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One Year of Sundays

from bad to worse to great... thanks Kerala

INDIA | Tuesday, 23 September 2008 | Views [526] | Comments [5]

Sunday 21st September

So if we had written this a week or so ago it would have been ‘India sux a thousand times’ (maybe throw a Screw Flanders in at the end….. Simpsons fans?)[Ben]

While we parked our butts in Pondicherry we both got sick with Ben copping it the worst. We managed to catch the Ganesh Chaturthi (Birthday of the Hindu elephant god who brings luck and prosperity) festival which we had enthusiastically been waiting for but had to stay close to toilet facilities. A few weeks before the festival people from all around prepare small to enormous clay statues of Ganesh and adorn them with gold leaf, flowers and paint. When the festival starts it lasts for around 5 days and every night just before sunset Hindus bring their household clay Ganesh to the shore line, sit it on the ground and light a small jiffy like ball and pray (this is called a Puja). Enterprising young boys will then take the clay Ganesh out to sea and throw them in for a few rupees or the tight asses will try and lob them over the rocks, many Ganesh hit the rocks that day my friends

Our next stop was Chidambaram, one of the many bad experiences to follow. The bus trip there was a nightmare, squashed (this includes Ben and I having pins and needles in various limbs), 35 degrees on a 3hr trip. We arrived in this dusty town and the people where rude and uninviting, we struggled, got ripped off, and shared a room with a village of mosquitoes and to top it off Ben found the air con unit dripping on his head at 4am in the morning! We left the next day!

Next was Tanjore, boy ‘o’ boy another shitty bus trip (same deal). While looking for accommodation we came across an A-hole manager in which Ben ended up having a fight with. The manager was trying to rip us off and his smartarse friends were making fun of Ben so Ben made himself heard and told the guys to F-off. There was a flying room key too! Hot, tired, hungry and pissed off we found a little room for the night but it was more like a hot wood fire oven with a door… this is where we started losing it! At least we got to see a World Heritage listed temple.

Next, Trichy and all I’ll say is that if it wasn’t for the delicious authentic food (at last we almost gave up hope for this State), friendly people, a flushing toilet, half decent accommodation and an amazing view from the Rock Temple we would have cut our trip to India very short?

but wait there’s more………

We then caught an overnight train to Cochin, Kerala with air con and sleeping bunks in hope for a good night’s rest and comfort (wealthier Indians use these carriages)…. what! Am I kidding! This is India! Never assume that things will go to plan. That night I lost all hope! It felt like we had joined a circus. Six bunks in each section with three tier bunks facing each other, me bottom bench and Ben above me.

So I mentioned a circus!! yeah well this is how it went…. The guy across from Ben had some sort of trumpet lodged in his nose and honked ALL night long, the guy up top placed his shoes near my head (good Lord, I have never smelt such a pungent stench, a cross between curry, cheese & turd) I had to fold my sheet a few time to filter the air. Oh yes this man sleeping on the top bench sneezed all night while Ben and I shielded ourselves with our blankets and to top it off the lady in front of me decided to get up and groom herself by brush her hair all over me at 3am in the morning! So evidently with no sleep and desperately tired eyes we entered a state of mind only Monks would be able to withstand.

Kerala saved us! Simply an amazing state that runs along the Arabian Sea and is known as Gods country and it’s luscious. Muslim, Christian and Hindus live next door to each other in harmony. Fort Cochin’s colonial past brought Chinese visitors, Portuguese traders, Jewish settlers, Syrian, Christians and Muslim merchants. Yes it’s a communist state but people here are friendly and this state somehow functions. Being a coastal fishing town there are plenty of cats everywhere but not the healthiest looking. We cruised the backwaters which are spindly networks of rivers, canals and lagoons, ate local fresh water muscles and drank fresh coconut juice. ahhhhhhhhh at last!

We also bought a bottle of fresh coconut flower juice which naturally ferments into an alcoholic drink called Toddy if left for six hours. It’s been well longer than that and I’ll (that’s Ben if you’re not sure) be downing it tonight with a local cigar that smells remarkably like shit.

Our photos will sum it up. Loads of tourists and stuff costs a bit more but it’s all worth it.

Last night Ben and I went to see a performance, a traditional art form of Kerala called Kathkali. Students strain physically and mentally to study this art form for 8-10yrs learning drums, singing, acting and makeup. It was so beautiful it gave me shivers. Tonight we see a Kalarippayat martial arts performance where there are many airborne acrobatic maneuvers and use of weapons.

At the moment we’re planning our next move………..

Silvana n Ben xox

. The fifth day is the BIG day where the temple and village Ganesh come to the ocean on the back of jeeps, rickshaws and trucks, one was so big it needed its own crane to pick it up and lower it down into a boat off the jetty so it could be taken out to sea. Unfortunately the food sucked here and did so for the next few stops.

Comments

1

Hey there guys, it all sounds very tumultuous, but I'm glad you finally found somewhere nice. The photos of the trip down the river are so beautiful (oh, especially the double coconut booby one). The little puds were espeically cute too. Have a nice one chickens. Good luck with everything. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  Jess Sep 24, 2008 9:09 AM

2

Hey Silvana
sounds like you're having some memorable adventures there
take care
x

  Lang Sep 24, 2008 9:26 AM

3

silv your hallarious!! you tell the story great =) luv ya leanne mwa

  Leanne Sep 24, 2008 9:49 AM

4

aww bennels those coconuts are really you. sounds like you guys are appreciating the good after having experienced the bad. may i suggest, in bad times, "stay! stay! stay! stay!" ... sound familiar nana?! looking forward to the next installment ... regos xo

  regos Sep 24, 2008 5:30 PM

5

Saved by Kerala, thank god...but dosn't India do that to you, horror one minute, bliss the next! Thanks for putting up the wonderful, colorful, chaotic photographs and crazy commentary...live and love your journey guys!

I nearly hit the deck laughing, Silvana, the cheese/curry/turd shoes and triple fold-filter. I can relate. Did spend an entire overnight night train journey chucking out the window (well trying to chuck out, it kept flying back at me); no-one batted an eyelid of course.

I also admired the picturesque white flushing toilet in Bangalore, not too many of those, huh? Loving the blog, I feel a little bit like a fly on the (poo-splatterd) wall. Enough crass and cleche comment on bodily fluids.

love to you both, Lisa Max and Huxley

PS. Huxley sends a special wet kiss to his lovley friend "Silvie"

  Lisa Oct 1, 2008 10:00 PM

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