Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Last Day in Kerala


December 11, 2007


My last day in Kerala was the most annoying and tiring of the entire trip. I even cried of frustration. I went to a store that sells luggages and bought one, but didn't have enough rupees, so I took a receipt with the amount paid and owed, which showed the store's address and telephone number. When I took the taxi to get foreign exchange no one was accepting Citi Bank's traveller's checks. I had to go to three places until one of them finally changed them for me. Then I took another taxi (three-wheeler) back to the store to pay the left-over balance and get the bag, but the taxi driver took me to a completely different location!!! Neither he nor anyone in the neighborhood spoke English, which was strange in India, unless they were faking it. I was stuck in that one residential street for twenty minutes trying to make sense of the problem and why I was taken to this strange place!! Finally a postman passes by and translate my anguish to the driver. He called the telephone number on the receipt and told me to wait for someone.

Ten minutes later a guy shows up riding a motorcycle and begins to talk to me in broken English. After arguing back and forth, he told me that the address and telephone number on the receipt belong to the factory (which is in a different section of the city) and not the store. When I heard him say this, I yelled "what is this crazy country!" He laughed and promised to arrange to take me to the store. He stopped another three-wheeler taxi, told the driver where to go and paid him too. When I arrived at the store, the employee was standing at the door holding my bag for me. I guess he heard my story and was trying to show courtesy! Of course I shortened the frustrating story dramatically, but it ended fine. It was a movie scene.

After I rested a little at the hotel room, I felt like going to the beach and I did, but this too proves tiring and problematic. They kept making the distance to the beach sounds close "only 25 kilometers", yet I had to take two buses and then a taxi for a total of 1.5 hours. I felt I was in a country that no one tells a stranger the truth! When I arrived to the beach, it was around 4 pm. Very few people were at the beach and it bothered me how they stared at me. I didn't dare to swim at first, but later when more people showed up and when I noticed tourists were also swimming, I swam for 30 minutes. I then had a very delicious dinner at a beautiful restaurant in a well maintained hotel. Then left back to the hotel. I felt bad because it took me three hours to commute to the beach, yet my total swimming time was 30 minutes!! I didn't want to stay longer because I wanted to have dinner before I head back to the hotel and so I didn't want to arrive late.

It was indeed a tiring and annoying day!

The next day, Wednesday, December 12, I took the flight back to Bombay.