Handing over Euros instead of Korunas in Prague.
Travelling through 6 countries with 4 currencies between them was no problem at all. Until I forked over a 100 euro note to get some metro tickets. The guy at the counter wanted to know how many years I intended to travel in the Czech Republic! I was plain lucky this time. All the dead presidents on these notes LOOK THE SAME!
Burning my feet at the Black beach in Santorini.
Somebody really should have told me that walking on Santorini’s Black beach anytime after 11.00 am is risky. The sand is actually volcanic in nature and burns like coal when it’s heated up during the course of the day. At 3.00 pm I was the only idiot walking barefoot on the sand heading into the water. It took 5 horrible seconds and lots of very loud (and very unmanly) screaming for me to run the opposite way. That and the fact that there may be some videos on YouTube featuring the stupidest guy that week in September in Greece.
Losing a bet in a hostel bar in Budapest.
It really may seem nothing to you, but when you have to propose marriage to every girl walking into the basement bar of a hostel, it’s not a great experience. That’s not the worst thing – I had to tell them that I’ve ran away from home because my parents think I’m gay, and to prove otherwise, I have to bring a girl home. (A real one, not inflatable. Damn it). People knew me by my first name for the duration of my stay.
By the way – I got THREE affirmations, so you guys can shut it. (Andrea Facinelli, if you’re reading this, you still owe me 30 bucks. And then I’m going to kill you)
Being the only male in a female-only dorm.
On the outset I would like to thank the Academy, the directors, the producers and my room-mates for this award. I would also like to add that no bribe was paid for this to happen. There was no room anywhere in the hostel and the only bed left was here. The girls didn’t mind because I made a really sad face, and the fact that I was their chaperone for the pub crawls that went into the early hours of the morning. I didn’t have a bath for 3 days – there was no way I was going to take my clothes off and get judged about my stretch marks and non-pedicured feet. Guys just don’t need that sort of stuff messing with their head.
On the plus side I got to know the advantages of boob-tape when I’m not wearing a bra (!). And whether you have a boyfriend or not, really depends upon the guy you are talking to right now.
Getting chased by a Reef shark while diving.
During a perfectly routine dive in the Philippines, 10 minutes left of my air-time to 50 bars and almost to my safety-stop at 3 meters, I feel a nudge on my air-tank. A dark shadow crossed the water on my periphery. Two divers in front of me hurriedly made a ‘shark’ signal with their hands (open palm vertically placed on forehead), inflated their BCDs and just shot up to the surface. Curiosity got the better of me, so I switched on the video light and panned my underwater camera all around. Really shouldn’t have done that. The normally bored species (an 8’-9’ long White-tip) which I’ve photographed dozens of times over the years, got curious and spun around following me as I finned towards the surface. In hindsight of course, it was quite harmless, but when you have a kilometer of ocean below you and a shark swimming in cork-screws around you as you go up (like in Deep Blue Sea), believe me, your feminine side shows up and you feel like screaming like a little gi…… I think I’ve said too much.
Doing my Advanced Open Water P.A.D.I Diving certification in frigid 16 °C waters.
Let’s be clear. I’m from India. The tropics, actually. I’ve adapted very well to 44°C summers and 18 °C winters. Like a Zebra or a Hog-deer. And spending 4 days in windy Paihia in the Bay Of Islands (New Zealand), diving in 16°C – 17°C waters was an out-of-body experience for me. A 7mm wetsuit which restricted my movements and a freezing wind top-side between dives didn’t help. I managed to complete my certification without any hiccup, but the cold stayed with me for quite some time. It’s a good thing that hand-signals are taught to a diver, because the chattering teeth made sure that it was the only way I was communicating with other people. It also made ordering a beer really hard, I couldn’t get the appropriate number of fingers up. They kept getting offended when I showed the sign for just ONE.
Trying to save 4 Euros by not reserving a seat on the Santorini to Piraeus ferry.
This was my worst mistake while travelling through Greece. The 7 hour journey was a nightmare. Due to the overbooked ferry, I had to stand outside on the forward deck with my backpack in the howling wind, for the entire trip. To top that, it started raining 2 hours into the journey. And to top THAT (as you are progressively going north, with the arrival at 12 midnight), it starts getting colder as night falls. By the end of it, there was NOTHING in my backpack that was not completely soaked.
From that trip onwards, I always reserve my seat whenever I can. Especially if it doesn’t cost too much. Upto and including travelling in a rickety Filipino public bus to El Nido, where I specifically told the collector that I would like to reserve that seat, between the man with a basket of chickens and the woman with a moustache.
Sleeping on the beach in Ko Pha Ngan during the Full moon party.
Everything your mom told you about the full moon parties is true. Thousands of people, tonnes of buckets (Red bull and alcohol), loads of drugs and a constant assault of blaring music. All of which goes down till the early hours of the morning. I was there for a couple of days of diving, so I thought…..what the hell!
And ‘WHAT THE HELL?’ it was.
Too groggy to go back to my hotel at 3.00 a.m, a couple of us decided to sleep on the beach on the upper part of Haad Rin. I was woken up a few hours later by a long banshee-type wailing sound, and opened my eyes to a ménage-a-trois happening 6 feet from where I lay. The sex part didn’t bother me much (I’ve stayed in Budapest hostels), but the wailing caught my attention. A dog (presumably adopted) of one of the girls involved wasn’t too happy about what was happening to her. As a result, he kept alternatively wailing and snapping at the butt of the two guys (there were 2 guys and two girls). Either that or he too wanted a part of the action. (Infact, one of the girls really looked like a poodle, so maybe the dog had a chance).
When I picked up my sandals and started to walk away, I saw a little puddle of green-yellow which could only have come from the empty stomach of one of the 6 people sleeping nearby. Just what the fudge was going on during those few hours, I’ll never know. The vomit, sex, drugs, leftover flip-flops, leftover boyfriends, billions of plastic bags and bottles, made it look like a scene from a Transformer movie.
And the ménage-a-trois made sure that I couldn’t eat a hot-dog for a month.