blog comments powered by Disqus My Adventures Written Down

Didn’t have internet in Kerala so I documented my experiences on Pages. And am able to publish now as we have arrived safely back in Chettypalium. 

Saturday August 10, 2013

Arrived in Kerala yesterday. It’s beautiful here. We took the train in from Coimbatore,  while on the platform in Coimbatore, waiting for our train, we began to doubt ourselves as all of the signs were in tamil and our platform had changed twice on the boards since we had been there. 

I noticed an Indian man speaking very impressive english on the phone, this was exciting; and as it turned out, lucky.  I asked him where we should go to get on the right train. Luckily he was headed in the same direction we were, and almost literally held our hand through the Indian train process. I got to stick my head out the train, slum dog millionaire style and take pics with my phone. Didn’t want to take out my camera at the risk of it getting snatched. (my baby…) 

Beside us on the train I met a man who was traveling with his family, an engineer. We got talking and he asked me where I was staying. I told him we were volunteering at a school in Chettypalium. He asked if I had been working at an orphanage or just the school. I said no, that this trip I had just been working at the school but I volunteered at an orphanage the last time I was here, 4 years ago. He guessed FFC. I said yes. He then asked if I knew Sunbeam, the only person I could name in India, the second most populated country in the world. 

This is when I question my atheist values. There’s got to be a bigger energy. 

We are in a beautiful hotel called Tea Bungalow, very close to where most of the Chinese Fishing nets are. Natalie and I helped a few local fishermen in their endeavours today, or at least entertained them while we tried to reel in a few floppy sea creatures. 

Throughout the train ride, and our first day tour in Kerala I noticed that my right foot was getting quite swollen, and it seemed as though it was as a result of the bug bites on my leg. Being the smart woman she is, my mother insisted I get health insurance before I left. I’m usually the type to try my luck, but went with her advice this time. 

Confident with my health insurance package in hand,  I asked the hotel if they’d call a doctor for me, as it was getting harder and harder for me to walk. My right ankle slowly but surely became my right kankle. It was huge. 

Enter Dcotror Basu Raj. One of the nicest characters on my journey so far, and definitely wins the character with the strongest handshake award, it hurt but it was the first clue that Dr. Basu was a good dude. 

At the first glance of my ankle he let out a very Indian, quiet but deep “oh my god.” I thought he was over reacting. He told me he was going to give me an injection, as this was serious.  I thought I misunderstood him as I am not the most comfortable around needles, and asked him to repeat himself. He repeated: “injection.” Okay, fine an injection, I mentally prepared for one of my arms to be injected with one round of antibiotics or something of the sort. He told me to lie down. Right, incase I fainted. It made sense to me, so I complied.  He told me to turn on my side. Okay, a little strange usually I face my doctor when I’m getting a needle. He then politely, and professionally asked me to undo my pants so he could inject a needle into my rear end.

And so it went. A rear end injection, more like upper hip, but still. Once…every five hours for 24 hours. I saw Raj 5 times in two days, each time getting a needle in that slightly less than preferred spot. Dr. Basu Raj was great though. We got along very well and it ended with me telling him what a great doctor he was,  and him telling me to write that down in the hotels guest comment box. So happily, I did. I asked him if I could take a picture of him for my blog and he said “only if you don’t make bad uses of it.”

By the way, if you are ever in Kerela and need a good doctor, this is his number: 9847529850. 

The end diagnoses was that I had a really bad reaction to mostquito bites, which resulted in infection. The infection was then spreading to new bug bites that appeared, and none of them were healing, just filling with pus, I’ll spare more details.  I was prescribed five different pills and a topical cream. Two of those pills are antibiotics, one is anti-pain, and I’m not sure what the other two do, but they seem to be working. 

Here is a photo of me and Dr. Basu Raj. image

Dr. Basu directed us to one of his favourite spots in town, he likes it because the fish is fresh and they serve beer and wine. Which is exactly why I ended up liking it. They give you a 360mL bottle of King Fisher beer for under 1 dollar Canadian. (Good thing I didn’t know of this earlier in the trip.)  Nat and I each ordered 5 fresh prawns, cooked with Indian spices. They were extremely delicious. 

My ankle was drawing attention at the Cochin Fort; the restaurant Dr. Basu Raj recommended; a woman came over and asked if I had seen about my leg. I told her I had, and she was relieved as she had exactly the same thing happen to her in France, it had spread a little bit further than mine and doctors said that if she had left it any longer it could have become life threatening. The next time I saw Dr. Basu, I told him. He laughed at my distress, and said that it would be possible but not to worry, I would be fine with the meds he had given me. Phew.

August 12, 2013

We departed Fort Cochin for Allepey on Saturday. We boarded a boat where we spent the day lying in the sun on the houseboat, touring through the backwaters, at night dinner was served to us as we watched the sunset. We also go to go on a 40 minute canoe ride through the backwaters. I witnessed one of the most magnificent sunsets I’ve ever seen. I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking. 

Can’t believe how fast time has gone by, at the school for a few more days of shooting video and then the long journey home. 

All love,

Alex

Just got back to Chettipalayam from the Nilgiri Mountains where we spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. On Friday we were driven to a train station where we took the Nilgiri Mountain Toy Train to Ooty. We were then driven from the train station, to the Gateway Hotel which was about a thirty minute drive. The train was a cool experience, as we were able to see all of the homes and buildings built into the hills of Ooty.

On Monday we toured Ooty. We went to a tea factory where we saw tea being processed, from the plant all the way through to the powder, and then packaged. I bought some White tea to bring home with me, it has many health benefits, presumably; that was it’s selling point.

Ooty is unlike any other place I have been before. It looks like something out of National Geographic’s Magazine. I don’t know if my pictures do it justice but I hope so, to give you an idea. There isn’t enough time in the world to fully understand it’s beauty, I kept having to remind myself that the scene was in front of me and not on a screen.

After the “tea museum” we went to a “bee museum” where there were many dead bees on display, there was also a 20 minute video about a certain tribe who still live in the Nigiri Mountains that “hunt” honey, throughout the video they were referred to as “honey hunters.” They essentially scale large cliffs with bamboo ladders and smoke out large bee colonies for their honey. It’s crazy. If they die they figure it was their time and that’s what they say keeps them from being afraid of death. I guess I could learn a thing or two from the honey hunters…

On Sunday morning, we headed down the mountain, away from the first hotel. To our amazement, the second hotel was even more beautiful than the first; in the dining room there were no walls, the hotel is entirely built into nature. There were only raillings which divided my small self from the spectacular scenery. I felt my size. Cliffs falling into valleys, and valleys crawing up into massive tree covered hills.  I’d recommend this place to anyone, for the view alone. 

It was an extremely relaxed weekend, I got a lot of reading done.

I’m getting a little bit tired of the  book I am reading now so I took a break and as the hotel had Harry Potter series, I decided to restart it; started and finished the first book yesterday.  J.K. Rowling is the richest woman in Britain for a very good reason. Falling in love with Harry’s adventures again, this time as a 20 year old. 

Looking forward to going back to GPS,  and filming once more…

Can’t believe how fast this trip has gone by, already more than 2 weeks in.

OH, almost forgot, went to the Ooty’s botanical gardens as well..hence the pictures of what look like a botanical garden. 

Missing family and friends but will see you all too soon  :) 

All love, 

Alex 

Today I conquered the most important phrases in the Tamil language.

I learned:

“I am hungry” 

“I am thirsty” 

“Did you eat?”

“What did you eat?”

“I ate rice.” 

And a few more fundamental words.

My teachers, or the kids who teach me tamil,  love it when I attempt to learn their language. I think they are laughing with me, most of the time…

Below are a few pictures I took today, most during school, and one in the village where we are staying. Here is one of me and the cook, Jayna.

 

 

Tonight she cooked ja pate(sp?), which is a lot like naan, potato curry, and an omelette with onions for each of us.  She cooks extremely spicy, but delicious food. I’m missing salads and fresh vegetables, but the oranges and mangos here make up for what I am missing in taste. 

Looking forward to another spirited day at the Global Pathway School tomorrow, and my weekend in Ooty.

Will report soon.

All love,

Alex