Journey to Asia – Part 1

One of our team has been on the ground in Asia visiting our sewing centres. It’s her first time in Asia and she has been sharing her journey with us at Spirited Clothes so we wanted to share it with you.  Her insights you a good taste of what it’s like to be in Asia so enjoy reading her journey…..
I can honestly say what little I have seen of Asia between hours spent on a plane and a few more on a train to our destination has been quite interesting. The supposed ‘onslaught to the senses’ hasn’t really happened yet. Having visited Africa spoiled me with far heavier aromas, majestic colours and spectacular vistas. Having said that I have only been in the crowded and dirty section of the city we flew into where honking horns, pleading old women begging for coin to buy food, a boy cradling a spindly featherless chicken with a plastered leg cast who fell out of his motor bike (apparently it’s a crime to kill a chicken) and an old man heavily costumed in a traditional robe with a scrappy monkey on his shoulder eyeing bananas.

Breakfast consisted of mild vegetarian curries, semolina porridge, a variety of bread and donut like buns made out of rice or chickpea that taste great with strawberry jam. They have this very sweet condensed milk like coffee that is too sweet for me but Kate and Karen are addicted to. We went for a walk down a street that can be called Leather Lane, so many shops selling mainly shoes for men. Kate had already scouted the best place to buy ladies shoes. 

To get to the train station we had to hire a taxi and an auto. The auto is what we know as ‘tut tuts’. They have many funny rules here, eg you can’t place a piece of luggage in the front seat nor can the front passenger cradle the bag and we had so many bags that one had to be rammed into the auto. Kate hired a trolley which is the size of a small car to take all our bags to the train but when everything was loaded onto the train the trolley guys were trying to extort more money out of Kate. To see her single handily deal with these guys was awe-inspiring with Kate getting the victory.

The train ride was certainly more pleasant than the plane ride. The space and ample walking space was so nice. I could even lie across three seats and have a nap, unfortunately my sleep kept getting disturbed by the food vendors who constantly walk through advertising their wares with voices like fog horns. Here you can stand at open train doors and enjoy the countryside as you breathe through your mouth (the smell from the toilets is quite pungent).

We brought take away food for the train and I must say I enjoyed eating with my fingers. No need for cutlery. It’s an interesting experience learning how to make food mountains and then using your thumb as the shovel to push it into your mouth. I found the whole experience quite liberating. The papayas are divine and the honey is more a liquid then a spread. We had a passion fruit semolina cake that was exquisite.

One of the most amazing experiences we had was arriving at the train station and being received with flower bouquets by about a dozen men. The majority were friends of the business owner. Seeing the bags passed through the train doors in swift succession was poetry in motion. On arrival at our friend’s house, we sat down for another meal. It’s been food heaven here.

One Comment on ““Journey to Asia – Part 1”

  1. Teresa

    Hi Marina. Thank you for sharing your blog with me at Helga’s wedding. Best wishes with your project.

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