So I had my bag and my money and a ticket with KLM. Yes, no more PIA or any Scooby Airlines and this were the start for my quite long relationship with KLM. I was always flying with KLM back then and I had the silver card in a jiffy. I read in Bangkok Post about a member in the Flying Dutchman. He had never managed to get any reward what so ever from his miles. When I read this I threw away my card.
My friend recommended this frequent flying program and I rejoined again. I was soon awarded with the gold card and I had several free trips between Bangkok and Europe to look forward to. At least until it was time to book the tickets. I went to KLM's web page to book me reward ticket.
Requested date: Full
Requested date: Full
Requested date: Full
Requested date: Full
Requested date: Full
Then I discovered a button. You might be lucky! Try to click here!
- YES, I FEEL LUCKY!!
Now there were seats available on all the flights I had been trying. Good, until I discovered that the price of a ticket had ballooned to millions of miles.
- MOTHERF@CKERS! DAY LIGHT ROBBERY!
What a scam! This and the episode when I was kicked out from the lounge in Amsterdam made me threw away my card and I avoid KLM today.
Now I'm a member in Thai Airways and it works like a dream.
Well, anyway, I had decided to go to Thailand and from there to India instead of like previous years, having to go from Thailand from India and back to Sweden. How fun is it to come to India from Thailand? At least now I knew that I was going back to Bangkok from India.
And this time around I had no plans to stay in India, well, Goa is India but it's very different from the rest of India. Of course, these plans went down the drains, but this was nothing I knew anything about when I left Sweden.
I checked in on my hotel at Sukhumvit Soi 2 and I went to buy a ticket to Goa. I bought my ticket on Exoticomsimo or something like that on Soi 4. Indian Airways, Bangkok - Calcutta - Goa and back. 2 days in Bangkok would be enough.
Returning to my hotel and there was a message for me. It was from the very same guy that had lived in my apartment in Gothenburg before I had to move in to the student home.
“I live at AA House Sukhumvit Soi 36. Phone number: Whatever it was”
I gave him a call and we went for a few beers. He had one friend visiting him in Bangkok and I ended up with him in Phuket. I had already missed my first flight to India.
After the third missed flight I did not even bother changing the tickets.
We arrived to Phuket and we didn't knew where to stay so we checked out the hotel desk at the airport. Phuket Island View Hotel in Karon sounded nice. We took a taxi to the hotel, and I remember that the taxi driver had a hard time finding the place so he had to ask for directions a few times.
We finally found the hotel smack on the beach. OK, almost there was a road between the hotel and the beach. But honestly, I didn't spend much time on the beach. I spent more time on the street next to the hotel, there was a few beer bars along this street.
A pretty boring place. The best place was the bar at the corner when coming from the beach and entering the Soi. A few beers at this place and we left for Patong Beach a few km north of Karon Beach.
There was a beer bar with only lady boys, we knew that they were boys. But the 2 German couples that came didn't have a clue. They had a few drinks and when their wives returned to the hotel the two guys were alone.
It didn’t' take long before one of the guys disappeared with one of the lady boys and a few minutes later we could hear a bawl and the German came back.
- It's a boy!!
He demanded a full refund.
- EIN SCHWANZ!!! WIDERLICH!!!!
Of course, the boys refused to give this stupid f@ck any money. My friend and I were on the ground laughing. I was just about to suggest that they should go get their wives to help them out. What a stupid guy. He is on holiday with his wife and as soon she turns her back on him for 2 minutes he is off to garbage dump around the corner with a prostitute.
Well, my friend and I stayed until they were out of everything in the bar. There were Whiskey, but we didn't drink Whiskey, taste like
At the end we drank stuff I never heard of and when they wanted to pour us Whiskey it was time to return to the hotel.
So we drained the bar from everything worth drinking and when I was back a few years later they still remembered us.
- YOU!! You still have the record of keeping a bar open on this street.
Yeah, it was 10 or 11 in the morning when they ran out of booze so they could close.
There was a place at Patong Beach that pretty much stayed open 24 Seven, at least I never saw it close.
I don't understand how we could be up partying until 10 or 11 o'clock every day. One time at Patong I meet a Swedish and a British guy. We were dinking at the last place open at Patong and we returned to my hotel, I don't know what time. But you can see that the sun is high on the sky so it must have been 8 or 9 o'clock in the morning, at least.
We took a taxi to my hotel at Karon Beach and we continued on my balcony. The room service was bringing vodka orange like there was no tomorrow. We could see them from my balcony when they came from the bar passing the swimming pool.
There were people around the pool so the time must have been closer to midday than morning by then.
We were playing music on my balcony and the Germans were screaming to us.
- Turn off the music!
- Go home sex tourist!
Sex tourist, it's enough to mention it and people are embarrassed.
- What are you doing in Thailand?
- Oh, the culture is so interesting!
When they ask me:
- I'm a sex tourist!
- HA HA! You're here for the cheap booze!
As I was about to learn later on in Bangkok, you got most respect if you were a traveller walking around in flip flops, a dirty shirt and a strict budget. I was with my friends at Thermae when there was a guy entering the place. Yes, flip flops and the whole kit.
- HEY ! It's not easy to be a sex tourist!
He just gaped at me and then he pointed at me.
- You tourist! I'm a traveller!
Well, anyway, when we were back at my hotel it didn't took long until my friend that I had travelled with woke up. He came over for a beer and by then the British guy had passed out in my bed.
I don't know for how long we were in Phuket, maybe a week before we returned to Bangkok. One thing, a few years later when I lived in Bangkok I had a friend over and we were looking at my slides. Yes, this must have been a very long time ago. When was the last time you looked at any pictures that was not on a computer?
Well, we were watching the slides when suddenly he pointed at the guy with the riffle.
- Do you know him?
- I have no f@cking clue who that is!
Turned out that they knew each other and I meet him later on in Bangkok.
When we came back to Bangkok, yeah, by now I did not even bother to go change my Indian Airways ticket to Calcutta. We just continued to party.
I stayed at the prestigious Hotel Atlanta on Sukhumvit Soi 2 and the German owner was only snubbing when he saw me. Well, I will soon find a new hotel. But there was a girl working in the reception and she was.
What do they call it? Drop dead gorgeous?
But of course, if there were problem I was involved. I had no money and I had lost my key to my safety box. 2 o'clock in the morning and I must have money to continue the party.
Waking up the hotel crew and they have to come with power grinders and I could leave for a new drink with my pockets full of money.
I should have been in India a long time ago and, well, my friend was leaving to Sweden before I got away so we had a chance to say good bye to him. And I remember taking the picture of him.
Why? Because I remember him walking hand in hand on the way to the taxi and that's the reason I took the picture. He left for the airport and we continued to party, and I can't remember anyone being green of envy for him and his flight.
We ended up at Thermae, at least according to my pictures. And we ended up at Thermae most of the time. Sometimes at Dynamite and the other place I have forgotten the name of at the basement of NASA.
If I remember it right Thermae closed at 6 or 7 o'clock in the morning and then we could continue to TEXAS at Washington Square.
Well, this was not a very fun place and I would for sure be better of going back to my hotel for some sleep.
But I didn't understood better and who wants’ to leave a party to go home sleep. But thinking of it today, going to TEXAS at Washington Square seemed a wee bit desperate.
We meet at Nana plaza every day and back then Nana was a wee bit different than from today.
Lucky Luke on your right hand side when you entered Nana Plaza. Coming in and you had a drug store on your left hand side.
Then there was a Swiss restaurant some other shop, I don't remember. And in the corner we had a Lebanese restaurant with excellent banana shakes.
Walking in there was like, yeah, Imagine coming in from Nana and suddenly you were in the Middle East with belly dance and oriental music. And if I remember it right they keep open until 6 o'clock in the morning.
Perfect, a good morning kebab and banana shake before going for sleep.
There was a hotel, Peninsula Hotel? I don't remember, but it was on Surawong Road and there was a disco. It was quite OK and we used to go there and I remember us as the only tourists at the place.
And most of the Thai people you meet are very nice. Of course, when they meet an exciting and exotic (or just stupid looking, Hmm, most likely) foreigner.
But sometimes it's just too much. Everyone I pass offer me whiskey and as I don't like whiskey I have to say no and that doesn’t feels good.
For them it's beyond comprehension that there are actually people that don't like whiskey and they think I reject the drink because I don't like them.
Well, I remember one time. I meet a girl and it was not funny. she came up to me and she started to shake her behind.
The Babri Mosque
(Hindi: बाबरी मस्जिद, Urdu: بابری مسجد), Babri Masjid or Mosque of Babur was a mosque in Ayodhya, on Ramkot Hill ("Rama's fort"). It was destroyed in 1992 when a political rally developed into a riot involving 150,000 people, despite a commitment to the Indian Supreme Court by the rally organisers that the mosque would not be harmed.
More than 2000 people were killed in ensuing riots in many major Indian cities including Mumbai and Delhi.
The mosque was constructed in 1527 by order of Babur, the first Mughal emperor of India. Before the 1940s, the mosque was called Masjid-i Janmasthan ("mosque of the birthplace") acknowledging the site as the birthplace of the Hindu deity, Lord Rama.
The Babri Mosque was one of the largest mosques in Uttar Pradesh, a state in India with some 31 million Muslims.
- What the are you on about?
Turned out that she recognised me from Peninsula. She had been on Peninsula and I had been on their TV shaking my behind.
I had been totally unaware of any cameras or I would have sat my arse down in a chair sippin' on my vodka orange.
Well, time flies when you have a good time and we were well in to the month of December '92. The Rave and party season in Goa would soon be over and I decided to move my behind. But when we were in Bangkok having a good time things was bad in India. They destroyed the Babri Mosque and there were riots all over India.
I had a ticket with Indian Airway and they were on strike. But I got an endorsement for Air India and I went to their office and I think they were located at Chitlom back then. No problem to change the ticket to Air India.
- Are you sure you want to go?
- Yes, why?
- There is a curfew in Calcutta.
I had not heard anything about curfew and honestly I had missed the whole Babri Mosque incident and the following riots. But now it was India or Bust.
- No problem, I go.
She gaped at me, but I got my ticket to Air India's flight from Bangkok to Calcutta.
Atlanta Hotel and I had no plans to stay here again, but this girl in the reception. She was beautiful and she had told me everything about her family and her life story.
- Oh! Interesting!
When I checked out she followed me out on the street and while I was waiting for my taxi she really cross examined me.
- When are you coming back?
- In a month.
- I wait and I will see you then.
Right there and then I decided to come back to this very hotel after India.
Arriving to Calcutta and there was a curfew. I don't remember what date I arrived to Calcutta. But the 6th of December, when they destroyed the Babri Mosque the authorities enforced a curfew in Calcutta and we arrived the day before the curfew were lifted. So it should be easy to find the date of the last day with curfew on the internet. But I came up with ZIP.
Arriving to Calcutta and we had to sleep on the floor at the airport. No one was allowed to go outside.
Strike at Indian Airways so my ticket to Goa, well, just forget about flying to Goa. And I was in a hurry to get there before the Rave and party season came to an end. So my plan to spend all my time in Goa went down the drain.
Of course, there was a heavy presence of Police and Military in the city of Calcutta after the riots
Luckily enough they lifted the curfew the day after our arrival and we could get in to Calcutta. I meet two guys from Germany and we shared a taxi in to, was it Sudder street. I don't remember. But I remember that the only food they had in the city was eggs and oranges.
All food was gone after the curfew and there had been big problems for the poor working class people working in the city. Shoe shining boys, porters at the train stations and rickshaw drivers etc.
They had almost starved to death because of lack of food. Not because there was no food but because they didn't had any money. This is something we with a full fridge never think off. But these people work and they buy food for their salary on a daily basis. One day without work is one day without food so a long curfew is nothing they wish for.
People are starving and mosques are destroyed and people are beaten to death and I'm only thinking about party. Yes, my reality is very different from many other people around the world struggling for survival every day. Waking up hungry wondering where their next meal is going to come from.
We got a room and we went looking for some food. We could get an omelette and orange juice and we also found a tea shop were we drank tea.
We had our tea at this tea shop every morning. Yes, India and no party so we were up early every morning and it was actually quite nice on the streets early morning when everything came to life. Sippin' you tea watching the life on the street.
The days went buy and there were really no hope for the strike to come to an end and I realised that I had to go to Goa by train. Yes, today this might sound strange with hundreds of Indian airlines. But back then there was only Indian Airways for domestic flights.
Indian Airways had an International flight to Bangkok from Calcutta. When I'm writing this in 2010 I tried to find out how long the strike was back in 1992. It was a very long strike. I never found any dates, but some scary information:
• On 15 November 1961, Vickers Viscount VT-DIH was damaged beyond economic repair when the co-pilot retracted the undercarriage during landing at Ratmalana Airport, Colombo, Ceylon.
• On 11 September 1963, Vickers Viscount VT-DIO crashed 51 kilometres (32 mi) south of Agra, killing all 18 people on board.
• On 29 August 1970: a Fokker F27 flew into high terrain near Silchar shortly after takeoff, killing the five crew members and 34 passengers.
• On 30 January 1971: a Fokker F27 on a scheduled flight from Srinagar to Jammu was hijacked to Lahore by Ashraf and Hashim Qureshi, self-proclaimed Kashmiri Separatists. Passengers were returned to India on 2 February, but the hijackers destroyed the aircraft. India and Pakistan, blaming each other's intelligence services, each ban the other countries over flights and India-Pakistan flights until 1976.
• On 9 August 1971, Vickers Viscount VT-DIX was damaged beyond economic repair when it overran the runway at Jaipur Airport. The aircraft was landed with a tailwind on a wet runway.
• On 9 December 1971: a Hawker Siddeley HS 748, near Chinnamanur was descending into Madurai when it flew into high terrain about 50 mi (80 km) from the airport, killing the four crew members and all 17 passengers. The accident occurred in reduced visibility during daylight hours.
• On 11 August 1972: a Fokker F27, at New Delhi lost altitude and crashed after aborting a landing. The four crew members and the 14 passengers were killed.
• On 31 May 1973: a Boeing 737-2A8 (registered VT-EAM) crashed and burned during landing at New Delhi, killing five of the seven crew and 43 of the 58 passengers.
• On 12 October 1976: a Sud Aviation SE 210 Caravelle had its right engine catch fire shortly after takeoff from Mumbai. The crew attempted to return, but fuel flow to the engine was not stopped. When the fire spread through the fuselage and the hydraulic system failed, the aircraft controls failed before landing. All six crew members and their 89 passengers were killed.
• On 4 August 1979: a Hawker Siddeley HS 748 aircraft was approaching Mumbai airport at night and in poor weather when it flew into high terrain approximately 6 mi (9.7 km) from the airport, killing the four crew and their 41 passengers.
• On 10 May 1980: a Boeing 737-2A8, en route near Rampurhat experienced severe turbulence that killed two of the 132 passengers.
• On 19 October 1988: Flight 113, a Boeing 737-2A8 (registered VT-EAH) hit an electric mast 5 mi (8.0 km) out on approach to Ahmedabad in poor visibility, killing the six crew members and all but one of the 129 passengers.
• On 26 April 1993: Flight 491, Boeing 737-2A8 (registered VT-ECQ) The heavily laden aircraft started its takeoff from Aurangabad's runway 09 in hot and humid temperatures. After lifting off almost at the end of the runway, it impacted heavily with a lorry on a highway at the end of runway. The left main landing gear, left engine bottom cowling and thrust reverser impacted the left side of the truck at a height of nearly seven feet from the level of the road. Thereafter the aircraft hit the high tension electric wires nearly 3 km North-East of the runway and hit the ground. 63 Injuries 55 Fatalities.
• On 15 November 1993: Flight 440, an Airbus A300B2-101 (registered VT-EDV) Flight 440 Emergency Landing in Paddy Farm field file photo executed a missed approach at Hyderabad's Begumpet Airport due to poor visibility, but the flaps failed to retract. After trying to solve the problem while flying in the vicinity of Hyderabad, the crew eventually diverted the aircraft to Chennai. The delay in diverting, and the need to fly slower due to the extended flaps, resulted in the aircraft running out of fuel on the way. The aircraft force-landed in a paddy field and was damaged beyond repair. There were no Fatalities on board.
• On 24 December 1999: Flight 814, an Airbus A300B2-101 (registered VT-EDW) was hijacked just after taking off from Kathmandu, Nepal to Delhi. The plane flew around different points in the Subcontinent and finally landed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as officials of the government of India and the Taliban negotiated. One passenger was killed and some were released. On 31 December 1999, the rest of the hostages on Flight 814 were freed.
In a fresh wave of deregulation, nine new independent airlines were launched in India in the early 1990s. Vayudoot, the state-owned feeder airline, itself collapsed in 1993. One of the start-ups, East-West Airlines, offered such attractive wages that they prompted a pilots' strike at Indian Airlines in December 1992 during the winter tourist season. Indian Airlines had 570 pilots at the time, making an average of Rs30,000 ($962.00) a month. The airline lost Rs2.11 billion ($64.34 million) for the year.
As a result of the strike, Indian Airlines hired several Tupolev Tu-154 trijets, complete with crews, from Bulgaria and newly independent Uzbekistan. One of these, attempting to land in pre-dawn fog at Delhi on January 9, 1993, flipped over and broke into three pieces. Amazingly, all of the 165 passengers aboard survived.
For sure, can't help by being amazed about their approach to safety, Uzbekistan Airline. I would not fly with them even if they paid me. I had been flying with Indian Airlines between New Delhi and Goa earlier in the year of '92 and the service was excellent. The served the food when we taxied to the runway and when we took off we had the food in our laps. All this while the crew where singing for an Indian Airline's Captain and his wife on their honeymoon to Goa.
Yes, I have never flied with any Scooby Doo airlines since. The last Scooby Doo airline was between Bangkok and Calcutta. I still remember running down the aisle with the Stewardess on the Air India flight from Bangkok to Tokyo.
I was at Indian Airways office everyday and they had no news so I decided to go buy a train ticket. If I remember it right they had special ticket offices for foreigners buying train tickets. same as I remember from Bombay 1988, I bought my first ticket between Bombay and New Delhi at the train station. There was queue with millions of people so I decided to buy a first class ticket. Later on when I was back to get a ticket the guy from the Swedish Consulate took me to a ticket office. Only a few foreigners and I got my ticket in a jiff.
I took a taxi to the ticket office and there were people queuing out on the streets and I never bothered to try to buy a ticket. Later on I found out that they had special queues for foreigner and I got my ticket without any hassle. Hell, in India they even have people for hire standing in queue for you.
I got my ticket to Goa, via Madras. But I had to wait for a few days, all trains were full both due to the strike on Indian Airways and the riots. Things were slowly going back to normal.
I had time to get to know Calcutta for a bit while waiting for my train. I meet a Swedish girl and she asked if I wanted to join her and her friends to the Mother Theresa Centre in Calcutta.
- Yeah, could be interesting.
This was the beauty with living in a guest house. You meet a lot of people all the time. It was OK to live like this when I was 20. Today it would be impossible and I need a real hotel and then I'm better off at places like Singapore.
You should see the room I and the German guy lived in. There was a heap of garbage on the floor and this is where I hide my pass port and money. No one would ever come up with the idea to search the garbage for valuables
Calcutta and there were many old and beautiful buildings and they were about to fall apart due to piss. Yes, you read it right, they have pissed the city to pieces. It smelled like a toilet where ever I went and people were pissing everywhere.
I was out walking on town, yes, it was interesting but I was missing some good party and I wish I was back in Bangkok. When I walked down one of the piss stinking streets I could hear Vanilla Ice's “Ice Ice Baby” on full blast.
- YIPPEEEE! A PARTY!!
But hey! Hold on! It sounded very strange and when I approached I could hear that they were singing in a strange language and when I came closer to the “DISCO” I discovered that it was a guy selling tapes. And it was not Vanilla Ice, it was India’s very own super star Baba Schgal doing his very own interpretation of “Ice Ice Baby”, the national scourge “Thanda Thanda Pani”.
Well, never mind, even if it would have been a disco the beer would have been undrinkable. India, there is just no party around and I have been to disco in Bombay. There were 3 guys sitting around and I did not even bother ordering anything to drink.
Well, I bought a tape with Baba Schgal and my next stop was at a second hand book shop. I bought all the Mad Magazines they had, there must have been hundreds of these magazines. I had 2 big bags of Mad Magazines when I left the shop. Yes, as you could guess, I'm preparing myself for the train raid to Goa. And I have more experience from riding a train in India than I care about. So I knew that I needed something to read on the train.
I had also booked me in a top bunk on the train so I could lay down whenever I wanted to.
On the Indian train there were three bunks. The top one was always up. The bottom one was used to sit on and the middle one was pulled out when it was going to be used as a bed. Yes, top bunk and I could choose to sit (As long as there were no one sleeping on the lower bunk) or lay on top of my bunk.
OK, the only thing I remember from these Mad Magazines was a parody on a Police series. This guy was in disguise looking for some crooks. And of course, the crooks were hanging around on the sea front with the rough sailors. So our hero, pretty much the same as Peter Sellers in the Pink Panter went down to the sea front. When our hero returned with a fat lip and a black eye they asked him if he learnt something.
- Never give a Sailor a dime and ask him to play his favourite Elton John song on the jukebox.
One night we decided to try to find a nice restaurant. At least we wanted to try because we were pretty feed up with the Paratha and mutton rolls. But the problem in India was, at least back then, that even if you went to a 5 star hotel they served, well, shit.
That’s why I was so surprised when I saw about this terror attack in Bombay autumn 2009. In TV they said that there had been an attack on the Luxury hotel Taj Mahal in Bombay. I have been on this hotel and there was nothing luxury with it. At least not 1992 and '93.
Same in Calcutta, you went in to a 5 star hotel and it looked like a road side toilet in Thailand.
(Hindi: पराठा, Urdu: پراٹھا, Bengali: পরোটা )is an Indian flat-bread that originated in the Indian subcontinent. Paratha is an amalgamation of the words parat (Hindi: परत, Bengali: পরত, Urdu:پرت ) and atta (Hindi: आटा, Punjabi: ਆਟਾ, Bengali: আটা, Urdu: آٹا) which literally means layers of cooked flour.
It is one of the most popular unleavened flat-breads in Indian cuisine and is made by pan frying whole-wheat flour on a tava. The paratha dough usually contains ghee or cooking oil which is also layered on the freshly prepared paratha. Parathas are usually stuffed with vegetables such as boiled potatoes, leaf vegetables, radishes or cauliflower and/or paneer (South Asian cheese).
Well, we managed to find a fancy restaurant and I knew it, this was fancy in India and I don't even think people would have bothering going in Sweden.
Hell, the authorities might have closed (most likely) down the place. When we left we had to go eat a garlic paratha. This was the only thing I ate in India. Garlic or cheese paratha and omelette. I was drinking water with fresh lime added to the bottle to make it a wee bit more exciting.
There was naan and chapatti bread as well, but I liked the paratha best.
No night life and no nice restaurant so you understand why India is the back packer’s favourite destination. Impossible to spend any money and after one month there was almost as much money in the valet as when I arrived. And that's even though you bought train tickets and plane tickets, hotel and I rented a moped or motorcycle in Goa.
We were out looking at the city and we stopped at a restaurant for some tea. There was a girl and she came over to sit down at our table. She came from some place along the coast but we never understood what she did in Calcutta.
It’s never happens that an Indian girl come to speak with you so she was most likely a prostitute. But I'm not sure, but we bought her tea and it was quite interesting to talk with her.
It was time for me to leave Calcutta and my first stop was in Madras. And I ended up with a British guy on the train to Madras and he was going to stay in Madras and I was continuing to Goa. Good to have company and I think we spent 30 hours or so on the train.
I don't remember how long we spent on the train, but it was daylight when we left and I remember it like night when we arrived to Madras so it must have been more than 24 hours. I won't be surprised if it took more than 2 days, it looks like it when I look at the map. And Madras is named Chennai so it took me some while to find it on the map.
I don't remember much from this train trip. Actually only that I got sick, and I mean really sick. High fever and I could hardly walk.
When we arrived to Madras the British guy took me to the hotel and he left me at a hotel room in Madras with his walkman® when he went to buy medicine. He had a tape with Ruthless Rap Assassins and I had never heard them before. And this was some funky stuff, I have to look for their records.
I was flat out on the floor listening to the Ruthless Rap Assassins and the first thing I asked him when he came back was what it was.
- Ruthless Rap Assassins from Manchester.
I stayed there for one or two night and when I was well again I took off towards Goa. Yet another overnight train and I were really angry with these Indian Airways. Well, that didn't help much.
Arriving to the train station in Goa and I took a taxi to Calangute and the same hotel I had lived at when I was here back in January or February this year. I had been spending the last hours of my train trip to Goa in the same train compartment as an old lady.
- How do you react over all these people killed in the riots?
- There are so many people in India. No one really cares. Just if it's your relatives or friends.
She told me that she used to smuggle gold between Goa and India, or if it was India and Goa when Goa belonged to the Portuguese. so at least the last few hours of the train trip had been quick listening to her interesting stories.
They recognised me at the hotel and when I came down to King Fisher restaurant/ pub they recognised me and I handed a tape to Benji. He could not believe his eyes. He had asked for my tape when I was here last time.
- I will give you one next Christmas.
- Yeah-yeah, blah-blah!
He never really believed that he was going to get the tape. I also meet a British guy that I had met last time here in Goa. It was almost like it had been yesterday I had left the place trying to sleep in the back of the hotel owner’s car. Early morning and he drove me to the airport.
It was pretty much the same as when I was here last time. Anjuna Flea market and then off to the bar on the beach. I think the name was Shore Bar and people went there to watch the sun set. I meet a Swedish guy and his girl friend at Shore bar. I think he approached me when I was wearing my Skåne T-shirt.
They lived in the house next door. Well, there were only the Shore bar and two houses so I think it was the owner of Shore bar that had these two houses for rent. I also meet 3 guys from New York, one of them were working at a refugee camp for Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
His two friends had arrived from New York to visit him on his holiday in Goa. And it was party every day, and there was no lack of parties in Goa during the Christmas season. They were staying for 2 or 3 weeks before he had to return to Pakistan and his two friends returned to New York.
The guys from New York lived at Baga beach so it was just a 2 minutes ride with the motorcycle from Calangute. I remember one night, they had heard a rumour about a party on Baga beach and we went there to check it out. This was an Indian style party and most of the people there was from India.
Many Indian people from Bombay and Bangalore was here for Christmas and New Year's Eve party. We decided to go check it out and I remember two things from this evening. I went to meet the guys at their hotel and I brought a bottle of some Indian stuff I had bought. One of the guys got a wee bit sick
The second thing I remember is that I meet a doctor at the party. He was from Bombay and he was about to get married so he drove around India on his motorcycle.
- My last chance. When I'm married I have to stay home.
I drove around Goa with the Americans and we went to places that I would never have seen if it hadn't been for them.
One day we drove South to see something interesting. I have no idea what it was we were looking at, maybe an old temple or something equally interesting.
I don't remember the name of the small town south of the river, but we passed the over a bridge and we continued a bit outside the city and we arrived to the site. We walked around for a while looking at the, yeah, whatever it was.
And when we were finished we drove back to the town looking for a place to eat. We found an Italian restaurant.
We came in and we got a table. There were a few people from Israel on the table next to us. They had ordered meat sauce and spaghetti and when the food arrived they asked if it was pork. Of course, who haven't heard about the holy cow in India. And Israelis don't eat pork and they come to India expecting to get cow on the plate. How stupid can you be? They would be better off staying home.
There was a lot of noise from their table when the stupid MOTHERF@CKERS refused to pay.
- Good, just continue like that, for sure won't do much to improve the Israelis reputation.
The Israelis was not popular around India.
- Where do you come from?
- GOOD! I thought you were from Israel.
Leaving Calangute Beach and there was a stretch of road, a few hundred meters before you had to turn left if you wanted to go to Baga. There was a house in the corner and one night they threw a party in this house. I have no clue who threw the party, but I know that I was drinking water only. Yes, I didn't drink any beers in Goa, the beer is awful so water with fresh lime is better.
Mostly Indian people and they were drinking Kingfisher beer like there was no tomorrow. The family from Bangalore had a daughter and 2 sons and I remember the guy, not the father of the children, not even her husband but a boyfriend. And now they wanted me to dance with the daughter.
- I love to. But motherf@cker, I have a sprain on my ankle!
OK, I had a few beers, but during my stay it was less than 10 beers. Well, I even think it was less than 5 beers. They had a beer called Anchor at shore bar and I had a few of them but they were almost impossible to drink the BS.
Water and lime and I are avoiding making a tit out of myself. At the party I meet a family from Bangalore and they were her to celebrate Christmas. At the party I meet a lot of the people from King Fisher restaurant and the people from Bangalore.
I think they lived at Calangute Beach because I ran in to them almost every day when they were partying.
- Join us for a beer.
- I'm driving so I stick with the water.
I arrived to King Fisher on night and I think they celebrated one of their son's birthday. At least there were cake and plenty beers on the table. I liked the Calangute area and to party with the Indians.
One night there was a big disco on the beach and it was at least to say interesting music.
Yes, this was the place I heard Khaled and Didi for the first time. I found the tape in Calcutta on my way back to Bangkok and I forgot the tape in a taxi in Bangkok. But I found the CD in Sydney again. So no problem.
Christmas season and there was a party every day. And Calangute/ Baga seemed to be more popular with the Indians. If you went south crossing the river and further South of the airport you have all the European charter tourists.
If you went North to Anjuna you had all the back packers and rave people. I saw many drug addicts up there, believe me. Shore bar, of course Techno music on full blast and people were dropping acid like there was no tomorrow. OK, it's their business, but I got furious when o saw a girl with a baby dancing with her head in the loud speaker obviously under the influence of acid. Poor baby, people like that should be beaten up and their baby should be taken away from them.
Rave parties in Goa, well known all over the world but now they have some heavy restrictions. No party allowed and if you wanted to arrange some party you had to pay some tea money to the police. A very hefty price tag, so after many failed attempts the rave season turned in to two rave parties. Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
They told me that India was under a lot of pressure to get the drug problem under control, or else..... No more aid from USA and Europe so it's easy for the Police to show that they are on top of things by stopping a few rave parties.
And of course, they made a lot of money just to issue a rave permit.
OK, 1993 and no end in sight for the strike on Indian Airways. I had to start thinking about leaving India so I could get back to Bangkok and Miss “Most beautiful in the world” at Atlanta Hotel.
My friends from New York were returning home and the other guy was bound for the refugee camp in Pakistan. I went to see them off at their hotel and we had last breakfast. Well, I had met a lot of fun people during my time in India.
Leaving, I don't need to tell you how I felt when I was standing waiting for the bus to Bangalore. I left in the afternoon and I arrived to the city (I still don't remember the name) South of the river. I was standing there and there was another guy coming. He was returning home to Bangalore after his holiday in Goa. And I had no doubt in my mind what he had been up to during his holiday.
Constant dancing with his index fingers and it looked like he was stuck in an acid trip. Of course, I ended up next to him on the bus.
Bus??!! Motherf@cker, wooden benches and I was going to spend 17, yes SEVENTEEN HOURS, AT LEAST on this so called bus to Bangalore. As you can understand I was swearing over Indian Airways a whole lot during this bus trip.
I t was like torture to ride the bus, every time we turned it felt like the bus was about to tip over. I could see two guys in the driver’s compartment passing a small bottle between them. And I had just read in the news paper about this “BANG”. Booze made of garbage in the slum area and there are so many people dying from this “BANG” they have lost count. Next to me was the guy going on with his fingers, yes, I was scared.
While writing this I searched the internet for pictures of Indian buses. I will put two of the pictures I found below. And don't expect a million if you can figure out what kind of bus service they had between Goa and Bangalore back in January 1993.
Arriving to Bangalore and It was so nice to get off the bus. I left towards the train station without any backward glances.
- All trains to Calcutta are full!
- Hey listen up! I need to be in Calcutta like yesterday.
- Where is the Boss?
The boss arrived to the scene.
- All trains to Calcutta are full!
- Hey listen up! I need to be in Calcutta like yesterday.
- Where is the Boss?
Now I was showed to an office complex a few hundred meters away. We went up a few floors and it was the same story again.
- All trains to Calcutta are full!
- Hey listen up! I need to be in Calcutta like yesterday.
- OK, let me rephrase myself. I NEED TO BE IN CALCUTTA!!
- HEY! we found a reservation for you on the next train.
- THANK YOU!!
- And it's not any train. It's the Indian pride Bangalore - Calcutta Express!!!
- THANK YOU!!
I was impressed and I went to Holiday Inn for something to eat while waiting for the train. I had time to take a look at the town in the evening and I ended up at a bar and it didn't take long before I was approached by a guy.
- I meet you in Goa
I had no clue who that guy was, but obviously he had meet me on Calangute Beach. He had been there over the Christmas. I told him about the bus ride and I gave him more than he cared for about Indian Airways.
- You should have told me, I was flying back to Bangalore with my plane.
Turned out he had a Cessna or something like that and he had flied back from Goa in an empty plan. well, doesn’t help me now when I'm in Bangalore. And he was not going to Calcutta, DARN!
I boarded the train to Calcutta in a very good mood. I will soon reach Calcutta and then I will see if Indian Airways are back in Business so I can return to Bangkok and Miss “Most beautiful in the world” at Atlanta Hotel on Soi 2.
I got the top bunk and I woke up to what would turn out to be the FIRST morning on the Indian pride, Bangalore - Calcutta Express. I got two things out of getting sick on the way to Madras from Calcutta. I learnt about Ruthless Rap Assassins and I never read any of my Mad Magazines.
I started to read my magazines on the top bunk and when the morning turned to mid day I asked when we were arriving.
- Not yet!
- OK, soon! I said full of optimism.
As I said, I have more experience from Indian train than I care for. but I don't have any good picture from an Indian second class sleeper compartment. So I searched the internet and I found an excellent site about trains' in India, www.indiamike.com and just click on the link to get some useful info about the trains in India. Have a look at the toilet. As you understand I didn't drink very much water during this trip and I think I managed to stay away from the bathroom.
Midday turned in to afternoon/ evening and I asked how long before we arrived to Calcutta.
- Not yet!
- OK, soon! I said full of optimism.
When I had spent 24 hours on the top bunk I expected us to arrive to Calcutta and there were no signs off us approaching Calcutta. But this was the Bangalore - Calcutta express, right? So every time we slowed down I reached for my weekend bag.
- Good, we're arriving!
I was saved by my Mad Magazine, I cannot even imagine how this trip would have been without the Mad Magazines. I was going crazy, 30 hours, 40 hours and by now I was really on the verge of going crazy.
Going by train in India is very interesting for 4 or 5 hours maximum, when the trip going in on the sixth hour the whole trip turns in to a night mare. He I was on my 50th hour.
- Motherf@ckers! When do we arrive? Express, my arse. We're making 26km/h tops!
We arrived after 54 hours and I could not believe it when I stepped out from my train car. It was so nice to finally be in Calcutta. A taxi to a hotel and then I was off to Indian Airway's office, still on strike and I got an endorsement for Thai Airways.
- When do you want to leave?
I paid 50$ extra and I had a business class ticket to Bangkok the day after. One night at hotel in Calcutta, OK. After the train ride I could survive everything.
When I left for the airport my pockets were fat of Indian Rupees. So the driver had to stop at every corner so I could hand out my money to people that were in look of need.
The driver asked if I was married. He had a daughter and he asked if I wanted to get married with her.
- No, I'm going to Australia.
- She can go with you.
He offered me a car, refrigerator and a lot of stuff if I got married with his daughter. Well, that's the Indian style, a dowry if you get married with his daughter.
At Calcutta airport I rejected a drink in the lounge. They served me a drink that looked like they had filled the glass in a sewer.
Thai Airways, is there any better airline? I don't know, but I had 5 cans of Heineken before we left the terminal. Heineken, what a sad excuse for a beer, but after India it was like the best beer in the world and I was a wee bit tipsy when we took off from Calcutta International.
Nice to leave India behind and I was soon to arrive to a bustling night life in Bangkok
OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it’s not very easy for them to see the blue coloured links to the next page. So
Jiffy (also jiff)
noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.
So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one.
So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!
Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas
Faites vous parlez le français? Pas de problème! Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!
Haga usted dice el español? No hay problema! Ver la siguiente página sólo hacer clic el botón “Next” encima!
Farla parla l'italiano? Non problemi! Per vedere la prossima pagina lo scatto per favore giusto Il bottone “Next” sopra
Sprechen sie Deutsch! Kein problem! Wenn Sie die folgende Seite sehen wollen gerade klicken der Knopf “Next” oben!