A Travellerspoint blog

Drastic measures to escape my incessant talking!

Cochin/Kochi India

all seasons in one day 33 °C
View The Big One on ClareRoach's travel map.

Well we've finally made it to Cochin but not quite in the way we intended.

Left Thekkedy earlier than we planned, following an evening with no hot water, no wifi, no electric and candles for the evening! We took a decision to stop in Alleppey for lunch and coffee which unbeknown to us at the time would prove to be chatastropic! The taxi pulled up outside a nice hotel and we got out directly at the foyer, focused on capachinnos and lattes. Not to be; all of a sudden I hear Jaquie let out a shriek and I turn to see her doing a slow motion, full body roll down the small set of steps into a giant puddle. Of course my first instinct was to laugh, and yes it was an incredibly funny sight! And it's not even the first time she's managed her acrobatics having done something similar in Delhi.

This time, the give away that it might be different was, the pain etched across her face, which was accompanied by her comment "I think this is serious!" Talk about making an entrance! Before we knew it, the whole of the hotel staff were trying to help and with every attempt Jaq was trying not to pass out. Evident by her clamminess, her crys of agony and needing to lie down. We finally managed to get her onto a bed, in one of their luxurious rooms, complete with hotel white linens. I mention this because by the time we leave they are purple and black where Jaquies wet and colourful, but obviously not colourfast trousers have been - whoops!

Long story short, following a Drs visit and ice packs it becomes evident she will need hospital treatment for her bad sprain (!). We start the rigmarole of getting her off the bed, into the wheelchair and back into the car and say goodbye to the line up of staff waving us off. Not a capachinno in sight let alone lunch, I'm starving and secretly thinking I hope there's not a wait at the hospital whilst obviously playing the caring nurse to Jaquie, telling her it's not a problem. Strangely enough, thoughts of lunch and coffees don't seem to be preoccupying Jaq in the same way.

In fairness, the reception at the hospital, couldn't have been better. On arrival, we were met and immediately transferred to the emergency department for assessment. A couple of X-rays and a CT scan later and the diagnosis is confirmed not a bad sprain as we'd convinced ourselves but a fracture. Oh dear - perhaps the crys of pain hadn't been over the top after all then! We were told we had to wait about two more hours for the Consultant to do his rounds for news on recommended way forward.

During the wait, we comforted ourselves with the confident treatment plan we'd devised ourselves which consisted of wrapping the fracture to help it heal and being careful for a little while. This seemed to also be the general consensus of all the other visitors and patients to accident and emergency who took it in turns to pay a bedside visit to the strange sight of two English speaking, white people in their hospital!

Feeling much more positive and pain being managed with painkillers when the consultant arrived it took a while for us both to comprehend what he was saying. He immediately broke the news that surgery was required. This was met by Jaquies sensible enquiry...... "Just saying I could have surgery tomorrow, will I be ok to catch my flight to Sri Lanka on Sunday?" In fairness he masked his thoughts well when he responded with a point blank No, adding and you will need 6 to 12 weeks minimum to recuperate. He left to complete his rounds and allow the reality of the situation to sink in.

By the time we met him again later we had a hundred and one questions mainly focused on continuing the trip but as he patiently ruled out all options it was clear Jaqs only option was to fly back to the UK at the earliest opportunity for a surgery. By this time, we understood she had four injuries to her foot/ankle/leg. Two breaks and two fractures. She required both pins and a plate to be put in and wasn't going to be able to go anywhere for some time.

A plaster cast from knee to foot was applied and her complete immobility was evident every time the Drs/Consultant reiterated how important it was for her to keep her foot higher than her heart. Not being funny but Jaquie laying down and having everyone waiting on her was clearly not something she was going to be able achieve lightly. Talk about role reversal, I'd have been fine being waited on but not sure what was going to be worse for her - having to be dependent on me or my thinly veiled, gritted teeth responses of "yes, no problem Jaq, I'll be there now!" Don't think I'm cut out to be a nurse, but I am trying, honest!

What we didn't realise was that the hospital experience, complete with language barriers and Indian protocols was going to be the easy part of the process. Next step was to deal with the UK Insurance Company OMG!!!!

First call with a lovely helpful girl called Rhiannon was excellent but things quickly deteriorated and are currently not resolved. As I write this we are now on the fourth day since the accident and waiting for confirmation that Jaq will be repatriated, will have the operation within seven days as advised by the hospital here, will have medical assistance to fly home and her affairs in relation to the operation and her remaining trip organised on her behalf! That only leaves 3 days for them to achieve. She did get a response to one of numerous emails asking for an update this morning. I think it's because she also asked for a copy of the complaints procedure, but we will see. We both bought comprehensive insurance policy direct from TrailFinders who we bought our tickets off and the response to date has been truly shocking!!! I will of course update you if that changes.

My own concern is that I leave late Sat/Early Sunday to catch my flight to Sri Lanka where I'm meeting Jo Fraser Jones (looking forward to seeing you x). I can't see Jaquie being on a flight before me, leaving her totally isolated in a strange country and immobile! In fairness, the hotel staff where we are currently staying have been amazing and have assured their ongoing help if she's still here after I leave and Jaq says she's comfortable with that. I'm not convinced she's not trying to make me feel better, but either way not a lot we can do other than continue to chase the insurance company to get her home.

On the plus side, the setting is beautiful and we got to see the lovely Perro and Feli before they left this morning :)

As I said at the outset all a bit drastic to get away from my jibber jabbering, she could have just told me to shut up! Update when there's any news will follow :) xxxx

Posted by ClareRoach 00:35 Archived in India Comments (0)

Hunt for a suitable place to lay our head!


rain 35 °C
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First job on arriving in this little village was finding somewhere to stay. Our guide took us to the Homestay that had been recommended by our last Homestay which was quite expensive for a basic room. It had a view of the jungle which apparently justified the high charge but to me it looks much like Wales including the rain lol!

On the way to the Homestay we had booked on line, we passed a nice looking place, complete with free roaming monkeys. Negotiated a price from £60 to £15 in seconds and said we would think about it as although nice, it didn't have a warm feeling or any personality, which is usually evident in shed loads in India.

Next was the Homestay we had booked on line. OMG how awful was that! damp and smelly - gross! Glad Jaquie took on the pushy landlady, refusing to pay explaining we weren't cancelling, the room wasn't up to standard. Way to go Jaq!

Up the steepest hill ever, to the most amazing hotel at the top. All pure luxury and an infinity pool (Cerys, your right about this slumimg it lark, this hotel was much more me). Unfortunately at £150 we couldn't justify it and continued our hunt. Having the £15 one up our sleeve gave us confidence, but it was getting towards 6.00 and we hadn't really found 'the' place.

Next stop hit the jackpot! Rooms still really basic, but large and airy, with balconies off overlooking open woodland, more monkeys (3 different types - which I can now tell apart) This place, Called Greenpark feels just right. The owner agreed £10 and then sat having coffee with us. He's full of information about the area, yoga, etc. and a really nice guy

Once settled in we decided to go for dinner. Partly due to the electricity being out in our Homestay so no lights to unpack etc. Par for course in the rainy season in India, so we are getting used to it. Weird walking past shops that are totally dark but still open, just shadowy figures encouraging us to come look. Not quite sure how that would work? Maybe we should start eating more carrots.

After somewhere to stay, food is always the next concern and finding somewhere, safe and nice to eat. Roadside food and from little makeshift structures is absolutely everywhere in every town. Problem is after experiencing Delhi Belli we've become a little more choosy. No problem here though - found a really nice restaurant part of a Eco resort and had a lovely Indian meal. We were the only people there, which is quite often the case in the South we've found as its out of tourist season.

We've decided to stay here a couple of days and relax with some treatments, massage, reflexology etc. And to skip Varlkada which was due to be our next stop. It's a (out of season) beach resort, and as its mostly raining cats and dogs for big chunks of time now, we thought we'd stick to towns for the end of our stay in India.

Back to Cochin, Monday or Tuesday for last couple of days before flying out of India and hopefully to catch up with Perro and Philly who we met last time we were there.

Posted by ClareRoach 08:28 Archived in India Comments (0)

Munnar - INDIA - Tea Plantation

wi-fi increasingly more difficult :(

rain 27 °C
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Left Cochin for Munnar with our driver/tour guide Alex. Not sure we are doing this backpacking business quite right!

Had a lovely trip to a Tea Museum on the way which sounds really dull but was very informative. I could now tell you all sorts of things about tea, and one day might even learn to drink it. Jaquie on the other hand simply slept through the hits she found less interesting lol!

Annas Homestay when we arrived, took our breath away. It is in the most amazing setting and the rooms are huge with floor to ceiling windows. Only downside was no wifi on arrival and patchy next day. Not usually a problem, but We have to book rooms for tomorrow night.

Beds had brand new, furry, soft bed covers which as we are in the mountains and it's cold at night I really appreciate. Jaquie obviously found hers too hot but did manage without A/C - result!

Today was a day of sightseeing and turned out to be a bit mixed. We went to a wildlife park but saw no wildlife. It was really high up and the views would have been phenomenal if we had been able to see through the clouds and the mist. Bit of a flop really.

Back to the car and our guide took us to see elephants. It was probably one of the most awful things I've seen and we didn't even get out of the car. From the car park we could see about four old, tired, sad looking elephants being led around a small enclosure with Indian tourists on them and loads more watching and taking photos. This place was truly shocking and should be shut down.

Our guide understood our distress immediately and we left for a trip up to one of the local beauty/viewing points. Once there we were taking a stroll and looking for the perfect photo shot when we got caught in true monsoon rain! It was so cold and wet!!! We were paddling in our flip flops in seconds. But....... It didn't stop our shopping. We are from Wales after all!

On the way back we truly hit the best part of our trip so far, thanks to Alex our guide who spotted elephants roaming in the wild. We would never have seen them. Even though they were on the other side of the river, with careful use of my zoom I've got some clear shots which will be upload onto facebook shortly.

Quick bite to eat then to a pre-booked Kathakali show which I can't really put into words it was so surreal. Costumes and makeup are a highlight and there is lots of mime and music. I've taken lots of photos and a couple of video pieces for facebook to give you some idea. What was the strangest though was at the end they invited the audience to go on stage to have their photos taken with the characters. Not wanting to be left out Jaquie and I duely queued and took our pictures. As we were leaving the stage, we were asked could a Indian family have their photo taken with us. Before we knew it we were on stage with queues of Indians waiting to be photographed with us! It's so strange. We are getting used to it everywhere we walk, but weren't expecting it on stage.

Off to Thekkery tomorrow, so will be interested to see if we develop our own little following there ha ha!

Posted by ClareRoach 07:13 Archived in India Comments (0)

Cochin - Synagogue and shopping!


all seasons in one day 32 °C
View The Big One on ClareRoach's travel map.

Chinese Fishing Nets and Jewish Quarter

Woken up at daybreak by the loudest frogs ever, birds and cock-a-doodle-do. Definitely in the countryside and for the first time since I've been here, I can't even hear a horn, but the wildlife certainly makes the most noise!

fishing nets were a bit of a disappointment if I'm honest. there were some pushy street vendors, one who got angry because I wouldn't go and take a look at his gallery so we didn't hang around and instead made our way towards the Synagogue (as recommended by one of my blog readers - thank you!). We walked a long way to get there but it turned out to be a cracking decision, we stumbled across an amazing hotel, with a restaurant that looked out over the sea and had the most amazing salad ever. It had all my favourite ingredients: cashew nuts, radish, pomegranate seeds, feta and the usual leaves and tomatoes. Both me and Jaquie loved it. Feeling adventurous we then decided to try a grilled watermelon and feta cheese salad with beans and balsamic. Although Jaquie really liked it, I can't say enough just how awful it was. Warm watermelon, is just so wrong. Never again!

Unbeknown to us, lunch wasn't even the Highlight of our day which was yet to come. On the way to the synagogue we came across amazing little shops and bought more things than we really ought to have. I daren't think about our baggage allowances. Although we have come up with a cunning plan for next time. We are simply going to wear as much as we can!

Sad to say we. Only had 10/15 minutes in the synagogue as it shut at five and it had taken us all day to get there with our shopping detour. It was well worth a visit.

We then started our hunt for cheese. We must have tried twenty shops all of which could offer us packaged, plastic, sliced cheese or frozen soft cheese. Neither of which were any good for a cheese sandwich which is what we fancied. Around 7 o clock when we were really tired and fed up we decided to ask a rickshaw driver to drive us around the ones he knew, wait outside whilst we ran in yo check. He agreed and had the bright idea of stopping at a restaurant to ask where they got their cheese from. Good idea because it was an Italian. bad idea because we had giant pizzas for our dinner!

We are leaving in the morning, but ended up chatting to Philli (German) and Perro (Venusalian). They are both lively people and really interesting to talk to so it is now almost 2.00. Don't know how that happened!

Sad to leave Cochin the following morning but onwards and upwards!

Posted by ClareRoach 07:08 Archived in India Comments (0)

Cochin/Kochi - India


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Arrived ok having caught the plane by the skin of our teeth; literally minutes until they shut the desk. If that wasn't enough everybody in the whole of India pushed in front of me as I was trying to get through security. I'm normally tolerant as you will know, but my patience is running out where Indian queue jumpers are concerned. So remember, you have been warned!

Oh, and to add insult to injury I somehow managed to be 2kg over and got charged excess baggage, despite having added nothing to my suitcase since arriving; work that one out!

Anyway, rant over. Arrived at our Homestay late and were met by Johnson and introduced to his delightful family, Claret his wife, his mother and her sister and his two children. Claret who is very obviously pregnant tells us she is going to have her baby by cesarean on Thursday so some excitement in the air.

Not wanting to waste time, we were up to meet our tour guide at 8.00 for a boat trip around the backwaters. Had to stop and buy a umbrella first as it was pouring down. Got a nice Tiffany Blue'ish one so not feeling too bad that I binned one a week ago to cut down on weight! rain stopped and haven't had to use it yet! Bloody typical.

Nice relaxing trip among the mango groves which included lunch which was served on a banana leaf (photos on facebook)

Posted by ClareRoach 21:59 Archived in India Comments (1)

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