Happy New Year. Hopefully you all had a slightly better New Year's Eve than I did....I saw it in with my head down a toilet bowl thanks to a bad dose of food poisoning. However, on the plus side it has helped me try and get my figure back for hitting the beaches.
I am now in Kerala, south India and staying at a beach area called Kovalam. It has made a welcome change to relax on the beach, after so much sightseeing in north India.
Whilst still in the north we spent about a week in Madya Pradesh and visited a nice little town called Orchha, which is set around a river and where we did some rafting. We also visited the temples at Khadjuraho which have lots of kama sutra sculptures. From there we caught an extremely delayed and painfully slow train to Mumbai (26 hours!!!). We had a couple of days in Mumbai, which is quite a lively cosmopolitan city with the most nightlife I have seen so far in India. It also has the most visible poverty I have seen here too, with loads of street children sleeping out on the streets next door to expensive restaraunts.
Due to the length of the train journey, we decided to fly to south India from Mumbai. We had a couple of days in Thiruvananthapuram (try asking directions for that name!!) and then hit the beaches where we have been relaxing for a few days. My brother Sam is in his sunbathing element and unlikely to move any further than fifty metres from a beach for the rest of the trip. However, I too have enjoyed having days of doing nothing other than lying on the beach, swimming in the warm Arabian Sea and eating lots of seafood.
We also get to see our food being caught as the fishermen here have an interesting way of catching the fish. They send out a rowing boat with the nets, whilst a group of men stand on the shore holding one end of the rope and look like they are playing tug of war with the sea. The boat then goes out to sea, circles across the bay and then returns to shore at the other end of the beach. From there a second group of men take up the other end of the rope and gradually over about an hour or so, slowly pull the nets into shore until the two groups of men meet. Another group of men go into the centre of the nets and splash around to scare the fish into staying within the nets, until finally the nets are carefully brought to the shore and the contents revealed with lots of fish of all shapes and sizes, lobsters, prawns and squid. The men sing whilst they work and is quite a spectacle to watch, whilst I laze on the beach!