Well, we've returned to dry land and wifi. We spent last night house-boating it on the backwaters of Kerala. The tourism motto for Kerala is God's Own country, and it certainly lives up to its promise. We knew we were going to be treated well when we were greeting with green coconuts full of tasty juice upon our arrival.
The afternoon was spent cruising down the river quietly reading as we floated by life happening--laundry, fishing, children playing, and cormorants waiting to swoop down and claim a tasty dinner. At six we docked at a small village to walk the along the shore and watch the sun set over the rice fields. After a fabuolous dinner, cooked up right on the boat, we settled down to watch a Tamil movie on deck. Later we were rocked to sleep by the swaying of the boat.
Now we are at Kovalam Beach which is quite a resort area. As great as the last few days were, it will be nice to have a little luxury. The hot water is on all day here, as opposed to only 7-10,and we don't have to use a cup and bucket to get enough water to shower.
Only a few more days before we are home. Miss you all.
You are Always in my Prayers. Love Mom.
There has been so much to do in the Periyar National Park area. After my glorious afternoon with my elephant we headed off to see a Kalaripayattu martial arts demonstration. This was like something out of the movies with young men running up and down the walls and jumping through hoops of fire. As far as we could see only one guy singed himself.
Today we went on a hike through Periyar National Park where we helped our guide track a wild elephant. What an adventure! But still not quite as wild as the one Aunt Gillian and I had this afternoon. We were walking by St George's when we saw a wedding in progress. Your Aunt asked if we could peek in. They were so welcoming and our inclusion in the wedding just escalated. Pretty soon we were being introduced to the bride and groom. Next thing I know we are in a white jeep in the wedding procession heading to the reception. We stayed for the candle lighting and cake cutting. Although we were invited for the meal we only accepted a drink in appreciation of their hospitality and then thought we had better find our way back to our hotel, which was a considerable distance from where we were. The bride looked beautiful in a red and gold sari. An experience we will never forget--and further evidence that if left to our own devices your Aunt and I appear to be able to find the nearest party.
Well, I must recover from tonight's cooking class, so I will sign off. No wifi tomorrow as we are on a houseboat in Kerala.
You are Always in My Prayers. Love Mom.
When I say we went to a flower market you might imagine an enormous selection of bouquets and potted plants. The enormous part is accurate, but this market sold flowers by the kilo to temples and perfumeries. The market in Madurai transacts as much as 10 tonnes of flowers a day. There was a wee bit of a tear in my eye as I watched them chop the blossoms off of long stem roses, tossing the tops into the bins and leaving those beautiful long stems for the trash. Dad was"accidently" garlanded while he had his hand up to take a video. We are pretty sure it wasn't a marriage proposal--he happily paid the small fee for the experience.
It was such a fabulous day that I can't detail everything we did. Suffice to say we are now templed-out. However, I should mention something about our two hour cycle-rickshaw tour in the evening. Because the rickshaws can get into places a bus can't we were able to see a different side of Maduari. I loved the banana market--a dozen types of bananas including yellow, green, red, and pink. The red bananas were very sweet and tasty. They ripen the bananas overnight by the smoke of burning cow dung in the cold storage.
Our adventure ended with dinner on a roof top. You are always in my Prayers. Love Mom
This morning, as the sun rose, hundreds of Hindu pilgrims gathered on the beach in Mahabalipuram--and we were there. You might expect that this would be a solemn experience. Quite the opposite. The festivities included horse back riding, photographers with digital printers, and a generally boisterous amount of splashing and chucking water about. Then we were off to Pondicherry.
On our way to Pondicherry we stopped at the most incredible bird sanctuary. It is sort of like the Point Pelee on India. However, the thousands of migratory birds that stop here are enormous. There were storks, pelicans, ibis, cormorants, herons, egrets--truly amazing!
Our evening ended in a garden restaurant in Pondicherry gorging ourselves on pizza baked in a wood fire, and listening to the Bee Gees. This very European/Western experience is not surprising considering Pondy was under French rule until 1954 and some residents, by agreement, still maintain their French citizenship.
So, heading off to sleep with a stomach full of pizza (sometimes it is good to have a taste of something familiar).
You are Always in my Prayers. Love Mom.