Aug 26, 2007

Enough Indian fishing boats already!

In 4 of the places we went (Mamallapuram, Pondecherry, Tranquebar and Kannyakumari) fishing was a major industry. The fishing boats were really fun to photograph because they were either really brightly painted, or they were made up of logs laced together. Nets and boats were beached at night and left for the next days work. Cows are not fisherpeople but sometimes they guard the boats.

Aug 19, 2007

Home again home again rat tat tat

In between imagining that I still need to dodge cars in traffic, that every piece of food will poison me, that every skinny animal needs to be saved, and that I can never (ever) eat aloo palak again...I am re-acclimating to being home again.

I can't really process the pictures I took just yet, but stringing together a bunch of boring videos was easy. Here is a completely unedited group of videos (guaranteed to be boring), sans narration. It comprises snips from our trip from Mumbai over to Tamil Nadu, down to Kannyakumari, and up through Kerala back to Mumbai. Note the stack of egg flats on the back of a bicycle and the ferocity of the goats.

More to come.

Aug 7, 2007

Kanyakumari continued

Okay, so there are like five different ways this town is spelled.

Bars is this town are all underground...meaning down at least ten steps and dark (as opposed to Mamallapuram where anything edible is found only on rooftops). The first one we went to we couldn't even see it was so dark and they wouldn't let us play cards. The second one had a plastic palm tree wall covering with a bald eagle on it and felt like (as Madeline put it) a church basement.

The puppies were gone this morning and we fear the worst.

We took a train to Trivandrum where once we arrived an old man wanted my seat so badly when we left the train that he shoved everyone out of the way and basically lifted me out of it. There were people sleeping on the luggage racks. Tomorrow we head to Perriyar, the largest wild animal park in India...but we are advised not to hike because "leeches make it impossible." Boat tours are available though. Phew.

Aug 6, 2007


Kanniyakumari is the southermn most city in India, where the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal all come together. It took us a long time to get here. First we took a rickshaw from Tranquebar to Katikali where it took us over two hours to find the right bus. Then we bused to a town outside of Thanjuvar (sp?) where we transfered*. Then our second bus reached Trichy where we took an over night train. The light from the hall crept into our bunks and I stuck to the plastic bed all night. Then in the morning I had diarrhea in the train station...not a fun place to have that.

Anyhow...the weather is nice today, only a little rain, and the children attach themselves to me like little crabs. We had excellent coffee this morning and found a litter of the cutest puppies on earth.

*At the first bus stop an official looking bus station guy assigned another passenger to us...basically told him that he had to get us on the right bus going in the right direction. I think it was a big responsibility because the busses are so crowded and with our bags we look like four people. Anyway, without our helper we would probably still be on a bus somewhere in the middle of India.

Aug 4, 2007

Tranquebar (Tharangambodi)

From Pondecherry we took a bus to Tranquebar that ended up taking many many hours, first because there was a fatality on the road and traffic backed up, then because the bus passed our town completely and we had to walk back to it. When it did stop we tried to pull our bags down from the luggage rack, but they were stuck...ha ha, finally we wrestled them out with the help of several other riders who weren't very amused. Walking to Tranquebar I saw the smallest baby goat in the world and I'm in love with it. Picture a goat the size of Birdy.

In Tranquebar we found our hotel easily, right across from an old Danish fort (I didn't take this picture). Our room didn't have any power so they moved us to a room that did have power, but also had roaches. The hotel people insisted that they were the only restaurant and that they could drive us places...but later we did find other food and apparently cheaper rides. It's the off season and they're pretty hard up.

Tranquebar's beach is covered with the same types of fishing boats we've seen in both Pondecherry and Mamallapuram. It's also covered in children who love to practice their english. Some run after us saying "HI HI HI" others are pushed squirming and squealing towards us by their friends. "Hi how are you hi how are you" "What is your name?" I took a lot of kid photos.

We ate spaghettios for lunch today. Tomorrow another bus riding adventure inland.

Aug 1, 2007


From Mammalapuram we took a bus with "color video screens" 100 km south to Pondecherry and were blasted with amazing Indian music videos nearly the whole ride. When we arrived a rickshaw driver approached us and told us to stay put while he got his rickshaw. We both thought it would be an auto rickshaw, but then he rounded the corner on a rickety bike. We reluctantly loaded ourselves and three heavy bags and watched the driver drip sweat for the next ten minutes weaving us in and out of smoggy traffic. Phew.

Pondecherry is known as a French colony and supposedly its French food. We went out to lunch our first day here. What ensued after ordering is almost better not describing...but let's just say it wasn't French, it wasn't fresh, and it was the first meal I didn't finish. Ugh. Luckily later we found "Hot Breads" a delicious bakery that almost made up for our mistake.

Tomorrow we leave for Tranquebar which we feared didn't exist until we realized it is more commonly known as Tharangambadi. Another bus adventure.

OMG - we also stumbled upon the filming of an Indian version of GREASE. It took me awhile to make it out, but a group of women were seated on some "bleachers" singing "tell me more tell me more..." So cool. We watched Sandra Dee get her makeup re-done.