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India: Colourful, cheap and chaotic

Following on from What to know before you go, more about the trip itself! We went to Goa, via Mumbai, though the only bit of Mumbai we saw was the airport as we had an international transfer. Mumbai airport panicked us a bit as we had thought India would be cheap - turns out it is, it's just the airport that has inflated prices

If you want to feel secure at the airport, well you will - or you'll get irritated - with the number of checks going on to catch your flight. At the transfer point, we had to put our hand luggage through the scanner, get it stamped and then be frisked after the scanner - pretty typical - but getting on the plane is even worse. In the space of three metres we had our tickets and hand luggage checked a mere four times... followed by a further five checks between the gate and the plane. Extreme!

Another thing that's extreme are the roads. Whilst the fares are ridiculously reasonable - it cost us 1,000 rupees to travel the 45km to the hotel, about £16 - the driving is just ridiculous. How we survived without being in a car incident where a person/car/scooter/tuk-tuk wasn't hit, I will never know. 

Still, it was absolutely stunning when we got there. We were staying in-between Baga and Arpora at the Resorte Marinha Dourada, a cheap and cheerful hotel. A bottle of 500ml Pepsi will set you back 15 rupees from your room minibar (about 17p), whilst a bottle of Kingfisher costs 20 rupees (25p). It's probably why you'll find a lot of Brits at that hotel, though the food wasn't amazing (it was cheap though).

Latest Loves: 25.02.12

The Pretty Little Liars book series - I finally got round to reading the books by Sara Shepard and I love them!

The return of Upstairs Downstairs on the Beeb - hurrah!

I've never been one for gaming, but I can't resist Zynga's Dream Zoo at the moment. Addictive!

Finally, my Kindle is a big love of mine at the moment. I never thought I'd embrace ebooks - see this post from 2008 - but I have and I can't wait for my first book to be making an appearance on the Kindle store soon...

India: What to know before you go

I've just returned from India, where Olly and I headed for a wedding and to soak up some sunshine. Here are a few things we found out the hard way!

First things first, if you work in Social Media and decide to go to India, whatever you do, do not pick the Media category as your work industry. The distinction means nothing and even with a letter from work you'll end up having to pay more to get a journalist visa. Even though you're not a journalist. Oh, and when you're applying make sure you write down all the reference numbers they give you along the way as you'll have to apply again if your browser crashes and you don't have those numbers to hand!

Secondly, you'll also need a special 2x2 inch photo - two in total - which the likes of Snappy Snaps will do for a rip-off £14.99 (though they never told me the £14.99 option and made me fork out £19.99 for 4. RIP-OFF). I can't say this for all visa applications made in person, but if you're going to the London Indian Visa Centre in Victoria then you can get these photos done there for £4.

Thirdly, the Rupee is a restricted currency. You might feel better arriving in India with some money in your pocket, but you will get a shocking rate in the UK. Wait until you get to India to change your money. Honestly, you're much better off changing your money in India!

Next to consider is your jabs and your malaria tablets. For Goa it's two Chloroquine tablets once a week - these are absolutely FOUL by the way - and two Proguanil tablets daily. You'll have to take these for one week before your trip, throughout the trip, and then for four weeks afterwards. Check with your doctor, as with any trip you take overseas! They cost about £19 from Boots in total but if you're going to other parts of India then you'll need other malaria tablets. 

Choose your airline carefully. It's an 8 hour flight to Mumbai from London and then we had a 5 hour layover before the next Air India flight out to Goa. Coming back was worse. We had a 7 hour layover when we arrived in Mumbai and by the time we got home we'd been awake 36 hours. o_O Air India isn't the comfiest of planes, though much better than Monarch which is another option for Goa. Luckily with Air India we got bulkhead seats on the way out, but Olly's tray table and TV were broken - so, so rubbish for a long-haul flight. You can however have 46 kilos worth of luggage... EACH. It's likely you won't have to pay excess baggage, but consider paying a bit more for your airline as comfort trumps luggage allowance any day. 

If you're thinking of buying your sunscreen at the airport, don't do it if you have an international transfer. You'll get it out of the UK but then when you clear the international transfer they'll take it away from you as you'll be over your liquid allowance. The nice lady in the Boots Heathrow told us this, but we managed to pick up some sunscreen for £6 in India. Make sure you have a plug with you as well - we couldn't find one to buy but luckily could borrow one from the groom otherwise I would have had horrible hair and a dead camera battery!

Public transport is all well and good but cabs are cheap. We got one from the airport cab office in Goa, which cost us £11. I had enquired online to see what it would be if I pre-ordered one before we flew and was quoted £40 - outrageous!

Finally, have your fill of UK Indian food before you go - you probably won't want to eat Indian food on your return as it just won't compare!  

I'll be one in 1.2 billion

If you need me over the next few weeks, I'll be busy being 1 in 1.2 billion, which is just my way of saying... I'm going to India!

We're heading to Goa, via Mumbai, for a full-on three day Indian wedding, followed by some sightseeing and much needed beach time.{^_^}

Look after yourselves, Treacles. xx

Holding doors

It seems not a working day goes by when I'm held up on the Victoria line because of the issue of holding doors:

We're just waiting for the train in front to leave the platform as they are having problems with the doors.

Can you check that you have nothing caught in the doors? We can't leave the platform until the doors are no longer obstructed.

It's simple. This is how you hold doors:


Don't do this:


Thanks.

Act decidedly.

"Make up your mind to act decidedly and take the consequences. No good is ever done in this world by hesitation."

~ Thomas Huxley

Latest love: Liberty print wrap watch

I spotted these watches on Liberty yesterday and absolutely love them! I can't decide which one I like best though - I think the top middle one is perfect for winter, but would want the top left or bottom left for the approaching warmer weather.

The only trouble is a) I think they would dwarf my small wrists and b) I'm not a watch person... I might change my mind though when I try one on!

Which is your favourite? xoxo

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