Wednesday, October 02, 2002

India Departs.

Trip Day 7 (I think)

Wednesday, 10/2, 9:00 pm Fisherman’s Cove Time

We leave the hotel a little later than expected, but earlier than really expected. Yes, drank way too much for my light weight status, and had a bit of a headache. Mani, our driver, took us out of Chennai, headed towards Fisherman’s Cove. While driving, we passed some road signs that said “helmets, law or not” I think trying to encourage the use of helmets on motorcycles?

It is apparent, the Indians are very fond of signs. Keith photographs the more interesting ones, usually there are signs everywhere, giving long detailed instructions. “Stop then Proceed”, “Slow Driving is Safe Driving”, “Accidents cost your life and can be expensive” “Stop then left when signaled” Everything is posted and explained in detail. Maybe this is why I get such long explanations to my questions? Maybe trained since birth, they MUST give full justification?

We passed some motorcycle shops, on the roadside, it was amazing to see a giant ox outside a shop, while some guy inside is WAILING on the side of a bike with a large hammer. I got a photo of a sign for “Water Jet Auto Wash” that showed a Honda Spree scooter being hosed down by an elephant. (I saw neither, clean scooter, or elephant at the shop). And passed a luxury apartment colony “Affordable Luxury” Is there such a thing?

As we got closer to the Fisherman’s Cove, we had to change highways, by going over a VERY narrow causeway, at one point, there was a truck taking the entire road, I thought we would be pushed into the water, but no, they worked it out with horn beeping and light flashing.

“Fisherman’s Cove strives to be the finest luxury beach resort in south India.” Is what the paper says. And you know what? They may have succeeded. Remember all that moom-bah about me wanting to move into the Four Seasons in Singapore? Well, apologies to my pals on the staff there, but this joint wins, hands down. My hotel room is a cottage, very comfy, with a back door that opens onto the Bay of Bengal. I am sitting in a rocking chair right now, looking out onto the bay at night, listening to the breakers coming in. OH MY GOD it is beautiful here. The only thing that would make it better was 2 things Sara was here, and I could breathe.

Yeah, the allergy thing has not really cleared up. I am sniffling and shorking like a messy St. Bernard. But enough of that, back to the Taj Fisherman’s Cove!

Arrive about noon, check in and am amazed, then go to lunch with Keith in the dining room. Huge buffet of Indian food, a scrumptious seafood soup like I have never tasted so good before, and swell conversation. After I eat way too much for lunch, we decide to look for the catamaran driver, and arrange a cat ride into the ocean for later. Keith finds someone, arranges, and at 4:00 we will take a catamaran out to the bay. I am thinking the same thing most of you are. Hobie cat. 2 floats, a trampoline across, a large colorful sail. Off to the room for a little catching up on some presentations, a little reading, a light nap, a little nasal drip.

3:45 I meet with Keith, who had brought sun screen, thank god, while I really hate putting greasy stuff on my bod, I know a nasty sunburn would not help. I grease up, we walk to the beach, we see the lifeguard stand, he finds the driver he knows, and we get ready to go out.

Now I had a great time, so don’t think I am bitching, but this boat is NOTHING like anything the folks at Hobie make. 2 hulls, fiberglass? NO! one hull, made from 4 logs that have been squared some, and lashed together, with 4 more tiny logs on front, lashed into a small, triangular “lip” that juts upward. Maybe 12 feet long, maybe 2 ½ feet across? Brightly colored sail? How about no sail, it is powered by a Greeves brand 4 cycle diesel motor, that 2 guys have to attach to the boat before we go. Greeves made motorcycles in England in the 60’s. This looks like a tractor motor on a special mount that lets it swivel up/down and left/right. There is a motor, and a LONG output shaft with a prop at the end, and the tiller is 2 sticks of wood lashed to a broken aluminum handle. This is gonna be so cool!

We motor out into the bay, and the guide points out all the jellyfish. Great, and we are gonna float in life jackets in this? They are everywhere…. No, they find a nice place with less fish, and we float in the bay for about an hour. It is VERY relaxing. When you are in the water, it does not matter how much your nose runs.

After floating for a while, the cat drifts too close to shore, so we climb into the boat, they start the motor, and we go out a ways, to re-drift. This is fun. I must mention, getting into the boat is less than graceful. On the second leap into the water, Keith sort of rolls backwards and out of the boat, and all I can think of is “and once again, the crew of the Calypso enters the water, diving with Jacques today……” it is fun.

We finally drift back in, crank the boat, and go to shore. Before returning to rooms, Keith and I play a little in the waves, this is fun, like being at Galveston, or Padre Island, the water is warm, but not too warm, but not frigid like in Santa Cruz. Splashing and playing in the breakers, Keith jumps up to “surf into” a wave, and his T-shirt balloons with water, he is swept in the current, and looks like a kite being blown away in the wind. Seconds later he stands up giggling, it looked like a lot of fun. Something brushes his legs, and he gets a slight sting from one of the jellyfish that came too close to shore. Eeek! Fortunately, it does not appear too bad, and we walk to the cottages to clean up.

LONG shower, I rinse all the salt water off, and rest for a while before dinner. Laying in a hammock, with a warm breeze AND the ocean? Oh yeah. VERY nice. Just what the doctor ordered. Then I got re-cleaned up and met Keith for dinner. The hotel has opened a new restaurant, outdoors, and we give it a try. Actually, we are the VERY first customers. It is on a raised field, with tables and benches under the stars. The benches have too narrow a seat, and the back is at a 90 degree angle, so they are not the most comfortable, and the table is a little low, but other than that, it is cool. Salad Nicosia followed by pasta and seafood in tomato sauce. Keith attempts to order some wine, but because it is Gandhi’s birthday celebration, the sale of alcohol has been prohibited. Actually, this is a good thing, as neither of us needs it.

The dinner was great, but the waiter, chef, host, manager and I think bottlewasher all came to ask us for feedback and comments. I bet it was day one jitters, but for no reason, the food was swell. They comp’d the meal too, since we were the first, yahoo! The only thing better than good food is FREE good food, and the only thing better than FREE good food is Free good food with naked ladies around. Well, we settled for free good food, and were happy.

Went back to the room, where I adjourned to the hammock to write this. I am considering wandering to the front building to ask where the business center is, and maybe plug in and post this, but maybe I will just crawl in bed and call it an early night.

I’d be very happy If my nose would quit running. Oddly, it is ONLY the right side, and only in little bits. I have woofed up some Afrin, but there is only so much of that a person can do, and I will not take antihistamines, as they put me right out. So if you have any suggestions, other than shove an earplug up it, I would be all willing to listen.

Tomorrow we head back to Chennai proper, and work, and Keith departs for home. More as it develops.

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