India Day Four – We Found Porn In The Worst Hotel In The World.

Day four of our trip was easily the worst. I’m trying really hard to not complain and sound like a princess but it was really, really awful. We had a 4.30am start to catch a plane that didn’t leave until 8am and we were 20 minutes from the airport. Yes. You read that correctly. 3 hours wait time for a simple domestic flight. Sam (World Vision India coordinator and our lovely guide for our trip) says that Indian people refer to IST (Indian Standard Time) as ‘Indian Stretching Time’ because they have to allow a large margin of error in most cases. Truer words have never been spoken. Everything goes wrong here. Credit cards get declined, the photocopier doesn’t work, they don’t have change, the boss has gone to the toilet with the magic key that they need to complete the transaction. So it takes roughly an hour to do anything that should take five minutes like check into a hotel or buy a dress. And this is across the board. Nothing runs smoothly here. As you can imagine my Type A personality is not coping well. I just want to scream ‘WHY ARE YOU ALL SO INCOMPETENT?????‘ but you know what? It all works out in the end. Also, it’s not my country. I’m just an anal retentive psycho Westerner. Keep on keeping on India. Keep on keeping on.

When we arrived in Raipur the air was warm and sweet and the sky was clear from smog. It was beautiful. We drove for three hours through tiny towns, past roadside cattle and shops that sell nothing but bottled water and packets of chips. We swerved past motorbikes and had a near head on collision at least once every kilometre. Being in a car here is like being on a roller-coaster that nearly slams into another on coming roller-coaster every couple of metres. We’ve gotten brave enough to ask them to slow down but after twenty minutes they speed up again. That afternoon we arrived in Bilaspur which is a town that has roughly the same population as Canberra which is the capital city of Australia. It’s nothing like Canberra. Just for comparison…

A roadside store selling phone cases and credit. It’s kind of the equivalent of a phone kiosk in the Canberra Centre.

The pet shop similar to the one in Woden Plaza near the bank.

Fresh produce shop like the one near Supa Barn in the Canberra Centre.

Men’s barber shop like the one in Manuka.

We think this was a mall similar to Belconnen mall. There were kids playing on the roof.

Action buses aren’t looking too shabby now are they? I thought this bus was abandoned but I saw it the next day full of people.

The hotel strip like near James Court apartments in Braddon.

I really don’t want this to sound snobby and I sincerely hope it doesn’t. I’m just gobsmacked that I grew up in a city the same size as this town and I was ridiculously privileged and I didn’t even know it. The people who live here aren’t even living in poverty. This is a functional town. It’s mind blowing.

Our hotel in Bilaspur was really weird. Firstly it was a hotel/furniture shop. I don’t think it’s wise to say which hotel we were at, especially in a country that has fatwas but if you ever go to Bilaspur email me first and I’ll tell you where to stay. We’ve been here for three days and haven’t seen one solitary white person that’s not us. Misho and I went walking on our first afternoon and I’ve never been stared at like that in my life. In Delhi it was a leering sort of ‘Foreigners… let’s mess with them!‘ kind of look but here it’s more What’s wrong with your face?‘.

I won’t tell you too much about our hotel experience because it’s begging to be vlogged but basically the sheets were filthy, Kelly’s room smelt like a TAB and the energy in the place was horrible. The three of us (Eden, Kelly and myself) ended up sleeping in the same room and had the most hilarious, scary and bizarre evening of our lives. It was an experience that has bonded us for life. The silver lining of this dreadful place was that the restaurant had French Fries. We get very excited over anything that’s not curry. We love curry but it’s quite an adjustment to eat it for every meal.

Our little India crew is amazing. Sam and Misho are so grounded and cool and the girls are my world. Eden, Kelly and Joy are so beautiful and awesome, I just can’t imagine being on this trip with out them.

We found this tasty little treat underneath Eden’s mattress when we were moving it into my room for a sleepover. Stay tuned for the vlog version of events.

To sponsor a child visit World Vision Australia.

Carly is the founding editor of Smaggle which launched in 2007 back when blogging was weird. She has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Cosmopolitan and Cleo magazines. Hoop earrings are totally her thing and she almost got run over by Myf Warhurst while out jogging one day.


  1. Robin 4 years ago

    I love your sense of humour! It is not easy to walk in someone else’s shoes. Thank you.

    • Author
      Smaggle 4 years ago

      It’s really not! I promised myself that I would write about this experience honestly and in my own voice. Thanks for the support. x

  2. sarah 4 years ago

    cannot wait for the vlog, so enjoying your account of the trip! i also cannot believe you touched the porn. with your human fingers. 🙂

    • Author
      Smaggle 4 years ago

      I’ve touched waaaaaay worse stuff before!

  3. Easy Peasy Kids 4 years ago

    I didn’t think it was possible to like you any more than I do, but I really really like you now xxx

  4. edenland 4 years ago


  5. Chole 4 years ago

    Do you have any idea how awful and bigoted you sound! It’s truely unbelivable that World Vision is paying for you to go India out of the DONATIONS of people trying to alleivate poverty. It probably doesn’t seem like it to you but when you words like ‘the worst’, ‘filthy’, ‘scary’, ‘bizarre’ and to top it all off ‘incompetent’ you come across as the worst kind of Westerner abroad. Newsflash: the whole world isn’t like Australia!!! India has over billion citizens yet still remains a democratic and peaceful country filled with incredible beauty. Maybe you could present yourself with slightly more humility??? It is a joke that you are even called an ‘ambassador’. I will be complaining to World Vision about this and revoking my 5 year sponsorsip committment I’ve had with them, if this is how they spend their funds. Your blog and whole attitude is deeply upsetting.

    • Author
      Smaggle 4 years ago

      Hi Chloe,

      Please email the details of your sponsor child. I’d be delighted to take them on.


      P.S When an adjective like ‘filthy’ is followed by a noun like ‘bed’ it means the bed was filthy. Not that India was filthy.

    • Nina 4 years ago

      Chloe, it certainly seems odd that after reading a blog about how desperate the people of India are, your reaction is to cancel your sponsorship for them?!
      From what i’ve read of Smaggle’s trip, she is in awe of the country and it’s people. The words she’s used in her blogs demonstrate to her readers the very different and difficult conditions that the people of India live with. Which makes it very evident that they are desperate in need of generous donors, such as yourself, to continue to give. Also, I think that when Smaggle used the word ‘incompetent’, she was referring to the frustrations of adjusting to world that certainly doesn’t run as smoothly as we’re used to (which she noted was a joke made by Indians themselves). I think perhaps it’s an overreaction to withdraw your sponsorship based on this, considering the vast majority of other commenters seem to be enthralled by this very personal account of what it’s like to actually come face to face with extreme poverty, as many ‘Westerners’ have not. I hope you change your mind. Nina – Smaggle reader

    • edenland 4 years ago

      Dear “Chole” … I doubt you are even affiliated with World Vision. This is a deliberately nasty comment that you KNEW would cause upset to Carly.


      I watched Carly over there … she was the most polite, well-mannered, amazing trooper. We pushed ourselves so hard, every day .. worried about what to say, how to say it, even having enough time and mental energy to write after the days we had was hard.

      It was one of the most gruelling things I’ve ever done in my life. All of the participants have found it hard to convey on our blogs the things we have seen. All of us were rocked to our very core. Seeing some of the worst poverty in the world does that to a person. Carly will be changed forever. This post describes our worst day there, she’s using humour. She’s also using truth … some parts of India were DISGUSTING. Does that offend you? It stank, as well! OH NOES.

      Truth sets you free, Chole. Carly has built her blog up after years and years of hard work. Her message and her stories and HER truth around what she saw is all real and valid. She is in awe of all of the World Vision workers and their programs.

      India is also bewitching, amazing, breathtaking, unforgettable. It’s beautiful.

      Now be a dear and go do something constructive instead of anonymously tearing down other people on the internet.

      • Sharrisse 4 years ago

        Kudos Edenland, this is the best response for destructive writers like
        ‘chole’ and I could not agree more with you – thanks for helping
        support one of the most beautiful, compassionate and soulful writers I have
        ever come across

        • Author
          Smaggle 4 years ago

          Wow. Thank you so much! You totally made my day. I’m sending you all the good vibes I have for this glorious Thursday! x

      • Author
        Smaggle 4 years ago

        I love you Ladyturd.


    • Rachel 4 years ago

      Thank God for people who can think like Chloe! This blog is disgraceful. Having travelled and lived in many developing situations I can see from reading this why Western privilege is destroying our world. I am deeply ashamed.

      • Author
        Smaggle 4 years ago

        Hi Rachel,

        This post is part of a story and it happened to be a bad day of travel. I’ve had bad travel days in New Zealand, New York, in London, in Amsterdam. I’ve stayed in weird hotels in Australia. I’ve had bizarre, scary and disgusting experiences in developed countries.

        I ADORE India and the wonderful people who live there and I believe very strongly in the work that World Vision India and Australia do there.

        I write with honesty and integrity. There’s no point in me writing a flowery post about how flawless India is.

        However I do thank you for your honest comments.


    • Mrs Woog 4 years ago

      I am lucky enough to know Carly personally and may I tell you, she is one of the most compassionate, caring and thoughtful people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Please think what you say before you shoot your mouth off in the future. Your nasty words add nothing here.

    • Sharrisse 4 years ago

      I feel sad reading such a vicious response to this superb blog, but ‘sigh’ I guess there always has to be one. As a seasoned traveler I found Smaggles encounter to be refreshingly honest. Chole I suggest you pull that massive carrot out from your undergarments and take notice of the fact that this ‘ambassador’ has had more success raising awareness in one word than you have in your explosive and grammatically poor reply. I also suggest that you continue to read the rest of Smaggles India installments before you suffer from a second embarrassing bout of whatever the hell that was.

      Smaggle, as always you continue to enrich our lives with every beautiful
      word. Never Stop.

  6. World Vision Aus 4 years ago

    Hi Chole,
    We’re working with bloggers to show Australians how sponsoring a child can make a difference. We understand that bloggers know their audiences extremely well and therefore know how best to tell these stories. They are also very passionate about the work of World Vision.
    The money spent to get these four bloggers to India is included in World Vision’s fundraising expenses (9.4%) And traditionally, for every $1 we spend on fundraising we get $8 in return. So let us be clear that we would not have co-ordinated this blogger’s trip if we didn’t believe it would help us spread the message of child sponsorship.

    With that said, I’m sad to hear that you’re considering cancelling your child sponsorship. If possible, please email us at with your name and we can contact you to discuss your concerns. Thanks. Carla, WV team

    • Author
      Smaggle 4 years ago

      We are also freelancers who don’t get holiday pay so it was a sacrifice for us to go. The sponsorship was amazing but I had to take two weeks of unpaid leave to do this.

  7. I love you. That’s all.

  8. Corrie Sebire 4 years ago

    great post! I can’t imagine how much a trip like you did would change you. I just can’t. oh and I grew up in canberra too so I was looking at those pictures knowing exactly what you were talking about 🙂

    anyway you ignore the one or two negative people who never have anything nice to say and probably haven’t read your other posts on India or the other bloggers posts! but I love that each of you has a different way and words to share the story and gets the message out there a lot more successfully than other campaigns.

    those naysayers are nothing more than cotton headed ninnymuggins, honestly.


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