Ayurvedic Massage in Goa, India

I am contemplating learning about Ayurvedic medicine & massage. Logically I know I should try the treatment before I sign up straight away to do a course. I priced a few places but it seemed to be mainly male masseuses. I never had an issue with male therapists before & throughout university I was mostly paired with males so felt no real difference with gender. An excellent therapist is an excellent therapist. My last two treatments by males, however, have been sub standard. In Malaysia I had a massage from a male who I’m sure was not trained (& it didn’t help that we had a language barrier & couldn’t communicate) & in England I had a Crania Sacral treatment from a male therapist & I could sense he was incredibly awkward & he made me feel so uncomfortable I didn’t enjoy any of the treatment & wanted to stop him during it. Keen for an easier life I am making the executive decision to stick to female therapists. As an open person, this is a shame, but I don’t want to sacrifice my comfort, time or money to prove I’m an open person.

The place I selected seemed to be busy & reputable with good reports from two of my friends. They had female therapists, a relaxing environment & it’s close to my hostel. We booked for later that day & chilled out on the beach before our treatments that evening. It was another beautiful day in Goa where we went to the beach, had a swim & didn’t do much else. This is the life!

When we arrived for out massage we were hustled to out treatment rooms. It was very dark & grubby with bugs crawling on the ground…. The therapist spoke little english & indicated for me to take my clothes off while watching me intently at close range. I felt very uncomfortable being rushed & oogled. Since language wasn’t an option for communication I made a few faces to convey me questioning why she was standing so close but this was also lost in translation. I just got on with it. She put paper sumo pants on me & ushered me to lie on the plastic treatment table which had no covers. I blocked my mind to all the hygiene issues.

The therapist started the massage using a lot of oil. It seemed that the strokes were mainly long, sweeping, full body moves. I requested several times for more pressure but gave up when she failed to respond. I don’t know whether this was a communication issue or she had applied too much oil to generate pressure. At the start of the treatment the therapist had to leave to get a mosquito coil & throughout the treatment I could feel new points where the mosquitos were biting me.

Halfway through the therapist stopped & indicated for me to turn on to my back to which I laughed. She had used so much oil I would surely fall from the plastic table to the dirty concrete floor & break my skull. I worried about what they would do with my body & if police would come to take pictures of my greasy naked contorted body at the scene*…. The therapist assisted my vulnerable bare body into position. I grimaced as she did the fast massage, surely she would snag my nipple piercing. This was not relaxing. Or deep & therapeutic. She used so much oil I felt saturated & dirty. I was glad when the treatment was over & I had to be helped off the treatment table.

She helped me wipe off the excess oil with a dirty rag then proceeded to use this to wipe off the treatment table ready for the next person. Gross. I quickly put my clothes over my oily body & scratched my nine new inflamed mosquito bites on my arms, torso & legs as I handed over 1000 Rupees/ £10.

I am certainly less tempted to study Ayurvedic massage after this. It wasn’t the worst massage but I did not enjoy it. Of course I won’t base my opinion on one massage, but it wasn’t a great introduction.

*I don’t have any pictures of my ordeal, luckily, but you can use your imagination if you like!

Goa

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I love how the palm trees lean to the sea as though they want to dive in for a swim too

I feel so happy! Goa is stunning!!! My hostel is lovely & the people staying at the hostel are really friendly. They are all solo backpackers which is so refreshing & the majority are in their late 20s which is also a nice change. It feels so comfortable to be surrounded by like minded people with the desire to travel but no long term career plans. We tell each other similar lines of ‘I’m not sure where I’m going next’, ‘I don’t know how long I’ll travel for’ ‘I don’t know what I’ll do next’. To say those lines & be met with understanding is so precious. To not feel judgement, jealousy or confusion is unusual & reassuring. I didn’t realise how much negativity I associated with people’s perception of my lifestyle until I felt this alliance with these fellow solo travellers. They are a breath of fresh air.

We aren’t travellers with no ambitions, we have the desire & capabilities to be successful yet rate experience & travel as more valuable.

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Samosa breakfast at the hostel

I had the nicest day meeting everyone in my hostel over a laid back group breakfast of samosas, yum! Then a few of us went to a beautiful hidden away cafe for Chai. Afterwards we laid on the beach & went for a swim in the deliciously warm sea. In the evening we went home & got ready for the first Indian meal of my trip! I was so content after an amazing first day & having incredible Indian food in India with great company. My first day flew in as a blur of super interesting open people from varying backgrounds, stunning surroundings & food that lived up to my particularly high expectations.

Night everyone x

My Bali budget

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I generally don’t manage a budget when I travel. As a rule I tend to survive on very little when I’m working & in saving mode, as well as when I’m travelling. I always find a bargain & go with the cheapest options to enable me to travel longer. I stay in cheap (& sometimes nasty) places & eat in cheap (usually really good) places.
My outgoings always increase when I cover more ground in travelling within a country or on day trips which I never include in my budget – unless it is the sole reason for my trip. I usually don’t buy souvenirs as my backpack is already too full & sometimes, especially with this trip, I’m not sure how long I’m travelling for.

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Other expenses that I frequently forget to factor in are visas & vaccinations. By the time it comes to thinking about these I have usually already booked my flights & I’m on the cusp of my adventure so I HAVE to make it work!
In Bali I slept in budget accommodation, ate like a lord in cheap restaurants, went snorkelling & diving, had 2 massages & a facial & travelled to 5 different areas. In total this cost me around £300 for 2 weeks.
This doesn’t include my flights: £100 one way from Sydney to Bali & £130 onwards to Goa, India via Kuala Lumpur. The flights were much cheaper when I initially priced them & I regret not booking them immediately.
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Regrets of my Bali trip were:
  • Spending a night in Kuta
  • Not researching the exact location of my accommodation in Jimbaran properly (it was in the middle of nowhere)
  • I wish I could have had another massage at Jaen’s Spa (you can read about my amazing massage here)
  • I wish I had longer to explore the islands
  • I wish I snorkelled more
  • I wish I found a fun driver/guide with good english

Farewell Bali

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After a rapid 2 weeks it is time to move on from Bali. Bali was a slow starter for me. It took me almost a week before I eased into the Balinese way of life. It went from being somewhere that felt like just another sunny island to a place where I enjoyed the people, the pace of life & I could see myself wanting to return. It’s funny how your mood completely affects your opinion. I am so easily swayed I wonder are my opinions even legitimate or just based on fleeting emotional states & exchanges.
I met people on this trip who were spending 6 weeks to 2 months in Indonesia & even just Bali alone! I have a feeling Bali may be a place where the more I explore & delve the more I will fall in love with it. I know now to completely avoid the main tourist hubs which bring me unheralded stress.
As much as I grew to enjoy Bali, I am not to sad upon leaving it as my next stop is somewhere I have dreamt of going for over a decade! India! I am so excited that I am finally coming to see you!
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Amed to Kuta, Bali

Amed has been lovely. I adored snorkelling, it was amazing! I only have a few more nights left in Bali so I will head back towards the airport & relax before my onward journey. I took the Perama bus to Kuta for 100IDR. I was the only passenger for hours of this journey & befriended the lovely driver. We communicated in sign language & facial expressions, sharing food & laughter. I was happy to be stretched out for the majority of the Southbound trip.
There was so much rain & long queues of traffic en route. I felt so sorry for the people walking or on motorbikes, absolutely soaked through. It is just coming into rainy season so some afternoons there has been rain, although it clears up quickly. It is thick, heavy warm rain that starts without warning from the sun bright sky. Only the tell tale cloud lingering above indicates you may be due a downpour.
Everyone advised me against Kuta saying it was a tourist hotspot. I made it my pitstop on my way to the South of Bali for one night.
One night too many! The first thing that hit me was the fumes from the cars! I was not used to this pollution compared to my happy snorkelling world in Amed! Next was the incessant harassment from the people selling things in the street. Even in the downpour of rain people were still begging me to get my nails done, have a massage or take a taxi. The saving grace of the evening was the lovely food at Warung Indonesia – thanks again TripAdvisor!
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Nasi Goreng & mango juice at Warung Indonesia

I returned to my hostel for peace but there was a party by the pool & the loud music pumped right into the dorm room through the balcony doors which didn’t close properly…. My only comfort was that it was a one night only endeavour!

Jonker St

Melaka city is a busy little town apparently big on night markets. On the night I arrived there were two happening! One on Jonker St & the other on the street my hostel was on. Firstly I took a walk along the famed Jonker St, apparently renown amongst antique collectors.

Jonker St is lined with restaurants, antique & souvenir stores. In the evening, on weekends, the road is lined with stalls selling everything from Durian puffs to fortunes. It comes alive at night with music playing, the hustle & bustle of people & aromas of delicious food.

I found a busy self service restaurant & finally got the chicken Laksa I’ve been waiting for! It was really spicy & I managed about half before I humbly admitted defeat.

As I wandered on I got an ice cream made from scratch on a cold metal plate. I will try to put the link in so you can see how it was made. It was lovely & creamy. I recommend it, even just for the show of it being made.

*Sorry, I’m having issues uploading. I’ll try to resolve this as soon as. 

Tired from all my travelling I made my way to the smaller night market near my hostel with a coconut shake as my night cap. This market had some food stalls & the same replica clothes, bags, make up & sunglasses that you see at most markets. I am totally disenchanted & uninterested in these stands. All souvenir shops have been generally avoided on this trip as I have been very strict & steered clear from picking up anything. This is mainly due to the bursting seams on my backpack & my broken back as opposed to my self restraint with shopping. I merrily went to bed early with a full belly happy to be horizontal again.

I say Melaka, you say Malacca

Keen not to limit my time in Malaysia to solely Kuala Lumpur I am on the road again bound for Melaka aka Malacca. It’s a 2 hour bus journey from KL in the same style of small spacious bus I got from Singapore to KL & cost 11RM (approx £1.60). It is a shame to move on from KL just after making fun new friends, but I feel it’s not the city for me – bad day or not. It isn’t really in my nature to hang around one place anyway when there is so much more to see. It’s a big wide world out there folks!

Melaka is a UNESCO World heritage site. It has an interesting history and was once the biggest trading port of Southeast Asia. It has been captured by & endured rule from the Portuguese, Dutch & British.
When I arrived I took a local bus from the station to the town centre. The bus driver & his assistant were incredibly rude when I asked for confirmation of which stop I should get off. They were being rude to everyone so I felt less isolated. I was determined not to be put off by somewhere by its rude inhabitants after being burped at upon entering Malaysia & letting that set the tone for my day.
The streets of Melaka are saturated with heavily decorated bicycle rickshaws. The craftsmanship & effort that goes into making them as flash & desirable as possible is impressive! I kindly declined many offers but I can see how small children would be tempted with all the vibrant character themes. To my amusement, at night, most were covered in garish flashing lights. You really cannot miss these if you visit, even if you want to!
 
My hostel is The Lavender hostel. The guy in reception was friendly & welcoming but my room & the bathroom were grubby. The walls were so thin I could hear everyone & feel like I got what I paid for: 27RM (£4) for a single room. I didn’t even shower as I imagined I would feel dirtier afterwards. I was glad I was only there for one night – although it wasn’t so bad that I wanted to find somewhere else to stay. It was in a good location as well, but I won’t be tempted to return if I ever end up back in Melaka!
Everyone seemed friendly although, in hindsight, no one really struck up conversation with me or gave me a big welcoming smile. I was alone & I felt safe enough.

I’m on your page now KL

So it took 24 hours & now I get Kuala Lumpur. I guess I’m like Guinness, I don’t travel well. Plus it takes me time to decompress & acclimatise. I think this is linked to the ageing process. Yuk, ageing.

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I met some lovely people at my hostel & went for lunch with them. I love learning about people & getting a fascinating insight into their lives, views & dreams. Backpackers can be so open to complete strangers. Afterwards I went back to the Petronas Towers for the retail therapy I so badly craved yesterday. It was all essentials obviously. Sephora is all essential!

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Tonight I’m meeting a friend of a friend & their friends & we’re going out for drinks. It’s nice to meet a person recommended by my friends. Being one of them, I know her friends are fab people!

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Here’s to a better days!!!

Off I go

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I am squashed & uncomfortable & I shall remain in this sorry state for the next 13 hours. This sorry state is the British Airways 8pm flight from London Heathrow  to Singapore.

My trip to New Zealand & my new life have commenced! I have a 6 night stop over in Singapore & will probably take a few days to explore Malaysia or fly back to Thailand. Obviously not yet organised.

I adore this stage of travel when I visit a new country & am open minded about what to expect. I am open to loving & not leaving the next country I fall for. I am open to bad experiences & forming opinions & building relationships with the countries I visit.

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As a country relationship accumulator I have a pretty good rate of love to dislike. There a few countries I have fallen for, some I need to visit again & others I am content that I won’t get anything more out of visiting them. This sounds small minded that I wouldn’t go back to certain countries, never say never, but this way of thinking really manages my wanderlust! My list is always growing, the more countries I visit the more countries I add to my wishlist. With a never ending ‘to visit’ list it can be a relief when I stumble upon somewhere that doesn’t feel like my kind of place at the time. Although, that being said, every single country has a certain charm.

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Planning Singapore

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One of my favourite things about travelling is the research prior to my adventure. When I see the images in books & online I feel a rise of excitement that I’m actually going to be there experiencing it. I am enraptured with this feeling & the seemingly idle meander of time until I get there.

Next up for me is Singapore!

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If you have any recommendations for me, the more random the better, please comment below. Also, if you have blogged about a trip there please send me the link. I would love to read up before I go. Thank you fellow explorers x