A quick stop in Mangalore
The place in Kannur we were staying, Malguldi Holidays, had our room booked by someone else the next day so we said our goodbyes to Tamarin and Damien and headed on the train to Mangalore.
Mangalore is a big city and we did not see that much of it. We stayed in a very nice, exceptionally clean (could not air out the smell of bleach) freshly decorated room for a bargain price and when Henry learnt that malaria is endemic there he was reluctant to go out. As we arrived in Mangalore and trudged out of the station we saw dozens and dozens of homeless people sleeping on the pavement (it was early evening). Arriving in Mangalore signalled that we had left the state of Kerala and entered Karnataka, which does not have as high a standard of living at all.
Resting after escaping from the many rickshaws that were driving along beside us trying to get our custom, we met a French man who never told us his name. He told us many places we should visit, so many we could not possibly hope to remember them, and upon hearing that we had been to the ashram of Amma he got very excited to tell us what a special person she was, a real living saint. He has been living in India for 25 years and converted to Hinduism and was on his way to stay free at at local temple.
I went out shopping and found loads of malls, many of which had western shops. I found some great ultra thin cotton trousers which I have almost be wearing ever since as they dry in about 20 minutes in the sun and brought home an actual KFC dinner for Henry which made his day. Whist there I had a look in Lush to see how it compared with the UK and it was pretty similar really. It was staffed entirely by men though (we have seen lots of women working in shops) and incredibly expensive. I think the fact that it even exists there alongside the Body Shop and Rebok shop shows how there really is an affluent middle class in India. I asked about the price of some soap and it was more than we usually pay for a meal for 2 – R450. We have been buying soap for less than R20.
We had seen the inside of the lovely hotel room and watched some odd television (one programme I caught was some Hindu rituals, which we have been told about from people who have experienced it firsthand, involving men and women going into a trance with the help of some drums, having their tongues pierced with a big stick, dancing around for a bit and then walking over some smouldering coals. Not what I expected to become glued to while flicking for some English language news!) and were not really loving the 5am call to prayer from the PA system of the mosque next door we decided to move on for New Years and headed North again.
It seems I did not take any photographs in Mangalore…
(Mangalore – 27 – 28th December 2011)