23 January, 2007

Over on the West Coast now

We are in Kochi after a journey across South India on the night train. I watched dawn over the rice fields, brick kilns and palm trees of Kerala. We shared our sleeper with a steel sheeting sales manager from Kochi and an IT worker from Chennai, both good conversationalists, who left the train earlier than us.

We ate our first ‘meal’ meal at the railway café—dhosa with three dips and two north-Indian college girls, who didn’t think much of the South-Indian food—too spicy for breakfast, they thought. Then we caught a taxi to the hotel, but plumbing issues meant that we were offloaded to a different one, where we have a view out over palm fronds and rooftops. The beds are made of stone and the laptop is harnessed to the wall by about a hundred yards of filthy, split flex, but there is a desk, at least, where I hope to be able to get my bit of work done that I need to do over the next few days.

Yesterday we went to Mamallapuram with a car and driver hired from the hotel (an adventure in itself, that drive). By the time we’d gone two-thirds of the way there we were already overstimulated out of our minds; then, there was Mamallapuram itself. It’s hard to say which was the most fascinating, the carvings or our fellow tourists/pilgrims.

Now we’ve had a snooze and it’s off to explore Kochi.


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