Thekkady [en]

In Thekkady, a hill-station in Kerala. Been sick, brief description of the place.

Thekkady is a nice hill-station. For the moment, the most I’ve seen of it is my hotel bedroom, thanks to the gastro-entritis that kept me in bed all day and in the bathroom all night. As far as I can see, Thekkady is mainly composed of a street lined with identical shops (with identical men in front of the shops trying to tempt you in by asking you what your name is and where you come from). When the street gets tired of shops, they turn into pretty expensive resorts, all next to each other (Cardamom Country, Spice Village, Taj Garden retreat and our more modest Ambady).

We got here yesterday after an afternoon on the road. We hired a private car, but gave up trying to communicate with the driver after he stopped the car and nearly turned back, obviously in a misguided attempt to try to satisfy an imaginary request of ours, when Anita was simply asking a curious question about the route we were taking.

Cellphones don’t work here, enquiries about paying with VISA are greeted with crispated smiles and a barely audible “no… cash please!”, and broadband internet access seems like science-fiction. You’ll therefore have to wait until I’m back in Mumbai (or at best, Cochin) to see any of the photos and videos Anita and I have been furiously shooting (within the limits of the storage space available on the memory card, of course).

I have quite a lot of backlog to type up, going back to my three weeks in Pune. Watch older entries, you might find new reading!

From Pune to Alleppey [en]

Leaving Pune, travelling to Alleppey and a few words about the resort we are staying in.

Leaving Pune was hard, just as the last times. I was sad to leave the town and the people I love, sad to leave without knowing when I will see them again.

Anita had spent a day in Pune, so we travelled back to Bombay together, which was nice. We went to Bandra to see if I could find nice silvery glittery sandals for my size 41 feet. I gave up, to no surprise — shoes that size aren’t really to be found, especially when the foot they must fit is also wide and high.

For dinner, we had what is probably the best Thai food I have ever eaten. I don’t have a great experience of Thai food, true, but in any case, I’m certainly going back to this place next week before flying back home.

We got on our train the next day after an excruciatingly long rickshaw ride to the station. I was prepared to repeat the Chennai feat of last-minute train-catching, but fortunately it proved unnecessary to excercise ourselves in such a manner.

We travelled in the company of a nice young man named Sharath, who was going to meet his family after two years and a half. We ate surprisingly good train food (including two halves of a chicken — the prices must have dropped for a reason you can certainly imagine), feasted on cashew nuts, raisins and almonds, and shot whacky videos with the digicam. I even jumped out during one station-stop to clean the outside of our windows so that we could film the scenery from inside.

We arrived in Alleppey half an hour late, which is pretty good as far as Indian trains go. As promised, somebody was there to pick us up, and we made it to the resort and into our room without a hitch. The resort looks brand new to me, though it is probably a few years old. Room and bathroom are squeaky clean and equipped with a mosquito net, the latest water-squirting technology instead of the normal tap for the toilets, and a couple of frogs on the veranda to help keep the local bug population under control.

We had booked a 3 day/2 nights package with the resort. Although the resort is nice enough in itself, the package organisation left us a little unsatisfied. We had to fight and insist a little to squeeze into our day and two halves here all the promised items of the package (canoing, water-boat backwater, cruise, village trek, ayurvedic massage, temple visit, etc.). Actually, it seems this resort is mainly populated by a lot of foreigners, most of them middle-aged, who spend a lot of their time sitting around in chairs. Based on the list of “Daily Entertainments” hanging outside the office door, I guess many people settle down here for some time to relax, get ayurvedic massages, take a few yoga classes and cruise around a bit every now and again.

Arrived in Kerala [en]

Arrived in Kerala with Anita. Difficult to get internet access.

Just a quick note to say that Anita and I have arrived in Kerala. It’s nice, a little bit adventurous (more later about that), and internet access is not a straightforward thing (one slow computer for a resort full of white tourists).

Do not fret, therefore, dear friends, if news from me is scarce. My mobile is working, however.