The coast, the back waters and the hills of southern India.
Friday 1 December 1989 - Friday 8 December 1989
Friday 1 December - A short drive to Kovalam. This was not a good day all round for the group. Personally I was feeling a bit better, but we had a minor panic when Sally keeled over at a rest stop. We took her to a local hospital where she was treated for dehydration. The beach was very clean and full of tourists and hawkers selling things to the tourists. It was however like swimming in a bath, the water being warmer than the hotel's showers!
Sunset over the Laccadive Sea.
Saturday 2 December - A day doing nothing by the beach and in the hotel. Huge thunderstorm at dinner time which flooded the cook tent that we pitched on a slight slope.
Sunday 3 December - We decided to stay another day to allow further recovery for those not too well. In the afternoon a small group of us went on a boat ride around the inland lagoon. We stopped at a rope making village (using coconut fibre (coir)), very interesting and relaxing.
Our boatman for the lagoon trip.
Children near the lagoon.
Yet another superb sunset at Kovalam beach.
Monday 4 December - Back on the road again and we drove from Kovalam beach via shopping in Trivandrum to Kollam (aka Quilon). On dinner duty again (small group so it comes around regularly). We stayed at the tourist bungalows which is actually the old government house. It was a typical British mansion with 18' ceilings, chandeliers, wood panelling everywhere, a grand staircase, all of which is falling apart due to the heat and neglect. However we slept under our mossie nets outside.
The locals in Kollam.
Tuesday 5 December - One of the highlights as we took a boat trip from Quilon to Alleppey via the backwaters. It was very relaxing watching the world go by as we meandered through the rivers, lagoons, canals and swamps. We had our own boat so we could stop at interesting places.
More fishermen in the very shallow lagoons.
More fishing boats.
A lottery ticket seller.
Yet another fishing boat.
A local ferry.
Sunset on the backwaters.
Wednesday 6 December - A short drive to Kochi (previously known as Cochin). Huge harbour. Afternoon harbour cruise visiting all sorts of places, including the Dutch palace, the synagogue, St Francis Church, a coir factory and a posh hotel with golf course. Back to the hotel for a quick change as we were going out to the kathikali dancing. If anyone has been to an Indian hotel you will notice that they have deadbolts on the outside of the door. Somehow mine was locked and I could not get out. Calling reception did not get any response. Eddie finally realised that I was missing when he did a head count at the dancing place and came back to rescue me. The dancing was great as they explained the story as the make up was being applied. Photos not allowed.
A fisherman in Kochi.
Chinese fishing nets in Kochi.
Thursday 7 December - An all day drive inland to Mettupalayam. Camped by river. Everything sweet until a ranger came along to advise that the path we were camped on was used by wild elephants and panthers to go to the river. Mild panic ensued with people wanting to sleep in or on top of the truck (until they were told that panthers can climb trees). Eventually I slept in my mossie net tied to the truck in between other people.
Typical Indian transport.
Friday 8 December - A very early start so that we could catch the 7:45am train up the mountain to Ootacamund (aka Ooty). It was very scenic but quite cold. Ooty is very popular with Indian tourists and nice and cool in summer. Visited the big lake and took some row boats out and proceeded to zigzag our way around the lake causing mayhem. Dinner at the Fernhills Palace, built by Captain Cotton of the Madras Engineers in 1844 and then bought in 1873 by the Maharajah of Mysore. Very impressive inside and good food. Given that we were at 2240 metres (7350 feet) it was very cold at night.
The cog railway up to Ooty.
Hallgrove Railway Station.
The Nilgiri Hills.
The town of Coonoor in the Nilgiri Hills.
The boating area at Ooty lake.
Tourists at Ooty lake.
The hill station of Ootacamund.