Charlie's Travels – All is well now

Having a great time although still recovering from illness. In Jaipur at the moment. Went to a monkey temple yesterday and went to a Bollywood film last night called Kisna. All in Hindu but very entertaining. Off to Pushkar tomorrow which is meant to be amazing and then on to Jodhpur. We have been staying in the dorm last couple of nights, which is quite good fun and pretty cheap. Just a quick one as just checking after Fred will probably go on on Sunday to check the football!*

*David notes: The reference to the football – Portsmouth are playing their big rivals Southampton today in an FA Cup round. There is usually trouble between the fans, particularly today as the late Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp is now managing Southampton – he will have security protection!

Charlie's Travels — Delhi Belly Strikes

Charlie’s trip continues.

Sitting in a internet cafe in Agra (home of the Taj Mahal) after just recovering from 2 days in bed with an extremely dodgy stomach. We got down here with absolutely no problems on the train and then did the Taj Mahal in the afternoon on Sunday. No matter how many pictures you see of it, nothing compares to seeing it in the flesh. It’s expensive to get in but very well looked after and in pretty good shape. We just sat on the lawn looking at it for about 2 hours while Harry did a painting. We were meant to be going up to a deserted Mogul city yesterday but we all got hit from dodgy food. Having the sh*ts is bad, but having it in a foreign country is horrible. Morale took a serious dip, and questions of why we were out here ran through our minds but now we are on the road to recovery. Harry and Ollie are still in bed but me and Fred are up. Been taking the immodium and the rehydration powder, and Fred and I just had some toast so feeling a lot more confident. Tomorrow hopefully we will head up to the Mogul city, luckily it’s just a day trip so if anyone is not feeling up to it they can just stay behind. Then it’s off to Jaipur the day after where we should actually be heading today. Otherwise everything is good and very glad to be back on my feet. Really looking foward to Rajastan as apart from the Taj, Agra really is not a nice place. Will keep you updated.

Charlie's Travels — Part One

Charlie‘s in his gap year. will be recording details of his trip as they come in. Here is the first installment, via David:

There were big celebrations at London Heathrow on Wed 19 Jan as Charlie departed on his world tour with his three mates Freddie Iles, Harry Cussins and Ollie Gargrave. Charlie’s brothers were both there to see him through the international departure gate after a few beers, on the overnight to Delhi. After India they are due to visit Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, USA and Mexico before returning to England in mid August. Here is Charlie’s first message home from an internet cafe somewhere in Delhi:

“Everything has been going suprisingly well since arriving. Flight was good, and got a taxi to Sunny Guesthouse. Guy tried to con us on the old tourist office trick but we did not fall for it! Relaxed in the hotel and since then just been wandering around the city getting a feel for the place. Went to the Red fort yesterday and the mosque today so plenty of culture. Even got a museum in! Harry got done by the ‘shit on the shoe scam’! Guy throws it on your shoe without you realising and then charges ridiculous amount to clear it off, but other than that we have stayed away from scams. No way near as bad as i thought here and they say its the worst. Off to Agra tomorrow on the 7:15 train and then into Rajastan. Met a very nice man who is a tour guide from Bristol and he has written us notes on where to go around India so feel pretty prepared. Only have 15 minutes so have to be brief and apologise for the family round robin. But everything is good, we are loving it and we are all in good health. Lots of stories to tell already. Will keep up the updates. Hope everyone is well at home.”

Update: One picture has arrived. In the hope that there will be plenty more, an album has been started.

Bikram's Best

So how did the Yoga Championships go? Well, it confirmed two things for me … I have absolutely no chance of participating in the yoga olympics, and I’m a bloody awful photographer. It was amazing watching the competitors do their stuff up on that stage. They had three minutes each to do five compulsory postures and two electives. You will now find out that I’m also a rotten reporter, but as this is history in the making (i.e. the second annual yoga competition which could lead to an Olympic event) I feel obliged to tell you everything I remember.

There were five male competitors, about thirteen females, and six judges. The male winner was Ky (pronounced Kay). I know his name because he teaches the 6 a.m. class about two days a week. The runner up was Charlie. I also know his name because he attends the 6 a.m. class occasionally and the instructor is always saying, “Good, Charlie. Excellent, Charlie”.

The females? Well, this is embarrassing, because I can’t remember the winner’s name. She was by far the best, in my own humble opinion. You could tell she was going to win just by the way she walked onto the stage with such admirable elegance and poise. I do know also that the lady who came in second was the girlfriend of the multi-tattooed male competitor from London. Of course, he would’ve won if he hadn’t wobbled. We yoga people have off days and on days, you know.

As for my fuzzy pictures. Well, let’s see you trying to take decent pictures in a room with lights and mirrors all over the place and trying not to make a clicking noise. It’s difficult, folks. I’ve pulled out five. The first is of Ky doing some warm-up poses before the crowds arrived. The second is of the judges. (As a side note, the judge in the black jacket stayed in Houston to give a two-hour yoga class yesterday morning [at which I nearly died], followed by a workshop in the afternoon [during which I sat on the floor for four hours trying to look comfortable, getting up occasionally to try out a posture]). The third picture is the winning female doing dandayamana-janisharasana (standing head to knee, for you commoners). The fourth picture is the winners’ circle — First, second, and alternates. That’s Joani and Mike in the middle — the very fine owners of Bikram’s Yoga College of India. Joani had certainly dressed for the occasion (see the fifth picture).

And talking of crowds — there were probably a hundred people watching. The competition took place in the room where I attend my classes, and it was still hot from the morning class. What struck me was how quiet everyone kept during the routines. If you go to a classical music concert there are always people coughing. It’s impossible for everyone to keep quiet. But at this event you could’ve heard a pin drop. Complete silence during the routines. You know why this is? Because everyone there was healthy. And you know why everyone was healthy? Because they all do Bikram Yoga.

Bikram Yoga rules.

Yoga competition

Okay, Houston reader . . . something for you to do today. The Texas Regional Asana Yoga Championships are being held at my yoga place. I haven’t seen it announced anywhere, but admission’s free and it starts at 1 p.m.

No, I’m not competing. Not quite bendy enough yet. But I’ll be there.

And no wisecracks about oxymorons, please. Here’s what Bikram himself says:

There has been some misunderstanding and dismay about the words “yoga” and “competition” being said in the same breath, let alone it being an actual event. While the concept of a Yoga Championship is fairly new in the United States, it is an age-old tradition in India, where yoga actually has its roots. What most people in North America do not know is that yoga championships have been held as far back as 2,000 years ago. There are yoga competitions being held in India almost daily.

Last words on Beltran

So, Beltran signed with the Mets, for about the same amount of money after taxes. See if I care. (HISS).

I asked some online fantasy Baseball friends to come up with a good caption for this picture. They didn’t let me down. Thanks, guys!

Beisbol has been berry good to me.
The Astros bawl – and bawl and bawl
Deep in the heart of Texas!
This is the Yankees, right?
Show me the money.
I’d have stayed for Hunsicker.

I was going to stay in Houston until Lady Cat corrected my grammar.
Some lady in Houston kept trying to get me in a pink uniform.

Joel H:
Omar who? I just signed for the money…

Hit Man:
I don’t like the idea of suits under uniforms.
You’d think for 119 million they could get me a jersey that fits.
I was afraid Hitman was going to give me a dirt nap if I jumped to the AL.

I’d like to thank Major League Baseball, the owners, my agent Scott, my wife Goldiga and all of the fans who made this possible.

(Goldiga! giggle)

Why the Mets? The Cardinals threw in an extra $20 million to get me out of the division.

Astros lose Beltran

Habershons, please print this picture and stick a pin in it for me. I won’t use the word “hate,” but right now I dislike this man, Scott Boras, very much. He is Carlos Beltran’s agent. Why didn’t he tell the Astros a couple of months ago that they had no chance of signing Beltran?

The rumour is that Beltran is going to the New York Mets. It is unknown how much they’re offering, but it can’t be much more than the Astros offered. On top of that, did Boras inform Beltran that there is no Texas state income tax?

The question now is whether Roger Clemens will return. We also need to start looking for a centerfielder.

Oh, I’m so sick about this. GROWL.