Hello there!Â I?m not actually in Delhi as I write this ? I just wanted to sum up India before I move onto other things. So I?ll refer to my spotty journal and return to Kochi?Â If you have been reading very carefully, then you will know that Kochi is a place with European influence. We went to the cinema on a Saturday afternoon: We went to see a film called Big B.Â We had to queue up for 45 minutes to get the tickets: the film had a big local star in it (Mamooty need to check spelling) so it was very busy. Luckily, there was a separate ladies? queue so we joined that. Unfortunately, the queue was along a wall behind a cage like fence. And we were the only western people in both the ladies? queue and the standard queue (which was snaking around the car park). This gained us lots of attention. Staring. And guys asking us if we would get their tickets for them. They didn?t want to take no for an answer. Started to feel a bit uncomfortable but eventually the queue started moving and we were in.Â There was a bit of a scramble to the seats (not allocated). We got caught up in a group of lads who were a bit over excited- there was a couple of instances of inappropriate touching as we selected our row. I think I made it clear that this was out of order. Little sods. Â The atmosphere was mad ? when the local leading man came on there was whoops and whistles. The film was in Malayalam (the local language ? it wasn?t a Bollywood production) so we couldn?t understand much but we got the general idea of the plot. It turns out it was a bit bloody and violent so we didn?t stay to the end. Â We also watched a Kathakali performance. This is a local traditional cross between a dance and a play. People take up to 8 years training to become a dancer, musician or make up artist. The dancer atcs out the story without saying a word but all of the gestures, facial expressions and eye movements are meticulously executed and accompanied by drum beats for almost every single movement. There is also a guy singing. The performances traditionally last 9-10 hours and take all night. The performance we went to see was only 1.5 hours and we got there a bit earlier to watch the make up being applied: reds and greens and yellows, and cardboard cut into shapes and stuck on to great effect. We also had a demonstration of some eye movements and gestures.Â All of the performers are men (which is a shame because I?m quite good at the face gestures after a couple of beers?) and they wear big frocks which makes them look a bit like pantomime dames (I?m going to try and put some video footage up?) Â While in Kochin we also went on another bike ride on Vypeen (ferry trip) and cycled along muddy tracks through a village to a light house. It was near a lovely beach with white sand, palm trees, lots of litter and a view of an oil depot. Nice!Â Have just asked Celia what else we did in Kochi? ?bummed around lots? was her response so I think I?ll end it there. They did particularly nice chocolate cake in Kashi Art CafÃ©. So much for losing weight in India!!Â DelhiÂ Got through the trauma of flying in a prop plane? it was only an hour (to Bangalore) but felt a bit longer!Â When we drove to our accommodation in Delhi, we realized it was a different kettle of fish to all the other places we had seen. Lots of recognizable brands and a slightly more modern feel.Â When we got out of the air con car,Â we discovered what 40 degrees c feels like! It was completely different to the climate in Kerala ? a lot drier and less sticky: during rickshaw trips, your face felt like it was being blasted by a hair dryer. Whooo.Â Â On arrival, we went to see Humayun?s Tomb: a domed building (I?m so descriptive!). There?s lots more domes in Delhi: there?s more of an Islamic influence up here (Hindi and Christian in Kerala). It was on our first day that we realized there was some confusion over flight details: It turns out we had one day less in Delhi than we had thought. So we faced a tricky decision over whether to make the trip to Agra and the Taj Mahal?Â Â Â decided not as that would mean an unreliable train trip or 8 hours in a car followed by our night flights to Bangkok. Â Buildings designed as a monument to Love? Pah. Dealing with the social and financial implications of poor sanitation? Bring it on. Off to the International Museum of Toilets we went. It was actually really interesting. Celia mentioned her professional interest (works for Severn trent water company in sewage treatment) and we got a full guided tour. I even went into a science lab for the first time since 1999. Â The museum is run by a NGO. Traditionally, toilets are not connected to sewerage systems. Toilets (if you can call them that) are connected to buckets which need to be emptied: the people that do this are called scavengers (their words, not mine). Becauser of the nature of their jobs, scavengers are out cast from society, not allowed to enter peoples houses and take part in community life. The Sulabh NGO introduced new sanitation system using a really simple idea which didn?t need the expense of building a sewerage system and didn?t rely on people collecting buckets of poo. This is fab, but would put the scavengers out of work. So they set up schools which teaches them new skills (tailoring, electronics, computing etc) and also provides an education for their kids. There was a school attached to the museum and we had a chat to the headmistress she prided herself on how well turned out and behaved the children were. A very inspirational place. Â We also liked the Metro in Delhi. It is only a couple of years old and has a limited coverage of the city, but they have big plans for it. It was very different to the London Underground: Big carriages, bright. Air conditioned. The benefits of having a newly built system rather than using systems built years ago. We read in the news that an education campaign was underway; asking people to let passengers off the train before getting on (they didn?t, it was a free for all of elbow and hand bags!). We also saw plenty of signs asking us not to spit. So we didn?t.Â We went to the Red Fort in Delhi. It wasn?t neither very red or fort-like. The buildings were impressive and would have been more so if the British hadn?t stolen the precious stones from the walls. There was a funny incident when a dad (Indian) wanted to hand me his daughter to have a photo taken. She didn?;t want to come to me (obviously picking up my complete lack of toddler skills!) and stuck with her dad. So an Indian family somewhere has a photo of dad, mum and daughter with strange british girl with frizzy hair. I?m such a celeb! Celia took a photo of the happy scene so it will probably be on her site soon?Â A less fun (at the time) exoerience was sitting in the shade of a tree. There was one guy there when we sat down. 10 minutes later there was 10 guys sat in groups of various sizes. Talking and subtly looking over at us. Some of it didn?t feel like innocent curiosity so we didn?t stick around. Â On our last evening in India we picked a place for dinner from The Book. It turned out to be a Raj Style restaurant built pre independence. Air conditioned. And the perfect place for our firt and last India Gin and Tonic. It was Bombay Sapphire too. Yum Yum worth the wait!Â That night it all came together because we also had the most relaxed rickshaw trip too ? music, he was smoking and knew exactly where we wanted to go. Nice. Â Then it was awf to Delhi Airport, lots of queuing and finally a 4 hour Night Flight To Venus (name that band!), I mean Bangkok.Â Â Â I thinkÂ It's fair to say that India wasn'tÂ at the top of my 'places to go' list. To coin a phrase from every reality TV show ever: It was a rollercoaster (all one word, no capital letters). It?s hard not to enjoy a country with such variety in people, places, cultures and spices!