Wednesday 17th March
Only ten days to go. I’m in a hurry to leave now and see something else. I've done what I came for. I went for the uphill walk this morning. Everything is quite fresh after the rain. For the first time, people say good morning before I do. A woman even shakes my hand. There is more water noise from the river this morning after the rain. It was getting very low. I manage to photograph a wagtail, and I see a sort of moorhen.
I pick up a chip of green rock from a pile that is going to be used to make up the road before the monsoon. Emerald green, a bit of white, sparkly.
Thursday 18 March
It is very misty. I go for a slow walk up river, this is the first time I've been this way. I see the fishing dog in the river, he catches fish, I've seen him do it, I even have a photo but from such a distance you can't really see what he's doing. I have some closer ones of him coming out of the water, but he is very wary.
The cook has changed. Food is much more tasty.
We have power cuts all day. Power cuts mean no electricity of course, but no pump for water, and no water heater. When you see the state of the electricity supply, it's not surprising.
The sun burnt through the mist earlier today and the sky is very blue. It was chilly when I first went out for my walk, but warming up when I got back. Lots of photos of banana leaves again, and the fishing dog, who bucked up enough courage to investigate me close enough for a photo.
I turn up for my massage in ordinary clothes to find that I have gone on to another treatment cycle. I am pummelled with dark brown, grainy oil and boiling hot herbal packages. Quite pleasant once you get past the first shock of the hot oil. You can feel the circulation picking up. Then dry face massage. Then nose drops. Pungent oil up the nose, which goes into the sinuses and down the throat.
There is an orange crescent moon.
A day off from walking. I go on an outing at 10h00 with four others to Manantavadi with the assistant manager as driver. It's the first time I've left YogaVilla since I arrived! 17km, but an hour’s drive via mostly paved but very narrow and potholed roads, but also a lot of track through stunning countryside. What an area. Green everywhere. Lots of building going on. Brilliant colours on houses. Quite a lot of Catholic churches. A couple of monkeys.
Manantavadi is a very busy little town. A couple of our group nearly get mown down just after getting out of the car by a man backing into them and just not stopping. To cross the road is to take your life in your hands. The driver was very helpful and takes me to a money machine and finally gets it to work for at least one of my bank cards, which turned out to be enough. Then he took me to a little spice stall, where I got a kilo of vanilla and a kilo of the most pungent black pepper for 1600Rs = 26€50 which I consider a good deal. Then to clothes shops where I buy an oufit for Cécile, a salwar kameez, in white, embroidered with pearls, not too kitsch, one for Marlena in black and white, another in olive, with a pale yellow trousers for the lady who is keeping Ellie, trousers in print on white for me, but can’t find a top to fit me. I get a length of material, for me, a really lovely mix of old rose, with embroidery and a sequined panel, meant to be made up into something. And a “nighty”, pale pink top and trousers, too small for me, maybe for Cécile. All that for 46€.
Then we go on to another shop, where I buy 4 scarf/shawls, for one euro each, really nice.
On to lunch. The driver doesn’t want us to lunch in town, he tries to take us back, but we refuse. You see how regimented we are all the time. We give him 100Rs to go off and feed himself (about five times what he needed) and we go to a “bakery” that Diana, our Canadian lady, had found on another trip. Really nice little place. Smelt of bakery. We go through the front with counters of prepared savoury food on one side, and cakes and sweets on the other, to tables in the back, filled with Indian families on a Saturday outing with their children. Really very clean, inviting, and a good smell. So we get the last table, and return up front to choose what we want to eat. I had (a little too much!) a veggie burger, a samosa, some onion and a nimbu pani (lime juice, stiff with sugar). All excellent and spicy. I take a picture of my veggie burger with a glacé cherry on top, typical Indian decoration! We then go back to the cake and sweet side to choose dessert, I took a small square (about an inch square) of white and brown chocolatey stuff, really good. Some of the others bought assorted boxes to take back for massage girls. The lunch (with our participation in the driver’s lunch) comes to the princely sum of 70Rs = 1€10 each. This included two bottles of water between us.
The doctor has left for four days leave, a young man is in his place. I’ve decided to leave on Tuesday. Not because the doctor is not here, but I've had enough. But I suppose there will be less fuss if he is absent. Evy, my Norwegian friend has a good place to stay up her sleeve. We are going to book this evening. I'll prepare my things tomorrow.
I have booked 5 nights in the Kappad Beach Resort, 15 km from the airport. It is off season so the price is good. It looks lovely. Evy is going to join me for the last two nights. Pool, good food, sea, beach. I leave tomorrow morning at 10 am.
We went on a wildlife drive last night, drove back and forth for hours without seeing anything. Then after 22h we saw a deer, five wild elephants and a wild boar. The elephants are impressive by their size, and because one knows they are dangerous and mortally irritable at this time of year. But they are very discreet, quiet and camouflaged. Hard to see in the lights of the jeep.
Quite a business getting out of this place. Everyone is trying to get me to change my mind. The doctor is sulking nd has refused to give me medicines to take away with me!
No water or electricity all day again. I’m going to ask for a reduction.
My yoga class was very good. Nice simple effective stuff, he’s understood me well.
It's impossible to get a bill, the manager has taken off and no one else can OK a reduction.