A few years ago I took part in a Hymalian trek in India to raise funds for Mind, the mental wellbeing charity.
To my naive horror I had to wear walking boots. I am not a “walking boots ” type of person
I looked high and low for “pretty boots ” guess what? I couldn’t find any
So I choose the next best thing, boots for a boy (my feet are small ) and customised them with glitter and stickers. Many years on , they are still being worn and loved
What a good idea, let’s take all the niceties out of an Indian restaurant, give people benches to sit on, plain wood tables, brick walls, metal trays instead of plates , small overly priced food, expensive micro sized cocktails and serve them in kiddies cups with straws , fill each and every space up with a person speaking so loud, conversation was virtually impossible ,sprinkle masala over everything including chips and prosecco and call it an Indian Street Food Restaurant!
Yes, I went to the highly rated Zindiya indian Street food restaurant last night in Moseley for a friends birthday. Real Indian Street Food it most certainly is not, in October I paid 80p for a dosa in India, last night nearly £7, but despite all of the above it was great fun, and Moseley is the perfect spot that makes Zindiya a huge success
Last night at one of my groups a man told me about a young man Alex Sheen, who has started a huge socal movement just using these words, “because I said I would”
It was formed when his father died, his father was a man who kept his word
Keeping your word is hugely important and shows your inner character.
Sometimes I am called “stubborn ” or “determined ” but I always try to do the things that I said I would
Therefore I like this social movements, which involves making promises to people to do nice things and carrying them out,”because I said I would ” A brilliant idea
Last night I went out with some friends for an Indian meal in a restaurant I have never heard of before called “Jilabi ”
The restaurant wasn’t in a great location, a bit of a distance from where we lived, no parking and when we arrived it was jammed. .totally overflowing with people. I now know why.
The staff were lovely, we soon were given our table and the night began. It didn’t take long before conversation started flowing, food arrived promptly. The food I ordered wasn’t on the menu, not a problem at all.
So what makes a restaurant great. .
Good food, good service, extra fringe benefits which Jilabi excelled at. ..they gave us free deserts (watermelon, chocolate cake and ice-cream! ) 2 free liquors each, free coffee and tea and. .a bottle of mock champagne. Talk about making us feel special.
That’s what makes a restaurant great. .the ability to make you feel special and considering the restaurant was full to maximum, I feel this was a remarkably fear.
4 years ago, I started my trek up the Hymalias in India. Training had taken place, I was all geared up and ready to go.
Only one thing worried me..going to the toilet!
It didn’t take long before I had to overcome that obstacle. .after a very long overnight trip on the train and then transport via car we were off and I needed a wee.
Now there are no toilets obviously but also no grass flat area either. Just a narrow path a big mountain next to you and a very long way down the other side. .umm just how much did I need to go?
Enough that I choose to sit over the very long way down and go. .much to my horror after relieving myself I saw a local family with children in their small plot of land outside their house looking at a western lady weeing down a mountain!
4 years ago today, I visited India for the first time. I spent a week in Delhi and a week doing a trek up the Hymalias.
Was it a shock arriving in the chaotic colourful city of Delhi ?. .not at all. I loved it.
The noise, people, animals in the roads, the people living on the streets , the pollution, the constant hum of life. .it was alive
I was born in Watford High St in 1966 as a baby I went to sleep with alarms going off and people leaving the pubs, we had homeless people, pollution, stray dogs and rats. ..is it really so different? It too was alive
People may have noticed I travel a lot. ..comments on social media may give you a clue, “Where are you now?”
Yes, my not so secret obsession is travel. .anywhere. ..everywhere. I want to see EVERYTHING. The big, the small, the ugly, the wonderful
I feel it’s my duty by being part of this wonderful planet to experience and see life everywhere on it.
I read travel books, my favourite are Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson, I watch travel programme( my saved BBC programme is the travel show), I email myself lists of places to go to, the most used apps on my phone are booking. com and trip advisor, I make list of places to visit on a monthly basis !
Yes, confession time. .. .. my secret obsession is….. cricket. .
No only joking its travelling
After recently returning from Kochi some of the things that I experienced there I believe would be an asset to our dear City if we changed a little.
So here are 5 things in Kochi that I prefer and would like Birmingham to adopt
1) Wet rooms and a hose by the toilet. ..what a useful and great idea. .. i loved it and would like one in my bathroom
2) Using banana leafs as plates, very environmentally friendly (but maybe the cost of importing huge quantities of leaves to this country may out way the benefits 😉)
3) Happy children, the school children in Kochi all look happy, smiling laughing, polite and truly content
4) Free animals wandering the streets. Everywhere you looked were animals being animals and living alongside humans. Cows, goats and dog just being and it was great
5) No shoes, I particularly like this last one. There is a culture of taking off your shoes whenever you enter a building, our home stay had a shoe rack before you entered the building, even many shops have a no shoe policy with shoes left on the pavement. Can you imagine how people would moan in the UK if they had to take their shoes off before entering Marks and Spencer!
India has a closed policy for non nationals at the moment regarding currency, which means you can’t change money back when you leave the country. I don’t think you are even supposed to take it out of the country
Yesterday when we were at the airport drink were a lot cheaper than I thought they would be ..I had budgeted for about £11 at the airport.
Whilst in the queue for coffee I thought I would leave my spare currency with the young and probably low paid workers at the coffee stall. .about £7
This wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, after buying drinks I explained to the staff as I pushed “free money ” towards them my situation. ..they looked at me blankly. They spoke no or very little English, unusual for an airport.
I tried again, they still stared blankly back at me. Another man in the queue saw my plight and offered help, ” buy more drinks ” He suggested. I had just bought 4 cappuccinos for the two of us. I couldn’t drink even more!
He then explained to the staff why I was forcing money on them, they still looked blankly at me and never touched the money, he tried again. At last, one of the 3 members of staff politely said, “thank you ” and took the money, albeit very sheepishly
Our last night in Kochi was shared with a Scottish musician, who we have seen play folk music at at cafe a few days earlier
We arranged to meet in a hotel where we could chat over a few beers in Happy Hour.
This in itself is almost a miracle in Kochi, alcohol is very hard to buy with their strict alcohol laws. ..and a “Happy Hour ” .. Yes I would class this as a minor miracle😉
As the conversion progressed between the three of us, the things in common gathered and gathered. There is a saying that everyone in the world is connected by a only a few degrees of separation.
Evidence is beginning to add weight to this with people I meet in my life. .This folk singer who I have never met before and lives hundreds of miles from me amd yet has 3 Facebook friend in common with me and 2 with my partner.
Although Scottish, he classes himself as Welsh, my partners family are from North Wales my family’s from South Wales.
Add to this a few extra bonus points his mum is from the Welsh part of Patogonia, my partner has always dreamt of travelling there and to meet someone with connections to the country was a real plus for him and add to that they were both huge fans of the “Beatles ” meant we didn’t struggle at all with conversation on this last delightful night in Kochi