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Published: November 3rd 2008
The Chinese nets at sunset
Bundi to Kerala ............. 30th October
Took a car from Bundi to Jaipur at 6.30pm so that we could catch the 12.50am to Delhi. We had heard that road travel at night was not for the faint hearted and so it proved. Not only did our driver have to contend with overtaking the many lorries on the road but also we had to run the gauntlet of teenagers letting off small sticks of TNT (otherwise known as Diwali fireworks) into our path as we passed through small towns and villages! Also, as we had been warned, many vehicles..... cars, lorries motorbikes, rickshaws, tractors and cycles either drive without front lights or rear lights or on full beam headlights!!!
Thankfully we got to Jaipur in one piece, in plenty of time for the train and were especially pleased to find we were entitled to sit in the First Class
waiting room. Our previous experience of railway stations was the total lack of announcements in English or at least visual clues as to whether the train arriving was the one you were waiting for. We usually relied on finding an Ind National
who was going our way and following
Wher Vasco de Gama was buried in the Basilica
them! However, Jaipur bucked the trend in that there was a incessant commentary in Hindi and then in English as to which trains were due when, where and where they were going to for the next 3 hours. No chance of a quick kip there then.
This being a station, we thought we might strike gold and find a wi-fi
connection (no such luck) and we had no sooner opened the lap-top when we quickly gathered and interested crowd. An army officer very politely asked if he could see David's photos and was very complimentary about composition and clever angles
whilst the bored child of about 7 wanted to click off the photos and find out for himself what games
we had loaded. As the guy said, there are so many people in India that personal space and privacy are complete unknowns.
Arrived back in Delhi
about 7.00am and found a cheap (480 inr) hotel in the Main Bazaar
area, which at first glance seemed clean. Well the bed and the linen were ok but after a couple of hours sleep we realised was actually a total dump with the dirtiest bathroom imagineable. You do have to wonder
Christian lady praying
about the guide books that reccommend these places. Still it was only for 1 night and they did let us in at 7.00am! Delhi
was as bad as we remembered though this end of the bazaar was a bit livelier than the other end where we stayed first time around. Good cheap shopping too. Might get a few souveniers before we finally leave for home in 2 weeks.
Flight to Kochi in Kerala
was fine (once we found the right terminal). As we hoped, the countryside is is completely different to the north. This being tropical, it is much greener and lush and a darned sight cleaner. Still India but with a facelift!. Kerala has 100%!l(MISSING)iteracy rate and is well ahead of the majority of states in terms of IT and communications. Fort Cochin
, our first destination is very quaint and olde worlde and has a small resemblance to Key West in Florida though obviously less manicured and pristine. Vasco De Gama died here and there is much evidence of the trading history history with the Dutch and the Portuguese to name but a few!!
The people here are so friendly and helpful and the
Fort Cochin Beach
Chinese nets and a cow!!
food is great being on the sea and tropical, it is coconut fish curries. Our guest house Napier House
, Napier Street, is old colonial style and very comfortable. We found it so nice, we decided to stay an extra day and although they were fully booked, they arranged a room in Uncle's
house across the road!!! How helpful is that??? Jobbu
the chef cooked us a Keralan Feast
to die for. So much food we had to throw up our hands in surrender!!!
Many of the sights here are within walking distance, much to the disgust of the auto-rickshaw drivers who couldn't understand why we would want to walk anywhere???
On Sunday (2/11)
we decided to walk away from the immediate area to Matancherry
, to the Jew Town and the Synagogue
. Well, we wished we had taken a rickshaw then!!! The map we were given is completely wrong
and what looked like a short distance was several kilometres and it was HOT
. Why does everyone else keep so cool and I look like a lobster???? Even resorted to buying a fan off a stall!!!
In the evening we went to a performance of Kathakali
acting. For 1
A Dead Lorry!!!
hour we saw them putting on the incredible make-up, then a demonstration of the music, singing and acting skills. The stories are told through the singing and incredible facial and hand movements and can last up-to nine hours for 1 story. We saw about 30mins of 1 story which quite frankly was enough to appreciate the years of training that go in to being an actor or musician. It was all done by 6 or 7
guys, who flogged tickets on the street, ran the box office and performed the show!! 'Jobbu our Chef'
was a hard act to follow and so the two meals we ate out were disappointing. Proves the addage 'just because a restaurant is full it doesn't mean the food is good
! However we did find a mostly empty restaurant where the food was very good
just near the bus stand. It was quite a big place too. This has now restored our view of good Malayaman cooking!
Up early tomorrow as we move on to Quilon/Kollam by the 10.10am train
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