Trip Start Jul 03, 2008
Trip End Dec 07, 2008

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday July 13th
    Today I woke up late- some of the other students elected to go to a Catholic mass at the old church across the river, but being neither ecumenically minded nor an early riser (it started at 7:30) I elected to sleep past it.  Afterwards we sat around and had a bit of breakfast and I had my first real passion fruit, which was a neat experience.  We then took a stroll around some of the village neighborhoods around the resort house, which showed us some interesting aspects of local life.  For instance, the peninsula that we were staying on was huge, raised from the surrounding rice paddies and canals.  The amazing thing is that it was entirely man-made. Even more amazing is the fact that this is an area where backhoes and power tools are as foreign as Anglo folks.  Therefore, the peninsula was constructed by filling canoes with mud from the bottom of the canal and stacking it in a particular fashion and area.  Multiply this over several decades and you have a body of land that is out of the water.  It's truly astounding to consider.  The other local innovation is to collect huge piles of shells (the lowlands of Kerala used to be submerged underwater) dry them, grind them, and use them as a strengthener in concrete construction.

    After checking out we drove to the next local town, Allepy, where we got a little lunch and decided to go on a beach excursion.  Surprisingly, the water wasn't quite as warm as I anticipated, perhaps in the low 70's, but it was still nice to walk around.  Our group had a connection with one of the local lifeguards, and he showed us around and took us to a local fishing village a little north of the beach where most tourists don't venture.  The people were exceptionally friendly, especially the children, who ran around us, shrieking and laughing and smiling, pure joy.  The hilarious thing is that instead of asking for money as anticipated, some ask for pens.  I suppose this is because other tourists come through and that is all they have to offer them.
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