Had a rubbish day getting to Kochin from Goa. Up at 3.45am with bad delhibelly, a dreadful headache, and my taxi not looking like it was going to show up with nobody to ask at that time of night except a security guard who just gave me blank looks... so I was worrying when it got later and later. He turned up with JUST enough time to get me to the airport, both for the plane and for a toilet. Just felt seriously knackered the rest of the day but was glad to arrive at Chiramel Residency in Kochin, South India, a homestay which was very clean but very small rooms. They kindly put a tv in my room so i could watch premiership footy during the evenings which was great, particularly with a strong beer.
Kochin feels more like a village compared to Delhi etc and has been a good place to come to, largely on Gibbos recommendation. The ferrys make travelling to Ernakulam and Mattancherry very easy, cheap and enjoyable. Nearby Ernakulam is more business orientated with the manic MG Road which is so noisy and the pavements a nightmare even by Indian standards! Marine Drive which runs along the waterfront is very nice (and maybe a gay capital) particulary with a drink in the sunshine. Mattancherry has a couple of attractions, Jew Town with its stalls of usual products and a bit of attempted hard-sell and the impressive Palace which has many interesting murals, but you need to attach yourself to a guide to get whats its all about. Also went to a Kathakali performance one evening, a local folklore show which was very entertaining about love and revenge played by actors dancing out the story to loud music. The other attraction in Kochin, is the fishing nets - very impressive but dont take long to see! There's also been a footy competiton on kicking off at 5.30 each evening right next to my accommodation, been quite entertaining! Should get CPI there one day if theres a 5-a-side version!
The day on the backwaters was one of the most scenic i've ever had, six hours being pulled along in a beautiful boat by two fellas with 20 foot bamboo polls in near deserted waters was fantastic. Had a good lunch, even if the place it was served at had never seen sight of a cleaning product.
Evenings have been very quiet here, mainly watching the football then just going to the little local place next door (Dal Roti) which serves simple indian food very well but no alcohol (boo!). There are very very few bars around here, and those there are arent too inviting so its back to watch a film in my room. Nice and cheap anyway!
Today is my last day in India, before I came I thought this would be the hardest part of my trip but its generally its been great (except 1st night in Agra). I've enjoyed the tours, as occasionally its nice to feel part of a group, but I honestly havent found being on my own too much of a problem. In the evenings particularly it would have been nice to have had a friend or two from home with me. I have met a few people, the best being James and Marina in Mumbai, but should be a few more English people about in Sri Lanka with the cricket starting on 1 Dec. The traffic, noise and smells are very intense , if things are going well it can be intoxicating if not it just adds to the headache so you need to try and keep a sense of humour! Also random goats, cows and apparently ownerless dogs just aimlessly wandering about take a bit of getting used to. Getting yourself understood is the biggest fustration, no matter how simply or clearly you say something the blank expressions, or dreaded head shake, when your in a rush do little for the blood pressure even if you try and tell yourself that there is no reason why they should all speak perfect English! Finally forgive the English if its dodgy sometimes - often I'm typing in baking and crampt conditions!
Thanks for the messages/emails everyone!