December 13, 2000: Day 9, Mangalore
Date: 12/13/00, 2:03 AM EST (12:33 PM in India)
Re: Message from Internet
Hello from Mangalore, India!
We've just arrived here today, back in the urban fray after a wonderful time lounging at a posh resort on the Arabian Sea, up in Bogmalo, Goa. The weather was just perfect, with beautiful sunsets every day visible from our room and the huge tiled open-air veranda/porch at the hotel.
Since we were letting ourselves adjust both chronologically and culturally, we didn't do too much from there, but did manage a couple of walks from the hotel, and a day trip up to Pangim and Old Goa, where there are many huge old cathedrals built by the Portugese from 1500 onward. These outings also helped us adjust most of the rest of our cultural thresholds on space and cleanliness so that we now fel quite comfortable out and about amongst the smoky cars, rickshaws, mopeds, busses, and everybody else crowding the streets to do their shopping.
Here in Mangalore, we spent some time hiking around and found some of the nicest shop areas we've seen so far... lots of great little stores along narrow winding roads that have little motor traffic. Hopefully our photos will come out, especially my surreptitious aim-and-shoot approximations that I'm doing to try to get some candid shots of the wonderful outfits people here wear (many and varied according to religion, caste, etc).
Although we feel our throats again, the air is still reasonable here and not too terribly polluted (compared to Mumbai anyway; it certainly is worse than the great air we had in Bogmalo!).
We're both actually a bit tired out at the moment because we took an overnight train that was 1 hour late and only got to sleep in cramped quarters from about midnight until 5 AM. We took the so-called 3-tier AC sleeper car this time (3rd class they call it, but that is sort of misleading because it's not what europeans would think that means... no animals and you get a fair amount of lying down space, layered 3 above each other (hence the name). Nothing is immaculate of course, but we felt quite comfortable stretching out and napping without worrying about fleas or other such stuff.
Actually, we had some further delays at our hotel here that prevented us from getting more sleep... they had put us into two grungy carpeted rooms in which housekeeping had literally strewn about moth balls all over the place... with predictable air quality results. Gina and I only lasted about 10 minutes before we fled to the lobby (not only because of the smell but also because of the many mosquitos in the room... the window casing had a 1/2" crack underneath its entire length).
Rashmi and Prasad also did not want to stay there so we asked for a better room and after being shown several other bad ones, they decided to bounce the Jet Airways reservation out of Suite #601, which is a huge 4-room suite with granite tile floor, panoramic view, etc, and no mosquitos, carpet, and mothballs only inside of the wardrobe (which we will just refrain from using). This is quite satisfactory, aside from not having had any hot water for our showers even though we took them within the alloted hot water times. The price is 1600/-- Rs, or about $30/nite!
So that's where we'll be for the next two nights... the Moti Mahal in Mangalore. We'll be visiting with family here with the obligatory and probably quite tasty meals at the various houses (but we'll have to be careful as always).
On Friday we do another overnight train ride (this time in posh 2-tier AC sleeper class, and for a longer more reasonable night). That will take us to somewhere from which we have a car taking us another 3 hours to Alleppi. We'll try to write again after that but as we head further south we don't know what to expect by way of internet connectivity.
Which reminds me that we have real hand-written letters and cards for many of you but we cannot mail them because of a postal strike... in fact we can't even get stamps until that is cleared up...
Thanks to those of you that sent us news and email... we aren't responding to individual messages because of the slow connectivity here. Actually, if you do respond to messages from us, please don't include our message in your reply... when I mean slow, I mean slow! Makes my 56kbps modem at home look like a dream come true!
Well, that's about it for now. Time for lunch... we're both starving and need to figure out which way it's back to our hotel! ;-)
Hope all is well!
Stephan (sweaty typist) and Gina (supervisor trying to stay cool under the fan)
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