So this week is Diwali – the Hindu festival of lights – where people light lights and open doors to guide Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth, to your household for the coming year. Due to this holiday, we got a week off. My first chance to go on an adventure.

 

I decided to vacation to Kerala – the southwestern most state in India. It is known as God’s Own Country, and is supposed to be lush and green and full of hill stations, national parks, houseboats, and elephants. I bought my plane ticket and picked out where I wanted to visit. I would end up with 2 days in one of the hill station towns, 2 days in a national park – with crocodiles, elephants, and tigers, a night on a house boat, and a day in one of the cities.

 

Shortly before I left, my boss was very worried because I hadn’t booked where I wanted to stay yet. So I spent some time and finally found places to stay everywhere I was going. It was mostly inexpensive hotels, home stays, and a couple of nicer places – like one of the hotels in the national park, and a houseboat.

 

Saturday I flew down and was picked up by a taxi to go to my home stay Home stays are amazing. It is essentially someone how has turned their house into a hotel/hostel type place. They don’t seem to be elaborate, but are often inexpensive and often include at least 1 meal a day. They also have the added benefit of letting you interact with the other people staying there – generally over meals. I got there about 8 and got settled. At dinner there were 4 lovely ladies from Spain as well as another woman from Mumbai and her mother. They were also headed to Munnar (a hill station full of tea plantations) and we made arrangements to hire a driver together and stop along the way to see elephants and possibly help them bathe.

 

After dinner I decided to head out to the bank because I wasn’t carrying a whole lot of cash – and it doesn’t get you very far here but is often needed. It was a beautiful evening out. It was still warm but there was a nice breeze. Everything was quiet and there were insect sounds.

 

I was walking along the street because the sidewalk seemed to often be filled with cars and trees and there weren’t really cars on the road. At one point, there was a car coming toward me and I realized that I was hard to see, so I stepped up onto the sidewalk ……………and down into the sewer.

 

Some lovely guys on motorbikes stopped and helped haul me out of this hole of much (not sure it was actually a sewer – may have just been a hole of mud, leaves, and such). Overall, it smelled a lot like the marsh mud I used to have to play in Georgia – so not as bad as it could have been. They banged on the door of the house we were in front of until the man came out. He was nice enough to let me use the outside spigot to at least dump a couple of buckets of water over my head and rinse off my face. One of the guys gave me a ride on his motorcycle back to the home stay I even rode sidesaddle like a proper Indian woman.

 

Once back at the home stay I rinsed off more outside before heading directly into the shower. Once I had finally gotten the goop off me and done an initial rinse of my clothes, I started to unload my knitting bag/purse I had been carrying. The amazing woman I was staying with came in and helped rinse off everything that had been in my bag while I dried things and checked to see that everything was ok. The grossest part was cleaning muck out of my eyes. I understand – and greatly appreciate – why your eyes are covered in a slime like layer, but it made pulling slimy strings of black goop out of my eyes extra gross. For the next 2 days I had extra nasty eye goobers.

 

My bag and stuff survived amazingly well. Between things in pockets and bad being empty enough it folded a bit and protected stuff, almost everything survived. I was very amazed. I had my phone, wallet, and passport in one of the pockets. I also had my camera in the bottom which was a bit worse for wear. The case was covered in muck, but once I took the camera out and took battery and such out and let it dry overnight, it was fine the next day. I even had a yarn sack with yarn in the bottom of the bag. The bag got a bit dirty, but washed up fine and the yarn was completely dry. The only things that were worse for wear was a magazine and my knitting book. After being rinsed, the knitting book is clean and still usable, but wrecked enough to want to replace it.

 

At first I thought that the only thing that had been injured was my pride (stupid Cera not paying attention for one minute). As I showered and took care of my stuff I realized that I had done more than just retweeking my sprained ankle and that my foot hurt and was already quite swollen and bruised. After my stuff was taken care off, I asked for some ice to put on my foot. While I iced, the lady went downstairs to where the Spanish ladies were staying (one of whom was a doctor). The lovely doctor looked at my foot and cleaned off the cuts on my toes. She put some sort of liquid on the cuts to make sure they didn’t get infected, wrapped up my foot, gave me good strong European ibuprofen, and off I went to bed.

 

I realized that my foot might be broken (though the doctor didn’t think so), so I canceled my travel plans. The next day the man of the house where I was staying accompanied me to the “expensive” hospital. On the quiet Sunday morning, I was the only person in the emergency room. They asked me check in questions (including taking my blood sugar), took ex rays, gave me a shot of pain meds, had an orthopedist look at it, and proscribed me an antibiotic, antiinflamitory, something in case this affected my digestion, pain meds, and a week of bed rest. Most of the time, I spent laying on a bed with a curtain around it reading my book. The whole trip to the hospital cost me 865 rupees – about $18.

 

Sadly, being Sunday, the crutches store was closed (the hospital doesn’t sell them). I spent Sunday hopping around the home stay trying to arrange a Kerala adventure that didn’t involve walking. The people at the home stay were amazingly helpful even spending the morning with me at the hospital. And since I was there at lunch time, they fed me lunch in addition to the amazing food they served for breakfast and dinner. Finally I gave up and realized that I would be better off going home so that at least I was kicking around my own space and could live in my pjs for the week, so Monday night I flew home (after acquiring crutches and going to the government shop to buy souvenirs). My two nights of stay and 5 included meals ended up costing my 1,200 rupees – $24. They even tried to tell me the tip I gave them was too much.

 

At the airport in Kerala I hobbled around on my crutches (I still don’t like to have to be reliant on people and being limited by it). But I noticed that my hands were starting to get blistered (I forgot how much crutches hurt), so when we arrived in Mumbai, knowing how big an airport it was, I said yes to a wheelchair. What I didn’t realized was that most flights (especially domestic) don’t actually go to the gate. Instead, you unload down the stairs onto the tarmac where the bus drives you the 100 yards to the building (they won’t let you walk – I tried when I first got to Kerala) This turned into the most terrifying aspect of the whole experience wherein 4 men carried me backwards in a wheelchair down the stairs. I tried to get them to let me hobble down the steps, but they had already taken my crutches. There was definitely a point at which they almost dropped me and none of it felt safe at all.

 

Now, I am home safe and sound and hobbling around my own house. It is a combination of getting stuff done in my life that can be done while sitting on the couch with my foot up, and watching movies and knitting, and building my crutches muscles. Everyone has been amazing and my boss, A’s, mom has been sending over lunch for the last two day. My foot is still huge but is turning from a lovely shade of purple to a sickly shade of green. I am hoping that by next week I might be able to walk on it – the 2 flights of stairs at the construction site are going to be a lot of work otherwise.

 

Overall, I really can’t do much other than laugh at myself. If my foot wasn’t still huge it would almost seem like a surreal dream adventure. I think it is one Indian adventure I am happy to only experience once.

 

 

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