Right now it's hard to hear myself think. The Hindu temple, which is perhaps a kilometre away, has slung up two PA speakers in the palm tree across the road from my house. My bedroom is about 10 metres from them. The whole house is echoing with temple music which is at near-distortion levels. It is bloody torture. I hadn't seen the temple before but I followed the wires, hoping to find some point low enough to cut them - which I'm seriously tempted to do. The noise started at 8:30 last night and went on until 10, then it started up again at 05:00 this morning and it's been on and off all day. I'm told it's to celebrate a festival but no one has been able to tell me which one. They also tell me it will end tonight. God I do hope so. Drums, ankle bells, finger cymbals and squawking "trumpets", chanting men and wailing women. It has no melody and is just noise. I can hear it over loud music on my headphones so I can't drown it out. I have ear plugs meant for working with machinery and I can still hear it with them pushed fully in. In fact I push them in so far I wonder if the vacuum caused by pulling them out will damage my ears. I can't block the noise out of the house either - all the rooms have long slot ventilators at ceiling height, all windows are single-glazed, and the door and window frames are warped and don't seal. Trouble is, if I complain then I'll probably be lynched by the Hindu nutters, and if the police get involved, it might reveal that I'm "working" on a tourist visa and so I'd get kicked out of India. The kids next door tell me that it's especially bad in January to March. Oh great.
It's the girl next door's birthday tomorrow and I'd arranged to take the kids to the zoo in Trivandrum. This meant that I escaped the noise for some of the time. The auto-rickshaw arrived at 9:30 and it was a great relief to get out of the area. We met up with Alessandra and Silvia, two Italian lady visitors to SISP (they came from SISP's aiutare i bambini sponsor organisation there), and had an enjoyable time walking around in the quiet and trees surrounding the enclosures. The environment for the animals is not especially good and very far from the standard of London Zoo for example. I would hate to be a big vulture, couped up all day in a cage too small to fly in. There was little in the way of greenery in a lot of the cages, many cages were empty, and there seemed to be a lot of peacocks making up the numbers. There was a limping lame stag deer which was in obvious pain because it kept licking it's swollen foot but the keeper just wiggled his head when it was pointed out. Anyway, the kids tell me they liked the zoo, which was the main objective.