It's been a while since I've checked in. Everything's pretty much same old, same old, except that now I'm in India. Where nothing is the same.
After a flight cancellation out of Halifax (curse you polar vortex!), I rescheduled for the following day, and spent the majority of three days in airports and airplanes, jetting across the world, finally arriving here in Kochi. It's a city in the country's south, in a state called Kerala - you can get an idea of where with the sidebar map.
Things here have been great. Since I got here, I've seen the terrifying carcass of a snake on the beach, stuffed my face with mappas, curries and aloos, been featured in a music video (?), and spent a day cruising in a boat on long lagoon-like lakes of the Kerala backwaters. I also saw a goat eating a cat but I don't want to talk about that.
It might just be that I stand out as a tourist (I got a lot of weird looks when I wore a basketball jersey sightseeing in the city), but it seems everyone is trying to sell something. Which really isn't any different from home, only here, there's no slyness/cunning to it. The rickshaw drivers are all given a big commission by some of the ritzier shops in town, so they're always insisting on giving you a free ride, providing you're willing to stop by "their brother"'s outlet. Storeowners stand in the street, and throw an arm around you as they invite you into their stall, and follow you down the street trying to convince you to buy a tiny Vishnu statuette.
The social tension of all this isn't helped by the fact that everything they're trying to sell you is cheap. Like, really cheap. I bought a 1L bottle of water today (they don't mess around with no 500mL bottles here), and it cost me 18 rupees. Which is about 32 cents in Canada. The 20 minute ferry ride from Fort Kochin into the city is 4 rupees (less than a cent), and a SIM card with 95 minutes of local talk-time ran me about the equivalent of $2.
Of course, I can't say these observations are true of all of India, just merely Kochi, and even then, only the parts that I experienced. Tomorrow though, I'll be expanding by impression a little bit more, when I get on a train further south to the beach paradise Varkala. I have lots of stories and pictures to post, so I'll be back with more soon. Wish me luck!
Here's another funny sign: