Can't believe it is already the last month of 2011! 'Happy December Birthdays' to both my parents born either end of the month. 'Happy Birthday' to Vivienne (long suffering school friend and bridesmaid in 97). Before Xena and Torin (niece and nephew) chide me 'Happy Birthday' to Siggy (their dog) who is now officially even older than me.
Back in Fort Cochin 'Pearl of the Arabian Sea' it is hot, hot, hot. Keralan climes are soaring high in the 80s and with at least 50% humidity we have changed all our travel plans, seeking refuge up in the hill stations from tomorrow. Ayurvedic massages, yoga, general pampering, short treks and... healthy food... are definitely on my menu to recoup from all this Indian jetsetting.
Thankfully we found time to go to a Kathakali which is typical of Kerala and dates back to the 17th century. Translating as 'story play,' it used to go on for up to 9 hours and even today only the creme de la creme can cut it. If you want to perform it'll take 6 years just to learn about applying make up - the main characters gave us an intricate demo and it is easy to understand why.... It takes 6 years to learn the deft dancing and stylised gesticulations - they use face, eye, leg and hand muscles you would never know existed. I am sure my niece, Cerys would have loved it!
Also obligatory is the backwater cruise on a rice boat through a network of canals to see village life and a trip to the oldest Jewish synagogue in Asia (16th century). Despite getting through 4 homestays (avoiding lizards, mice, centipedes and tropical dampness amongst other things) Kerala has been enjoyable, let's see what the next chapter holds.