Camel Safari, Jaisalmer

While backpacking around India, we visited Jaisalmer on the western edge of Rajasthan. This golden city sits beside the Thar desert, and each February, a colourful desert festival takes place here where locals race camels, award prizes for the longest moustache and participate in turban tying competitions. We signed up for an overnight camel trek…

The Beach Hustler

“What did you say your name was?” “Mahesul” I logged it as Hustle, which wasn’t so hard to remember given his next offer. “What is your plan tomorrow?” “Well…we…” “Meet me at 5am. I take you out on the water.” I raised my eyebrow at my boyfriend. The man had fiercely glittering eyes and a toothy…

Ayurvedic Massage in Kerala, India

Trekking in the tea plantations of Munnar, we met two easygoing German cousins. One taught us the art of eating in the South Indian way, scooping up rice loaded with sauce, hot vegetable sambhar and coconut chutney from the banana leaf, only using the fingers of one hand. It’s not surprising that she was so adept at…

Bollywood translated

Two dozen expectant eyes bore into my face, waiting for me to move. I scanned them all in one long pleading sweep, looking for an escape route. ‘Go on!’ urged my traitorous boyfriend, who’d sided with the crowd. My only other ally shrugged at me. He was conveniently pinned down as his hand was tattooed…

Never tease a monkey with a peanut

Unlike the playful Disney animation, in Rudyard Kipling’s novel The Jungle Book, Baloo the bear gravely warns the young Mowgli about monkeys and their status in the jungle: “Listen, man-cub,” said the Bear, and his voice rumbled like thunder on a hot night. “I have taught thee all the Law of the Jungle for all…

An Unexpected Indian Massage

After hauling a rucksack that weighed three quarters of me, a massage seemed just the ticket. A group of us had just rattled off a small minibus that had shaken us all the way from Delhi to the northern mountains of Old Manali. We’d travelled for a full day past miles of slums with flapping…