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Monday
Mar152010

Mosquito(e)s, Breakfast and Beaches

It’s going to be one of those days! I have had to start by defying Microsoft over the spelling of the plural of the word ‘mosquito’. This, of course, will be in addition to the fact that this is not the post I was planning to make. The one that, for some inexplicable reason, I am struggling with. So I am doing this one instead.

The way to the beach - Part ONE

I know all about mosquitos, (or mosquitoes even – sod it, I am starting to think that Bill Gates is right). I used to live in Australia. They have very many multiples of mosquito, and I think that I lost about 60% of my body mass in the first two weeks of living there. All of it extracted, in very small doses, by very many multiples of mosquito. I think it is the fresh blood.

The way to the beach - Part TWO

For two weeks, I was probably the mosquito equivalent to happy hour at the Coach & Horses. It’s painful, but not life threatening, because they don’t have malaria in Australia.

The way to the beach, Part THREE, you cut through this hotel, honest!

They also have many multiples of mosquito in India. (All right, mosquitoes – MBG has confirmed it, but I am not very good at being wrong). The major difference with Indian mosquitoes is that, depending where you are, one in about 100 million of them can give you malaria. Most visitors, it has to be said, don’t bother with anti malarial tablets, but I do.

On the way to the beach - Part FOUR, stick with it, we are getting there.

This policy seems entirely designed to make me feel foolish. I see loads of other people with lots of mosquito bites, but, touching wood very earnestly, I have had just one in over six weeks of exposure. I hate to think how much money I have spent protecting myself against one Indian mosquito. If I can find it again, I am going to shake it’s mosquitoey, hand, and pay for its kids to go through college. Phew, that is much better out, than in. BTW, I haven’t got any pictures of mosquitoes, so that is why the photos have been out of context.

I very rarely eat breakfast in the UK, but here it is my favourite meal of the day. A basic breakfast is included in my room rate, but that is not why I enjoy it. I do that because it is the early part of the day, the temperature is perfect, and everything is fresh.

My breakfast.

You can have omelettes, and the like, if you want, but I just have toast, butter, and marmalade, coffee and juice. Even then, I have to say that the coffee is fairly ordinary, but the marmalade is stunning. You don’t often find marmalade (orange jam) in India, but persevere (preserverere?), it’s well worth it.

After breakfast, most people decamp off to the beach for the day. Many have rented motorbikes, or get a rickshaw/taxi.

Way to the beach, Part FIVE

 I have never been a great ‘lie on the beach’ person, but I do enjoy walking down there, sitting in a shack, and indulging in a bit of people watching. You have to understand that, prior to tourism, and unless you were a fisherman, there was no particular reason for Indians to want to be near the beach. So there is no beachfront promenade, such as you would find in Spain or Greece. In fact, ridiculous as it may seem, the beach can be quite difficult to find.

Getting close to the beach now, the hoarding on the left is advertising the shacks

There is no direct route and you have to take some, hopefully educated, guesses at various crossroads and intersections along the way. I have managed to get lost a couple of times. I have only once managed to take the same route there, and back.

The beach is at the end of this track. Once you know what is going on, the motorbikes are a bit of a givaway!

When you get there, hopefully on the same day as you set out, the lack of promenade is made up for by the beach shacks. These are just that, coconut matting, erm shacks, that have electricity to keep the beer and food cool. There is a sitting area in the shack, where you can eat, and there will be a selection of sun-loungers between the shack and the sea. There is a notional charge to use the sun-loungers, but in practice, as long as you spend some money in the shack, they are free. I just might try it before I leave.

Sooo, finally arrived! All you have to do is find your way back!