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Old 30th July 2009, 14:25   #166
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Ahh.. finally refreshing the page every 10 min. has brought a refreshing change from all the 'Mundu' talk.

Not that I mind the funny one liners but this is way more interesting.

Keep them coming sam.
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Old 30th July 2009, 14:33   #167
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Default Day Five: Cochin to Trivandrum

Thankfully it has stopped raining. At every station, scores of vendors try to sell things to eat that look too oily.

I've also managed to buy some nice bananas on the third round with some excellent apples. For now, this will do.

The weather is perfect and as the train chugs along, beautiful green views of Kerala start to soothe our frayed nerves. God, what a beautiful blessed place.

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4 hours later, we're approaching Trivandrum.

Jenny goes and stands at the entrance to the compartment like a mawaali. She's having a great time. I cannot help but laugh at her.

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Soon the train halts at Trivandrum. We're both immediately impressed with the station. Spick and span and everything looks great.
As we walk on the platform i spot an old gentleman sitting by himself reading his paper.

I think of Dr. Abdullah.

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 30th July 2009 at 14:35.
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Old 30th July 2009, 14:42   #168
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Great going! Now all that mundu talk is gone and everyone's silently listening to the storyteller.

Loved the pics. Just look at those guys sitting in a circle in some 'parambu' and playing cards!
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Old 30th July 2009, 14:50   #169
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Default The old man at Calicut station. - Dr. Abdullah

Even though it seemed like a long time ago, we'd met Dr. Abdullah yesterday.

Yesterday? Was it only yesterday that we were at Calicut Station?

There we were, waiting for our train to arrive on bustling and busy Calicut station when an old gentleman in a shirt and lungi came right up to us and stopped smiling.

Where are you from? He asked through crooked teeth as he held his hand out for the shaking.
I'm from India, said I smiling, used to the questions by now.

Most people I've said this to on this trip, either have laughed disbelievingly or laughed thinking I've made a great joke.
The Taj Residency at Ernakulam insisted on my passport! I don't carry around my passport in India. I'm not required to!

The old man didn't laugh. He smiled and turned to Jenny.
And you?
I'm from Germany
she said, her face a mix of wary and friendly. Bombay had taught her well.
Aaaahhh sprechen Sie Deutsches? He grinned, anticipating the surprise.
Ja natürlich, she said laughing.

She was surprised.

Now you two wait right here, I'm going to get my newspaper and I will be right back.

And so 5 mintues later, old Dr. Abdullah asked me to move over so he could sit between us and regale us with his stories of Austria. He'd lived there for 12 years.
He was retired now and he loved to come to the station, read his paper and meet people.

When our train arrived, he escorted us to our places and waved a nice goodbye from the window, even as we were hurriedly looking for seats.

Next time you come to Calicut, look me up he shouted, pushing his card in through the window, Call me if you ever need help in Calicut!

Thanks! Bye!!

Jeny looked at me confused, half shrugging, holding his card in her hand.

What was that?

I can't explain it really, this is how India is
, I laughed.

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 30th July 2009 at 14:53.
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Old 30th July 2009, 14:58   #170
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That was some experience.

Glad to see some non-mundu stuff here.
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Old 30th July 2009, 15:31   #171
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Hey Sam is back!!! And the story rolls on. Great log.

Sam you are making me homesick!! And I am riding home this Saturday.

The first Pic - Santa Cruz school, that's were my dad studied.

I guess since it was dark you missed a couple of nice shots of my Parish Church - Santa Cruz Basilica.

Here are a couple of them.
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Old 30th July 2009, 15:40   #172
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Default Day Five: Trivandrum

They're waiting right outside for us. We put our bags in the car and drive through Trivandrum city.

The rain has stopped completely, but it's a bit cloudy. The air is surprisingly fresh for a city and the streets and residences looked very systematic and planned. We're both very, very impressed with Trivandrum so far.

While I discuss about the evening's presentation with my business associates. Jenny pulls the camera out of the bag and clicks away.

The pictures are not very good, as they are taken from the window of a moving car.

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Oh look honey! Banans.
Umm.. cool, I guess, lol.


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We drive to our business associates office, situated in a beautiful green area, almost a forest.
We also visit one of their homes and are treated to some sweets and coffee and some traditional malayalam hospitality before they drop us to our hotel.

The Taj Residency, Trivandrum. Now that looks like a good hotel.
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Old 30th July 2009, 15:41   #173
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bleddy owzum. getting me homesick for good ol' kochi
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Old 30th July 2009, 15:53   #174
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I am toh thoroughly enjoying it baba Lovely pics Sam. The station looks unbelievably clean. I dont think I have seen a cleaner railway station in India.

Sam one question- Generally in the North general compartments are, well not exactly the places where one would comfortably travel with a lady, especially someone from another country.
How was your experience in the train journey in the South.

I hope this will not start a debate, I am just curious to know this. I would think it would be better though I havent really travelled much by train down south.

Last edited by sammyboy : 30th July 2009 at 15:56.
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Old 30th July 2009, 16:23   #175
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Default Day Five: Trivandrum/ The Taj Residency

The property is brand new.

The staff is magnificent. The hospitality at the Taj is legendary but this staff takes it to a new level.

Welcome Mr. Kapasi, what time would you like us to drop you off tomorrow?
Well, I have a train at 7.30 to Alleppey..
The car will be here at 6.30, but it will take you 10 minutes to reach the station.
OK thanks.
What about breakfast Sir?
What about it?
Shall I ask chef to pack you some breakfast sir, for you to have on the train?


I grin. I really like this hotel. Shame I'm only going to be here a few hours. Still..

Will you have my bill ready for me at 6.30 or would you like me to clear now?
Oh Mr. Kapasi, we'll be here all night, not to worry.


The room is excellent with a great view. I'm feeling pretty good.

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We've been told the hotel has an excellent spa and pool. I've asked Jenny to join me tonight at the function and she reluctantly agrees.

The phone rings.
Yes?
Calling from the kitchen sir, about breakfast tomorrow.
Yeah, just bag me some croissants and an omellette sandwich and some fruits, whatver else you like.
Sir one omelette sandwich or two?
Uhh.. two.


Funny he should ask. I mean it's a crying shame that we are gonna miss the breakfast buffet (again) - I'm assuming he's just gonna take some of that gorgeous breakfast and paper-bag it for me...
Anyways nevermind.

The phone rings again.

Yes?
Hello Mr. Kapasi, could you kindly inform Miss Jennifer that the massage appointment at the spa is not available for this evening?

I grin. Jenny has been busy.
Yeah, I'll tell her thanks.

How about the pool then, let's go for a swim!
Now? I don't want to swim, I have a cold. besides I have business in an hour or so.
Well, then I'll swim, come let's go.

I laugh and we run to the swimming pool level.

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While Jenny swims, I see a message from JKdas.
I hope you're on your way to the Taj.
I'm confused. Then I realise he thinks I'm staying elsewhere and the event is at this hotel.

I'm already here.


I smile. It will be fun to meet the Team-BHPians tonight.

I take some more photos and go up to my room later, to change for the event.

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Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 30th July 2009 at 16:26.
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Old 30th July 2009, 16:27   #176
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Trivendrum is silent and calm.or at least , I felt so. A slightly different culture compared to other parts of kerala.palakkad,kasaragode and Trivendrum.
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Old 30th July 2009, 16:29   #177
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ahhhhhh my hometown finally! thanks samieji for the pics The hotel looks pretty kewl, need to visit next time am there.
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Old 30th July 2009, 16:34   #178
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sammyboy View Post
I am toh thoroughly enjoying it baba Lovely pics Sam. The station looks unbelievably clean. I dont think I have seen a cleaner railway station in India.

Sam one question- Generally in the North general compartments are, well not exactly the places where one would comfortably travel with a lady, especially someone from another country.
How was your experience in the train journey in the South.

I hope this will not start a debate, I am just curious to know this. I would think it would be better though I havent really travelled much by train down south.
I do not think this will start a debate.

Let me be honest. I have travelled by 2nd class train across India. From Tamil Nadu to Calcutta, Orissa to Rajasthan, Jammu to Kanyakumari. Of course I was much younger then and travelled with my folks who travelled a lot and holidayed very, very often.

(I can see a lot of you nodding and saying to themselves, ahh, so that explains where he gets it from, lol)

However it has been many, many years since then.

The train itself was no different from any other train. Same grey/blue rexine, same smells, often toilet smells. The feeling and view from the window was absolutely magnificent.
The people were shy.

I think this is what differs Kerala from other states overall. The people were well-behaved, smiley, but too shy to make eye or verbal contact. We were very comfortable and never felt even marginally trespassed or threatened. Jenny was comfortable enough to stretch out and fall asleep without a care in the world.

It was a nice experience. Sure the compartment was a bit dirty initially, but some crippled guy would come and clean up the place throughly, collecting all the garbage and bottles and then everything would be fine. I'd give him 5 bucks.
The coffee was nice, the vendors were not obtrusive or bothering us in any way.

In fact no one on the entire train bothered us. Some looked at us curiously, but looked away immediately as soon as we made eye contact.

It was a safe and nice experience and we would do it again. In fact I would even go on further to say that we enjoyed this more than AC train or flying and would like to do a pan-india vacation by 2nd class train.

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 30th July 2009 at 16:37.
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Old 30th July 2009, 16:36   #179
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I am surprised they are keeping the pool open and functional during monsoon. Most hotels won't bother with it.
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Old 30th July 2009, 16:41   #180
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
ahhhhhh my hometown finally! thanks samieji for the pics The hotel looks pretty kewl, need to visit next time am there.
That pool in on first floor or so. Right Sam?

And their bar is good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
It was a safe and nice experience and we would do it again. In fact I would even go on further to say that we enjoyed this more than AC train or flying and would like to do a pan-india vacation by 2nd class train.
Guess coz we see lot of wanna be Yeti's around the year , mostly non-Indian unlike you
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