Monday, 27 October 2008

Diwali Public Holiday

Today, Monday, it was very hot and humid but with no rain. I've been dripping with sweat for much of it. The ceiling fan in the kitchen has finally given up the ghost, after grinding away for a while. I've reported the fan to the owner and she's called the electrician, though I have no idea when he'll get here (today, tomorrow, morning, afternoon or evening...). I suppose he'll turn up when he turns up; it's not worth worrying about. He also needs to fix the fan in the hall, and the fluorescent light in the "cloakroom".

With luck, Asianet will come and set up the cable connection for the Internet tomorrow or Wednesday. Apparently the large length of cable piled up in the main bedroom was connected to Asianet previously, only it was used for cable-tv before. I pulled it back out of the bedroom and have re-routed it over the roof and into the hall where there's a big table which I can use. In fact, I'm using it right now! I expect to pay a one-off charge for 12 months for unlimited usage and a data rate of 384kbs of 10,000 Rs. That's about £10.40 a month. For a rate of 512kbps I'd pay £15/month - 50% more for 25% better data rate - it's not worth it. And it's expensive - for that amount in the UK I was getting up to 8Gbps!

The lad next door informed me today that he's never been to Lighthouse Beach at Kovalam! It's 4km away at most!! He's been to Vizhinjam, a fishing village about 2km away (and destined to become an international sea port in the next few years - prices of land in the area have soared as a result). I was amazed and have told him I'll take him there one day. Meanwhile I decided to see if I could walk to Vizhinjam and find a route to Lighthouse Beach - they can't be more than 1km apart. After going up the road I managed to take the wrong turn and got a little lost but fortunately got back on track easily enough. It was a baking hot day and the roadside chai was extremely welcome. Vizhinjam is the source of many of the kids who go to SISP - everything is centred around fishing and there is a lot of illiteracy as a result (the families are very poor and the kids are needed to work to bring in some income). I wonder what will happen when this town is wiped out by the new harbour... I suppose some folk will get jobs but fishing is all that a lot of them know.

En route I saw a white guy coming out of a side shop and decided to ask for directions. Turned out he was English and you've no idea how great it was to hear a familiar accent! He said that despite living there he'd never attempted to get to Lighthouse Beach from Vizhinjam and expected the route would be barred by hotels. I decided to give it a go anyway, and was successful! It wasn't too difficult either, and went past a fantastic view of the sea and rocks which needs future investigation. I also passed many "school pen" kids!

The German Bakery is a lovely spot, overlooking the crashing waves which one of SISP's volunteers surfs on. Both times I've visited it it has been quiet, and it's a great spot to spend a luxurious half an hour or so over a cup of Chai Marsala. Everyone else there was in pairs, I was the only solo.

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