Start of a long weekend, and I awoke to a lazy morning at around 1100, only to be caught up in a discussion about which place to travel to with Vishal (aka Don) and Vinay (aka Bhai, the species normally found in Dubai). Don wanted to go watch a snake boat race happening in Payipad which, according to my theory of non-Euclidian geometry, is about 1104 stones thrown away from Kozhikode. Google maps puts it at around 276 km from Kozhikode.
From there, we would go to Munnar, which every tourist in Kerala worth their body salt has to go to, it is the holy grail of hill stations. The plan was to catch a train to Allepey (or Allapuzha), find a place to sleep, go to Payipad the next day, wonder in amazement at the snake boat race and then make our way to Munnar and spend a day there as well.
As luck would have it, the train we had hoped to catch in the afternoon was completely booked. Turns out, there is no general compartment in the Jan Shatabdi train, so you cannot behave like a Mumbaikar and get in even if there is half the population of Equatorial Guinea in it. Decent law abiding citizens that we are, plans were hastily changed and tickets were bought for the next train, which would only go upto Ernakulam. We would have to spend the night at Ernakulam instead of Allepey, and then march in full armour towards Allepey as soon as it was sunrise.
The next train was a passenger train and you can ‘upgrade’ your tickets to a reserved ticket by talking, no, pleading to the TTE. So we managed to get some comfortable seats and would have soon died of sheer boredom and famine if not for two things. One, the train stopped at Shornur where we found the crispiest, tastiest medu vadas this side of the Tropic of Capricorn. Two, Don had with him his iPod touch and this amazing game happened to be loaded on it. Enough said.
We reached Ernakulam between 8.30 and 9 and to our dismay, all the hotels near the station were booked. Bhai’s contacts suggested a rather nice place on MG Road called Anand Bhavan, which offered a plethora of options on rooms. A three bed room booked, it was time to pay our respects to the stomach god. There was a restaurant near Anand Bhavan which offered ghastly food (if I remembered the name, I would have plastered it here dear reader but it seems to have been copied onto a floppy disk and then erased from my memories by the restaurant guys, which no doubt, is payback for not tipping). Thankfully, a Haji Ali juice centre is situated nearby and for you can taste heavenly falooda and icecream if you have deep pockets, which thankfully, we had more than one could wish for (Bhai had a suitcase full of cash and gold biscuits you see, much like Bollywood villains of yore).
We wanted to go and get some much needed sleep, but Wanted happened to be playing and Bhai, Don and me could not take our wicked eyes off Ayesha Takia. It was to be another 1-2 hours before we could get some shut eye.