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



Katakali dance makeup

Saturday, November 30, 2002
Major Tom part 3

We were audience to a wonderful Katakali dance presentaion in an old temple with a dirt floor. We were allowed to watch the performers apply their traditional makeup before being given a crash course in what every facial expression and movement symbolized. It was wonderful.

After that, we mainly travelled by bus to places. The air was better in the south, but it's still like Toronto on an awful summer day with a serious smog alert when you are to stay indoors (this is fresh air here). Now we are in Munnar, up in the mountains, so the air is cleaner than that, and it's cooler (thank god). The land is rich in greens from the tea plantations.

I've been suffering some immense teasing from the group because of my popularity with the locals. Even though we have 3 blondes on the tour, attention seems to be fixed on me at times. I took a serious ribbing when we all went to a church and I was stopped for photographs by locals at the front near the altar. Meanwhile, my entire tour group sat in the pews and watched, gobsmacked. Victoria said she stopped counting the amount of photos being taken after 14.

And yesterday we were on a hike, but my damn ankle gave way so I sat and let the others all go ahead up the mountain. They were all afraid I would be left alone. Ha. I spent the half hour having pictures taken with newlyweds, men, boys, girls, and children. I had some nice conversations and some really weird ones that were thankfully short. I had people shouting out how fabulous I looked, and others concerned that I was sitting by myself and obviously must need help. The strangest was near the end when a group of college kids came by. 12 - 15 young men. They all posed for different pictures with me. Fine. Later they came back to GET MY AUTOGRAPH. Fine. But then they all formed a semi circle around me, and I started to get a little overwhelmed. It was at that point that I turned to my right and saw the face of one of our guides sitting next to me. He'd seen the crowd forming around me up on the hill and had decided to come down to make sure I was ok. I was so glad to see him.
Expect to see me in the next Bollywood movie. There are theories on why I am drawing so much attention, but I will share them later.

In the hotel I was stopped by one of the front desk hotel guys who commented that I had beautiful hair, especially because it was so long and all the western women seem to have it short. I thanked him and said it used to be longer. He then very seriously told me it SHOULD be longer. And thicker. And that I should have the traditional clip that women wear in their hair. I thought to myself yes, then I would look more like a proper Indian lady. Danielle: the other white Indian. I Can't Believe She's Not Indian. Indian light. The Indian Equivalent of Nutrasweet.

Tomorrow we set off for Madurai, then Thekkady, then Peryiar, then Kovallam (?) and then it's time to go. Speaking of which, I should be off. The group is out doing a huge hike so I was left here to be the invalid. They will probably be home in 2 hours, and I would like some more relaxation/alone time.

Hope all is well with you lot. Miss your silly faces.


Next Mail: excerpt 2

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