Indian Tales 10 – Final days

Varkala was a tourist resort before the pandemic, but that changed everything. The Kerala regional government was proactive during the crisis. I can remember reading a long article about the Health Minister, K. K. Shailaja, who received international…

Indian Tales 9 – Varkala

It was hot. We were on Ernakulam station waiting for them to announce which platform the train to Varkala would arrive on. This time we had seats in an AC carriage confirmed. Meanwhile, we sat under an ineffectual fan and imagined the air was…

Indian Tales 8 – Munnar Tea Plantations

In India it’s not uncommon to hire a car and driver for certain journeys. They may be when you’ve left booking a train too late, or more often where there’s no direct route. Our driver for the trip to Munnar was booked by our Homestay…

Indian Tales 7 – Fort Kochi

Next morning after a Keralan breakfast of fresh fruit, veg curry and chapati, we wandered down to the beach. Fort Kochi was once a small fishing village, and it is still known for its fishing nets, which drew us down to the coast this sunny…

Indian Tales 4 – Night Bus

I’ve never been very good at sleeping when travelling. I can’t get comfortable sat upright. But then I have never tried a proper night bus. You know the type; curtained off flat beds, often on two levels and an invisible journey through…

Indian Tales 3 – Pondicherry

Our driver pulled into the entrance to Hotel le Royal in Pondicherry. The curved drive led to glistening glass doors and a liveried doorman. We stepped through into air conditioned, marbled elegance. A step up from the austere room at our Chennai…

Indian Tales 2 – Mamallapuram

Mamallapuram is easier to say than it first appears. Try this: Mammal-lap-uram. See, easy. The town, which is in the Chennai metropolitan area, is 35 miles from the big city. Not far, you might think, but factor in the crazy, urban traffic…

Indian Tales 1 – Chennai

Our 5am arrival at Chennai Airport was misleading. The road outside the terminal was deserted. The only man driving a cart saw our confusion. The direction and distance to an ATM was unclear. He offered to take us, luggage and all. Rupees acquired…