We jumped on a local bus for a windy trip down through the hills on what can only (for the first half hour at least) be described as a semi-sealed track. Our destination was South and West to Kannur in Kerala state. The area we were leaving and the area we headed into are both stunning. Rugged and jungly. Beautiful. Lush.
Man it is hard work with a big ass backpack though. It made for an uncomfortable ride as it wouldn’t fit behind the drivers seat (they have no under bus bag storage??!@?) so it went where our feet should have. Four hours on a bus like this teaches you that an even smaller backpack is required. I’m learning, slowly but surely.
The recommended accomodation the Government Guest House – 3 km South of town on the sea side was – well full. Talking to some travellers the next day who had been told much the same thing threatened to report the lazy ass salaried manager to the tourism dept, and suddenly a room in the empty place was available. That just seems to be how it can work in India. No worries for us we stayed at a lovely place 100m away. Palm Grove Heritage Retreat. I think we were about the only people there. First quiet sleep we had in a while was a blessing.
Our first taste of the friendly people of Kerala was a trip to the local beach on a sunny morning. Just leaving the beach were 7 beautiful, sari clad senior school students, who had skipped class hoping to see a movie star filming on the beach, apparently a possible event. Good to see kids are the same the world over :) The were happy to turn around and head down to the beach with us, possibly because as they couldn’t head to the beach unescourted, as it seemed to be only males down there. Sometimes you just have to shake your head and wonder…
As the sun set we decided to check out the 15th C Portuguese fort with the assistance of Wahab, a gentlemen we asked for directions. Rather than pointing us the way – he accompianied us for the 10 minutes it took to walk there and then showed us parts of the fort. He run a cashew business and studies history (or Kerala) and philosophy and is a writer. Lots to talk about. These are the chance encounters that India is turning into a sequence of. Fantastic. As a side note Kerala in the most literate state in India (circa 90% with next closest being around 70%) and a hub of culture and arts.
The fort was beautiful overlooking the Arabian ocean on one side and a colourful fishing village on the other and with the setting sun picture perfect (only to be expected with the Gal leaving her camera at the hotel and mine being repaired in Bangalore – Still I am getting better and better at using my eyes to record fantastic scenes). Leaving we stopped to watch to locals playing soccer on the beach, a Sunday night activity, similar to anywhere in the world except maybe for the cow sauntering through the game with no players blinking an eye.
It was so pleasant we stayed a few night relaxing and chatting to the ever friendly locals. In an effort to reduce my pack size I ditched my decrepit trainers. Adios to them and welcome to a bag that closes better now.