Writing from a very different point of view this week. Sitting in a funky second story restaurant called “Beatles” where it’s the theme of the music. Looking out to the ocean where hundreds of Indians and foreigners alike enjoy a relaxing sunday on the beach. Im in Kovalum....about 450km from Nilambur. Almost at the very southern tip of India now. Im here for holiday time, to reflect on my journey so far and to get myself mentally prepared for the final leg of this trip and returning home. I feel a kind of culture shock in that this is the first time in 6 weeks to see other foreigners. The Indian food here doesn’t have the same spice...in fact non at all. The prices for everything are ten fold and I’m not the special token ‘siape‘ (foreigner in Malayalam) anymore. I’ve lost my star power and it comes with mixed feelings. I came here partially to escape the constant attention and I find myself missing it a little but even more I miss the daily interactions with my Nilambur friends.
So let me back up to where I left off last week. A few more kiln loads were fired to get pieces up to temperature and therefor strength that is acceptable to my standards:) Days were spent packing boxes of my own work as well as visiting the other locations in the area that I have purchased things to ship home. Wednesday we loaded the truck in the afternoon to be able to make an early start Thursday morning. The first clay shop we arrived at had me in the back of the truck up to my knees in straw. After loading my personal boxes, the next load of 150 flower pots were carefully wrapped in straw by yours truly and nestled into the back. Luckily the next shop had some labour I could get to load the rest of the flower pots and bowls. Feeling excited about the following days adventure I stayed up half the night making lists and packing for the journey. I needed to prepare extra as I would be leaving this home that I have become so comfortable in for more then just the trip to Kochi. Leaving for close to 2 weeks so I could continue on south after Kochi to Kovalum for holiday time.
Thursday morning started out early as a 6am rickshaw pick up with Sherif to get some travel time in before the heat of midday. Our driver was super sweet and I am constantly surprised at the kinds of questions that are asked to Sherif about me. What I eat seems to be a constant conversation topic along with how I can handle the heat of the climate. People are always so thrilled to hear my meagre attempts at the language. It’s impossible to describe the size smile and look of surprise that spreads over anyones face when I offer up the few phrases I’ve come to learn. The overwhelmingly positive response encourages me to continue asking questions and learning.
It was a great ride and I loved the point of view seeing the sights from such an elevated level from the cab of the truck. It was priceless to see the look of surprise on other drivers faces to see me sitting in the front seat. I joked I would probably cause an accident with the surprise to the other drivers when I was offered (jokingly) if I wanted to drive the truck. We stopped a few times for food and pick up more pots I’d put deposits on in the previous trip. After arriving to the storage facility.... everything was unloaded with the help of at least 15 men and discussed further arrangements for the upcoming weeks. I keep having to shake my head to figure out if I’m dreaming on this adventure. This was a big day in my mind and it went so smoothly I felt great comfort in thinking ..... this is supposed to be happening. Everything is falling into place. The question ‘How did I get so lucky?‘ passes through my mind countless times daily.
Spend the night in Kochi and hopped on the 9:30am train the next morning for Trivandrum. Arriving in at 3:00pm and taking a 45 min rickshaw drive to the beach. I remembered the sites and landmarks from my last year adventure here. I returned to the same Wilsons Ayurvedic Retreat just a street back from the beach. Thanks to facebook...my yoga teacher and Ayurvedic doctor remembered me from last year and I was instantly at ease that I had arrived to the right spot once again. Not exactly sure how long I will spend here but at least a week...maybe 10 days.
That’s it. The sun has set and I’ve eaten my pakoras and drunken my first Kingfisher beer since arriving in India. Tomorrow morning rooftop yoga. Im trying to soak up everything but the end feels so close I find myself already planning my arrival back to Toronto and all the lovely people I want to embrace. It’s one of the wonderful things about travel when you have an incredible home, family and friends to return to. It’s to soon to get bittersweet quite yet. Until next week. much love. xo t
About This Journey
Combining my love of travel with my love of creating in clay comes this newest adventure. After spending 10 days in Nilambur last year during a 3 month exploration of India....I am returning to spend 9 weeks. Talented and generous clay artist - Sherif Nilambur invited me to share his studio space so here I am to take him up on his offer. The plan is loose in terms of what is being made and what will come of it but hearts are open so we can't go wrong.