Wow these two weeks have flown by I'm now just minutes from the airport in Kochi in a hotel for tonight before I fly to London tomorrow. By this time tomorrow I'll be in a heavenly cooler place. I have loved Southern India except the heat.
Mamallaporum was great, I skipped the bike riding and instead walked around town and to the beach, swam in the hotel pool and joy of joys got my clean clothes back. The next day we went to Pondicherry the town with the most french influence in India where we got baked goods :D mmmm chocolate croissants. We also saw the salt flats. We spent the night in Madurai where we toured the Ghandi museum (amazing I was moved to tears), the banana and vegetable markets, the handloom "factories" and yet another temple by bicycle rickshaw. I'm not enjoying the southern temples after seeing such grand stuff in the North but to the temples we go. The best part is the temple elephants who will bless you for 5 rupees...blessing means they put their trunk on your head and snuffle....hehehehehe people pay 5 rupees to be an elephant kleenex....I shouldn't make fun of their beliefs but it is kind of funny.
We went to Trichy where we saw yet another temple on our way into the mountains to Peyirer. Peyirer reminded me of Banff in a lot of ways very touristy but nice in a beautiful setting. We did a 3 hour jungle "walk" aka the death march in the morning looking for animals.....14 people don't move quietly enough to see much animal life so it was pretty but kind of boring. Then I had the best experiance I RODE AN ELEPHANT!!!!!! It was awesome her name was Lakshmi and we went for a 20 minute ride through a spice garden she was pretty and it was so cool to be on an elephant. I have pictures of this to prove I did it! Then we went to a real showpiece of a spice garden where I saw spices and fruits and flowers growing I'd only seen in grocery markets or exotic boutiques back home. I learned a lot and after that we went to a families home for a cooking lesson which was really fun and I learned even more about Indian cooking here in the south.
Then we went into the backwaters of Kerala to a small small town where we did a homestay. It was wonderful the family was amazing, we had a great local guide to talk to us about life in the backwaters, politics, and rice growing. We canoed and sang local songs as we went along. This morning we sailed up the backwaters to our bus and then arrived in Kochi to finish our tour. Lots of sad goodbyes again today the hardest being goodbye to my wonderful roommate Merriette. She's put up with me for the past month and we made an excellent team here in India. The people I've been meeting have all been amazing, these tours have been great filled with amazing people who come from interesting places. I have a whole list of things to see while in London from all the british people on this last leg of the tour which will keep me busy while there.
Of course the shopping has continued and tonights task is to try and stuff everything in and condense it somehow to get on the plane. :P but then in London I'll be shipping a bunch of it off to my Mom's place to await me there.
Well I'll have more internet time in London but I'm hungry and supper calls. One last curry before leaving :D