Today we left Joseph and Tilma’s place with a heavy heart. The place itself was basic (for £5 a night it was a steal) but it was the owners who had made our stay memorable. I will never forget Tilma’s tea. I don’t even usually like tea! Their kindness and willing to help when we struggled through that first day will not be forgotten. But we were also excited as today, we were travelling to Alleppey to board our very own houseboat for the day/night. Joseph had arranged a tuk tuk driver friend to take us, rather than paying for an expensive taxi. As it turned out, the journey itself was rather enjoyable. Our driver stopped off at various points of interest (some more interesting than others) and allowed us to hop off and take pictures. We even had a half hour stroll along the beach. After the 3 hour journey he finally dropped us off at the houseboat office. Rather conveniently he didn’t have change, so we had to pay him 500INR over. Georgia still fumes about it now 😭😂. Lesson learned.
11 January 2018
Today we both woke up feeling much fresher and optimistic about our time in India. Yesterday was tough, but we put it behind us and spent the afternoon (we had a lie in) exploring Fort Kochi. Maybe yesterday affected our outlook a tad, but we both found Fort Kochi a bit uninspiring. The ‘famous’ Chinese fishing nets were surrounded by litter, and the churches/synagogues that are on the tourist itinerary were just alright. However, Tilma had booked us tickets for a Kathakali show in the evening which turned out to be really interesting. Kathakali is a traditional art form originating in Kerala. It involves bright makeup/costumes and a LOT of eye movements. We arrived early to watch the makeup being applied, and they even gave the audience a tutorial on all the basic eye/hand/body movements used throughout the performance. Thankfully we also had a sheet that explained the story, as that tutorial went over my head a bit 🙈. We chatted about the show over a nice meal and called it a do.
10 January 2018
After starting the day on such a high, it turned out to be one of the worst days of my life. To cut a long story short, none of our bank cards were working and neither were our phones. So we’d basically landed in an unfamiliar country and had no money or way of contacting anyone. Thinking about it depresses me, so I won’t go into the details. But eventually, by some bizarre miracle, a cash machine finally spat some money back out at us. I was so happy I even gave the tuk-tuk driver a hug! We later figured out that he way overcharged us in the end, but neither of us cared. Even after we explained our situation to him, he still offered to drive us round on the hunt for ATMs. He was worth every penny. Anyway, we now have cash and our homestay hosts Joseph and Tilma have made us feel very welcome, so we’re ok for now. Welcome to India.
Sat in Dubai airport at 2am, already missing our comfy, Ibis bed and sharing our thoughts and fears on our next destination, we received an email informing us that we’d been upgraded to Business class for the upcoming flight. Business class! And it was everything we’d hoped it would be. The chair that reclined into a bed made it for me. I slept so well I didn’t even get chance to enjoy all the other perks! Apart from the free champagne, obvs. Georgia attempted watching an episode of Desperate Housewives on her +size TV before she too succumbed to the lack of sleep. Life is good.
9 January 2018
Our last day in Dubai 😢. Again it was pretty steady, spent taking in some of the main sites across the city such as the Palm Jumeirah/Atlantis, the 7* Burj Al Arab hotel and the famous Dubai fountains show beneath the Burj Khalifa. We loved the Atlantis hotel. The feel around the place had us reminiscing over our trip to Florida in 2014. It even has a monorail that transports folk to and from the mainland. We managed to catch a nice sunset over the Burj Al Arab before we headed back to the Dubai Mall for the fountain show. Our love for all things edible led us to The Cheesecake Factory, where we allowed ourselves to splurge on 2 of the best cheesecakes we’ve ever had. Our pockets lighter and our stomachs heavier, we found the fountains. We were impressed with the show. It was the perfect way to end our stopover in Dubai. We both loved how clean and tidy Dubai is, the standard of living being way better than anywhere in the UK. We get the hype. But for now, onto our next stop...India.
8 January 2018
The 1st stop of the day was Karama Shopping complex, which was quite the opposite to glitz and glam of the Dubai Mall. Our aim here was to pick up some ‘designer’ sunglasses, which we both achieved. We were the only westerners around so we were the obvious targets of every shop owner, but they were all friendly and took no for an answer. We then returned to the hotel with our new purchases to prepare for an evening in the desert.
We loved the desert safari! After getting picked up from our hotel in a 4x4, we headed into the desert for some ‘dune bashing’. I was sat by the window, therefore on more than 1 occasion I was hanging over the edge of a dune fearing the worst. We survived though, and eventually jumped out at a desert camp which included various activities. We passed on the camel ride, but Georgia got a small and rather comical Henna before we stuffed our faces at the buffet. The entertainment (particularly the belly dancers 😜) rounded off what was another great day in Dubai.