Train conversations

Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
Trip End Dec 24, 2008

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Flag of India  , Kerala,
Saturday, September 6, 2008

One of differences in India to SE Asia has been the amount of conversation with local people. In SE Asia the majority of locals who spoke to us, would inevitably lead to them wanting to sell us something. It was rare to just talk with someone who only wants to discover why we visited their country, and what we thought. But, in India, the Indians are very curious about us, our experience has been if you stand still for any period of time we will be approached for a friendly conversation about live, politics, the differences between our countries, religion and food.

I get the impression its a little show-offy by the Indians. If an Indian person approaches us to talk then the conversation between us is noticed by others around who will pause in their day and watch us talk. An Indian who can communicate with the 'foreigners' must be a well educated man, and the person who speaks to us is often proudly smiling around the room, while they speak to us, the strange white people. Its an interesting, good natured little performance when Indians speak to us and always the conversation is finished with a good hand-shake.     

Conversations start with the normal questions, like why did we come here, what do we think of this town/area, what is our profession at home and where else have we been. But also there are some quite eccentric conversations about topics such as: Jade Goody, Tony Blair & Gordon Brown, colonialism. Standing at the train station the other day, waiting for the train a man next to us turned and smiled at us. "Sir, I am thinking, why is it you Britishers have been enjoying the chicken tick mas ala's, it is the UK national dish no?" How do you answer a question like that. "Well, um, you see, I like curry"

On the train from Madurai to Tantrum an Indian business man asked us if we know of Jade Goody, which really surprised us. He explained she had been on the new Indian Big Brother, called Big Boss and was patching up a racism incident by promoting and appearing in Big Boss. Jade agreed to be told live-on-air the results of her cancer test and Big Boss told her she has cervical cancer and so she left the show. If the Indian people thought the English were a little crazy then no doubt Jade Goody has done plenty to promote this opinion.

We got to Varkala and walked along the backpackers lane that sits right on the cliff edge with the ocean smashing away below. Its a beautiful stretch of coast with a sandy beach and is a welcome respite from hectic Indian cities, but not really true India. However we sat on our balcony facing huge palm trees and the ocean eating great curries by candle light as they have regular power cuts. We spent two days soaking up some sun and drinking undercover Kingfisher beers from teapots before heading North

Cooper Out

Love Dan & Kat
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