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Old 24th July 2009, 12:52   #31
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Yeti Blaug Kerala ... Bring it on Sam
Kaya Varathu:Check
Kal*u: Check
Lungi and Banian:Check
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Old 24th July 2009, 13:07   #32
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Well am glued and would love to know if the Yeti has posed for a pic in the typical nadan mundu,banian and thale kettu .
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Old 24th July 2009, 13:43   #33
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Default Day Two: Coffees and Conversations

Ashvin and I settle down and begin breakfast. I gobble up everything. The fruit is fresh and just the right temperature.
The cheese omelette is pretty much outstanding. The coffee is divine.

15 minutes into breakfast we're joined by a friend of Ashvins. The Gentleman is a local and full of amazing stories.

He has a shipping business and runs a wonderful restaurant in Fort Cochin too. He sits to my left on a bench and we spend almost an hour talking. Soon he leaves.

10 minutes after he leaves, we're joined by another interesting friend. He's full of stories about this cafe. He apparently, visits the cafe 7 times a week and has done so for 11 years already.
I've travelled the whole world just by meeting people in this cafe says he.

I believe him completely.

He has a hotel business and a flourishing fishery export business and he's here on his coffee break. Things work slowly in Fort Cochin Sam, he smiles. But we love our life here.

As the conversation veers towards prawns and various species I inform him about my fiancees love for prawns. He promptly invites us to a prawn feast.
Oh what a shame, Jenny will arrive tomorrow and we will go straight to Calicut! She isn't going to see Fort Cochin.
Well, if you change your mind and decide to return here...

CLICK! I freeze conversation and look at Ashvin who smiles as he understands.
I could do whatever I liked, I could actually come back here, couldn't I?
Sure, what's your plan anyways?
Well, she arrives at 9am tomorrow into Cochin and I intend to pick her up and our business associates are going to drive us to Calicut...
Drive? To Calicut? In this rain? Oh yuck.


Could I take the train?
Sure. The Kerala inter-city trains are great!
I quickly make up my mind.

My original plan was to drive to Calicut and then got straight to Trivandrum from Calicut. But I have an extra day...

Kerala Inter-city trains!

I turn back to Ashvin's friend. We accept your invitation, see you on Sunday afternoon.

I call my business associateds informing them that I do not intend to join them in their drive to Calicut. They are aghast and dismayed to hear that I am opting to go to the train station, without a reserved ticket. I tell them not to worry.
How will you go to the airport Sir?
I'll uhh.. take a cab.
No,
he says firmly. My driver will take you to Airport and then drop you to Ernakulam Junction where you can get the train to Calicut. He will also buy your ticket.
Really, you don't have to worry...
No Sir, I insist.


Well that's that. I'm grinning from ear to ear. We're coming back to Fort Cochin!

As I turn towards Ashvin to continue talking, to our right - 2 young lasses settle down on the table. They smile at everyone and begin talking to Ashvin's friend, who is now joined by another guy.
Over the conversation I overhear them talking excitedly about watching the new Harry Potter movie in Cochin.

They're so German, lol. I can tell so easily from their accents.
What do you girls do? Asks Ashvin.
They're Doctors/medical students. Studying at Vellore and on vacation in Cochin.

Where are you from?
Germany.

Of course you're from Germany I laugh. I meant what part?
They laugh, it's a little place near Stuttgart.

I ask again patiently. What is the name of the town?
Tübingen.
I nod knowingly.
You know Tübingen?
Yes.
You KNOW Tübingen??
Yes, I've been there. Twice.
REALLY?
they look at me unbelievingly.
Of course they're from Tübingen. They're medical students, it makes perfect sense.

Those of you that have followed my blogs in the past will recollect Tübingen as the place where JD Madan was admitted and my subsequent visits to him in that beautiful place.

Yes. I know Tübingen. University and Medical centre, next to the little town of Reutlingen.
You know REUTLINGEN!!??


They've almost fallen off their chairs in shock. I giggle. Most people would not know Reutlingen, but Reutlingen is the home town of my closest friend from Germany and I know it is right next to Tübingen and he had studied there.

Have you been often to Germany?
Yes I have.
Our Marketing office is also in Germany. My wife is German too. I add this at the end with a small pause for extra effect.
Now their shock is replaced with smiles as we talk about Germany and other things.

A little while later, they're gone. So has Ashvin's friend. We spend more time smiling and nodding at every person that walks in and out of the cafe.

It's raining like crazy outside. Soon 3 attractive girls enter the Cafe. I notice the fact that even though they are clearly on holiday, they are wearing full make-up including heavy mascara and wash-proof lipstick. A bit odd as most tourists don't worry too much about external appearances on holiday.

Ashvin and I look them over very slightly, a typical guy thing to do and resume our conversation as they sit next to us. As they take their rain-ponchos off, I realise that's what we need, Jenny and I.

Those are excellent raincoats.

Ashvin turns slightly towards the bench where they're kept.
Yeah. Nice ones.
I wonder if they bought them here.
I doubt it, let's ask them


Sorry, but did you get those raincoats here?

They laugh. NO. One would think that with the amount of rain here, there would be various choices of raincoats but you get some pretty bad ones here. We got these with us. Best $1.50 we ever spent.

We spend another 30 minutes talking with these 3 girls from Canada, exploring India in the monsoons. All 3 have Indian fathers. No, not the same guy, 3 different Indian fathers. They're on their way to Goa and then Mumbai. I give them a few tips on where to party in Goa and where to eat in Mumbai.

So what do you do?
We're stewardesses on Continental Airlines.

I smile. Of course they are. That explains the make-up.


I have now spent 4 and a half hours in this cafe and less than 20 minutes talking to Ashvin.
Soon I find out that my colleagues have shifted to the Taj Residency. Ashvin drops me there and I check into a comfortable room with a great sea-view.

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Tonight I will meet the boys from Team-BHP!

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 24th July 2009 at 13:48.
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Old 24th July 2009, 14:10   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
Well am glued and would love to know if the Yeti has posed for a pic in the typical nadan mundu,banian and thale kettu .
No, lol. I'll break the suspense now. I have not.
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Old 24th July 2009, 14:59   #35
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@ Sam did you happen to visit any Kalle Shaap and did u try out the local kallee ??
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Old 24th July 2009, 15:06   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
No, lol. I'll break the suspense now. I have not.
So sad!

Perhaps you would have found that the mundu/lungi is actually much more comfortable than your shorts.

Wonderful travelogue as usual Sam. I usually prefer not to comment on your blogs to make your blogs less cluttered for the "Glued-to-Yeti-Blog-Bhpians". An act of mercy for those poor souls. Am I one of them? You bet.

Would love to visit the cafe on my next trip home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Surely you've encountered the Normal Southern Indian Appetite before?

Wandered into one of those "hotels" with a "Meals Ready" sign outside --- and marvelled at the multiple mountains of rice that those stomachs can deal with?

It amazes me, every time!
When I was doing my 11th and 12th, a typical meal was costing Rs. 3. I and my friends would have at least three helpings of rice - finish of the rice on the banana leaf three times. And a nice little nap in the class room after that. The same meal (without fish curry) perhaps now must be costing Rs. 30/40.

What is life without rice? Rice in the morning, rice in the afternoon and rice in the night keeps the doctor away.

Last edited by pjbiju : 24th July 2009 at 15:14.
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Old 24th July 2009, 15:28   #37
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Default Day Two: Evening at The Hotel Grand

I receive a call at about 6.45 - it's RipperGeo. I peep out of my window and I can see a metallic blue Swift. That's him.

We drive to Hotel Grand and ask for the private party room. We're going to be about 10 to 12 people says Ripper.
30 minutes later, Ripper and I are still sitting by ourselves in this private dining room as the waiter keeps smiling and nodding at us everytime he enters.

I have half a mind to jump up and tell him it's not what it looks like.

Soon (but not soon enough) we're joined by Hyderabad Ashok, Muneemmk, Nikkibike (!!), Ashvin, Mansidea, JayD, SilverKnight and a small surprise - Rahul Mclaren!
Veelubai also visits us for roughtly about 2 minutes before apologising and escaping. How confusing.

What is even more confusing is that almost none of the Cochin Team-BHPians consume any alcohol! Quite a stark contrast to the people I've met in Kerala so far.

It is a great night. We're exchanging hilarious stories and making fun of each other and overall it's just relaxing and pleasurable company. Later we visit the restaurant at the same hotel and are treated to some excellent Kerala food.
I eat some fried beef and prawns moilee or molli (how do you write this thing in english!!?) with rice.

Later we part, still talking about fun things - not a single moment of silence here.
The rain is coming down really really strong and Cochin is flooding.

SilverKnight offers to drop me home and as we drive - I discover to my complete and utter shock that he is Zak's cousin. What a contrast, lol. SilverKnight seems quite normal, hehehe.

We have to take a couple of detours as there are places with a heavy flooding, too much for a Swift to go through.

I'm home. So to speak.

Sit up with my colleagues for half an hour. Tomorrow they will all go to Coimbatore, leaving me to travel to Calicut. I'm thinking about the rain, lashing down mercilessly. I'm thinking about my train to Calicut. I'm thinking about my two days so far. I'm thinking about waking up by 8am tomorrow.

But most of all I'm thinking about TheOne® - I haven't seen her in 15 days! Something that will be remedied in the morning.

Goodnight all!

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 24th July 2009 at 15:30.
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Old 24th July 2009, 15:47   #38
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Default Day Three: Cochin to Calicut

Good Morning sir!
Good morning.

I've been up since 8. Both TheOne® and I love a good breakfast buffet. This hotel is no exception. However I am partially surprised to see some beef stew and egg curry along the usual suspects. Well, I had been warned by Ashvin, but still...

Sir, are you ready?
Yes Sir, I am ready but have not checked out yet.
OK. The rain is too much, too much and all the trains are not running properly. The event is in the evening in Calicut and we cannot take any risk...

But I have to go to the airport to pick my wife up!
Sir, we will come with you to the airport and then drive the 2 of you to Calicut.

I have no choice but to agree. The rain is truly heavy.

As I stand in the lobby staring at the rain I feel very low. It will be most annoying if this weather stays like this for the next few days.

As we approach the airport Jenny calls.
I have landed already and I am waiting outside the airport, where are you?
I'm on my way, will be there in a few minutes.


She sounds disappointed that I'm not waiting outside when she arrives. I understand this feeling completely. It's something that cannot be explained. It has nothing to do with love specifically. It's just a nice feeling to arrive into a city and walk out to a familiar face smiling.
Not nice when one arrives into a strange city and is accosted by rickshaw and taxiwallas and hotel touts and keep searching for a familiar face.

10 minutes later, we're at. I'm not too worried, I know that she has flown with some friends who have come to Fort Cochin to spend the weekend.

I try to surprise her but she sees my reflection in the glass and we both laugh. A quick introduction to my business associates and we're in the back seats of the Innova, driving to Calicut.
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Old 24th July 2009, 16:06   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
They're Doctors/medical students. Studying at Vellore and on vacation in Cochin.
Christian Medical College (CMC),Vellore.
It was founded by Ida Scudder who's in the leagues of Mother Teresa.
Check this out,Sam : Christian Medical College - Vellore, India
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
My wife is German too.
Congratulations.
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Old 24th July 2009, 16:24   #40
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Like to hear how bad is the road at present especially from Airport to Trichur
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Old 24th July 2009, 16:35   #41
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Default Day Three: Driving to Calicut/ Rain rain go away!

The rain is truly maddening. It's lashing down in this constant WHOOOSSHH as we sit quietly in the Innova.

Water is everywhere and our progress is very slow. The roads are rough and really bad in patches. We're holding on to the side handles in the innova almost all the way. There is an alarming bit of flooding. Water overflows from every canal and river and spews all over the roads.

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As we approach Thrissur, one thing has already become very apparent to both of us. The houses in Kerala are wonderful.

Of course there are homes in a myriad of colours, colours you'd think never existed. Flaming Pinks and Parrot Greens, Highlighter Yellows and Hanuman Temple Oranges.
All this is a beautiful background of every conceivable shade of green.

Not every house is fluorescent though, some are painted in umm.. normal colours, but they are all enviably beautiful.

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Homes that are far superior to both urban and rural dwellings in Maharashtra. Our hosts explain that people in Kerala are particular about good homes and are very clean people by nature.

TheOne® takes a few pictures of the homes here. Please excuse the picture quality, these are taken from a moving car.

The road to Calicut takes us over 6 hours. On the way we see signs of excessive flooding everywhere.
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This used to be a bar.

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The floating vegetation are actually the tops of trees.

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Look how far the palm trees are under the water.

It is almost 4.30 in the evening when we reach the Fortune Hotel in Calicut. We're quite tired.

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 24th July 2009 at 16:49.
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Old 24th July 2009, 16:43   #42
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Its good to see you both back with another fantastic travelouge and the space you share here, keep it coming.
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Old 24th July 2009, 17:50   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitrous View Post
Congratulations.
No Nitrous, wife in a manner of speaking. We're not married yet.

This YetiBlog® will return in a day or two. I must travel for work tomorrow and will be back in 2 days.
I thank you for your patience until then.
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Old 24th July 2009, 18:02   #44
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I believe you & Jenny did travel by train in some part of this Kerala Krash Kourse, right?
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Old 24th July 2009, 18:03   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post

This YetiBlog® will return in a day or two. I must travel for work tomorrow and will be back in 2 days.
I thank you for your patience until then.
I was just about to open a new packet of popcorn and a bottle of pepsi. :P
Waiting for it anxiously.
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