Valiathura Beach – a long sunset walk

So, I’m well enough to walk. With my boots on, my foot and ankle hardly even get fatigued during the course of a day. (I’m also taking morning and night doses of something called Lyser-D, a painkiller consisting of diclofenac sodium and serratiopeptidase. All I can find about it is that it’s a painkiller – duh.) I put myself to the test today. We laughed off a couple of cabbies before finding one who would take us to Valiathura Beach for 50 rupees. The first guy started at 200 – one way! – but as we walked away, he came down to 300 both ways with an hour of waiting. Mmmhmm. We’re not as easy to target now as when we first got here, though I still feel like we overpay for such things more often than not. Anyway, back to the walking. The driver dropped us off at the beach, asking if he should wait for us and suggesting that we should go to the “Important” beach up the road instead. James was already out of the rickshaw and taking photos of the fishing boats, so I politely told him to bug off and gave him an extra 10 rupees. Why did I argue so hard for a lesser price if I was just going to give him more? Well, I don’t really know. It’s a habit of tipping and I’m really afloat on the whole thing here in India. I’m constantly getting huge smiles or slight frowns – hardly ever the regular old “yep, it’s a tip” response. Perhaps all the frowns are faked and I overtip all the time. I don’t know. Sigh. Was this about walking? Okay, back to that… It took James and I about five minutes to get from the road to the waterline.[…]

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Veg Tables

For several days, we’ve gone from the chai-wallah to my favorite diner/restaurant in Trivandrum…Anandalakshmy: Veg Tables. Yep, that’s the name. Don’t you just love it?This place caught my eye because of the large sign out front. There is a picture of some great food and, smaller, toward the bottom, it says “Wifi.” This being a magic word, I stopped. This word means internet access from my own laptop. Skipping the crazy round of camera -> laptop -> Photoshop -> folder -> external hard drive -> internet access place -> usb -> Flickr. Instead, we can just upload the photos once they’re ready. Also, I just feel better about using my own computer for anything private. Certainly for banking. At first, we ordered small. After spending hours on the free wifi, though, we ponied up our 60 rupees each and ordered the Kerala Thali. Wow! What an experience. There are about 8 or 10 dishes (varying widely from restaurant to restaurant – some serve only a few) of mysterious names, a range of spiciness (ranging from spicy to yow!), and universal deliciousness. I’m glad that we waited before ordering this thali, because that gave me the opportunity to more-or-less discreetly watch a few other tables at the process of eating this food. You’d think that I’d been eating my whole life, surely I could figure it out. And yeah – if it’d had to guess, only my childhood traumas would have kept me from the correct method. Here it is. The meal is served in a large round metal dish. It looks like a very large cake pan (but shinier). Move the 8-10 small bowls to the outside of the main dish. On the bottom of that main dish is chappathi (or chapatti) and a puri, under that is a round[…]

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