Every travel has stories. It is always nice to meet people those tell you interesting things. This story is about hitting upon opportunities. Choosing an organization to volunteer with is always difficult. It is important that you pick a cause and then look for places to volunteer. After my trip to Kerala, I took up an opportunity to volunteer with a British charity. I wanted to volunteer but I did not know which organization to choose. But then during one my conversations with my roommate, he mentioned he would be back to India to volunteer as a Team Leader.
He mentioned that there were openings for Indian team leaders. This got me interested, and I did some research about the charity before calling them up. After the conversation and the interviews it was easy to say Yes because I had made a decision to work on a project in a rural area. The experience is in the next post.
In November 2014 I quit my job and took a trip to Kerala. A forty minute flight and an hour’s bus ride from the airport brought me to Fort Kochi, my first stop in Kerala. It had just started to rain and I walked ten minutes to find my dorm room in a traveler’s hostel. I could have taken a single room but I chose to stay in the dorm room. I wouldn’t have volunteered with that British charity had I taken a single room. The first evening was boring; the two Australian teens kept to themselves. There were Jamie and Eoin (Owen) in the dorm room, who I became friends with later, and so I had dinner alone. The air conditioning made me sleep but I woke up in the middle of the night when the air conditioning went off.
Power was not restored until morning. The reason was that Jamie, one of my roommates had the main switch to the room next to his bed. He kicked it in his sleep taking out the electricity supply in the room. The women changed their hotel, me being sleep deprived went out to check out Fort Kochi in the morning. I came back early and went to bed, just then Jamie, and then Eoin came in.
‘Hey, I am going to have tea at the tea shop nearby, are you coming?’ which was the first thing I asked Jamie.
‘Yes’, he said. Even Eoin joined us.
Just then we had two new people come in to the dorm. Kylie, a medic who had just quit her job in Britain and traveled to India, and Mr. N, a Paraguayan who traveled and worked in Europe the last six months and had come to India. They had met at the Kochi airport and decided to come here. After proper introductions we walked to Kashi’s art café for tea, then to a beach side restaurant for dinner, and then for a drink next to our hostel. After we came back to the hostel, the Paraguayan met a Swiss German girl. While the rest of us went and slept in our room, the Paraguayan had already cozied up with the Swiss. He did not come back to the room that night. The next morning we met Mr. N at breakfast. He looked sleep deprived.
‘Did you sleep? Who kept you awake?’ Kylie asked.
‘Hmm…I need some breakfast’, he managed to answer.
It was our last day together in Kochi. We had become friends already going out to dinners together. Jamie and Kylie decided to travel to Wayanad the following morning, and I wanted to travel to Allappey, but a day later. Eoin had already left to Mumbai and from there he would go back to Dublin. Jamie and I talked about problems in our respective counties, in the world, and then he told me about his travels in India. During our conversation we also talked about Mr. N and the Swiss girl.
‘I doubt they’ll be together’, I said. Jamie agreed.
‘Did you hear anything unusual last night?’ I asked.
‘No I was fast asleep as soon as I got to the room. But Kylie heard Mr. N wank. She was disgusted that he did that in the room.’
‘She thinks Mr. N was masturbating?’
‘No. He brought the Swiss girl in. They were making out’.
‘Oh’, Jamie said with a surprise.
‘Last night after we came back from dinner, you guys went to sleep while I stayed in the living room. The girls and Mr. N came in with some. We shared the beer. They were all ok. After that I went to sleep. It was 12 in the night and I still hadn’t slept. Just then I saw a silhouette of Mr. N coming in to the room and climbed to his bed which surprised me. Less than a minute later the Swiss girl came in too. Oh here it goes I thought to myself. They made out. They did have a bed sheet over them, thanks to them. It was dark but I could see the bed sheet trashing. I watched for two minutes after which I got bored and fell asleep. I was alright with it but could not stand that noise.’
‘Those girls, Mr. N, and I shared the beer last night, but this morning they could not even look me in the eye.’
‘Ah that explains it. I said hello to that girl in the living room this morning, and I did not get a hello back. She ignored me and now I know why.’
Kylie who was having trouble sleeping joined us in the living room.
‘Hey, you know Mr. N wasn’t wanking, he was making out with the Swiss’, Jamie told Kylie.
‘What? How dare they?’ Kylie said.
Kerala is a dry state. It is illegal to sell liquor in Kerala. But my roommate proved that it is not hard to find some, at least not for him. The hostel I stayed in Kochi had a branch in Allappey. Ten minutes after I got there, my American roommate, Scott got there. I had met him in Kochi. We had only said hello to each other, but we met formally at Allappey.
He went for a walk in the town, and I went to the beach. Both of us came back later in the evening, but we had time to kill. So a search for liquor got underway. After ten minutes we found a liquor store. But there were people around the store and reaching the counter became tough. The bottles were kept in the shelf and there was metal sheet covering the bottles, and the door was in a semi closed state so that the management could bolt it from the inside. And yes, Scott reached the counter and he got the liquor. End of story.
Kerala Story Number 5
My blog post about Kochi.
Blog post about Allappey
About my stay at Varkala.