April 29, 1978, Fri: |
Woke up at 07:15 (in Trivandrum) while it was still cool and already sunny. I stuffed all my excess stuff in envelopes: tar, sand, shells, spoons, maps, brochures, postcards, reprints, receipts and so on. After ordering and "verorbering" (devouring) a good breakfast, I went to the General Post Office which on the spot refused my packaging. So off to the manager who approved but instructed me to go buy separate stamps in one spot, glue in another, etc.
My next stop was a travel agency, Airlinks International, where a charming c.q. voluptuous Ms Jaga George took me under her wings. First we took a taxi to the hotel to get my passport ("do you want me to get out and go with you?" "No, thanks, I'll be just a minute...":) Then to Air India, where she put to work her vitamin Wau (an expression for friendly contacts to help speed up things)
|Next to the Museum, a little gaudy, but with good statues which I was allowed to photograph under her auspices. Followed the zoo with snakes, specifically cobras, being poked to show that they were alive, as well as an elephant who had just been operated on two large cysts. Then to a tourist office to get more maps and brochures and the news that the dance I had seen in Bombay (Mumbay) was the "Bharatha Natyam."|
|Also got a copy of a book entitled "RAM" - as some gift when Jaga and I separated and I walked back to the hotel for a light lunch, with iced lemon and nuts. I made a quick trip to a R.C. Church and a new mosque. Got back at 13:30, took a cold shower, then rested and read the rest of the afternoon.|
At 16:30, I walked along the long Mahatma Gandhi Blvd, acroiss the railroad track and to the very crowded bus terminal.
Saw the sun set from the Sree Padma Nasha Swamy Temple, high up near West Fortress. It was full of loud tourists and pilgrims on the steps leading down to a pond where people bathed and beat laundry. There were many vendors, and I read some type of dress-code for Hindu: Man- dhoti and angavastranda; Woman: sari, paradais. I walked though some narrow streets with symbols marked on the pavement. In a drugstore, I bought ten valium pills for one Rupee, annoyed with US prices... I waited too long for a bus, so bargained with a taxi to take me to Kovalam, wait there for an hour, then take me back to the hotel for R.30. Got annoyed with my driver's speed and continuous loud honking, but decided that it was pretty dumb to be annoyed that people here spoke a hardly understandable English.
We drove through small villages full of palmtrees, along laterite terraces, and past a stone hewery till we were near the beach and I walked down along an allee lined with vendors, selling coral (Pocillopaora meandrina) and loads of coconuts.
It was a pleasant view over the sea, with a rough surfzone but also a quiet cove, a modern hotel with few guests bathing and many sunbathing, and unbearably annoying urchins begging for handouts.
I walked along the entire Kovalam beach, saw some black but also some reddish (garnet?) sand, and collected a few tar samples: most transects were "clean".
I saw several catamaras, body-builders, mango saleswomen, children shouting :" vypen", and beggars.
We drove to the hotel a lot slower than before, and I took pictures including one of the driver, G. Ravidwan Nair, KLV 1926 Corps of Trivandrum Taxi Stand. Once again, we ran into an NDP procession before reaching the hotel at 19:30. My dinner consisted of S.A. sausages and S. Indian mangoes, and I did not go out that night.