Saturday, July 14, 2007

Final Night in Kerala

Tonight is my last night in the beautiful state of Kerala. It's been another lazy day here in the South, but good overall. I've done so much writing (an especially good form of therapy for me) here over the past 10 days, and reading as well. One of my neighbors from Coconut Lagoon, Penny, gave me two books that she had finished and I've already devoured both of them. They have a magnificent little book house here where I donated her two books and another that I had finished on the trip as well. I scoured the shelves for something to jump out at me and was impressed by the various titles left behind by previous travelers. There are books in German, French, Russian, Hindi, Malayalam (the offical language of the state of Kerala), and of course English. (I found two copies of The Da Vinci Code in English, one in French and one in German!)
After perusing the chaos that is the bookshelves, I settled upon a fictional work by Irish author Joseph O'Connor called Star of the Sea. It takes place in the winter of 1847 aboard a ship littered with fleeing refugees setting sail for New York. Murder, intertwined lives and tales of passion, hate and past regrets fill their 26 days on the Star of the Sea! I've just started it today, but find it easy to read and quite intriguing.
Marari Beach Resort is very nice and the pool villa is something I could have only dreamed about, but I prefer the property of Coconut Lagoon. Here, when I sit on my porch, I am surrounded by walls and completely secluded from any passers-by. There aren't as many areas for lounging, reading or writing--in fact, I haven't found one place I would comfortably settle down and crack open my book. The staff is friendly and attentive, almost to the point of being TOO attentive, but there's something missing that the others had at CL. There was a gaiety in their eyes and their smiles were real.
Tomorrow is a full day of travel. Up early for breakfast and pack--then drive an hour or two to the Kochi airport. I fly to back to Delhi via Bombay on Kingfisher again. This time, I have the copy of the credit card that was used to book the flight in case any agents want to get uppity again! Hopefully all will go well and I will be in Delhi for dinner. There I lose the luxury of free internet but gain the companion of television. Give and take, give and take.
Monday I tour New Delhi in the morning and Old Delhi in the afternoon and then get to go to a real live Indian family's house for dinner. :) Actually, Tapas, the person with whom I have been dealing since being in India, invited me to dinner at his house with his family. Should be an interesting evening. Then it's up early Tuesday and back to the airport for my flight to Varanasi.
I hope to be able to blog a bit over those few days, but who knows. I am trying to mind my Rupees for presents and special treats for friends (and myself). Normally the rate isn't terrible if I can manage to get to an Internet cafe. The hotel where I am staying in Delhi (and stayed two weeks ago) charges over $10 an hour for internet! Yes, 450 Rs. per hour!! Absurd! At an Internet cafe it is ~40 Rs (or less) for 1/2 hour ...which is about $1.00. (Currently, most hotels and banks are giving the exchange of 1 Rupee for $38.95.)
Off to dinner!


Gashwin said...

Wait, the Rupee has appreciated that much!! Gag! I'm glad I have a stash of rupees that I brought with me ... the thought of converting dollars for so little makes me sick!

Use ATMs, I think you get better rates, even with the 1% fee that your bank in the US will tack on.

And remember, you can always use your credit card at the bigger stores as well (like when you do your souvenir shopping at the end of the trip).

City Yogin said...

G--I have definitely been using ATMs since being here to get Rupees. And no worries, I will try to bring you back a few. (Wink)

Gashwin said...

SHE'S ALIVE! :) Waiting breathlessly for updates ...