We arrived in trichy and wandered around for a fairly frustrating hour trying hotel after hotel. You start to get a little paranoid when they tell you they are full before you even step through the doors. Apparently a popular Indian tourist location and a place of “many many weddings on weekends”. Damn those weekends keep getting us. What day is it?
Eventually we checked into an appropriately cheap lodge as the sole foreigners in the place, alternately a comforting and alienating sign. It was ok as we weren’t staying long…
We saw the obligatory temple and climbed to the top of the rock fort temple as well and met some nice local lads keen to practice their English. Refreshing to say the least as we had noticed a huge differance in peoples ‘friendliness’ coming from Kerala state, possibly due to significantly fewer English speakers and a lower general education level coupled with more very poor. This all equates to more people seeing you only as a $ sign. The boys asked us not to talk to them on the way out otherwise the temple officials will think they are “tourist guides” and go through all sorts of hassle, in what is to become a sadly familiar story.
We arranged a day trip across to see Tanjur with a nice older temple and big fort in town. The temple is a World Heritage site and in pretty good order. We were shown about it by a teacher from Kerala studying Socail Work in Tanjur. So nice to learn a little bit more than seeing it blind. After leaving the temple with him we were stopped by a policeman on motorbike and proceeded to try to explain that our friend was not a guide, no money was changing hands etc. Hmm a real dis-incentive to get talking to locals as we just seem to bring them trouble. No worries all resolved and the obligatory photo of the fat bastard, with cheesy moustache on his chrome steed followed. “Sure we’ll send it on to you”. Ha. Not bloody likely.
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed that no matter where you go in the world, the police and politicians are all fat bastards?
So we arrived back at Trichy and spent the next 5 days in a small form of India hell. This has probably come out with a bitter edge in these last posts – all written around this time, but that’s life. We both got sick as dogs and had this compounded by our shitty hotel room I am sure. We were above the tandoori kitchen so got wafts of curry all day – and let me tell you this is as bad as it gets when you are sick! We resorted to shoving Tiger Balm up our nostrils every trip to the bathroom in an effort to avoid tossing up our already empty guts!
After enduring 5 days of ringing the door bell before 7am twice to ask if we wanted a chai, and once more to ask about cleaning our bathroom, accompianed by obnoxious Indian tourists buzzing for the room boys incessantly to service their every whim, we managed to escape.
We crawled onto a train heading back West in Kerala again. We managed to get back to Kannur where we had stayed in the fantasticially quiet Palm Grove Heritage Retreat. The lovely owner welcomed us back, and treated us like sick children come home. It was wonderful. After a night of the highest fever I have ever had and another day of stomach cramps we were whisked off to a good friendly doctor accompanied by our chef/translator. We got a [nother] series of medicine to treat our Gastro Enteritius (spelling?) and within a few days of restricted eating – “No sir. You can’t have that. No good for stomach” we were well enough to move on.
Wow what a trip. I learnt a lot about myself in that week in bed. And got closer to my partner. I have learnt some more about energy levels, sickness, and medicine (it is great being able to go and get essentially whatever you like from the pharmacy) a little about foods and digestion but realised that I need to learn a whole lot more. We have had some minor relapses and my partner is just today back on food after another 3 day fast, but signs are looking good for being back to full strength! Ah what a relief it is to be well again. So strange as neither of us have been sick in a good few years. Bring on the food!