26.11.2012 - 26.11.2012
On Saturday morning Amanda and I sat in Mumbai Airport, positioned very closely to the toilets, with our copies of Shantaram on our laps and looking like we both needed a good wash. I felt like such a cliche.
Until that point we'd both become a bit cocky about travelling India. We had avoided the dreaded Delhi belly and contrary to my first blog and impressions of India, we both felt really safe and getting around had been pretty straightforward. Once you get past the overwhelming volume of traffic, people, dogs, pollution and dirt, its actually a very relaxing country. I'd even started walking out confidently into the roads and putting my hand out to stop the traffic racing towards us at excessive speed so we could cross. Kalik, our free local guide in Mumbai, had taught us this was a much better way of crossing the roads than trying to run across them which makes drivers carry on at full speed. Its a miracle we've not been flattened. Despite our constant sanitising and careful avoidance of ice, tampered water bottles and washed fruit or salad, we both got sick as we were leaving Mumbai. It wasnt anything too serious and its not really surprising as you get dirty just walking around. But neither of us could stomach any food and we greatly welcomed being in the airport which felt like the cleanest place we'd been in a week.
We flew to Kochi in the south of India, a region called Kerala. It is extremely hot and humid down here, Kochi is made up of islands and hundreds of palm trees and miles of backwaters. We've spent the last two days in Fort Cochin which is accessed by an old ferry that fills up with taxis, motorbikes, old Ambassadors, tuck tucks and people to carry you across the water for just 2 rupees. Whilst on the ferry I nearly suffocated in the heat and petrol fumes and so by the time we'd found somewhere in Fort Cochin with a room available that night, we both collapsed on our beds. Fort Cochin is pretty touristy but there are some really funky laid back bars and places to eat that made me forget I was in India. Neither of us managed to eat a lot in the two days we were there but what we did have was good quality and still really cheap.
Yesterday we took a bus (yes John a bus, no a van) with no windows and banging Bhangra music to Cherai beach where we could only manage an hour in the baking heat. People in the south also want to have their photo taken with us which we both admit to enjoying, perhaps a bit too much. Its apparent to us that a lot of foreigners come to India to "find themselves" and embrace humility and here are Amanda and I loving the fact we are treated like celebrities and posing all over the place! Well you've got to have a bit of fun while you're travelling...
Today we travelled south to Allepay, a tropical town and gateway into the network of backwaters which we are going to see tomorrow. On a houseboat. I'm hoping our tummies will be better by then so we can try the local fish.
As I write this, Amanda is creeping around our hotel room obsessively trying to swat a mosquito. We are sharing many an amusing moment out here and her determined face is one of them. Boddingtons against the Mossies, I know who my money's on