India - Round The World Tour 3 2004 Day 207 (17)


Friday 1st October

With no immediately burning agenda today, we made a very slow start again. Sleeping in after the early rise from yesterday was just the ticket. After another MacDonald’s brunch, we decided to make today the day that we send our first parcel home. Sandy had collected various bits and pieces from her very heavy backpack together and we added these to the souvenirs that we’ve slowly been accumulating. A little Indian man at the post office packaged our bits and pieces into a very neat parcel. After first wrapping the more delicate articles with the clothes and thins on the outside, he then taped bits of old cardboard around the outside to fashion a box of sorts. He then quite expertly sewed a Hessian wrapping around the whole thing before I took it to be weighed and posted. The parcel came in at almost four kilograms and the cost of shipping via sea (which should take about three months to complete its journey) set us back $890 ($20).

We had planned on going to the cinema today but the film we wanted to see was no longer being screened so instead we went back to the vicinity of our hotel and, after spending some time at an Internet Café, decided to order some business cards. Sandy is keen for us to be able to hand out cards with our names and Internet details to people we meet. We paid R150 ($3,30) for a hundred cards and will collect them later today.

Another call to the airlines revealed still no joy with regards to making our next leg to Hong Kong when we want. We were originally scheduled to depart in five days from now but we are desperately trying to get a flight for tomorrow instead. Tomorrow is still not looking good at the moment. I have managed to get our flight changed to four days from now but we are still wait-listed for tomorrow and the day after.

After another frantic round of phone calls, this time directly to the airport instead of the airlines booking office, we’ve been told that there is a fair chance that we will get onto the place if we simply show up at the airport. The plane is fully booked. In fact it is overbooked by ten seats. However, the airport staff informs me that it is their experience that at least fifteen people simply don’t show up for the flight. Accordingly, they’ve suggested getting to the airport very early to make sure that we are in front of any other like-minded potential passengers. The nice man on the end of the line even sent a message to the duty manager informing him that we will be looking to make the flight so, fingers crossed.

We picked up our printed business cards at one of the nearby bazaars. They look quite nice I must say. There’s a nice little graphic of a globe with the words ‘Sandy & Chris Morgan’, ‘ World Travellers’ and our website and e-mail address printed on them. We had a hundred of them printed but we’ll just have to see how long it takes Sandy to distribute them all.

After chatting with one of the reception staff downstairs, I’ve now paid for our four nights as well as the taxi to the airport tomorrow. Including the R200 ($4,50) for the taxi, the total bill, including one or two phone calls, came to an even R2,500 ($55,50). Even though our average nightly accommodation here in India has been just R833 ($18,50), our total average daily outgoings has been $88. Some of this has been attributed to some luxury line items (safaris, souvenirs, visiting the Taj Mahal, etc.) for which we have a completely separate budget from our daily living allowance. After removing these luxury items from the total, our more reflective daily average spending has been $67. Since we have an allotted daily allowance of $80 for India for the two of us, we are quite pleased that we have come in under budget. I had hoped, however that we might come in even farther under budget than we have. In truth, travelling through India could have been done for much less than the $67 per day that we’ve been spending. The reason why we have spent so much is due to various factors such as always looking for a hotel with A/C, always eating out at the nicer restaurants, travelling everywhere locally by auto-rickshaw instead of by foot, taking the nicer A/C class carriages on the trains and so on. On the travel bulletin boards, I often read about travellers who take great pride in travelling through various countries whilst spending the barest minimum of money. That’s all well and good but I don’t look at travel as an endurance sport. The whole idea is to enjoy ourselves as opposed to simply ticking off the countries visited one by one. After all, what’s the point of going anywhere if you cannot be relaxed enough to appreciate it?