Aren’t you the lucky ones?

TheEye is inviting you to come with her on journeys to some magical places. Leave your passport in a drawer, forget packing and airport hassle. Take as many liquids as you want without the risk of being confiscated or put in a plastic bag. Just switch on your computers, sit back, put on some relaxing music and enjoy. TheEye is reminiscing about trips and adventures since she started her blog in 2015. Re-reading them is giving her much pleasure and she hopes you will join her.

Have a good trip and enjoy the ride.



In common with many love affairs, my love affair with INDIA did not get off to a promising start. I first visited India in the early 70s, on an organised trip. My memory of arriving in Delhi in the middle of the night is still vivid –  it was one of shock! I remained in different degrees of disbelief for most of two weeks.

It was pitch black, half-clothed bodies were lying around everywhere, huddled on the floor and we were stepping over them. The smell was well…smelly.

Outside the terminal, it seemed as if hundreds of people were wailing and pulling at our clothes wanting to procure a taxi for us. Fortunately, we had a pre-ordered taxi meeting us, (Ambassador cars were the only ones in those days).  The seats were threadbare and there was no suspension.

Off we set, slowly rattling along, avoiding the cows (sacred) wandering in the streets as if they owned the place.

The driver had a unique style. Headlamps on brights, he approached roundabouts at speed sometimes going one way round and another time, the other way. When a truck approached us, there was no slowing down, lights glaring, then a sudden swerve to see who would give way first and we inevitable landed off the road into a ditch.

Please listen to me ….. I am praying

I hadn’t prayed for years but I was praying to absolutely any Deity that would spare me their ear.

The next morning after a night’s sleep we set off in jauntier spirits for the main Delhi market. This didn’t last long. Women with babies and children with distended bellies, rheumy eyes tugging at our clothes and beggars with dreadful deformities holding out their hands for money. I had never seen beggars and this was begging on a monumental scale.

I was sobbing and wanted to return to the safety of our hotel bedroom. My husband was firm: ‘Either get a grip or we will have to go home.’

We were leaving for Benares (now called Varanasi) the next morning.

I got a grip – albeit a somewhat half-hearted one  – until we reached Benares which called for even more get-a-grippness on my part. In our wreck of an Ambassador taxi, we were barely moving. It was teeming with rain and we were progressing at a snail’s pace behind open wooden carts of dead bodies piled high, on their way to be burnt on the banks of the Holy River Ganges. Smoke was pouring out of the funeral pyres. We eventually reached our destination –  Clarke’s Hotel – and through the downpour, we saw female guests sitting on terrace playing cards. The hotel was basic, like a hostel. Our room, (sparse would be a compliment), lizards were climbing the walls and Indian servants sat crossed legs, outside the door. The bar and dining room weren’t inviting, particularly when I saw a mouse, a rat or possibly a mongoose scampering its way across the counter.

We took a bicycle rickshaw into town to see the Golden Temple, this was to be the highlight of our tour. The bicycle driver, a  small spindly man was peddling for all his body could muster through the mud. The area of The Golden Temple was packed (no social distancing here), more tugging at our bodies. There was a high degree of body function activity from spitting and blowing noses without the aid of a handkerchief to much worse. After we passed through what I thought was a public toilet I realised we had walked through the Temple itself.

We left and more peddling through the mud back to the women playing Kalookie on the terrace of Clarke’s Hotel. Next day we almost drowned in a rowing boat in the choppy waters of the swollen Ganges and, fortunately, the time passed and our brief sojourn in the Holiest of Holy cities came to an end.

My final memory is having breakfast on the runway of Benares airport (one tin covered shed) waiting for a plane to take us to Kathmandu. A trestle table laid with a stained white table cloth was laid and formally dressed waiters were serving us broken cornflakes which looked like they had all come from the bottom of the packet.

By then I was suffering from a mild dose of ‘Delhi Belly’ and had to convalesce in Kathmandu.


Just keep moving on…..

TheEye’s pick of favourite places she will take you to:


Keep following TheEye.


  1. Thank you Jan for taking me on a bright, beautiful and evocative virtual journey to a place I have always longed to go to. Now I have a taster thanks to the colourama of your narrative.
    I have booked my ticket for my next journey and can’t wait for the next Lockdown Lonely Planet
    Guide. X

    • Janice Blackburn May 5, 2020 at 2:49 pm

      Thank you Penny. I am beginning to feel it’s not so much Lockdown as Locked In!
      You will enjoy the next part of my ‘trip’. It will be Monday.

  2. Oh please… let me out.. i wanna go there NOW.. you made it all too real and inviting dear friend

    • Janice Blackburn May 1, 2020 at 6:30 am

      Next instalment today or tomorrow. we are missing YOU Lucy, In the words of Vera Lynn, ‘we’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but we’ll meet again one sunny day’. Making me very sad. NY looking very unlikely this summer. Keep well, keep smiling and keep in touch.x

  3. What a wonderfully vivid insight into your first trip to India – this was exactly my experience on my first trip there in the early 1980’s and I still haven’t been back!
    Thanks to you and your beautiful stories and photographs of India over the years the temptation to return is very much there again. Currently I particularly enjoy having exciting journeys to look forward to in the course of time.
    Cant’t wait for your next instalment.
    Love Mel xx

  4. Felicity Osborne April 28, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks for your as always beautiful pictures & honest first impressions – I have to say that after a few trips to India, I’m still not reconciled to the caste system, the treatment of girls & women not deserving of an education & routinely abused, the astonishing discrepancies of wealth & life chances & a government that spends money on a space programme rather than a health system. Having said that I’ve experienced some really beautiful moments: a troupe of women in magenta & ruby saris, silver bracelets all up their arms listening to the wind chimes in a remote Jane temple; or (luxury) camping in the Thar desert, or buying cashmere shawls in Jaisalmer etc etc.

  5. I started going to India in 1972 and have never looked back. My favourite place. So So many memories.

    Thanks Jan

    Makes me a little winsome – but there is a lot to be be winsome about right now

  6. Victoria Blackburn April 28, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    What a joy to read – so wish I was there now – please hurry with next instalment!

  7. You either LOVE India or HATE INDIA,. I fell in love with it half way through our first trip. At the start I was shocked and distressed at what we saw. Slowly everything began to touch my senses and we have been travelling to India quite regularly since and visited many different parts of the country and experienced some wonderful sights.
    Sadly not this year. So Thank you for your blog it was very welcoming.

  8. Jan thank you, that was so enjoyable and amusingly written, as if the smells and noises were all around.
    Well maybe not such a good idea ! Cant wait for the next trip.

  9. So beautiful and colourful; and what a great idea. Love to visit these places via your wonderful eye, Jan.
    Lol, Stay healthy and safe and keep them coming! 😘

  10. Thank you for a wonderfully evocative tale.It is the closest I/ we will get to foreign lands for the foreseeable future
    Keep them coming

  11. Fabulous evocative narrative and vivid photos.
    A very enjoyable read, thank you.

  12. Fastened my seatbelt and so enjoyed that flight of fancy. Shame I didn’t get a cocktail on route, though!

    • As a matter of fact I was thinking of a new concoction I am going to mix in one of my newly discovered talents as a barmaid. The Trump-in-a-glass special made with two parts Dettol, I part Ribena, ice and a sprig of nettle.
      I can get it biked over but not back. xx

  13. Fab post as always, Jan! Love the photos too

  14. Hope you are both keeping well and getting used to the new world we are living in. I have really enjoyed reading your wonderfully descriptive escapades around India – a country that i simply cannot get enough of. We first went in 1989 and had a similar first experience so brings back lots of memories so really looking forward to the next chapters. Sending love xx

    • Thanks Amanda. Strange how so many people reacted like that on their first visits and then had the urge to return and loved it. I vowed on the plane home that first time that NEVER would I step foot in the country again. After about 20 trips all I can say is ‘never say never’. Love to you both.

  15. Jan I have been meaning to send you a message for weeks but in the spirit of the lockdown my brain has also locked down and it takes we weeks to do the simplest thing. I’m calling this the ‘ period of procrastination ‘ thanks for a wonderfully vivid account of your first trip to India , which could be a description of my first trip too. But then a deep falling in love with the imponderable character of that continent has continued. Thanks for the journey back in time and looking forward to the ones to come

    • Janice Blackburn April 28, 2020 at 8:16 am

      Thank you Lucille and you have been in my thoughts too. But I am so ‘busy’ doing nothing at all productive but getting rather chubby with all the cooking. I am sure you are making wonderful things. but how are you cleaning your massive space. just don’t bother!! Will call you and have a talk soon.
      Keep following ‘theeye’ there will be lots of adventures in India, Japan, China and more.

  16. What a lovely way to start my sixth week of self isolation..
    The photographs are full of life, colour, memories. X

    • Janice Blackburn April 28, 2020 at 8:17 am

      Thank you Yvonne. Pleased you are enjoying. The ride continues with more from India and then Japan, China, Israel and more. Keep cheerful and well. x

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