So my last message - wherein I complained about booking a train ticket and the post office - was written from Fort Cochin, a former Portuguese colony on the south-western coast of India. It's right below Goa, which is where I am now (just overnight, on my way to Hampi).
Kerala has become a popular tourist destination because of the backwaters. I went on a one-day cruise and the pictures turned out so well it was painful to pick just a couple. It was seriously jaw-dropping scenery.
Otherwise, it was a pretty quiet stay. Kochi/Fort Cochin is a nice place to relax and chill out for a while. Lots of Western-style cafes, Western-style food, that sort of thing. Pasta salads, gaspacho. I found a place to get amazing banana cream pies and kept going back.
I also got an ayurvedic massage which was...interesting. Ayurvedic massage appears to be about oils and scents as much as anything else. Oils that remove toxins, maybe? All I know is that my massage consisted of lying down on a wooden table while two ladies rubbed oil all over me while wearing nothing but a tiny little loincloth. They started with my head, which was nice - a nice scalp rub, but with oil - but then moved onto my chest, which was weird. Hard to compartmentalize, shall I say? Because they weren't doing that sort of deep-tissue kneading that I associate with massage. They were just rubbing the oil around. It was a full body massage so they moved along to the different parts. Arms. Legs. Back. No room for prudery at all, but I admit that by the end I was pretty relaxed. I'd just come back from the train station, too, so that's no small feat.
The oil smelled a bit like tamarind. Somewhere along the way I've sampled a tamarind fruit straight from the tree and it has a sort of citrus bite that smelled right. But I'm not sure. After the massage I got into a steam box for fifteen minutes...which just reminded me of I Love Lucy. Anyone else remember that episode? Where Lucy gets into that weight-loss box that's supposed to steam away all her fat and then disasters ensue? That was weird too, though less so than the massage.
Ok, I'm going to go hunt down dinner before it's totally dark out.