Tuesday, February 22, 2005


I found a hotel at the third time of asking as the other two were full. I went for a look about and decided to see if I could find a cheaper hotel as I fancied staying here for a few days. I bumped into Paula whom I met from Goa who was leaving tomorrow, but she mentioned her hotel was cheap so I moved in there the next day. I've even got a balcony here. Although I could certainly do without the mozzies buzzing in my ear when I'm trying to sleep.

It is very warm being back down at sea-level again. It doesn't get cold at night which I find makes sleeping hard. Still I can always go for a siesta!

I went down to the harbour and had a look at the chinese fishing nets. These huge nets pivot into the sea, counterweighted by large rocks, each requires at least four men to operate it. It is also next to the ferry port where people are ready to jump off the ferry at first land!

One night I went along to a Kathakali performance. 'Katha' means story and 'Kali' means play. The make-up begans 90 minutes before the start. This performance was for the tourists and so they showed you how the make-up is made from natural rocks mixed with coconut oil and ground into a paste which makes vibrant colours.

The performance is almost like sign language which movements performed and faces pulled. At the start they demonstrated a few movements as the announcer called out. 'King!', "Honey from a lotus!', 'Fear' etc...

Here are the photos:

Then onto the main story, although this was in fact just an excerpt full performaces can last a bum-numbing nine hours!

They gave you an outline of the story in English so you could try and follow along, albeit perhaps with limited success.
Here is the outline:
Arjuna - Priding over his skill inarchery by Goddess Parvathy, Lord Shiva goes to the destory the egotism of Arjuna- simultaneously Arjuna's rival king Duryodhana plans to kil him. He sends a demon Mockasure in the form of a pig for killing Arjuna. The pig approaches Arjuna attacks. The savage (Shiva) shoots an arrow, pig killed, Arjuna also sends arrow - Savage gets angry, dispute follows. Terrible clash Arjuna beaten and defeated-now free from egotism, humble. Lord Shiva reveals himself - blesses and offers Arjuna powerful arrow Pasupatham.

I went for a wonder round town and came across a field with a large crowd, a fire engine and a big bundle of hay. So as I looked on curiously, a man told me that a magican was performing. After various speeches by the governor (who drove a Skoda) and a lot of hanging about eventually the show began. Suresh was tied up and a large JCB-type vehicle with a long arm picked him up and lowered him inside the tunnel of hay. After about five minutes the arm retracted. Another few minutes of shoo-ing people away from the hales and bay and then the lit the fire. The bales went up quickly and Suresh re-appeared in the crowd. The crowd threw him up in the air for a bit and cheered. Then quickly began to disperse. Meanwhile Suresh clambered against the crowd to get to the initial platform and do a lot of jumping about and bowing, but by this time the crowd had thinned.

Another day, I walked down through the streets where the spice traders are assembled. The mixtures of strange smells was interesting although sometime you get a whiff of not so pleasant smells from the gutters running alongside the road! I looped back up and past on of the oldest churches in India, the bright blue Santa Cruz Basilica

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