Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

Hello all! We have been too lazy/busy to blog the last few days so we are now making an effort to fill you all in. Its New Year's Eve here and it is quite likely that tomorrow could generate a whole blog on its own, so we wanted to get something up today.
When last we posted, we were in Cochin. We left on the 27th and now we are in Kovalum, near the very south end of India. This place is one of a few very touristy beach resorts in India. It is full of a different kind of tourist; one that comes to India for a week or 2 strictly to hang out on the beach. They leave with very little cultural experience and are here mainly to just unwind. Basically there is one main beach, called Lighthouse Beach and it is lined with hotels and restaurants. Our hotel is about 50m behind, so that we don't have to pay too rediculous of a price. Our room is 350Rs/night which is a bit high, but after all it is tourist season and the hotel is very clean at least.
When we left Cochin, we caught an hour and half bus ride to Allepey and stayed the night. That place is pretty much a whole, but the attraction is that it is a starting point for backwater tours. We then took a tour boat from Allepey(aka Alapouza) to Kollam about 80km to the south. We were a bit hesitant to take the tour as we didn't have the greatest time in our water trek in Kashmir, but everyone said it was worth it, and after all we were only commiting to one day of 8 hours, not 5 days. The only downside was that even though we showed up about 20 minutes early, we were too late to get a seat under the shade on the boat, so we spent nearly an entire 8 hours, from 10am to 6pm in direct sunlight. We managed to keep our sunburns to a minimum.
In Kollam, we found the worst hotel so far. We looked at one place and it wasn't bad but the mattress was super hard, so we went across the street and took a room for 160Rs. That was a mistake; I would've much prefered a hard mattress to a room full of bugs. At least the weren't the biting kind, but I only knew that after I slept (miserably) in the bed. By the way, do you guys know how tough cockroaches are? I hit one with the heel of my shoe and it had no effect. I hit him again harder and he was stunned a bit but then tried to run away. The third time I hit him turned him into a white paste. It was kinda gross, but at least he didn't get away.
The next day, we toured the markets (pictures will be posted soon) and headed to Kovalum, our ultimate destination for New Years'. Everything else was just time spent in between Kochi and Kovalum. The bus drives thought that one day would be a good time to go on strike but the trains were still operating thankfully. We met a very nice lady at the bus station who was having the same problem and so we travelled with her to Kovalum and she was extremely helpful. It made it so much easier to deal with because she is Indian, so we had no hassles and she made sure we did not get ripped off.
Since then we have just been enjoying the sunshine, swimming, body boarding and the usual. I also checked out some fishing which was really cool, and I will tell you more about it once we get the pictures up in a day or two.

Happy New Year!


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