'No smoking. No spitting' is written on every city bus I've been on in India. So today when I vomited out the window of the bus I was riding, as it pummeled over speed-bumps and raced around corners, I was sure I was going to be promptly escorted off and left at the side of the road. After all, isn't that more offensive than spitting? I admit I was feeling rather sorry for myself, which is selfish considering we were passing families who literally live under tarp tents. Motion sickness is not deserving of any complaints. Judy later told me that the other passengers on the very crowded bus simply averted their eyes and ignored the situation.
Once exiting the bus and after some one on one time with a nearby bush I sat myself down at a small open restaurant and chugged a litre of water. When I was somewhat recovered, we meandered our way down to the remote turtle beach that we travelled reasonably far to explore. And what a beach!
I wrapped myself up with a recently acquired cotton blanket to protect myself from the sun. Of course I also wear sunscreen every day, but despite it being spf 40 and promising to lighten my skin I am an entire shade darker than when I left home. India seems to have an obsession with skin lighteners, which is fuelled and was perhaps created by companies such as Dove and Garnier.
We didn’t see any turtles since they only venture onto the beaches at night when it is time to lay their eggs. We did, however, enjoy a relaxing afternoon away from the noise of the city. Judy painted with her miniature water colour set and I shared my lunch with a timid stray dog. I also went for my first swim, in full clothing, since arriving in India.
On our way back we stopped at the same restaurant where I recovered from my motion sickness for a light dinner. I figured having some food in my stomach may help me have an easier ride back to the city. We chatted with the husband and wife who own the restaurant. They told us about the efforts to save the olive ridley turtles whose numbers have declined to the point where they face extinction. Indians used to take the turtle eggs for eating, but now they protect the turtles by fencing off their nests and posting signs alerting tourists and locals to steer clear.
Perhaps because we showed an active interest in the welfare of the turtles, the husband and wife asked if we’d like to see a crocodile. We nodded our heads and followed them a few meters into their front yard. We saw a miserable iguana with a badly injured front leg and bound with twine. The creature was only about two feet in length. My heart sank. The wife went on to explain that the iguana had fallen into a ditch and the neighbours were beating it with the intention to kill it. They rescued the animal and put water in a coconut shell but the iguana would not drink. I asked for some scissors and cut the twine off the iguanas tail and back. The four of us then shooed the iguana across the road and into the protective covering of the bushes. I left them a very generous tip after finishing my meal.
The bus driver on the ride home drove much slower, and thankfully my stomach held itself together. Not getting sick almost made up for getting stuck beside a man who absolutely could not keep his fingers out of his nose for 20 kilometers. Thankfully, a teeny tiny little girl in a pink princess dress was the perfect distraction as she very enthusiastically waved at us while squealing ‘hi’ the entire bus ride.
*I was not up for taking photos today so here are some that Judy snapped.