World - Bring it on!
When we got on the train to go to Kerela we were immediately thrust into real India again. Gone was the hassle and care free ways of Goa. Boarding the train at the platform at midnight (the train was late - no surprise there) we were followed on by a strange man who had been staring at us while waiting for the train. It was obvious he was not supposed to be on that train and thankfully someone spotted him and threw him off before it left. As it was late and not the trains first station the lights were off and everyone was already in their beds. It was the usual sleeper layout and we were back in the 3 tier compartment. As we reached our beds we realised it was all Indian men in with us and they all stared as we tried to lock up our bags, find and make our beds and sleep. One of our beds had been taken so I had to take the top bunk again. They had also taken all our sheets, blankets and pillows. It was really scary. They all kept staring while I was in my bed so I put my head under my cover and stayed like that for the rest of the night. The next day we arrived in Kerela. We were picked up and driven to our hotel. We actually turned out to be put in the middle of nowhere. I really did not expect to be put back at another beach! It was not even a sunbathing kind of beach as it was always busy with local fishermen and big swarms of men. The hotel was pretty nice and in very picturesque surroundings but it did seem more suited to Indian honeymooners looking to get away from everything. Not quite where we wanted to be. I found it was a bit too remote and to get to anything we would have to hire a tuc tuc or car, which is precisely what we did. We managed to organise a few big trips for our time in Kerela. The first one was on a boat trip down the backwaters. It was a full 8 hour trip and was very beautiful. We saw lots of greenery, boat houses and goings on and finished with us arriving in Kollam watching an amazing sunset. That is one thing I can definitely say about Kerela. It has the most beautiful sunsets I have seen in India. The sky lights up all orange and pink. Really beautiful. Although the boat trip was fun, after 8 hours on the boat I was pretty boated out and looking forward to being on dry land. The following day we booked ourselves a car to take us to a National Park. This was quite some distance away so a very early start was required. It was definitely worth it. We took a trek in the afternoon with a couple of other travellers we had met. The guide took us deep into the jungle and was all pretty exciting. We managed to spot a giant squirrel, several monkeys, a leopard footprint, lots of birds, wild boar and samba deer, and Lauren even saw a big black water snake. It had slithered away by the time I got round the corner unfortunately. Me and Lauren also had our feet attacked by leaches. Eugh. Disgusting things left a big bloody patch on my foot! By the end of the trek we were exhausted but happy to have seen everything that we got to see. Also should mention that my handbag along with my purse, ipod, passport and plane tickets were all nearly stolen by a one armed monkey. We were sitting down waiting on out trek starting when a couple of mischievous monkeys ran over.We ignored them at first because they are pretty much everywhere here. One then came running right up to us ( I think after our cookies) so we jumped off our seats. I, in the rush, left my bag sitting where we had been. The monkey made a grab for it so I went in for it too its hand still on it. I didn't want to make any sudden moves so was pretty sure it would grab it. Luckilly some of the locals managed to shew it away and I got my bag back, phew. We had been told of an elephant sanctuary by another traveller and thought it would be worth a visit. Again we had to take a car. We were told that at this place in Koni you could touch, feed and even bathe elephants. We went the next day and visited the elephant museum. Unfortunately we had missed bath time but we still got to touch and stroke the elephants. They were really cute and seemed pretty happy. It was good fun and we got plenty of photos. The following day it was time to leave. Although we were far from everything we still got to see quite a lot of Kerela and I always feel that the car journeys allow us to see even more of India and gets us that bit closer. Kerela, like Goa was full of palm trees and greenery and the skies were nice and blue. It is amazing to see the differences between places in the north and south of India and how the scenery drastically changes.