Lights, Camera, Bollywood

The ferry captain from Kollam had kindly arranged a hotel room for me, perhaps it was owned by his uncle, but who cares.  They met me at the ferry with a sign “Stephen Davis Australia”. This was a smart move in case there was another Stephen Davis on board.

When I walk into the office, I am greeted by “‘ow’s it going mite”, the broadest, thickest Australian accent I have ever heard, that it was coming out of the mouth of an Indian was incredible.

Master of the Aussie accent

Master of the Aussie accent

Meet Dileep, an English teacher from Bangalore (did I get that right Dileep?).  His mastery of the Aussie accent puts me to shame and I consider engaging him for lessons.  Over dinner and breakfast he also shares his cockney accent which is actually better than his Indian accent.  But I outdo him with my American accent and can see that he will go and watch many John Wayne movies to hone his to perfection.  Great meeting you Dileep (he said he would look forward to reading about himself).

There's a strong communist sentiment here.

Stencil graffiti. There’s a strong pro communist sentiment here.

The title of this post was a toss up between what I went with and I Met The Devil And He Drives A Bus From Kollam To Kochi.  You know that fine line between incredible skill and sheer luck?  This bus swerved from one side of that line to the other for a couple of hours, overtaking and undertaking everything in its path, that there may not be room wasn’t important.  This guy was alpha bus driver and I didn’t even know there was such a thing.  But again, he lives, so unless he really is the Devil, he is doing something right.

Fort Kochi is quite a historical place and by Indian standards is quite quaint.  The walk along the promenade is a pretty popular tourist destination for Indians and can best be described as your typical tourist trap.

I have anchored spelling mistakes, after all English is not their first language. But this one was too funny

I have avoided joking about the countless spelling mistakes, after all English is not their first language. But this one was too funny

Having said that, seeing where the Kerala Backwaters flow out into the ocean was pretty interesting and I did enjoy some hot peanuts and a fruit juice a the sun went down.

But as has already happened every day, there is some sort of serendipitous fun along the way to the planned destination.

While unpacking and showering, there were intermittent drums not far away.  They were just that bit too intermittent to work out exactly where they were coming from.  Lucky me, they started again just as I ventured out and I found myself in a park with what I thought was some sort of celebration.  Well it was, but it was being faked for a movie camera, and I then noticed the typical production detritus all around.  I have no idea what they were shooting and I don’t think it qualifies as Bollywood, but who cares.


I watched a couple of takes which basically was a bunch of dressed up characters and people with colourful props being excited and dancing and being joyous as they paraded past the camera.

If you know me, you know that I am up for anything, so I asked if I could join in and was, as usual, ushered to the very front.  A handful of other westerners were watching and they joined in.  With colourful props in hand we excitedly  danced joyously past the camera and although we’ll likely end up on the metaphorical cutting room floor, it was a blast.

Almost a Bollywood starlet

Almost a Bollywood starlet.  No, I did not make the balloon hats on the women.  But I did turn one into a dog which impressed everyone :o)

One of the missions in Kochi was to visit the company that does tech support for the server.  A ferry across the river and a tortuously bumpy 30 minute auto ride funds me out the front of a pretty flash new looking building.  Also outside the building are about 10 staff members and they aren’t having smoko, they are there to greet me, one even has a bunch of flowers for me.

The Support Monk team

The Support Monk team

It was good to meet the people who I count on when something goes wrong and  I was delighted to discover they aren’t fly-by-nighters.  The owner and I talk, it gets awkward when we run out of things to talk about so we play table tennis, then the tortuous return journey is repeated.  While I appreciate the gift, I give the flowers to auto driver for his wife.

You know, I could get used to this honoured guest thing.

Spice seller

Spice seller


Making a Masala blend

Making a Masala blend.  I had to break his heart and try to explain I didn’t need 5kg of spices.

Just received an SMS that my train tomorrow has changed from wait list to confirmed!  Yay!  Goa for two nights then into Mumbai which every one assures me is going to be crazy.

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