10 miles later

Feeling worn out.

As I walked back to the hostel from seeing Lea off, I bumped into Sequoia from breakfast. He was leaving later on and so told him that a tuk-tuk would be cheaper for him to hire to the airport. He appriciated the tip. He was going souvenir shopping to but presents for his wife and children and invited me along.

It was hot but it was fun looking for anklets and tshirts in all the little shops. It is very much more tourist focused here in the shops, with tat like playboy bunny anklets and Instagram logo tshirts. 

He was looking for metal anklets like they have at the beaches down south but they only sold really cheap beaded ones or very expensive silver ones. In the end he got a few cheap ones for his kids and splashed out on a silver one for his wife. 

As we were hunting for a shop that was open to buy Feni we passed two girls in a tree. One was about 10, the other 15. I would say they were sisters and they were living in the tree as they had bags of stuff up their and looked very settled. They were asking for 10rp.

Sequoia had bought a drum from someone on the street and these girls asked to play with it. He went to hand it to them and then thought better as he would never get it back. He ended up in a slight tug of war with them before they gave in. 

He noticed that the younger girl was wearing an anklet and offered her 50rp for it. She refused but he ended up agreeing a price of 100rp with her and got the anklet from her. 

We carried on walking but then he stopped and said he wanted to go back and get a photo of the girls up the tree. We went back and they weren’t very keen to be photographed but said ok to one.

As it was Sunday, no shops were open to buy alcohol so I suggested maybe he could pick up feni from the airport instead.

Last on his list was to visit a mosque, Jama Masjid, which was supposed to be spectacular inside. We walked up a hill and could see over the city, but no mosque.

Working our way down the hill through a housing estate, we came to a Christian Temple. We removed our shoes and entered. It was very spacious and grand with marble floors and walls. There was a drum and chanting coming from above and a couple of shrines. We walked around the back of one of the shrines, which gives you a blessing and then crept upstairs.  Here was the drum and chanting, about 7 woman and 5 men, separate on different sides of the room were watching a woman holding a tray of candles that she was offering to a shrine. We stayed for a few minutes and then crept down again.

We passed a park with lots of women and children begging. Sequoia gave 20rp to a lady with a baby and then lots more came forward to ask for more. He said no and we carried on walking. The women were all gathered together, and sat on a chair in the middle if them was a man. I don’t know if he was their ‘protection’ but it was more than likely that any money the women got went straight to him.

We found the mosque, from the outside it looked like a rundown house. As a female I am not allowed inside so I sat in the shade outside for 10 minutes.

When Sequoia came out, there was an old lady begging on the steps. He told her he only had 500rp note and so he would go and get change and come back. I though he was just saying that to her, but he actually did! He asked her for a photo in exchange for 10rp to which she agreed. 

I felt very uncomfortable with this picture taking. These are people, not a monument or a tourist sight.

Now that he had lots of change he said he was going to go back to the park and give money to all the women and children in exchange for photos. I told him I was not going to go with him and that I would see him back at the hostel.

I wandered back, looking forward to the air conditioning and an iced tea! I even treated myself to a peanut butter cookie!

I sat upstairs on a comfy armchair and updated my blog. It was very chilled and nice to just be quiet in the cool air.

I met Matt, from USA who is 7 months into his year of travel. He has just come from Sri Lanka so is doing my trip in reverse. He was planning to walk to Dona Paulo which had a look out point and beach. We decided to wait until 3pm so it was slightly cooler and then set off, wearing trainers as it was going to be quite a walk.

We followed google maps and ended up in the middle of a high end housing area at the top of a very steap hill. No beach in sight. We were so hot, we had been walking for nearly 2 hours. We asked a few people and carried on, going back down the other side of the hill.

We came to a busier road with tourist coaches and lots more people so knew we were going the right way. We followed the crowds and ended up at the sea. We were up on a promenade and there was a look out tower up some steps.

We joined the masses and climbed the stairs. There were so many Indian people taking selfies it was unbelievable. We were the only western people there and we were being stared at. We took a couple of photos and then went down again. There wasn’t much to look at up there really as it just looked out to sea.

My legs were feeling tired but we carried on, our aim to get to the beach and loop back to the hostel. There was a crowd of people and drums and chanting from below a bridge and we had come across a wedding! The groom was on a beautiful white horse and then he got off and they started dancing. 

We watched for a bit, enjoying the music and then carried on with our walk. The horse was then in front of us so we caught it up to see it closer.

We eventually got to the beach, and it was bliss to take my shoes off and feel the water. We walked the length of the beach with our feet in the water. It was busier than the previous day, but still we were the only western tourists and everyone was fully clothed. As hot as we were, we agreed it would be too awkward to swim and so had to make do with just our feet.

The sun was setting and it was beautiful. It was the closest I have seen the sun get to the water, it always seems to disappear into clouds just above the horizon.

We had fun taking photos and then realised we were both really hungry! We started our way through the crowds of Indian tourists. I told Matt not to stop and not to agree to any photos. The amount of people there, we would have been taking photos for hours if we said yes!  We were asked multiple times as we weaved through prole but managed to get to the road without stopping.

Matt had been given some recommendations for places to eat but they were all up north past the hostel. I had a look for Muma’s kitchen which is a place Anurag had recommended and it was only 10 minutes away and on the way to the hostel. 

Once we found it, we knew it was out of our budget! To enter you had to cross a bridge over coy carp and the air conditioning was beautifully cold. We checked the menu and they had dishes from 700 rp upwards! We turned around and went out the door. I’m sure it is amazing food but not suitable for a backpacker budget!

Instead we went to Edu’s which was a cheap and cheerful place next door. We both downed an ice cold kingfisher and ordered. I had a paneer pallak, which is spinach based. The food was fine, nothing special but nice.

We had a couple more beers, sharing travelling stories and showing photos of where we had been.

We started to walk back and came across crowds of people. There was a festival happening and we managed to get in. The Grape Escapade was a food and music festival. It smelt divine and we were gutted we had already eaten.

We walked round all the stalls, with tandoori ovens giving off so many delicious smells.

On stage there was the result if a beauty pageant, which they messed up and announced the wrong name! No one seemed to be paying attention though as no one even clapped when the winner was announced.

We had made our way to the stage and planned to leave when the entertain mentioned started. Raggas to Riches were a duo who sang a selection of hits from Ed Sheeran, Sean Paul and some other random songs.  The woman was an ok singer but the man was pretty awful! We stayed and laughed for a few songs before going. The locals seemed to live the singing and were dancing and joining in. I think if we had had a few more beers it would have felt less awkward. We again were the only western people and people kept staring at us.

On our way back, still walking, we stopped at a hole in the wall off licence and got a large bottle of kingFisher each. She wrapped them in newspaper as drinking on the street is not allowed. She didn’t tell us this until she had opened them! Not sure how newspaper makes it any better!

We got back to the hostel at gone 11pm, only 8 hours after we had left! We were exhausted!

Divya, the Goan girl I had met the previous night was sat outside so we joined her and finished our drinks. Matt smoked a few joints and just became a zombie. It seems to be a theme! Divya put Spice Girls on which was very random!

Divya asked how I was brave enough to do this on my own and I just said it wasn’t my plan but after a break up it was something I had to do. She didn’t pry any further and I was grateful.

I was uploading our photos from the day onto Facebook and there he was. Tagged in a post of a girl and her 2 friends, having had a weekend together with lots of photos of all 4 of them together. It was horrible.

Suddenly I wondered what he is telling people. Is he admitting that he was supposed to be there with his girlfriend? Or is he just pretending this was his plan all along, solo travel? Has he admitted to anyone the full extent of his fuck up, and how he ruined everything? 

Tears fell into my lap and I excused myself to bed. I text B who agreed it was shit but that I was also putting up photos with different people. But all of mine are with girls or ugly boys! He had spent the weekend with 3 beautiful girls.

I went to sleep crying, tired after such a long day and my heart hurting as it hadn’t been with him.

This hunt for Sazzle is so tough.

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