from having previously been reclined too aggressively. Avoid seats strewn with peanut shells. Avoid seats with wet patches too. Avoid seats with no room for one's legs to dangle in front (as is the usual custom in the homo sapiens
species). Don't panic - there will ususally be one seat in the bus that doesn't suffer from (one or more of) these defects. However, you will need to be very persuasive to get the driver to give it up to you!
Our seats each benefited from about 3 of the aforementioned 'special features', so we were very relieved to get to Mangalore. From there a rickshaw dropped us at the station so we could queue for an hour in the 30 degree heat for train tickets to Cochin that night which, fortunately, we secured. We then spent a pleasant couple of hours in Tagore Park reading, until the mozzies came out to play, when we headed into town to an internet cafe to upload some photos. Then across the road to the Mangalore International Hotel to purchase a sari - I've always wanted one but let Rachel buy it so as not to arouse suspicions :o) - from the aptly-named Sari Palace. A delicious meal at the hotel's Navaidyan restaurant - the best truly Indian cooking we've had on the trip so far - followed, and then it was time to head back to the station to pick up our packs from the not-so-aptly-named 'cloakroom' which seemed to have been used as a storeroom for dried chili peppers.
The journey from Mangalore in Karnataka state to Kochi (an alternative rendering of Cochin) was blissful though - all of nine and a half hours of it. We had blankets and it was cool and I slept though virtually all of it. When we awoke, we were in Kerala, where we'll remain until we leave India, temporarily, for Sri Lanka. (T)
We arrived in Mangalore around 3pm, after a very uncomfortable 2 hr bus journey from Udipi. 2 hrs is pretty small fry in terms of average journey times in India but the comfort level is all important. There are so many things you need to look out for when you decide where abouts to plonk yourself down in the bus (always assuming you have a choice of seat). Avoid the seats over the wheelarch - they're excessively bumpy. Avoid seats where someone has been sick out of the window and left a nice trail of it to obscure your view. Avoid seats which don't recline or (more often) don't