fins took the pressure off my leg and I could remember how to do it… I was even diving down to the reef. The coral and fish were good… not the best I have seen (Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia remains the best) but was still impressive.

I covered up after that as had got a bit sunburned which is unusual for me, I rarely burn but more on that later. At 4.30 we got the boat over to Banyan Tree… the neighbouring resort to watch the sting ray feeding. It was quite fascinating. We were a bit concerned about the sting ray’s ability to fend for themselves but it was fascinating to watch them because they were like pets. They were effectively head-butting the guy feeding them (to give him a nudge) to get more food. The turtle feeding was a bit tamer as not many turtles in at the time. It was clearly a place where conservation was important though. The turtles are typically brought to the resort by local islanders when they hatch then kept in a small tank initially before being transferred to a big tank in the sea for 2 years until they’re strong enough to fend for themselves. Then they are released into the wild.

Jane and I had a drink in the Banyan Tree bar before heading back to Angsana (we were sussing out Banyan Tree to decide if we wanted dinner there one night… we decided not as it was too big… Angsana is smaller) to get ready for dinner. We had dinner in the bar and this time we both had local fish and chips. It was really nice however my sunburn was getting pretty painful and I was desperate to get back to the room and lie down, so Jane bought her cocktail back there.

Sunday 12th June 2016 – Angsana Ihuru, the Maldives

I had a pretty terrible night’s sleep. I have NEVER had sunburn like it, I usually pride myself on being so careful in the sun. I don’t burn easily and I was re-applying high factor sunscreen every 30 minutes and was in the sun 3 hours. I wasn’t even very red. But it was so painful I had to take painkillers. I have put it down to a photosensitive reaction caused by some tablets I was taking so lesson learned. The day was spent eating breakfast… and then I read in the room… too scared to go outside J I finished the book Brian had got me into... into Assassin’s Apprentice… so gutted to finish it and desperate for the next one in the series J

That evening we had a self-cook BBQ on the beach… we weren’t expecting it to be quite such a romantic set up! But it was really nice… we had our food brought to us and we cooked it ourselves on the BBQ (thankfully Jane supervised my part of the cooking!). We had nice fish, chicken and beef kebabs with baked potato and corn on the cob. After that we went to the bar for Maldivian dancing… it was interesting… lots of guys on drums and one guy clearly in charge of getting people dancing. I took my own goes dancing… and several of Jane’s. I did quite well considering I couldn’t move much on account of the sunburn. There was one incredibly awkward moment… where a girl who must have got drunk in her room whilst getting dressed… came onto the dance floor in what can only be described as her underwear and a see through robe. I’m pretty liberal and tolerant but even I didn’t know where to look as the robe undid… the guy next to me said “what’s she been smoking”. I’d clocked her earlier and think she’d just had too much to drink bless her.

Monday 13th June 2016 – Angsana Ihuru, the Maldives

Today was another quiet one… I woke up to re-apply aloe vera every 2 or so hours… and thankfully I’d got a supply of painkillers from the resort shop. Breakfast was again amazing and I sat in the room reading most of this day until venturing outside at about 3pm after the highest sun had passed. I enjoyed sitting in the breeze and finished another book, that one was done in a day.

Dinner tonight was a four course affair in the resort restaurant… it was very nice and Jane and I both took the opportunity to have beef again. We even all got treated to seeing a reef shark that swam into the lagoon, it was a pretty big one!

Tuesday 14th June 2016 – Angsana Ihuru, the Maldives to Bangalore

We had one more morning in paradise! I was feeling a bit more mobile so managed to sit outside on the sun lounger and enjoy the breeze and sounds of the sea and wind in the trees. It was so nice. I’d got so stressed out and anxious about Uni and work and I really felt like I’d calmed down now. I’d also finished another book…! That’s 3 since I’ve been in the Maldives.

We were very confused about the time we were leaving. Male is in a different timezone to India and Angsana Ihuru is 1 hour different to Male (even though it’s 20 minutes away!). That made finding out the time very confusing, we asked why the time was like that at one point and the resort just said because they can…! But we needn’t have worried about leaving as a resort guy came to help us with our bags at check-out time. We checked out and were given a leaving drink of cinnamon iced tea.

The boat ride back to Male was a bit choppy… rough and not fun when any sudden movement causes you pain (sunburn still!). We made it back and checked in and had time for a quick snack in Coffee Club, an Aussie brand. The flight back to Kochin in India was turbulent … we flew right into quite a bad storm. We arrived in Kochin early and were allowed back into the India J and walked back to the domestic terminal. There we encountered some problems… my flight had been ‘re-scheduled’ 2 hours later (not sure how they got away with calling it that… it was DELAYED) and I couldn’t even check in. Jane’s was also late. Jane waited with me for a while whilst I tried to get comfortable and find someone to talk to… the airline desk wasn’t manned and when I did find someone all they could tell me was that the plane was stuck in some random city (I later found out that the airline only has two aircraft. They’re a start-up so have to give them a chance). Jane went through security… I eventually got to check in and meet her there and it was a bit of a random airport lounge, very 70s. By this time, I would have liked a beer or something but no alcohol there!

Jane got to go and board and I had another hour wait… I started to go a bit spare as my phone wasn’t working so I couldn’t talk to anyone and I had no book :/ Eventually we got called to board and it was another little plane… not too bumpy this time though J I arrived back into Bangalore 2 hours late and Noor was faithfully waiting for me. It took about an hour to get back to the apartment and I was so glad to not have to move any further.

However, it wasn’t a great homecoming. The apartment didn’t smell nice and it wasn’t clean. I’m not precious about having a cleaner… I clean myself in the UK, I’m happy cleaning myself but it is helpful here around work … but if I’d known it wasn’t going to be cleaned I would have made it nicer before I left. And my bed wasn’t made up (again would have done it before I left). So whilst in quite a lot of pain I had to make up the bed and tidy the place up. It's hard when you're never there when the cleaner is there to ask them to do things so we need to find a way of communicating. And having no wifi wasn’t great either (had broken whilst I was away – it was all fixed the next day).

I did eventually get off to sleep. I have just over 2 week left in India before I get to visit home! J

Lots of love and miss you’s.

Rach Xx


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