A Travellerspoint blog

Here in Kerala

sunny 37 °C

Day 28 - Monday 20th February

4 weeks down! Today it was the Shivaratri festival, celebrating the birth of Lord Shive I think, not really too sure. But there was lots of dancing and singing and elephants and the like in typical Indian fashion. So I spent my evening going to a couple of Shiva temples and uploaded those pictures the other day, if there was any confussion as to what they were. Went in to town to send some post, but it was a national holiday so it was closed, so instead went into Aleppey town and ate some typical Keralan food. All over the place in India they have these tiny restaurants which serve 'fast food' where they'll have a few different curries in a large pan and some rice and bread always ready. So they offer you the choice of curry or give you a few to try and it comes instantly. It's a really good why to try loads of different stuff which all tastes good, and it's about 50p a meal which is a bonus. Forgot to mention they also come round and give you free refills if you've run out of any food. After eating there we took a look around the town and it's not particularly interesting, seems the only thing to do here is go on a boat on the backwaters. Unfortunately unless you have 100 quid a day to spend, you can't do it on a house boat. Going to go on the local ferry somewhere tomorrow to hopefully see some cool stuff.

Day 29

It's only been 1 week since I left Palolem, but I've travelled so far and seen so much that it feels like a lifetime ago. Starting to feel like I could travel forever, having such a good time and there's so much stuff out there to see. Went on the public ferry today with the forementioned Mike whom I met earlier in the week on the way here and a French girl called Aurore who's staying in our place. So yeah, got on a 3 hour ferry to a place which I can't remember the name of and saw some amazing backwater scenery along the way, especially towards the end of the trip where there are parts of the river covered in these flowers which makes it seem like you could walk across it. But the boat just carves a smooth way through. At one point, loads of school kids came on the boat and kept asking for pictures, so I've got about 100 pictures of Indian kids putting their face in front of the lens because they don't understand the concept of standing back. Eventually you just push them back and they understand. In Kerala, people seem to be really interested in white people and constantly ask your name and shake your hand, as if there are none around, I guess they're all out on the house boats. We walked around the town we got off at, then got a bus back to Aleppey and had some dinner in a really tasty Indian 'restaurants'.

Day 30

Today I had a really nice lie in, haven't had the time for it lately with all the tough times of travelling around and getting boat ferries and the like. As it is so hot down this far South and today was particularly moggy and humid, I could not go on any missions until later in the day. So I spent the morning reading and eventually went into town to the Post Office and sorted out Pops' bracelet, and then got lost for a bout an hour trying to find the way back to the guest house. The problem with there not being many tourists here is that the rickshaw drivers don't speak very good English, so unless you have the card with the address written in hindi they can't help you. So if you do forget the card like I had on this occasion you just walk around hoping to find your street. After getting back from that I then spent the rest of the afternoon reading and in the evening went out for dinner at another shoddy restaurant and had a great vegetable curry (2 actually) some indian bread and fried chicken, great food! Then we spent the nght sitting in the tree house listening to music. The other 2 are off tomorrow so I'll be pretty much the only westerner left here in Aleppey. I do want to move somewhere soon, but I'm really unsure where I want to go, and I only have 1 week until my flight so I've gotta move soon if I want a couple of days somewhere.

Posted by travellingjoe 10:18 Archived in India Comments (1)

The long way down!

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Day 25 - Friday 17th February

Just sitting here on my bus from Hampi down to Mangalore, and how lucky I am to be sitting here as I very nearly missed it. I arrived at the bus stop at like 6:30, in good time for my 8:00pm bus, which I knew was 8:00 because I had checked the ticket a million times. So I sit down and the guy asks where I'm going and I say Mangalore and he says oh the 9:00 bus and from then on I thought my bus was at 9:00. So I went to get some food with a guy getting a later bus and at 7:55 I suddenly remembered and just ran to the bus stop, and after realizing the whole time mix up thing was due to him thinking I was saying Bangalore not Mangalore (Bangalore has changed it's name to Bengaluru now for obvious reasons) I eventually got on the bus. Today I was woken up at 11:00 by the guest house manager saying check out was 9, so I quickly got my stuff together and spent the rest of the day relaxing in the restaurant and enjoying the great view of Hampi. Should arrive in Mangalore in around 11 hours and I'll try and find somewhere to spend the day.

Day 26

Just sitting here on my train from Mangalore to Ernakulum town (Kochi) and I made this one in time today which felt good. In my carriage there was around 30 school girls all jumping around and singing in true indian style, but the conductor shouted at all of them so they had to stop. So I spent the day hanging around Mangalore, which wasn't too bad. I managed to find a really cheap hotel by the bus station which was really nice. Went straight to bed as soon as I got there, then spent the rest of my time watching crap indian tv in my room. Despite Mangalore being a really big and busy place, I didn't see one white person and when I was walking around to get food, everyone was staring at me. Weird not to be surrounded by other tourists, it's quite nice as all the prices are set and you don't get ripped off just because you're white.

Day 27

So here I am, after a 12 hour bus and then a 10 hour train, then a 2 hour bus I finally made it to Aleppey. Met another traveller outside the train station, and told him about this place and he just decided it sounded alright so we got the bus here, and asked around for 'avocado restaurant' which I was told about by someone else, it's supposed to be really nice. The issue was that no Indian understood the word avocado, 'hotel restaurant??' no a-v-o-c-a-d-o!!! Eventually we jumped in a rickshaw and said drive towards the beach and we'll hopefully see it. And somehow Mike (the guy I met at the station) suddenyl saw it even though it literally flashed past us, still have no clue how he saw it but he did and we made it to this place. It's effectively a large garden restaurant with rooms all around the edge looking in on the beautiful garden, it's all a heritage home as well, so it's completely beautiful. It's also super cheap, I'm guessing due to the fact that it's so hard to find, because I've seen rooms like this for like 7 times the price! So chilled out here all afternoon then went to the beach for dinner, and had some really nice fish. Spent the night, sitting around in the tree house which had fairy lights on it so there were millions of bugs around. I decided to go down and check if I could see where to turn it off, and as I followed the cable I accidentaly touched it and had a full blown spazzing out electric shock. One of the most terrifying experiences I ever had, Lasted about 3 seconds and I have a massive burn type thing on my arm which I think means my bracelet was conducting all the electricity which explains why I couldn't shake it off for ages. Eventually I did throw the electric off, and there was a massive flash on the floor and got thrown back, man it was horrible and my little finger is fucked, it was where I originally touched the wire. Either way it happened, and I got over it after a while, I just hope that it never happens again!

Posted by travellingjoe 21:53 Archived in India Comments (0)

Off to Hampi!

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Day 22 – Tuesday 14th February

While I remember, I got an email from the North Korea trip organiser saying that everything is still on track and he’s also found another lone traveller so I have someone to share a room with which means I save around £250 which is a result! Just sitting here on my sleeper bus to Hampi (which obviously came late!) I’m very sad to be leaving Palolem, I absolutely love it here and 2 and a half weeks is probably the longest time I’ve ever stayed in one place on holiday and I could’ve easily doubled that. I also managed to change my checkout time from 9am to 6pm, so I had the room all day which made the whole leaving experience a lot more easy going. I’ve just heard that trains to Kerala are pretty much booked up for the next week, which could pose a problem as I still haven’t sorted anything, I’ll go to a travel agent as soon as I arrive in Hampi. Gonna try and get some sleep on this bus, in which you share a sleeper compartment with another person, and considering the way the Indians drive I’m probably going to keep rolling on to the person next to me, which is very annoying.

Day 23

So here I am, somewhere new, and what a bloody awesome place to be. Hampi is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, the landscape of boulders somehow balancing on each other is absolutely awesome, and the whole place just looks and feels really nice. Feel free to Google it or look at my pics, but I’m staying on the other side of the river to Hampi which means I get all the views of Hampi and much less of the stress as it is very chilled out on this side and not to mention very cheap. The place I’m staying at is really cool, got my own little room and a communal toilet (hole in the floor) and communal shower (bucket full of freezing cold water). The restaurant here is really nicely set out as well with big cushions laid out on the floor so you can lie back in the hot weather and watch the world go by and listen to the birds. There are also hammocks laid out all over the place which suits me even better. I spent the evening going on a walk up the boulders to sunset point with a group of other people staying here, it was a good laugh and a very good view, but I lost one of my flip flops down a gap which means they only lasted 1 day and I wore them for a grand total of less than 3 hours probably. Bummer! Oh yeah, so I’ve finally sorted my tickets for Kerala, I’m leaving here on Friday, getting a bus to Mangalore, just North of Kerala on the coast. I arrive there Saturday morning, and then spend the day there, and get an overnight train to Kochi in South Kerala (arriving at 3:30 am) then hopefully I will be able to get a bus that early for around 2 hours to my final destination, Allepey, where I should arrive early Sunday morning. Should be a really fun trip, not! Hopefully it’s worth it in the end, although I would happily stay another week here in Hampi I need to keep moving in order to see all the South before I jet off to the Andamans.

Day 24

Another really good day in Hampi today, got up at 10 and quickly headed over to the other side before it got too hot. Spent a while looking for the Post Office to send a bracelet to Pops, but turns out that doesn’t exist anymore, so I’ll have to send it when I get to Mangalore. So after this I went around looking at the temples and the cool scenery and taking some pictures. Then after a bit of that the rocks started to heat up, and being without sandles again after losing one yesterday, I had to leave before my feet caught on fire. So I got back to my side and spent the afternoon chilling out here meeting some more people, then in the evening we went to see the sunset from the other sunset point in Hampi, which is located next to the tipi guest house where you can stay in this cool tipi for like 50p a night. Watched the sun go down while a couple guys played the guitar and flute as well as the harmonica and eventually someone got his drumsticks out and there was a little jam session on the side of this crazy rock. This seems to be a very common occurrence while travelling. After this we spent the night in the tipi restaurant on their big lie down cushions and listened to some more really good people sing and play various instruments. It was absolutely awesome, the tipi place has such a cool vibe and if I were to recommend somewhere to stay it would be there. Great place to spend my last night here, off to Mangalore tomorrow night!

Posted by travellingjoe 23:07 Archived in India Comments (2)

Final days in Palolem

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Day 19 - Saturday 11th February

I've finally booked my ticket to leave here, I'm going to be leaving on Tuesday the 14th at 9pm, on a sleeper bus to Hampi, where I arrive on the morning of the 15th. I'm thinking I'll leave on the 18th or 19th to go to Kerala. Still have no idea where I want to go in Kerala, and I'm not finding Lonely Planet to be very useful in my search. (overall I've found the book pretty useless, and it's definately better to ask someone about a place than look it up in Lonely Planet, as the 2 options seem to contradict each other a bit! And advice definately seems to be the best way.) Unfortunately I haven't met a lot of people who are going to/ have been to Kerala already. Either way it's looking like a long day's travelling of overnight and morning trains and at least 1 bus to get from Hampi to Kerala, which is annoying. Saw Man U beat Liverpool in a pretty convincing manner today which was a nice sight!

Day 20
Woke up this morning to find a big cockroach crawling on my mosquito net right above my head. After a few pretty weak attempts (due to me being a pussy) I eventually managed to scrape it into a bucket and then I flushed it down the toilet. Went out my door to find the sun shining as per usual, which always helps you to forget the troubles of creepy crawlies. Spent the day basking in this sun, and I'm finally starting to go pretty brown after 2 weeks of lying in the sun for hours everyday. Spent the evening watching the football, and went on skype later to find my mother holding a wodge of cash, which she had just got from selling my bike, which is such a result as I wasn't sure I was gonna shift it, and I need the money to pay for the North Korea trip. So it goes without saying, this day ended on a high.

Day 21
My last full day here in Palolem. Spent the day reminiscing on weeks gone by doing the same routine of absoutely nothing except a little bit of volleyball as the sun went down. Did however, find that bloody cockroach on my toilet flush today. It's definately the same one as yesterday, and it seems cockroaches can truly survive pretty much anything. Which is not a great thing to find out. Decided just to leave him there as flushing him again might make him angry. Spent my last night sitting back having some beers with a group of Polish guys, nice chilled out way to end a nice little holiday here in Goa. Next stop Hampi!

cockroach back

Posted by travellingjoe 09:40 Archived in India Comments (2)

Almost over

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Day 16 wednesday 8th February
Great news, managed to get wifi in my hut now, went to the restaurant nextdoor tonight (which was really nice) and I asked if they had wifi, and one thing led to another and here I am, keeping completely up to date with civilization in my hamock outside my little hut. I'mm still glad I haven't had it this whole time, because I wouldn't have come off it, been good to be mostly detached.

Day 17
The sea felt really cold today, the water is warm, but the wind is picking up and when your head is out the water it does feel cold. The other issue is the fact that the wind whips up the sand and you get pelted with sand in the face while trying to sunbathe (tough life!) Had a power cut middway through a skype chat, get one about everyday, and it really reminds you where you are, and how far away from civilization you are, the whole place goes instantly black, crazy!

Day 18
Running out of time here, starting to look forward to when I'm leaving, which is sad but I am really looking forward to going to other places (and updating the map on my blog, so it starts to look interesting.) Apart from that, had a lazy day today but I did go out for dinner to have some fresh fish at one of the beach restaurants. Got a red snapper, which they cook on their grills right in front of you. It was bloody tasty that's for sure. Wifi is still being very random, but I'm getting by. Sorry about the lack of pictures, once I start moving and seeing different things I'll start taking some.

Posted by travellingjoe 09:02 Archived in India Comments (6)

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