We left Varkala and made our way up to the city of Kollam. One of the big tourist draws in the state of Kerala is the backwater tours. A network of canals, rivers, and lakes links a large part of Kerala, and cruising around in a canoe through the rural villages sounded like a pretty cool experience. We booked our trip through the government office and headed out to the jumping off point. I won't go into the details of the tour too much. It was really nice to get away from the city and move quietly through the waterways between coconut palms and goat herds. Our captain, if you can call him that, showed us all kinds of cool stuff like tapioca plantations, wild pineapples, and even knocked down some coconuts for us and let us drink the milk. It was nice.Look at the pictures if you're interested.
After the coconut tour, we got to talking with our guide, and asked him about the various communist signs we'd seen painted all over the place.He informed us that he was a communist, and that Kerala was a communist state. I wasn't aware that the various states in India had such different governments. I'm sure it would be fairly interesting reading, but I have neither the time nor the resources to deal with it on my own. If someone wants to learn about it and then kind of sum it up for me, that'd be great.
In other news, John and I are learning to fit in a little better. We aren't quite so awkward when eating the meals with our fingers, and after a long day of traveling, getting to dig down into an all-you-can-eat meal is darn satisfying. We've been told that eating with your fingers gives a much different taste from eating with a spoon. I'm not sure about that, but it's definitely more fun to eat with your hands.
Before leaving Kollam, I had to break down and get a haircut. It had been over seven weeks, and my hair was getting a bit crazy, as you can probably see from the picture of me in Trichy with the guys. Anyway, the haircut wasn't the best I've ever had, but for under $2, I can't complain. It's also a bit shorter than I usually like, but I suppose no one will have to see me for another five weeks. In any case, don't make too much fun of me when I post the next set of pictures with my funny haircut.
I was looking at the map today, and realized that we really hadn't made much progress towards Mumbai where I have to fly out of in ten days. There is so much to see, and I'd need a year to fully explore south India. As it is, we're going to have to haul some ass to make it up to Mumbai in time. I think that if we plan it right, we can get to see some national parks, and spend some time on the beach before dealing with the big city.
I generally don't like big cities, but I've come to appreciate them a little more now that I've been traveling for a while. When I first arrive, I can't wait to get away from them, but after a little while, it's somewhat comforting to know that I'll be able to get a nice juicy hamburger if the need arises. Or that anything I've lost can be replaced, hopefully for not too much money.
Hopefully when I check in next time, I'll have some decent pictures from our trip in the national park. One of the major benefits to having John around is that I always have someone to take pictures of me.