Crazy Kochi and Kathakali!!!

Trip Start Jun 07, 2008
Trip End Jun 28, 2009

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Flag of India  , Kerala,
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yesterday, we had to say goodbye to Indrajit Latey. He has been an amazing guide and is really, really fun and nice. He also knows a lot about tigers, birds, and all kinds of animals, trees and things. While we were in Agra, he told us about how he helped save the Dancing Bears of Agra. People used to capture sloth bears and make them dance in chains in Agra right by the Taj Mahal. He helped convince some of the owners of the bears to give the bears to zoos and he helped the people find other jobs. Now there are no dancing bears in Agra, which is great because they were torturing the bears. Indrajit showed us some of his photos of animals and I hope when he comes to the States he will give some talks at some schools. He is such a nice guy. I will miss him very much.

We got to stay in Mumbai last night at a cool airport hotel with a laser show, aquarium, and glass elevators. Lu and I loved it! All the rooms had balconies that looked out over the indoor area, where there was a lagoon and huge TVs. We missed our flight to Kochi yesterday, but we got here early this morning. We are staying at a cool old hotel right by the Arabian Sea and we can see ferries and lots of fishermen from our balcony. Dad and I saw a guy pull a giant eel right out of the water in front of us! This afternoon we went swimming in the pool and played water polo, which was fun! It is much hotter and more humid here than in Delhi - it looks and feels like Florida where Gram Judi lives. The men here wear these short skirts that look kind of like bath towels. I thought they were all going for a bath, but the driver said that is what men wear here. There are lots of coconuts, bananas of all sizes, and tons of fish for sale by the side of the road.

Tonight we went for a sunset cruise on a little boat. We motored past the Chinese fishing nets, which are huge and have big rocks hanging from them, and we saw a huge German cruise ship right next to us. We also saw the Indian Coast Guard station and a Liberian cargo ship. I did not see any dolphins yet. The captain let Lu and me drive the boat, which was fun.

It is the day before Thanksgiving, so I also talked to my Gram Anne on the phone. It will be strange to have Thanksgiving in India. I don't think there will be any turkey.

Tonight before a seafood dinner, we went to watch a Kathakali dance and some guys doing cool martial arts things with swords and sticks. The Kathakali dancers were all men, although one of them was dressed like a woman. They acted out a play with Lord Shiva and a hunter, who is trying to take Lord Shiva's bow and arrow. The actors wear these huge costumes, with big skirts and super tall hats. Their faces are painted in crazy colors, like green and one guy had a daisy on his nose. They make all sorts of weird movements with their eyes - it looks like they are about to pop out sometimes. After the play, we met the actors, who were very sweaty and skinny, then had dinner in the dark because there is a blackout here for part of the night to save energy. We also wrote notes to Indrajit, who I miss. We drive to a new place tomorrow - maybe I will see more tigers!
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