This afternoon it was time to move on to Kochi. Luckily for me, Johnson and his wife, Angela, were going there too and gave me a free ride in their (air-conditioned) car, right to the door of my next hotel. Quel luxe.
Another splashing out (how often have I said those words...) on Walton's Homestay, where my room will cost 1000 rupees a night. It is a magnificent place, with rooms round a beautiful small garden or courtyard, a library (I imagine books left by previous travellers) and downstairs an Ayurvedic doctor, massage sessions and yoga.
This is the most organised tourist place so far, and when I signed in I was given a sheaf of maps and pamphlets and booked in for a 90 minute show of dancing this evening. I've only walked a few yards down the street to write this blog (first place disasterous, this place lovely modern Windows XP) and Ive copied my Allepey photos to a hard disk, but still have to find a place to put them on a CD. Sadly I have checked and I dont think I have a copy of my Varkala photos. All those scenes of palm trees, sunsets, beaches, and cliff views. Well, I suppose I'll have to be content with my ones of teh Secret Beach.
I'm off now for the dancing, but cant wait to explore Kochi old town tomorrow. It looks lovely - a mix of Indian and European architecture.
A few hours later
I rather suspect that my guesthouse did not direct me to one of the main dance shows in town: first my rickshaw driver took me to TWO wrong ones and then I found I was one of an audience of three. Still, it was interesting and of a reasonable standard.
Keralan dance, called Kathakali, is in fact a mixture of dance, singing and musicians, with a dance tradition going back centuries. I was particularly struck by the importance placed on facial expressions and realised that the mischievous smile of our friend Sarah (Christine Avril's daughter)when doing her Indian dance is not unique to her. The other interesting bit was a form of martial arts dance by two gymnastic young men, one of whom performed dazzling acrobatics with two spinning swords.
I finished off the days with several cups of masala tea at a cafe called Tea Pot, where I got talking to two women from Biarritz. They are off to buy clothes in the bazaar of Ernakulum, the modern city right next to Kochi. We also Indian dentists and opticians. One of the women had had implants done in Bangkok a few years back and had spectacles made in india and was pleased with both. Perhaps this is the moment to get a spare pair of specs - they make them up on the same day.