I Faced It All And I Stood Tall And Did It My Way

Hello, how are you all? If you have read the last blog about my time in Indonesia, I hope you liked it. Here is my final offering…..for now! But if you have enjoyed reading about my experiences whilst away, know that I can have just as much fun in England and if I don’t, I’m confident that I can make some mundane stuff quite funny and readable. So I may do a blog about going to Biddy Hill, New Brighton Beach or Storeton Woods. The pictures may not be as exotic, but it’s the content you’re after isn’t it? What I’m saying is keep your eyes on the website, as I may throw an occasional blog up for your perusal and enjoyment.

Anyway, I’ll get to it. I uploaded a video before on Facebook with a ropey rendition of Oletta Adams’ ‘Get Here,’ whilst trying not to laugh. It was because tomorrow I am flying back to the UK!! What?? That’s right…..for now my travels on foreign shores will end tomorrow.

I am sat in my hotel room in Cochin, about a 10 minute walk from the airport. I’ve just had my final Chicken Masala, 3 chapattis and rice, with a bottle of water. And for Nora’s benefit it came to 280 Rupees, which is about 2 pound 80 (I haven’t got a pound sign on my mini keyboard, as it was bought in Vietnam…..hence the needless word ‘pound’).

So India… you may have read, I’d had quite a testing day back in Gili sorting the visa out online. But I made it. I arrived in Delhi on 13th April, at about 10pm local time. Here’s my first picture on Indian soil, in Delhi Airport next to a big glass fountain.

I had booked to stay in a hostel for 3 nights. They had sent me an email to say beware of scams in India and if you get a taxi driver make sure they bring you to the property. Taxis are renowned for telling tourists that their hostels have burned down, been flooded, moved base and a whole host of other lies to take you to another property, usually owned by their friends, or someone that they will get commission from. My hostel emailed twice in the run up to my stay to say they were definitely open for business. They said a taxi would cost between 600-900 Rupees. No more. The man at the taxi desk in the airport, where you book said about 700 Rupees. Sound. That’s within what the hostel said too. I got into a taxi at the airport and the drive took about 30 minutes to reach the hostel which was situated over the road from a cricket stadium. The meter read 665 Rupees as we stopped outside the hostel. I handed him a 1000 Rupee note, presuming he’d just give me 335 Rupees back. The driver then turned the meter off, whilst taking the money, printed out a ticket, turned to me and said ‘995 Rupees my friend.’ What? Sorry, my friend, I don’t think so. I told him I’d seen the meter and it had said 665. He told me he has to add taxes and airport parking charges on to that fare. This was the first I’d heard about this. I said I’m not paying that. I’m paying what it says on the meter. He insists it’s more than that. He then phones the man on the desk at the airport and passes me the phone. I said I don’t want to speak to him. I wanted my change. He’s not budging on the fare. I’m not budging from the backseat either. I said, take 700 and give me 300 change. He then calls the man at the airport again. I refuse to speak to him. I’d been told by a few people who had been to India, you need to be assertive in these situations and not back down. In the end he gave me 300 change. I still think he took 35 more than it was, but he can have it. I was knackered and wanted some kip. I headed into the hostel, which had one of those scanners in the reception similar to what you walk through at the airport security. It beeped for everyone going through and no-one was stopped. It just got in the way. There was also 3 dogs in reception, sleeping on the chairs. I booked in and asked about tours etc. The tours were more expensive through the hostel and I seen that the Taj Mahal was shut on Fridays due to prayers. Tomorrow was Thursday, so I thought I’ll head there tomorrow. I had planned on having a day to get my bearings but was straight into it.

I slept well in a 4 bed dorm. There was a couple in there, I think they were American. They didn’t say much. The next morning I made my way to Delhi train station to go to Agra, where the Taj Mahal is. Again, I’d read online that there is a lot of scams in the stations, with people sending you to different buildings and telling you trains aren’t on time, they’re not coming or your ticket isn’t valid etc. One piece of advice I’d give to anyone going to India is, where possible, get your train tickets in advance. I hadn’t done this and it was obvious this was a school boy error. I must have looked like an ideal target as I got out of the tuk-tuk. I was surrounded by people asking where I was going, did I have a ticket etc. I went up to the counter and asked for a return ticket to Agra. There was lots of locals pushing and shoving trying to get in. The Indians have to book their trains 3 weeks in advance sometimes, so it’s a bit of a free for all. It cost 560 Rupees I think. Eventually after a few dud instructions, I was pointed towards the platform. Indian trains have different carriages depending on the class of your ticket. This journey was only going to take about 3 and a half hours, but I’d been sold a ticket in the sleeper class section so had a whole seat/bed to myself. The train journeys here are quite something. Every couple of minutes you’ll hear ‘Chai, chai, chai.’ This is a bloke selling tea. I didn’t get any but did get an omelette and bread. This was breakfast.

I arrived in Agra and headed out of the station to again be surrounded by people offering me taxis. It was hectic. People pulling your arm, pointing in various directions and shouting different numbers at you. One man seemed to stand out from the crowd, as he remained calm. He said in a calm manner ‘Taj Sir… over here.’ I followed him over to his booking office, thinking he was the driver. He gave me a ticket, took my money and pointed over to a bloke in a deep pink coloured shirt who was waving aggressively at me but smiling. The first man said follow him and pointed at the waver. I then assumed this other fella was the driver. He wasn’t, but he said he’d lead me to my taxi. I realise even now, writing this the naivety of me. I was obviously getting a chaperone. The fella with the deep pink coloured shirt on introduced himself as Khan and said he’d take me round Agra with the driver and I wasn’t to pay him anything unless I was satisfied with his service as a guide. We got in the car and headed for the Taj Mahal.

On the way, Khan began his tour duties with some statistics about the place. He told me that there was approximately 1.3 million people living in Agra. He turned round and told me that 50% were Hindu (whilst pointing to his forehead, demonstrating the Bindi commonly worn by Hindu women), he said 30% Muslim (and raised and lowered both arms, to signify a Muslim praying), 10% Christian (touching both his shoulders, as if to make the sign of the cross) and 10% were Sikh (no physical theatre for the Sikhs). That’s 100% of the people of Agra with a religion, meaning that there’s no Atheists apparently. Where’s all the Jedi’s at? The Taj was about 15 minutes away in the car. We arrived outside it and there was crowds everywhere. Tuk-tuk drivers weaved in and out of each other, cows crossed the roads and disrupted the flow of traffic and everyone used there horn, even if they didn’t have one. That’s one of the first things you notice here in India, the use of the horn. Constant, heavy, loud and inappropriate at times. It’s used as a ‘Look, I’m coming through’ signal as well as ‘Get out the way’ signal and also randomly for no reason whatsoever.

Khan and I got out of the taxi and headed through the gates up to the entrance. I handed Khan the 1000 Rupees entrance fee and he pushed his way to the front of the queue to get the ticket. There was a few buildings on the way in, which were impressive and then you had to walk through an archway. There in the distance the Taj Mahal stood majestically. This is a building I’ve seen on the TV numerous times. I’ve seen it in books and brochures but when it is there in front of you, it does make you go ‘Wow.’ It’s impressive. It took 22 years apparently to build, with over 20,000 men working on it everyday for that period. I know builders at home get stick for taking their time, but these fellas must have been having Chai breaks by the minute. From a distance it is mesmerising. Here’s a few pictures of me in front of the Taj, taken by Khan.

We headed further up the walkway towards the building and stopped at the bench where Princess Diana famously had her picture taken. There’s two benches, I think I sat on the other one to what Diana had sat on. Here’s my Diana-esque picture.

On the way through the entrance, Khan had asked whether I was married or had a girlfriend. He told me he was married and had been married to his wife for 8 years. They had two children. He then said he also has a boyfriend, who he’s been with for 15 years. He put his hand on my arm and said ‘India is a secret country…..ssshhhh,’ whilst placing his finger over his lips. I asked him if his wife was aware of his fella, he said she was. He then said he does this job for his wife and children and relies on good tips from customers. He made a few other blatant hints on the walk around the city that he needed a good tip. Here’s a picture of Khan and I.

We headed up towards the Taj, where you have to put CSI shoes on. These are little cotton overcoats for your footwear, similar to those worn at a crime scene, when the police don’t want to destroy evidence. Do you think if we used these back home, Mersey Rail would relax their ‘No feet on the seats…..and even the bit in between the seats’ rule on trains and buses? No me neither. But you’ve got to admit, they’re quite groovy aren’t they? They are just what was missing from that time in Vietnam when I had purple elephant trousers on with black and bright green trainees.

The Taj was equally as impressive up close and inside. The architecture is phenomenal and the attention to detail exquisite. When you get close you can see why it took 20 odd years. Khan told me that all the marble was sourced from nearby as well as in the hills and the desert towards Iran and it was transported by donkeys and cows, which added to the time. Lazy animals, they need to get a shift on. We wandered round and then went back to the car. Khan told me I had really nice hair and said he wanted to come back to the UK with me. I laughed assuming he was joking. He didn’t laugh back. He then asked who cooks for me. I said I cook for myself. He said ‘Well, I can come and cook for you.’ Khan, you’re not coming back with me mate. Drop it. There was times, where he was like a love sick teenager, it was quite uncomfortable. He was constantly touching my arm and patting my back. At times when I was getting photos, he’d speak to the other tourists in Indian and it seemed quite abrupt, as though he was trying to get me a place to get a picture before the Indian tourists. I said on more than one occasion I was happy to wait my turn. He was quite rude to the other tourists. On the way out of the Taj, he said the people who he takes round usually give him this…..and then opened his hand to show the number 50 he’d drawn on with a pen. I thought 50 Rupees? And he said this is 50 pounds or 50 dollars. I nearly laughed out loud. I said to him there’s no way he’d be getting a 50 pound tip, as I didn’t have that sort of money. I said to him that tips are usually at the discretion of the customer. He said there was no pressure and he’d be happy with whatever he received. He’ll have to be.

We finished at the Taj and headed for the taxi. Khan said as part of the tour, he wanted to show me a marble making warehouse. We went and it was clear it was a ploy to try and get you to buy something. I didn’t want marble. This happened again at a rug making factory. I told Khan I had no interest in going to these places and I just wanted to see the Taj and Agra Fort, which is where we were heading after lunch. We went for lunch and he left me on my own to get some food. It was a welcome break from him to be honest. He was too much. Too intense. He said he’d be back in an hour. He came back after about 25 minutes. Thankfully I’d finished eating and was messaging my mate Dave to tell him about my new admirer. He came in and sat next to me, leaned over and looked at my phone. He asked to see the pictures I had taken that day and started swiping through quickly. He came across ones where I was at the waterfall in Bali with my top off and gushed how good I looked. Thanks for the compliment Khan. ‘Do you think this one is better in black and white?’ I got my phone back and we headed on to Agra Fort.

Agra Fort was good. You could see the Taj from the Fort. I’ve scoured my folders for the pictures I’ve taken from there but can’t see them so you’ll have to do without. Sorry readers. Imagine a big red building with fort-type things. Can you see it? Great. That’s what it looked like. The Emperor who had built the Taj for his missus wanted to build an identical one across the river in black marble. His son refused and put him in the Fort for 8 years. Bit harsh doing that to your al fella isn’t it? This was a family breakdown that Jeremy Kyle couldn’t have fixed. Imagine Jezza yelling in the Son’s face ‘And YOU…..MISTER…..Who do you think you are, putting your old man in a Fort? Haven’t you got any respect for your elders?’ Jezza would look down at the cards he always has in his hands, shake his head, call them all liars and ask Graham to take them to rehab, before getting them back on in a year to see if things had chilled out. No Jez, this is 8 years man. Maybe Sir Trev could have done an inside special from the Fort with the old fella too. Great TV??

Anyhow, I digress. After the Fort, Khan was up to his old tricks again, touching and that and taking me to a ticket office. He’d asked did I have a ticket back to Delhi from Agra. I said to him I had asked for a return ticket and the ticket I got had cost 500 odd Rupees. He asked to see it and said he would take it to his friend to see if it was a return or not. Naivety getting the better of me again here. I said to Khan I wasn’t interested in buying a ticket from an agency and if needed I’d get a return from the station. He said I needn’t worry. When we got to the ticket office, the fella said it wasn’t a return and tried to sell me tickets and trips. I said I had no desire to buy any. He ushered me out. I told Khan he was out of order and I had said I didn’t want to be taken to any place that would try to sell me anything. It was uncomfortable going in, gawping at their products and having no intention to buy anything. The ticket office may have been the second place we went and the marble place the third when I told him, but you get the idea.

Khan mentioned the tip again and said not to give him his tip in front of the driver. He had really annoyed me by this point with all the gushing, touching and the constant reminders that I need to tip him, let alone the pushing of other tourists out the way for me to get a picture. We headed for the taxi and I gave him a tip and then got in the car. I was dropped back off at the train station in Agra and gave the taxi driver his tip also. I was glad to be out of Khan’s company. I bought my ticket and headed for the train station platform. I got talking to an Indian lad, who asked where I was going. I told him Delhi. He was headed there too. He said the return ticket I’d bought which was 90 Rupees was for a very slow train and if I paid the instructor the difference for the faster one, I could get on that. That’s what I did. I had thought I’d been rightly scammed earlier, when I was only charged 90 for the return journey, but this lad had saved me from what would have been a very long trip back to the capital.

On the train, I was able to spread out again on a bed and read my book. We got back to Delhi in the evening and I headed for the hostel. My plan for the next day was to head around Delhi and see the sights there. But it didn’t happen. I done a little Vlog the next evening. I had had a day of massive frustrations, being taken to place to place and getting nowhere. Delhi literally broke me. Here’s the Vlog.

One bright spot was seeing a parade on my way back to the hostel and getting thrown a packet of biscuits. I got my photo with these lads too.

The next morning I headed for the bus terminal to get the 4 hour bus to Jaipur. On the bus I watched two of the films I had bought in Bali; ‘White House Down’ and ‘Ride Along.’ Both were good. I arrived in Jaipur about 5pm and ordered out for something to eat. I went up to the rooftop and ate my curry there. I got talking to a few people from England. There was a young couple of about 20, who I ended up talking to about politics. It got quite heated, but not aggressive. I don’t know if people are drawn to me to talk politically but on more than one occasion on this trip conversations have veered towards politics without me instigating it. The lad said he’d voted Conservative and the girl had voted Lib Dems in the last election. The lad said he didn’t know why he’d voted Tory, but thought they were the best for the country. I pressed him on why he thought that. He couldn’t answer. I asked him if there was a general election tomorrow would he vote for them again and he said maybe not. I suppose that’s progress?

The next day I went out for breakfast, then agreed a price to hire a tuk-tuk driver for the day. I was only in Jaipur for today and was heading on to Udaipur in the morning so I needed to get around as much of the city today as was possible. The first stop we made was at Amer Fort. This was a massive fort on a hill, which was about 30 minutes away from where my hostel was. There was two other forts on top of the hills also. It was really impressive. I got talking to a fella from Wiltshire whose name was Andy and then an American lad called Jamey joined us as we made the trek in the blistering sun by foot, to the top of the mountain to the other forts. Again, the architecture in these places was amazing. Each window had a hand carved pattern and the marble which covered some of the windows was also carved out of one sheet of marble. Talented folk. Here’s a few pictures from the fort. Get on to the bees, the bats and the stunning views over the city.

These kids had bumped into me with their family a few times during my walk around the fort. Their dad asked for a picture with me and his sons. I was happy to oblige.

On the way out, I also seen this monkey just chilling with some flowers.

The next stop was through the Pink City (which was mainly orange) and to the Monkey Temple. The name of this is quite deceiving. You’d imagine there’d just be monkeys here. When we pulled up in the tuk-tuk there was monkeys about, as well as pigs, muskrats, goats, cows, dogs, cats, lizards and birds. The monkeys were chilled and didn’t seem as aggressive as the ones in Bali. Although, one fella outside tried to tell me that without a guide they can bite. I was willing to take my chances, having cottoned on to their sales techniques by now. Here’s a Vlog I recorded at the top of the hill, which took about 20 minutes to get to.

From Monkey Temple we headed back through Pink City to my hostel. Here’s one of the buildings there. Again, the architecture is something to behold.

I got my head down that night ready for an early morning train to Udaipur. I’d bought my ticket in advance this morning before having breakfast and got to the station well in time for the train. This time I was not in sleeper class but in second class. This is basically a bench which seats three people, facing an identical bench with very little leg room. I was the only white man in this carriage. All the other people I presume were Indians. Second class is not one of the more popular tickets for tourists, but it was cheaper and I thought it gives me an insight into travelling without the comfort of the bed. On the train, men would crawl up the aisles begging. Some had no limbs. Other men would play maracas down your ears, whilst smiling and some other fella was rattling chains at me wanting me to buy one. The poverty in India is something which at first is difficult to see. I hadn’t really hardened to it and it was difficult to turn people down. It’s not uncommon to see men with no limbs crawling around the streets and women with babies asking for money.

The train took about 7 hours. I arrived in Udaipur which seemed a lot more chilled than Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Udaipur is the place where some of the 13th James Bond film was shot. The film, which was released in 1983 was called ‘Octopussy’ and starred Roger Moore. I put my bags in the hotel and headed to a restaurant on the river for some dinner. The next day I headed to the City Palace. This building was stunning. Here’s the view of the entrance.

From one part of the palace you could see what is now a hotel in the middle of the lake, but used to be a palace also.

The fella whose yard this was at one time was called Maharana Bhupal Singhji. The text of the picture below describes him as ‘an invalid,’ and says that a lift was fitted in the palace in 1940. Here’s his picture and a picture of his wheelchair.

The building like many here in India was very elegant and had been designed beautifully. Here’s a picture of another part of the palace as well as a crib where a rich baby probably slept.

Whilst I was there, there was stages being erected for use in a wedding ceremony. It’d be some venue to have your wedding do in here. Probably cost a couple of quid also. After seeing the palace, I headed for food and to meet Dom and Jane, the couple from Sunderland who I’d met in Thailand. They’d since been to other Thai islands and Sri Lanka, before heading to India. I was to stay with them for the duration of my time in India. We travelled to each city together and their company was great. The next few days were chilled. We went out and had a look round the city and ate some good food. I had wanted to go on a river cruise but with it being out of season, the man said he needed at least four people, unless I wanted to hire the boat for myself. I didn’t have the money to do that really. Here’s a couple more pictures from my time in Udaipur.

Dom, Jane and I had booked an overnight bus to get from Udaipur to Mumbai. We were told it’d take 15 hours. It departed at 5pm. It arrived 18 hours later. The roads were very bumpy, which meant that it was not a comfortable sleep at all. Imagine being in a taxi, bladdered and asleep and the driver going over speed bumps and your body involuntarily being thrown around. That’s what it was like…..only I was sober and awake (most of the time). I did manage to get some sleep but it was far from satisfactory.

When we arrived in Mumbai, we got a taxi to the hostel. It took about 40 minutes. Mumbai is huge. All the places in India are. You can drive for a few hours and still be in the same city here. It’s massive. That evening we had a stroll down to India Gate, where we were constantly stopped for pictures. People were literally queuing up to have their picture taken with us. We booked a taxi driver to take us on a tour the following day. Here’s a picture from India gate. Behind the camera, there’s probably about 10 people waiting for me to finish getting my picture taken, before coming over and getting theirs with me.

After this, we headed to the Leopold Cafe; a restaurant which was one of the places which came under attack in 2008. Ten members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic militant organisation based in Pakistan had carried out a number of co-ordinated attacks across two days. There was approximately 166 deaths, including nine of the attackers and over 600 non-fatal injuries. The restaurant still had the bullet holes in the walls. It was eerie to be somewhere again where the evidence of the tragedy was still very evident.

The following day, we were booked on a tour of Mumbai. Our driver picked us up and the first place we stopped was the laundry. This is one of two huge laundries in Mumbai. Each person who works here has their own designated space and they are paid per item they wash. The local hospitals and hotels all use this service as well as local residents.

We stopped off at a point along the coast. It was a fishing area. This is where the ten attackers had come into Indian by boat. They had killed fisherman in their boats, dressed as the Indian army and fooled the locals when they arrived on the shore.

We then headed to some gardens, which were very pretty. There was a huge shoe shaped house in the middle which kids were playing in. From the gardens you could see the world’s most expensive property. It’s valued at $1bn and is owned by an Indian businessman who has various businesses. He’s minted. He employs 600 servants and 5 people live there. I’ve since been informed that there is 5 helicopter landing pads on the property. It’s the type of property that would be shown to perspective buyers on ‘A Place Abroad’ or one of those shows where the couple say their budget is capped at 250,000 but are subsequently shown properties well above that. ‘Well, Mr and Mrs Smith, you’ve always wanted to live in India haven’t you? And I know you said your budget was 250,00 but I’ve found this gem. It’s a little out of your price range, but it’s got great potential. It’s on the market for nine hundred, ninety-nine million, seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds over your budget…..what do you think?’ Ermmmm…..NO!

We then made our way to Ghandi’s old crib. This is where Ghandi had resided in India for a while. In there was a library with some of the actual books Ghandi had read, along with many about him and his life. There was little figurines of Ghandi depicting various significant events in his life. Here’s a few pictures from outside and inside the house.

After there, we headed to the Slums. We were all expecting this to be residential slums and lots of poverty. But it was working slums, with some residential parts. The tour guide said that the people who worked here were very happy. He said the government had offered people in the slums a new house and 3 million rupees, but many turned it down as it wouldn’t suit them for work. If they live and work in the slums, that seems to be better for them apparently. It was an experience walking round and seeing the various little shacks. There was young lads making handbags and purses, men collecting plastic, others ripping cardboard up to recycle and lots of other little factories. It was like a self contained community. We had something to eat from one of the little stores which sells food to the workers on their lunch break. Here’s us on the floor, getting fed.

We finished the tour and headed back to our hostel to get our bags before getting a taxi to the airport and flying to Goa. The flight was about an hour or so. We arrived safely and made our way to the Calangute area of Goa. The hostel was near the beach, which is where we headed to the next day. Here’s a few pictures from the beach.

Goa was part of the journey which was just to chill out. Other than laze on the beach, I didn’t get up to much else. We stayed in Calangute for 3 nights. One night we watched Sunderland vs Arsenal. Dom is a Sunderland fan, so there was a vested interest. It was a nice way to spend a few days before moving to Anjuna, which is also in Goa. We stayed at a place called the Funky Monkey Hostel in Anjuna. Again this was close to the beach and again we didn’t do much other than sunbathe. It was great to chill, listen to some music and do some reading and preparation for a few things for when I get back to the UK. I have a few projects in the pipeline, which I’m excited for that I’ve done a bit of work on whilst I’ve been away. Here’s a few pictures from the Flea Market, where I bought some incense, coffee beans and tea as well as Anjuna beach.

We had been in Goa for 9 nights. The end of my trip was fast approaching. I had two more flights to reach my final destination of Cochin. Cochin is famous for its backwaters tour. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to do this whilst I’ve been here. It just means I’ll have to come back someday. Tonight is my second and final night in Cochin. I have moved from the hostel we were in last night, which is two hours away on the bus. See what I mean about travelling for hours and still being in the same city? Yesterday we had a stroll down to the beach (hoping to do a bit of sunbathing), but when we got there, there was little space for sunbathing and the beaches were mainly used for fishing. I had taken a rather narcissistic selfie declaring I was getting ready for my final day of sunbathing. Well, it didn’t happen. We wondered round the town, seen the beach and the Chinese Fishing Nets as well as a stack of bones from a cow.

So that brings me up to now. I am sat in my hotel room in Cochin. It’s a nice place to lay my head for my final night of my travels. Tomorrow I am up early and will head to the airport at about 7am. My flight is at 10.30am so I need to be there 3 hours before.

By the time I arrive back in Birkenhead tomorrow, I’ll have completed 12 flights, numerous overnight buses and day buses, countless boats and a few train journeys also. I’ll have travelled over 24,672 miles since I began my travels and this is just counting the flights and buses/trains/taxis between major cities and a few around the resorts in India as they’re so big. This doesn’t include walking, bike rides or other shorter journeys on buses, taxis, bikes etc. Some distance hey?

This has been one unforgettable journey. I’ve had amazing highs as well as some testing times, for a number of reasons. I’ve met some fantastic people and made memories with them along the way. I’ve seen some superb sights including, mountains, sand dunes, sunsets, beaches, rivers, lakes and oceans. I’ve swam in the Arabian Sea, I’ve crossed the desert. I’ve seen the world’s tallest building and the world’s biggest aquarium. I’ve snorkelled, climbed mountains, seen historical sights and heard about some tragic things. I’ve experienced wildlife right up close and seen an array of animals. I’ve gained an insight into myself and learned a lot about myself as a person. I’ve had a phenomenal experience whilst meditating and went to a place that wasn’t physical. I’ve had some fashion disasters and some transport issues and I’ve fucking loved it all. Finally, I have done my best to share my experiences with you in an honest and hopefully amusing way, where appropriate. Whoever you are. I know some of you. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to read my blog’s, comment on them, send me messages and gee me up when I’ve been frustrated. I thank everyone who’s helped me in whatever form over the last few months. It means a lot. Big shout out to Dave Harland who’s been on hand to assist when I’ve had issues with the blog, appreciate it mate. Thank you to crew in Houlie’s who have followed and commented (see you tomorrow). Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I’m now going to get a shower and get my head down, in preparation for the 12 hour round trip to Dubai and then Manchester. Hope to see you in the Houlie’s. And like I said, keep an eye on the website for some other stuff soon. I will let final word go to Ghandi but before that I shall say for the last time (for now) on here…..

Stay Blessed

Big Love

Matty x

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