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Idian Diary

My Travel diary to India

My travels to India, to the state of Kerala and Tamil Nadu .
The journey began on the 04/05/04 from my home in Scarborough North Yorkshire to Essex by train for an over night stay at my friend Karen's' in Southend on Sea Essex . After staying overnight I took the train to London Heathrow Airport.

In the morning I said my goodbyes to Karen and her children, looking outside to see it’s raining again, not much of a surprise there knowing the UK weather.
Catching the train from Southend to London there were know problem on this part of the journey, unlike the day before with a three hours delay coming down from Yorkshire. However I arrived at London's Liverpool street station where I had to go on the tube to London Kings cross. At Kings Cross  I had to change tubes for London's Heathrow Airport, arrived in good time. It took some time to find the right checking desk. Offloading my luggage, checking on Ok,  I had time to sit back and have a rest. Called for boarding was at 2.30 am ready for a 3.15 am departure.

Outside the airport it's now raining hard. We are all loaded and sat in the plane ready to go but, 3.15 pm came and went by now the heaven had opened with thunder and lightening, raining (cats and dogs). I was thinking to my self, glad to be flying off to India leaving all this behind. 3.45 moving off the stand in the A340 Airbus for take off, we taxi along the taxiway still raining hard. The A340 Airbus aeroplane has a handy feature a TV camera looking out of the front of the plan, looking out  I saw  a whole bunch of planes in front of us. The Captain announces over the intercom we are the 12th plane in line to take off ,another 20 minuets more, 4.15 we take off at last one hour late.

Thought I should of mention that I am flying with Srilanken Airline, whose air crew were very kind and most helpful, plenty of drinks and snacks. The meals were excellent, especially for economy class. This is my first experience of a long haul flight, many films later and 11 hours flying time we landed in Sirlanka a bit late straight off this plane on to another, a made rush to catch the plane to Trivandrum. Landing at Trivandrum its been raining too, just like home. Here  I will be meeting my friend Karen's friend Agnelo who has come to meet me at the airport. coming out of the airport I was greeted by hundreds of people six or eight deep, a busy place and also very wet too it's just like home but much warmer.  How Agnelo found me amongst all these people I do not know.

Agnelo and I found a taxi and made our way to the hotel,what a mad place Trivandrum is cars coming at you from every where on what side of the road that they wanted. There are so many motor bikes and of course rickshaws (three wheeled scooters) with  a constant sound of horns sounding. Note to all visitors this is (Not a place for us to drive). In the taxi I just looked out of the side window  and did not look at what was going on along the road, I found this the best way to deal with other 

Karen had told me about one of the best places to eat, the Indian Coffee Houses who cheap but, have great food, they also speak English, these coffee houses are all over the place, they do not look very appealing, but they are a must. I used to eat in them most days, when in Trivandrum. A meal and a tea will cost you around 20rps about 30p. I must add, that the water you should not drink from any taps or unsealed bottles only drink boiled water. If the water is coloured Yellow or Pink this is safe to drink. Never ever eat anything that you have not seen being made fresh. Or you will end up like me going to Hospital being ill for a week.

Agnelo and I take a trip on the Back waters, this is a  boat trip which starts from Alleppey. Agnelo used to be a boat captain to help him through college so he new all that there was to see, and of course all the crews too. Staying on the boat for a over night stay was a very restful time with the bonus of lots of wild life. On this trip you can see how the local people live and works on the rice field, being also able to see how they use the rivers for washing cloths and themselves too. In addition the river also is a source of food, where the local population fish with a stick and line low tech from that we would use, as they catch fish using this method, do you need anything else? At the end of the trip arriving back at Alleppey where our driver is meeting use where we are going to take Agnelo sister back to Trivandrum with use, she is going to her new job in a school just outside Trivandrum.

We decided to take a train journey from Alleppey to Trivandrum, just to add  to the experience for me. On the train it was fun just like you see on the TV lots of people and of course the men selling tea and coffee out of tea earns, and at each stop there are people coming along the out side of the coaches selling food and drinks, amazing sight. On the way to Trivandrum I saw that there were people living a long the track side under plastic sheets, a sad sight this brings you back to reality how lucky we are in

A few days later we took a trip to see Angelo's wife's Ancys family home, up in the mountains. The day before Ancy and I went to the market to buy vegetables for her family, filling a large bag with veg that only cost one English pound not a lot of money for me but, a lot to them.  The Indian  people are lovely who have very little. However, they always smile and give you food, tea and coffee even thought they have very little money. Ancys family live a very hard life sleeping in the same room as their business, which is a road side food restaurant which is looking like a garage  than a restaurant. Ancys family work very hard with long working days. in addition they need to go in the forest each day to collect fire wood to cook by.  Nothing like we have in the west. You cannot imagine what you're feeling seeing all this.

Ancys father took us to see the water full could the milky spring what a great sight, monkey's in the trees, amazing  butterfly's that would not stay still to be photographed.   The water fall were full of people standing under the falls water, again they are having fun and still they are all smiling . After the falls visit we walked along the railway line through a tunnel to Tamil Nadu the next state to Kerala. We had to wait for a train to pass, before walking through the tunnel, on reaching the other side of the tunnel we had to clime up to the road that leads back into Kerala. In doing so we passed homes made from mud and roof made from coconut palms leaves, on reaching the road, a long climb I might say, Ancys father suggested tea at a road side tea hut, great idea tea always up for that. If you ever get the chance to trave to Inda then a stop at tea place is a must.

Three ladies of this small hamlet,have started this small business just three days ago. The hut was made out of wood and coconut palms, These women are trying to earn extra income, enterprising schema. One thing that stands out is that the people allways smile, even though they do not have material things, just a note that the woman always dress in bright colours all so beautiful. Walking back to the car looking down the mountains into the valleys of Tamil Nadu great views so green, and with monkeys above you in the trees nature at it's best.

Reaching the car we are now going to Ancys sisters’ home.This was a shot drive down the mountain. Stopping by a small road side hut. I thought that good no more walking. However, getting out of the car Ancy and her father went by the side of this hut along a part for another steep climb up the side of mountain. This track lead through a rubber plantation and then along the railways lines where Ancys sister and children were waiting for us. Asking ancy how long have they been there? Ancy replyed most of the day. I wonded why they would want to stay for a long time waiting for us to come. We walk a long the rail track for a short distance berfor starting to climb up further through a rubber plantation. Walking rail line seams to be something that indians do a lot maybe it becomes a sort of road . The parth we take is a very  narrow one. By now we are climbing up the side of the mountain trail with justroom for you foot on the  rock stepping stone. Reaching  Ancys sisters home warn out from the climb. Ancys sister home is another house made from mud bricks with no mains electric just solar panels which in the rainy season only produce enough power for 3 hours use.

Ancys sister only has the children at home her husband works abroad to earn extra money. Ancys sister cooks by open fire under the light of a small oil lamp, its dark in side there home, only two rooms to live and sleep in. One small kitchen area, two wooden beds no mattress either. Not what you are expecting to see and still they are smiling. I am given real coffee and Jack fruit there are two kinds of jack fruit one sweet and one not so sweet I liked the sweet kind the best.  All the village people came out to see me being a white person, you just tends to stand out . They have not seen a white person before, so I was the centre of attention, though Ancy was the only person who could speak any