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Brad’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 27 Dec 2005

Location: Udaiper, India

MapFirst of all I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas, however and wherever it was celebrated, and may the New Year bring everything you hope for.

For those who don't know, I met up with my family (Mum, Dad and Ryan) in Indore on the morning of Christmas eve. It was wonderful seeing them again after so long, words seemed superflous upon our greeting, there was so much that couldn't be said. We travelled to Mandum, an atmospheric small town nearby, littered with amazing ruins. Unfortunatly I must have eaten something bad because I got terribly sick that night and spent most of Christmas day recovering - terrible timing...Christmas was lovely though, and would have been terribly lonely without family. We gave each orther a few small presentsin the morning, and that night ate some delicious Christmas cake Mum and Dad had brought over specially. The cake combined with some carol singing later in the evening really made the day feel like Christmas, and was really wonderful.

Going back to where I left off some time ago, after the trek in Sikkim I flew from Kolkatta to Chennai to meet Jess, my best friend from school who also joind us for Christmas. We spent a night in Chennai, (where the first thing we did was see an international hockey match - India vs. Pakistan!). We then headed straight to Mahallamapurum, where there is a beutiful temple right on the beach, then to Pondicherry, a French colony also on the coast - not much to see there, but its a lot cleaner than the rest of India!

Next stop was Trichy, where we saw some more beautiful temples and were lucky enough to see a festival! It was a wonderful atmosphere, everyone was so friendly, no tourists in sight and to top it off a massive bonfire! Jess really loved messing around with the Indian kids, and they loved her too!

After going to Tanjore, a beautiful ancient temple and world heratige site, we went to Madurai, to see a few more temples...you get the idea.

An arduous bus ride from Madura to Kerala, we hired a houseboat and chilled out drifting through the backwater paradise of Kerala. This really is an amazing part of the world; an incredible network of canals a lakes that stretch for hundreds of kilometers through tiny strips of land dotted with palm trees, rice fields and a surprising number of houses. Stunningly beautiful - The Garden of Earthly Paradise is surely here if anywhere. Unfortunatly, Jess got sick from the food and spent half the cruise feeling pretty crook, but as she said, it was a pretty good place to be crook.

The food in the south of India is awesome - my favorite would have to be the meals, three or four varieties of curry (all you can eat) served on a banana leaf and eaten with your hands! Yum!

Have to finish this entry later as getting ready to go...

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year!

Ok - I'm now in Bangkok, but here the rest of what happened:

After the cruise we spent two nights in Kochin, the capital of Kerala, a lovely coastal town with a quit atmosphere. There are a few interesting things to do here, one particular place I found fascinating was the synagoge built in the 15th centry by Jews who had been exiled from Palastine and set up a trading community here - who expected to find jews on the south coast of India?! We also splurged on an hour long ayervedic massage, and a seafood banquet - until a bird very nearly pooed on my freshly cooked prawn - lucky!

After Kerala we took a flight up to Mumbai, to spend two days before meeting up with the family on Christmas eve. Mumbai, however, is a big city with not many attractions. We did have a drink in Sachin Tendulkar's bar, and of course see the famous India gate. We were, it seemed, having a bit of bad luck (there where a few other things - ask me if you want to know the tragic story) and all the trains to Indore (the place we were meeting the fam) were booked out. So, the only option was a horrible bus trip or to fly - we'd both had more than enough of Indian busses so we flew up to Indore, where the entry begins...