Sunday, 14 October 2012

Reality Check

Lest we give the wrong impression about our time away here's some of the 'real' bits.

We have talked more about the state of our bowels in the last four weeks than in the previous ten years, diarrhea in one form or another is a constant companion (despite being vigilant about what we eat). Colin, in typical joking form likes to say "a southerly wind followed by a high pressure system", enough said!

On the toilet front, there is an art to using squat toilets, we amused ourselves one lunch time by reading an article on the Internet dedicated to the subject.

Our sense of smell is often assaulted by rotting garbage, donkey poo, poor sewer systems, fish, urine and goodness knows what else.

Plumbing is a forgotten art form here. I think the only bathroom that worked 'properly' was in the Hyatt. Considering how old the buildings are in the medinas we are thankful for running water and a toilet that mostly works, even if you can't put paper in it. Often the shower is a small space with a shower head that does not stay up, you have to hand hold it and try not to spray water everywhere - no glass walls or shower curtains here. Often the drainage is poor and you end up standing in centimeters of water, it is sometimes best to turn the water off and turn it on only when you need it. The water often comes in dribbles or sprays from the outside holes making it impossible to use. A new bathroom is always a bit of an adventure, who knows what works and doesn't. We have learned to be very adaptable with our bathing routines.

Sometimes we have walked miles, our feet and legs sore, blisters making an unwanted appearance. When the weather has been hot it is sweaty and wearying work.

Being together 24/7 has it's challenges at times. I have been surprised though at how well it has gone, Johanna has tried very hard and patience is something we have all tried to exercise. However, there are the inevitable squabbles and frustrations, we all feel cranky at times.

I have often closed my eyes in taxis and cars and reminded myself that the odds are we will arrive in one piece. The traffic feels chaotic here with no respect for rules or the occasional traffic light. Everyone seems to do their own thing and amazingly, mostly it works ok. Only once the bongo van we hopped into (was trying to halt a taxi but none around) swerved and a motorcycle hit the side (a few words spoken but it all ended in a friendly wave). When trying to cross a busy street we attach ourselves to a local and walk when they do - this usually requires some courage because invariably they walk directly into the traffic.

Ordering food can also be an adventure. What is written on the menu and what is put before you don't always appear to be the same. Often what is on the menu is not available but something else is ( something that you don't know what the words mean) so you cross your fingers and hope for the best.

The reality of travel; feeling sick, hot and tired, always on the alert, often slightly anxious, a steady assault to the senses, unknowing in unfamiliar places...... Is all part of the adventure, you take the not so nice bits along with the wonderful bits - it's a total package deal, one we are so thankful to have the opportunity to experience.