Sweatin’ in Cochin

Hi everybody!

I am still in Cochin in Kerala state, having the time of my life.
It was so hot these last couple of days but now it's much cooler – and I am in an internet cafe with AIR-CONDITIONING!
Imagine that!

I know I have been slacking with the personal emails, but you cannot say I do not put the extra effort with the general emails.
So here are some more pictures, just in case you are missing me.

The first is of me driving a Rikshaw in Hampi. Rikshaw drivers are a unique form of human beings. Every time you hire a Rikshaw you need to be prepared. A Rikshaw driver will always know how much to charge you for a ride, even if he has absolutely no clue how to get to
the place you want. Many times he will demand a different price than what you agreed at the beginning of the ride, and of course the Rikshaw-meter has one price for Indian citizens and another for tourists (we pay four times as much).
A sense of humor is obligatory.

The second picture is me sitting with some Babas at Hanuman Temple in Hampi. You need to cross the river on a tiny tiny raft, that reminds you of Moses from the Bible. Then you need to climb some 600 steps (590 to be exact, we counted) to get to the temple.
When we arrived, all the Babas, dressed in orange, were having lunch and smoking Chillums.
The view from the top is a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

The third picture is from Sera village south of Mysore in Karnataka state. As you know, many Tibetians immigrated to India after the Dalai Lama fled the country. Sera is one of the villages where these Tibetian refugees live.
The difference between Indian and these villages is astonishing. The streets are so clean there, the people smile and they don't talk to you (i.e. "Rikshaw, Rikshaw, you need a Rikshaw?").
Heaven.

As always, I have put more pictures at my cyber photo
album at:
[…]
Some pictures are also at much better quality, and the map is always updated.

Lots of love from South India,
Shahar.

Heading South…

[10/1/2002 Cochin, Kerala, India]

Hi everybody!

Just a quick update for those of you keeping track:
The last couple of days I have been to Mysore, keeping on track and heading south.
Mysore is a big city so it is way too noisy to stay in.
I went to a village called Sera, which is actually a Tibetan refugee village.
It's amazing to see the difference between the Tibetan people and the Indian people.
The village looks like another country.
So clean, so quite, so peaceful.
It's difficult to comprehend this is still India.

Anyway, This morning I arrived with two friends, Ronit and Oren to Cochin.
My neck is killing me from the 10 hours bus drive – nothing that a good shower wouldn't fix.

Those of you who smoke cigarettes should know that there is actually a fine here if you smoke on the street.
But that's just for Indian citizens. Go figure.

Anyway, I plan to spend here a week or two and then continue south. Apparently, there's a lot to see here, so I'll explore and report to you.

By the way, if you have no idea where all those places I'm telling you are located, and you are too lazy to open an Atlas – go to:
[…]
I have put there a travelling progress map.

Lots of love from sunny India to cold Israel,
Shahar.