Saturday, October 22, 2011


When you travel to a new place, it's sometimes difficult to arrive with an open mind and unbias views of the town due to the number of foreigners you meet along the way who share their experiences with you. I have found that India is a place you must have an open mind. There's no other way about it - you must make your own opinion about each and every place you go. For example, we had read some things about Goa and talked to some people about their experiences there which made me not want to go. We heard there was nothing there but drugs as well as stories of rape and muder. But, although Goa is a tiny part of India, it's still big and there are plenty of different places to go. Since it's still low season, we were able to stay in a goreous and very clean room for cheap and practically have the beach to ourselves. We enjoyed at least 5 beers of day and ate, ate, ate! Goa has delicious food!!! We spent 5 days and could have easily spent another 5. It's always so nice to go somewhere and be surprised at how much you enjoy yourself there! So if you ever go to Goa... stay in Benaulim :)

We are now in Hampi which is a small town built in the middle of impressive ruins from the 15th century. We are a bit templed-out after spending our first two days seeing so many but it was fascinating to see the remains and wonder what this place looked like 600 years ago. It feels good to get off the beach and get some culture! Although Hampi is full of history, it's still touristy and has its scams you must be aware of. Nate put up a good fight over the "10 rupe fee to enter the town" our first day here. We refused to pay, they threatened to bring us to the police station... we said okay and they of course let us go. Every day is a battle of some sort with people trying to sell you things and constantly bothering you. I know it sounds terrible and annoying, but you just get used to it. I used to be nice but now I just say a firm NO to everything and walk away - it's the only way!

The Salers enjoy my blogs when I pick on their son and my parents always tell me to be nice (aka don't tell about his bathroom habits on here) so I've been trying to keep it somewhere in the middle... However, I am sad to report that I don't actually have that much to pick on Nate about right now. He's been a life savior for my scabies bum and has put up with some whining from me about it! He's even given up on calling me Scabes now... I guess it gets old after a month!

We are happy, healthy and still fascinated by this enormous country!

Pictures to come soon and if you would like a post card, send me your address!

Love, Allison (and Nate)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

XL please!

When planning our trip to India, we were warned by everyone about just how sick we would get from Delhi Belly. I don't want to jinx us... please knock on wood for me... but we are 11 days in and so far so good. In fact, everything is sooo good that we are even gaining weight! Oh my. I never expected this. I truly thought I would get so skinny in India! I guess we have the trekking in Nepal for that :) 

Now about the title to this blog - XL please! XL is my size in India! Ahh! I bought a few sets of Indian clothing (as I had nothing appropriate to wear after 2 months on the beach) and they knew immediately that I was an XL or even a XXL! Yikes. For a quick second I wondered if all the curries, naan and ice cream (I've had a dessert a day since the mites incident!) had caught up with me but thankfully I still fit into my clothes from home. Phew. I don't know how these sizes work here because Indian women are big and beautiful. The young girls are thin but as soon as they become women they tend to be plump. I wonder how big their sizes go and if they even have clothes that would fit Nate?

Anyways, enough ranting about sizes... we have spent the last few days in Gokarna, Karnataka which is a small temple town right on the ocean. We chose to stay in town rather than beachside and it's been great. We spent a day and a half at the beach and the rest of the time just roaming around town and eating delicious food. Tonight we head to Goa for a few days before heading over to Hampi (which I am most excited for).

We will try to post some more pictures soon! 

Love, Al (and Nate)... still waiting for him to write an entry in "our" blog! :) 

Friday, October 7, 2011


So here we are 5 days into our six weeks of India and it sure has been an interesting, exciting and frustrating experience already! Thanks to the wise advice of our dear friend Dan, w flew into the south. Thank God. I can't imagine a better place to enter a country where all is unknown to us. We spent 4 nights in Kochi which was beautiful but a bit touristy for our liking. This was certainly nice for the first few days though. We had places to eat that we knew were pretty safe, helpful travel agents to answer our questions, etc. We kept quite busy with a full day spent in the backwaters of Kerala, a walking tour of the city, a traditional performance and some shopping for me.

We are now up the coast from Kochi in a town called Kannur (still in the state of Kerala). We chose this place randomly and it was one of the few places we could even get train tickets to because of the holiday. After a brutal 6hr train ride crammed in with a million other people, we arrived hot, sticky and exhausted just to find that the place we booked was absolutely NASTY. The toilet was broken as was the shower but the worst was the sheets. It's indescribable. I have never seen something like this in my life. I spent the night sleeping with as many layers as possible (despite the heat) and was awake most of the night thinking how I just got rid of the mites - what if they come back???

We planned to look for a new place this morning and were approached by a sweet Indian woman who just opened a home stay. Everything is brand new and we are her first guests. Perfect, right? Almost. As we are walking out, she tells us that she's been having some issues with electricity and she didn't report it and now she's in trouble and not sure if we can stay there. So we've been in town since then and are unsure if we have a place to stay tonight! 

We met a friendly Indian guy last on the beach who teaches English and we got roped into joining his class for 2 hours this morning! It was entertaining answering their questions about when Nate and I fell in love, how it is living together, what girls look for in a man, how we dress in America, sports we enjoy, etc. Lots of pictures were taken and we surely made each of their day.

We had not seen another foreigner here until just a minute ago in the internet cafe. It's a nice feeling to be fully immersed in a new culture and fully removed from the Western world. Although it can make things more difficult (finding a clean place to stay), we are able to meet more locals this way and experience their culture. Our new friend gave us some places to eat and Nate is in heaven. This morning, we had two full breakfasts and  coffee for $1 total. For lunch, delicious North Indian food... 2 full meals for a total of... $1. Nate can't stop talking about how cheap it is :) 

Now it's off to the beach... life is good! 

Much love,

Al and Nate

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A String of Baaaad Luck

When traveling for over 4 months, you are bound to run into some bad luck and have some unfortunate things come your way. I get that, and expect it, but am still so bummed every time something bad happens to us. Nate and I are currently in Kuala Lumpur and this is where we encountered bad luck for the first time. During our stay in the Perhentian Islands, I woke up with a small rash under my legs and butt. I used some rash cream we had and continued doing several dives a day thinking maybe it was just from the wet suit? By the day we left, it was bad. Real bad. Covering my entire butt and thighs! And we were on a night bus (with no bathroom!) and I was so itchy. Terrible.

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur and checked into a super clean hostel with a clinic downstairs. We went to the clinic and I showed the doctor my bum. He immediately knew what it was... prepare yourself... and don't judge... mites! Ewwwww. I still have to say ewwww every time I say it. Apparently we slept somewhere with unclean sheets and now I have mites. I choked back some tears as he was telling me how to get rid of them: cover my body in a special lotion and no shower, change sheets and towels, wash clothes, etc. I felt dirty. Please note I am telling you this because I figure only my friends and family actually read this blog so you won't judge :)

I'm not sure what I would do without Nate. He has literally been Doctor Saler and has had to apply all of my cream in my unreachable areas. If I was traveling by myself, the mites would probably never go away. If I didn't have a boyfriend with whom I've lived with for the past year or more, I would struggle. He has been nice (for the most part) and only teased me when he knew I could take it.

Well, the story goes on... Nate has had some itchy stuff going on around his ankle. We were both paranoid, thinking why do I have it and he doesn't? Does he have it? Will it keep spreading back and forth between us? So, off to see the doc again... no mites for Nate... (sorry Darlene for breaking all this medical news to you on the blog!)... Nate has a parasite. Again, pretty gross considering he got it from a fly that was playing around in dog or cat urine before biting him. But Nate is lucky - 3 pills and he's cured. He wins - his bad luck is better than mine!

We had one more unfortunate incident while staying here. One goal was to put all of our pictures on Snapfish for everyone to see and as a way to safely back them up. After using our camera and usb on the computer here, we were told it has a virus. Sure enough, the virus attacked our usb and all of our pictures from the past month were infected and gone. We spent the day tryin to figure out how to fix it and had no luck. I was mopey as I care so much about our pictures. But then at 9pm it finally worked on someone's Mac. The virus may still be there but our pictures are all up on Snapfish. Hooray! As Nate always says, everything works out... phew!

So we have spent our 3 days in KL recouperating. We ran a lot of errands, did tons of walking and saw the million shopping malls that they have here. We saw a few sites but focused on resting up because today we go to INDIA! We realized yesterday that we booked this flight back in April and made our whole trip work around this one flight. I can't believe it's time!

We have had an amazing first two months to our trip. The only bad weather we encountered was in Thailand and we easily made up for that in the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia where we had sun, beach and diving with whale sharks! We are looking forward to experiencing a new culture and are heading to India with open minds.

Hope you are all healthy and happy back at home. Miss you!

Allison and Nate