April 26, 1978, Tu: Some loud crows awoke me before 07:00; wrote journal, packed for to-day's tours. Took a rickshaw to the Sealord Hotel where I met Dean C.V. Kurian and some State Fishing Inspector and crossed by ferry to Vypeen. From there, we took an open jeep through a densely populated area to meet with Mr A.I. George (who next departed for a UN job in St Kitts) We drove atop a scary dyke and crossed some small bridges. Many women and children used copper and other containers and posed for pictures.
This is an aquatic community, using small boats and hollowed out logs as transportation, operating a mariculture farm/laboratory for prawns (Penaeus indicus) in these phases: first month or 1.5 month, in lab., then 3-3.5 months in ponds to grow to commercial size, 15-20 grams In their Nauplius stage, they do not get fed; during the Zoea phase, they are fed phytoplankton, e.g. Chlorella. In the Mysid phase, they are fed artemia and finally also fish meal, rice and tapioca.
While awaiting the official opening ceremony of the Marine Prawn Culture and Propagation Scheme, I went to the Narakkal beach and took a rapid tar pollution survey: each of the three profiles contained tar, from 4,3 to 79.4 grams in lanes of about 200 x 6 ft. After the ceremony, in the 'tight' Malayalam language, we were served fresh shrimp and coconut juice. The shrimps (about 4 inches long) were caught by four youngsters who were very adapt with cast nets. I also noticed their toilets, consisting of a single squatting post stickin out over the pond. By 11:00, there was a mass exodus of the "big shots", and and on the way back I noted some goats eating fish! Back in the Hotel, I paid my account: R 280 for 5 nights and some meals and drinks. I showered and sat in the lobby waiting for Cleetus to arrive by 14:00, but he was three quarters late and by himself instead of with Mary. We raced to the terminal where I secured two seats on the full bus which left immediately with an unbelievable racket of toots and honks and brakes. We passed the "Blue Nile" Hotel (must have seen its sister last month in Khartoum..?) and many small and crowded streets, while I was also put under lateral pressure by fellow passengers; in general, Indians are so much more attuned to physical proximity, at the other end of the scale of Americans...


We saw numerous Ashok Leyland trucks, signs to do away with Indira fascists, communist endorsements, and an ad for "Dyary" Products. We crossed several rivers with fertile fields and cross-nets. It was a beautiful landscape, enhanced by palm trees. So once in a while, there were deep mudholes where boys waved to us from the backs of oxen. Gradually, we ascended and arrived between quarries and handmade walls of laterite.
We passed Kottagam which was crowded and hilly, from where we climbed higher into the mountains past rubber - and tea plantations, People were cutting wood with handsaws and chopping up rocks to gravel size. Here were many Willy - jeeps., and also some sisal industry We saw the jack fruits clinging to trees, and poor chickens with their legs tied together packed in bundles awaiting transport.
Next, it got misty before it got dark and fireflies turned on their lights. We negotiated some harrowing narrow turns, saw headlights reflecting on banks of fog or clouds, and witnessed small villages from far away across deep valleys. Although this may appear romantic, it was spoiled by several women in the backseats vomiting and suffering. It was a rather long and strenuous trip till we arrived in a pleasantly cool town (Kumuli?) where we stayed in the cheap and rather awkward Hilal Hotel. I refused any temptations of food, drink or whatever and slept like a log that night.
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