So here we are 5 days into our six weeks of India and it sure has been an interesting, exciting and frustrating experience already! Thanks to the wise advice of our dear friend Dan, w flew into the south. Thank God. I can't imagine a better place to enter a country where all is unknown to us. We spent 4 nights in Kochi which was beautiful but a bit touristy for our liking. This was certainly nice for the first few days though. We had places to eat that we knew were pretty safe, helpful travel agents to answer our questions, etc. We kept quite busy with a full day spent in the backwaters of Kerala, a walking tour of the city, a traditional performance and some shopping for me.
We are now up the coast from Kochi in a town called Kannur (still in the state of Kerala). We chose this place randomly and it was one of the few places we could even get train tickets to because of the holiday. After a brutal 6hr train ride crammed in with a million other people, we arrived hot, sticky and exhausted just to find that the place we booked was absolutely NASTY. The toilet was broken as was the shower but the worst was the sheets. It's indescribable. I have never seen something like this in my life. I spent the night sleeping with as many layers as possible (despite the heat) and was awake most of the night thinking how I just got rid of the mites - what if they come back???
We planned to look for a new place this morning and were approached by a sweet Indian woman who just opened a home stay. Everything is brand new and we are her first guests. Perfect, right? Almost. As we are walking out, she tells us that she's been having some issues with electricity and she didn't report it and now she's in trouble and not sure if we can stay there. So we've been in town since then and are unsure if we have a place to stay tonight!
We met a friendly Indian guy last on the beach who teaches English and we got roped into joining his class for 2 hours this morning! It was entertaining answering their questions about when Nate and I fell in love, how it is living together, what girls look for in a man, how we dress in America, sports we enjoy, etc. Lots of pictures were taken and we surely made each of their day.
We had not seen another foreigner here until just a minute ago in the internet cafe. It's a nice feeling to be fully immersed in a new culture and fully removed from the Western world. Although it can make things more difficult (finding a clean place to stay), we are able to meet more locals this way and experience their culture. Our new friend gave us some places to eat and Nate is in heaven. This morning, we had two full breakfasts and coffee for $1 total. For lunch, delicious North Indian food... 2 full meals for a total of... $1. Nate can't stop talking about how cheap it is :)
Now it's off to the beach... life is good!
Al and Nate