Transportation continues to be a big topic of discussion for us. And a big source of frustration. Our stay in Fort Kochi was nice, the fort and beach area is away from the city itself, and a chill area with big trees, some small streets and lanes to walk, and friendly people.
But like everywhere else, with cars and scooters dashing and honking, people on foot get short shrift. You are the bottom rung of the transportation ladder, and you know it.
We learned very quickly to go out early for our walks. Before breakfast. Not only is the temperature cooler, but there are fewer cars and scooters about, so less wrangling for road space. Notice I say road space since sidewalks are pretty uncommon outside any city center commercial street- and even on some of those streets. When we caught a predawn taxi to the train station we realized the locals got out very early to walk and jog the quieter streets.
The trains are popular since the alternative for many of these destinations is driving. We really try hard to stay off the roads in cars. The driving is tough. Not for non locals I think. And we try even harder to stay off the roads at night, other than short auto rickshaw trips in towns. On this trip we have hired a car and driver for several transfers, and it’s no picnic either. We sit in the back firmly belted in and try not to watch what’s going on as cars and scooters and buses overtake and honk and swerve. We always let our driver know we are in no rush and much more interested in safety over speed.
We were super happy with Rich’s choice of accommodation in Kollam, the Ashtamudi Villas, right on the lake. Even though all we could book was a non AC room we were fine. And we had a lovely neighbor, Karen from Plymouth UK, with whom we went out on tours facilitated by the guys running the lodge.
It was a good time for us to come to India. After my breast reduction surgery we knew I wouldn’t be able to bike or do anything very strenuous for a while, so India was a good fit. I haven’t carried my backpack yet, on transfer days Rich wears his backpack and carries mine, but most transfers are door to door, or train station to taxi to door, so not too much toting for Rich. But, even me, always willing to lean into sloth, I want more activities that will require muscles over motors. We are accustomed to much more active lifestyles.
Stay tuned for more India. As we say to each other, the being places in India is lovely, the getting there is the challenge.