India so far

GOOD NEWS! I got the a-ok from japan. I was so relieved.

I’m currently in Kerala, a region in the far south-west of India, much more tropical than the drier inland regions, and therefore doesn’t conform to the typical ideas when one thinks about India! It’s been really good, though i wasn’t too impressed at first.

I flew into mumbai, and i have no good feelings about it whatsoever! Its a dirty busy city, where the slums are so long that they even back onto the airport runway, the people are rude and rip you off BIG time, more so than south-east asia (one thing i don’t like about india) and, though this is a common occurence throughout india, it’s a lot harder to tell which people you can trust. There are some extremel nice people and some devious ones but they all seem to have the same front.
Oh and another strange thing about india – they do this weird head shake thing, from side to side (faced forward) which means like ‘ok’ but they do it A LOT!

The second day in mumbai wasn’t too bad becausse it was holi (a hindu festival of colors) and the streets were pretty empty, and therefore it was relatively pleasant to walk around and see some sights. Still don’t like it.
The next day i flew down to Kochi in Kerala, and spent 2 days there. It’s a really laid-back place, all of Kerala is actually, so it’s a gentle introduction as far as india goes i think. I did a cooking class there in the evening where i learned to make this really nice fish curry and a nice pumpkin dish along with chipati.
Around fort kochi they have some old potuguese and dutch buildings, as well as this nice place to shop called ‘jew town’. They also have this performance called kathakali, which is strange because it puts a lot of emphasis on eye movements and facial expressions. i mean A LOT! those actors must have very strong facial muscles.

Then i went up into the hills to a place called munnar, which is known for its man tea and cardamom plantations. The climate was a lot more pleasant, though it rained the day i arrived, and the 2nd day i got a bit lost trying to find some waterfalls!
Then i went to kumily (where i am now) – still in teh hills and it again has man spice and tea plantations, but most people come here for the periyar tiger reserve. I did a trip in there just now and we saw some langurs, and kingfishers and an elephant. It was really relaxing as it was on a bamboo raft, though the sun was quite hot. The place i’m staying at is great, called jungle view, and it’s a homestay that backs right on to part of the surroundings of the reserve, so i’ve seen a few cool birds like drongos along with langurs and macaques there, and last night a porcupine! Brought me back to doing my placement at the zoo…
And i’ve also had the surreal experience of an aryurvedic massage. They basically rub you in oil all over, and i mean ALL OVER! nice enough, but i think i’ve had enough with just 1. I’ll go for a thai one next time.

So now i’m off to Apalluzha tomorrow, where you can do boat trips on the backwaters there and then going north, not entirely sure where i’ll end up yet, but isn’t that the beauty of it?

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