Friday, 19 October 2012

A road less travelled

Ok, my public have demanded that I have a go at this blog business. So here is my attempt. It will be shorter and nowhere near as humorous and probably a bit more factual.

I think Chris left it that we were having a marvellous time with the suspiciously fantastic Siyad. Well we have had another extraordinary 24 hours since then. Our new best friend squeezed us, our rucksacks and our food bag into his tiny rickshaw. With the rain lashing down and Chris with one buttock on the seat with Siyad in the front  and me hanging on desperately to the bags in the back we made it to the dock for the last ferry. We hugged, kissed and cried as we said our goodbyes and ran to the dockside, where the rain was still coming down in stair rods and the lightening was filling the sky followed by rolls of thunder. Men with crabbing lines were hoping to catch their tea  while the ferry came across the bay. We jumped on, well not really jumped but a bit of poetic licence, relieved to have made the ferry. Got off the other side in Eranakulam, still pissing down, expecting there to be rickshaws and taxis a plenty all chasing for our business but, oh no, the time you want one there’s not a single bugger there! So we run to the main street, artistic licence again because running in wet flip flops with 15kgs on your back is not something I’m any good at, and grabbed a rickshaw, no haggling just get us to the station.

The train arrives on time (10.35pm) and we squeeze ourselves into our carriage. The trains here have 5 different classes and each class has 6 carriages so a pretty impressive train. We are in a 3AC carriage so it is at least air conditioned but there are 8 bunks in each area. 3 on each side and 2 the end.  No curtains and a little man comes round with sheets, pillows, blankets and a towel for everyone. I’m on the top with a lady and her child opposite and an elderly indian man on the end. He looks as though he’d be the one sitting outside on the roof if it was that sort of train. And at 5am he’s wide awake and singing, again poetic licence, a tune for about an hour. He has spent most of the night hawking up and gobbing over the side of his bunk into the corridor so you can imagine the quality of his singing voice.

I have to pee in the night so armed with my trusty she-wee I head down the corridor, flip flops on to avoid the gob and the potential  pee in the toilet. I opt for the western one, big mistake. The door has a latch on the outside to hold it shut when not in use which I open and try to push but it won’t open. 30 seconds later a little brown hand comes round the door and an indian man comes out as though nothing out of the ordinary has occurred….how long had he been locked in there?! Quite a while I reckon by the state of the toilet.

At about 6am the ‘Chai’ man brings round flasks of hot water and tea and biscuits which signal time for the lights to go on. We get to Upudi about 7.15am and get off the train with about 10 other passengers, all indian. It’s a small station and I’m getting worried. At this point I should note that Chris wanted to  go to Munnar a beautiful hill station inland but, oh no, Rachel thinks we could stop somewhere on the road less travelled (one of Chris’s favourite phrases). As we walked out of the station it was a tumble weed moment. No rickshaws, no taxis, no sign of anything in particular. Oops!

We do track down a rickshaw, again no haggling, 70 ruppees to the town. He drops us outside a square full of temples and 3 men try to sell us recorders! The temples and town look beautiful  and I fell a little better. Chris tries a couple of hotels, which in truth don’t look particularly salubrious but needs must but they speak hardly any English and make it quite clear that they do not want the likes of us in them. How rude! My slight lift in mood is starting to drop again then I remember reading and seeing that there is a lovely beach close by. So track down a rickshaw driver, they all speak Hindi so communicating is difficult, and ask to go to beach and hotels. No haggling , getting hot, want to clean our teeth and have a shower and I am still convincing Chris this was a good idea. 9kms later we’re dropped at a beautiful white beach and there are 2 hotels. One is a shack with the darkest, dingiest room that he wants 1500 ruppees for and the other is a huge hotel that only has sea view rooms for 4000 ruppees. Chris goes into negotiating mode and it works. Cottage room with A/C and sea view for 1500 ruppees.

Go for a walk to check out the area and there’s a huge shipping yard that we get to by walking along a shitting beach. Anyone who has read ‘One Big Damn Puzzler’ will know the reference but it was covered in pooh! Even more worried at this point. The hotel is full of Inidian holiday makers. This is the Jaywick of South India. But we’re probably going to stop here for a few days, make the most of it. Go back and see the temples without rucksacks maybe take a boat trip to an island, lay around by the pool with all the Indians with their clothes on. We’ll keep you posted.

Chris has just finished doing the washing and I don’t think my attempt has been too bad. Actually it’s probably longer than he would have done and a bit funnier?!


  1. Your blog is far better than Chris's just a bit longer and descriptive. Enjoy your Ritz and crisps and enjoy your stay in where ever you are.
    UK head office.

  2. Well the girl can write and doesn't wax lyrical like others have been known to! Hats off to you guys just stopping wherever the mood takes you. By my calculation 1500ruppees is about £20 sounds a bit upmarket for you two..... Keep you chins up and I thought one big damn puzzler was brilliant so glad I'm not near THAT beach xx

  3. Well you said you wanted to experience the 'real' India and going off track you'll be doing just so. Some of the negative experiences maybe more enlightening that the more positive ones. Well done Rachel for sticking to yr guns. And excellent narrative too, makes me want to get a she-wee for visits into Colchester! - keep trekking - neat X Boo Buster & Z.