11.12.2011 - 14.12.2011 29 °C
Day 73: Kozhikode, Kerala 11/12/11
Wake up, watch a bit of Jumanji and head out for another mountain of food on a banana leaf. Now starting to eat like a local, using my fingers rather than cutlery to eat the curry and rice. Quite an art to it and I make quite a mess.
Another Sunday service and another packed train carriage with our big, heavy backpacks. Gemma manages to get a seat squeezed in with about 5 generations of the same family, whilst I stand in the aisle and chat with the men of the family. Said family then alights and I am able to squash in next to Gemma.
We get off at Kozhikode (Calicut) and the Sunday rush makes it difficult to find a rickshaw (note to self: avoid travelling Sundays). Eventually we find a place on foot that features in the Rough Guide, which is more than adequate. Then embark on a mammoth internet and skype session, which costs about £2.
Day 74: Kozhikode, Kerala 12/12/11
A lazy morning followed by a banana leaf lunch (minus the banana leaf) and some more of the moreish Keralan parotta breads at a restaurant called Disneyland. Next door is the equally well named Jurassic Park, but disappointingly there is not a Mickey nor a dinosaur to be found in either.
Another busy, lively, thriving Indian city, each of them are so similar yet so markedly different. As we mooch about we stumble across a second hand book shop with thousands upon thousands of used books, many of which may have come straight from the family bookshelves. Maeve Binchy, Billy Connolly, Ali G, Blue Peter, Jeremy Beadle, Sky Sports Annual 1996 and even Frank Skinner make appearances here. After selling our finished books yesterday we come away with an additional 5 books at an extortionate 150 rupees.
After checking out the modern shopping malls interspersed amongst the traditional market stalls, we stumble upon a stadium, enter and watch some college football league. Dinner in the family restaurant at the hotel. Not a family to be seen.
Day 75: Kozhikode, Kerala 13/12/11
Quiet morning watching the tv where bizarrely one of the English channels seems to have a crossed wire and Hollywood films end up with the soundtrack of a quality South Indian soap opera.
Head for the station to book tickets onto Thrissur our next destination, which was a surprisingly easy and pleasant experience. Afterwards, we amble in the opposite direction to the route we took yesterday and after turning off the beaten track we found a completely different world, with a big pool of water and temples, a million miles from the chaos the other side of the small rows of buildings between this and the main road.
On the way through the market we are accosted by a crazy bearded old man, who insists on singing the Beatles to us as we walk down the street. Luckily we are saved by one of the market traders, who says something excitedly to us before thrusting a newspaper under our noses. Turn to the back page and there is a quarter page colour photograph of…US! It was taken in the stadium with Gemma looking decidedly bored. We buy as many copies as we can to indulge our local celebrity status. Translation of the caption reveals it says something along the lines of ‘Where did these people come from?’ Where indeed?