Saturday, 18 October 2008

Somewhat jet lagged

I met with Paul today, manager and founder of SISP, the NGO I'm going to work at. Have to say I was a little disappointed by what appeared to be his lack of enthusiasm to have me. Almost the first thing he said was that the tourist visa I have was not applicable for volunteer work and could get me into trouble. I know that, of course, but there is nothing more suitable. He took great care to question my motives. Naturally it's only right that he's cautious - it's just that his caution felt much more like reluctance. Anyway, I filled in an application form and have an appointment to speak with the English teacher tomorrow.

This contrasts with the more enthusiastic message I got from our email exchanges... oh well, if this doesn't work out there are plenty more places I can go to. And I am jet-lagged so might be misreading all this!

I brought a mains distribution block with me from the UK, and today bought and fitted a 6A round-pin plug on the end of it. It's in use right now, topping up my laptop's battery, following a mains black-out 19:00 to 19:30. Apparently it is scheduled for every day - the hydro dams have insufficient water this year.

I also did my first bit of clothes washing, doing it as many Indians do, in a bucket. I'm not sure if they'll dry tonight; although hot it is also very humid. During the day I watched and chatted with a young chap doing ironing on a hand cart. He had a huge charcoal-filled iron and a pot of water, and some sheets of newspaper, and that was about all. No mains lead to worry about but you'd need strong wrists. Still, I suppose the iron's weight helps press the clothes flat. He was doing an excellent job.

I decided to have the leg length of my Rohan trousers altered (20Rs = 27p) at a tailor's across the street. While out, I bought two delicious bananas for 9Rs for supper. Bananas here come in many sizes and colours and I expect to have fun checking them all out! Lunch today was a filling Indian "meal" - a rice dosa and many pickles or sauces plus chaia for 35Rs + 5Rs.

I had a walk down to Kovalam Beach and seriously wonder why this place is so popular! OK, there are three sandy bays but they are not so big or clean. The waves roar fantastically and some parts are palm-tree fringed but there's not too much sand to sit on. There are loads of hotels and loads of touts, and quite a few tourists even now, out of season. And I spotted what looked suspiciously like a sewerage pipe, emptying onto the sand. It might only be street run-off but there was a slight smell... No, I can't figure this place out! Mind you, sitting in one of the many sea-facing restaurants or verandas and chilling is probably quite pleasant!

I spotted what appeared to be a huge bat as I walked home in the evening along the unlit road (there are street lamps, they just don't work!). It glided past at tree-top height with barely a flap of wings, black silhouetted against the slightly less black cloudy sky. A fruit bat perhaps? It's a bit like some of the "rickshaws" here - they don't turn their lights on (or perhaps have none) so you only see them if there's a car with lights behind. Crossing roads at night time is kinda interesting!

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