Kerala (II): riding with elephants and feeding monkeys

DSC_0097Kerala is called – a green state of India and that is not surprising at all. There are palm trees growing on every corner and a vast variety of other plants. Places that is not touched by human intervention looks like a small jungle here. As a person from North Europe I admire coconuts and bananas growing in every yard. Funny, because people from Asia admire apple trees growing in our gardens. Moreover, before coming here I didn‘t know that there are so many species of bananas and they all have a different taste.

Food courses in Kumily

The moment we stepped from the bus in Kumily we were greated by a local guy who had to lead us to our accommodation. All the way there he was telling us how everything is awesome in his guesthouse and in Kumily. We passed some huts in his neighbourhood next to our accomondation and as the doors were open we saw what is inside. It was typical Indian home: small room, TV, pictures of gods and few little children running all over the place. In this kind of situation I usually feel like a stupid white-ass tourist, who wanders around with pocket full of money while people next to me stays extremely poor.

Our host offered us to participate in Indian cooking courses and we all accepted – even though I wasn‘t very excited as I am not interesting in cooking. Half of the people who lived in the huts were here: women were cooking, some other guys were telling more about different spicies and components of various meals, even kids were carrying pots and other stuff. We met more foreigners from Europe and it felt so great to see them. I know it may sound stupid, but I missed people who are more or less from the same background as me.

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DSC_0167The meal was actually one of the best I had in India so far: pumpkin soup, tapiyoca and chatni, fish curry with tomatoe rice and sweet rice noodles. All dishes were made by those women, however, we helped by peeling and cutting vegetables. Also, we had a chance to try out some techniques, for instance, such as how to make rice noodles. The courses cost 400 rupees and it was really worth spending. Even though, I can’t say that now I would be able to prepare any of those dishes by myself.

Elephants and disappointment

During our trip we were following ‘Lonely planet’ advices. We planned to go to Periar Wildlife Sanctuary to meet elephants, but our host, which somehow turned to be our guide in Kumily, claimed that he knows a better place that wasn’t in our book. So we decided to trust him as he was local.

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We agreed on an elephant ride though I am not the fan of these kinds of things. I think animals should live wild and mustn’t be a toy for tourists. Nevertheless, this was the only chance to have at least some interaction with this huge and lovely creature. Our guide promised us a bath with an elephants, but it occurred that it was not a bath, but a water pipe and a bucket. Some of us had a vision of spending time with elephants in some pond and this was not what was expected. We were angry, disappointed and refused to take this kind of ‘bath’. A guide didn’t look very happy, because it meant less money to him from the elephant place for taking us here. After this experience we decided to stick to the plan no matter what. From the very beginning I felt that this was the right thing to do.

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I am not a fan of travelling with many people (there were 9 of us) except if those people are experienced travellers. Unfortunately, some of our colleagues were not experienced at all and not very polite. They were always late in the morning, counting every rupee, not leaving tips in restaurants and refusing to take an auto rickshaw only because we were charged few rupees more. I was pissed with them most of the time and felt sad that me and Aistė invited them. Grumpy in Hyderabad, grumpy in Kerala – nothing changed.

And finally – monkeys!

When me and Aiste were leaving the place we met a gang of monkeys who were hanging around on the trees and fences next to the narrow passage in the street. I had a banana in my backpack, so we started feeding monkeys from our hands. It was so cool! But then a big angry male appeared and chased away other monkeys in order to take all the food. Not a very big difference between humankind and them, isn’t it?

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