A journey through South-East Asia - visiting the temples of Thailand, floating down the Mekong in a slow boat, seeing the sunset in Laos, waiting for the quiet of night in Hanoi, drifting through Halong Bay, trekking the mountains of SaPa, travelogue, trip, travel, journey, road, Asia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Indochina, Mekong, Halong Bay, Hanoi, Vang Vien, Chang Mai, Bangkok, slow boat, Luang Prabang, Pak Ou



Backwaters, Kerala

Saturday, November 30, 2002 11:18 AM
This is Major Tom to Ground Control

Whew. Hello people. I'm online again.

Auntie Em, is this still Kansas?

Comparing Northern India to Southern India is like comparing a chocolate sundae to a greasy pair of overalls, or an inner tube to an airplane. This CAN'T be the same country. It just can't.

We arrived in Trivandrum by plane, and as I looked out the window, the first thing I said was "treeeeeeeeees!". Trees. Green. Plants. Did we fly to key west?

Coconut trees the size of hot air balloons, and a wall of hot, humid air that hovered at the temperature of 30 C (you Yankees can times that by 1.8 and add 32 for F ; ) ). It was mind blowing. Small shacks that looked more quaint and rustic than poverty stricken, with corrugated tin roofs or clay tiles. Men wearing... dhobi's? Is that what you call them / how you spell it? (Sarongs folded in half, for the general masses). We rode slack-jawed to our hotel, that had bell men and an indoor cascading waterfall and enough staff to grab you a kleenex if you even looked like you were going to sneeze.

When we walked down the street, everyone stared, but no one approached us. And it took a few days to get used to that. Sure there are places where people hound you and follow you to get you to buy things, but on the regular streets, no one bothers you. Odd that I find that strange now.

We met up with the tour group at the airport the next day. I thought I was going to have to sedate Penny to make her relax and trust that everything was going to work out fine. I would have completely ignored her, but she was pacing back and forth. Since we were standing on one side of a barrier, and allllllllll the Indian people were standing on the OTHER side of the barrier staring at us, making me feel like an animal on display at the zoo, I thought it best that she should stop pacing and flicking like a tiger. Just to note, she has calmed herself down since we've been on the tour, and I've gotten some well needed alone time.
I knew it was a good sign when we got on the tour bus and they were burning Nag Champa *big smile*.

The first place we went was the Coir Village Resort. It is in the middle of nowhere south of Alleppey on either side of a river. Kerala is made up of waterways used like highways. We had to take a boat to get to it, and I swear it was like Fantasy Island without the midget. *grin* We were greeted with drinks in coconuts and the most beautiful little resort ever. Essentially, it was 12 little cottages that line the river (which itself is lined with crowds of palm trees). Each cottage had french doors that lead out to a raised patio that was on the river. I spent most of my time there in a hammock that was half over the land, half over the water. I haven't been that relaxed since before I left for this trip.

All the people on the tour (8 people from the UK) wondered where I disappeared to the first night, and Penny told them I probably wasn't feeling well. I informed the curious bunch that I was actually sitting on our patio, writing by the light of the white Christmas lights in the trees, listening to the crickets, and the sound of the drums and flutes being played at a nearby temple somewhere behind the curtain of trees. And numerous voices singing.

just sending this off, back in a minute

Next Mail: Major Tom part 2

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