This is #1 in my series on India. If you are new to my blog and would like to read the rest, follow the links at the bottom of the post. Happy reading.
Sweaty palms; on the end of my sweaty arms and those that are plants. So many lush, tropical palms seen out of the wide hotel window, wilting in the heat and 92% humidity of 7am. Banana palms, ones with tall, red stalks and others, clumped together and a pale shade of lime. I think I see a red bottlebrush over there, but I know I’m not in Australia anymore.
The Kochi hotel booked for the first night of my trip plays an annoying ‘soundtrack’ of upbeat, Club Med style music to rouse visitors from 6:30 onwards, but I was up pre-dawn anyway with my body telling me it’s really, properly late-morning and I should be eating! I think I can hear a synth Pachelbel’s Cannon…
Before I left Sydney, I watched a huge black crow peck over an Inner West bus-stop bin. This morning, the same, glossy feathered sky dragons soar from hotel rooftops with big, unidentifiable things in their beaks. I wonder how they like the humidity? They sound like the stock sounds of a Halloween episode of pretty much anything on TV. “Caw! Caw!”
My travel companions and I felt the wet heat immediately after leaving the tinny aeroplane around midnight. We saw the security staff wearing military fatigues and guns. We heard the chatter of a hundred people awaiting arrivals of loved ones just outside the airport door, packed like glossy sardines. As a group of seventeen Australians, we will spend nine days together in close quarters. First, at a week-long yoga and ayurveda retreat in Tamil Nadu followed by two days and nights at Fort Kochi.
Last night, I smelled things too. I smelled something uniquely sulphorous here, I smelled something sweet in the air, something heady and wet and I smelled myself; armpits. Despite a shower and a subpar massage at Changi airport, I was not fresh.
My best friend was water; I had drunk well over three litres in the eighteen-hour transit and felt better for it. I amazed at the little sips of water my companions seemed to feel was enough. But to drink or not to drink the hotel water? An unanswerable question. Well I brushed my teeth with it, I washed myself with it (even the bendy, hose-style bidet got used for laughs) so what’s the harm? Perhaps I’ll become gradually accustomed to it for the better.
Today, I look forward to an ever-changing view out the window of our transport, seeing Maitreyi Vedic Village finally, practising yoga in an authentic setting, walks in the exotic outdoors of India and ….BREAKFAST!
Want to keep reading…?
5. India: Pitta