India - the final post
I went back to the same place in Fort Cochin that I'd had the rejuvenation massage for a refreshing massage. I shouldn't have done as it looked like the treacle had given me a little bit of a reaction on my legs. Anyway, the massage was lovely but the legs itched a bit.
Had a chat with the waiter I'd spent ages nattering with the day before and then went to a very nice restaurant with a fantastic menu. Maybe I didn't make the best choice there as it was okay rather than amazing, but the restaurant was cool.
Next morning left the hotel early for Cochin airport. The flight was delayed a little, although there were no indications to actually say it was delayed... Got back to Bombay and headed straight to Sanchia's house where her parents warmly greeted me, asked me all about my trip and fed me before sending me on my way to go and sightsee a little more.
Got the train down to Colaba and Fort area and hopped onto a boat around the bay. Had a baby thrown at me for a photo. Pretty chilled out little cruise though, just 30 minutes but at a pretty time of the afternoon.
When I was with Sanchia, it wasn't possible to get near the Taj as it was all cut off with a barrier. This week it's open though, so had a wander down alongside, sipping chai, snapping photos and soaking in the atmosphere. Went to Leopold's for a snack and a beer and watched tourists taking photos of the bullet holes in the bar. I didn't think this was in particularly good taste, so I didn't join them on this. After an hour or so chilling there, nattering with an American girl and then reading, I went for a wander around the street stalls and then headed back to the station.
Churchgate station isn't so easy to find from that area. Not for me anyway; so asked a few people for directions. One guy I asked was a 20-year old Hindu student who was extremely polite and chatty and hyper-intelligent, basically escorted me all the way to Bandra - including paying for my ticket because he'd been taught to treat teachers with the same respect as parents. He told me he'd never drunk or smoked and didn't socialise with his classmates as they did and he had tried telling them they shouldn't, but they hadn't listened to him. Polite young man, seemed to have no ideas of his own. It was almost scary... the kind of person that could easily be sucked into a cult, I felt. But he was very sweet and after getting off the train with me at Bandra, he continued on his way to go and buy textbooks.
Had another catch up with Sanchia's lovely parents and got fed again! Crashed when I could no longer keep my eyes open! Leg was feeling a little sorer, but it was bearable.
Next day was the final day of the holiday. Had breakfast and then Sanchia's dad ran me around trying to sort out more contact lenses, buying huge quantities of medications to bring back, etc. (Well, they're so cheap there and so pricey and weak here). Then I got festooned with gifts from them, fed again, told I now had my own house to stay in in Bombay (and an adopted family)! - And got sent off on my way. Very reluctantly.
Got to the airport pretty quickly. Checked in very early. Paid to chill out in the 'executive' lounge. I use the term loosely, but there was 'free' booze, massage chairs, snacks, etc. And then it was time to fly back - ten hours later (we went via Delhi where we had to stay for an hour) - I was getting off the plane at Narita and staring at the cold breath fog coming from my mouth.
The end. And I've never been so unhappy about coming back to Tokyo. I've been hit by a feeling of sadness and how soulless this city is. How everything is just too perfect. How there's no real character. But tiredness doesn't really help. Oh and the leg - it's kind of been getting steadily worse since yesterday. Not on the scale of Hampi/Bylakkuppe, but not good. Am taking painkillers, antihistamines, slathering it in antiseptic cream and keeping it rested. Hoping it'll fix itself as I really really really do not want to see a Japanese doctor and end up on more antibiotics.
And I miss India. I had a wonderful wonderful holiday and so many good experiences that piqued all my senses to a maximum. I'm going back to Kerala in December.
And now - well, I'm just not looking forward to this year basically. The cold weather over the next couple of months is going to do my head in. I need to make a decision in the next couple of weeks regarding my job and what's best to do. (Stay where I am or return back to where I was). And the diploma is going to be one hard hard slog, I feel. But I'm going to just hold out for December and my next big holiday :D