Friday, 16 April 2010


A good way to recharge the batteries after the winter we had, I went to Kerala for the whole of the month of March for ayurvedic treatment at They do a weight loss programme, and I wanted to lose weight, so although it seemed a bit extreme going so far to do something I could theoretically do at home, I signed up and off I went.

It is the cheapest ayurvedic treatment I have found in Kerala. It is situated not on the expensive southern and very touristy coast, but in an isolated situation up in the hills, about 130km from Calicut. Three to four hours drive. Dangerous business in India, their behaviour on the roads is unbelievable.
I took the train from Quimper to Roissy airport via Rennes on 28th February, the morning after the terrible storm that hit the west coast of France. We didn't actually feel the storm much during the night in the Finistère, but you will have heard of the devastation it caused in the Vendée and Charente Maritime. The result was that train services were disrupted, we ran very late, and I thought at one point I'd miss my plane.

It's not easy taking the train with heavy luggage. No one helps you, there are of course no porters, they are of another age, and there is little place on the train to stow suitcases. Changing trains is a nightmare, sometimes no escalators, and with trains being late, people were fighting to "get there first". I'll take the plane to Paris another time.

I took Oman Air to Calicut via Muscat. Not a frightfully impressive airline at first sight, difficult check in, hours of queues; on board they lost my vegetarian meal somewhere, and then served me two (which were very good in fact). In Paris they had not given me a boarding pass right through to Calicut, so in Muscat I had to queue for another 45 minutes.

I was the only non Indian on the plane to Calicut, and almost the only woman. I was definitely not covered up enough. One learns quickly! On reaching Calicut, I was met by someone from the YogaVilla, the doctor's assistant and a driver, and a German girl who had come in on an earlier plane.

I have never really been to India, apart from a couple of days' stopover in Bombay about 30 years ago. It was monsoon, we stayed in a very expensive hotel courtesy of Air France, and I didn't really get to see anything of the country.

At first view the vegetation was very like Thailand, which is my Asian reference, but there was actually not much vegetation, everything was so built up. So much traffic. So much noise and dust. But gradually, as we started to climb, everything became greener, and greener and greener, as we hairpinbended up the hillside covered in tea plantations, with monkeys sitting by the roadside.
It was quite breathtaking, and very, very different to Thailand actually. It also became cooler as we climbed. The temperature became quite pleasant. The German girl slept, I watched avidly out of the car window, partly so as not to see what was coming at us around bends in the road. Everyone seemed to pass just anywhere, crossing white lines, on blind corners, leaning on the horn and hoping for the best.

Tea plantations

Darkness fell and we reached Wayanad province, and finished the journey on abot 5km of unmetalled track through the Wildlife Sanctuary, on the edge of which the YogaVilla is situated, sitting just above the Kuruva river. I'll add a few photos and continue tomorrow.

View from my bungalow over the river

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