A Travellerspoint blog

Ta Ta

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It was the last day of teaching yesterday and it will be my last day in Nilambut tomorrow! It hasn't quite sunk in that I'm going but I'm sure there will be plenty of tears tomorrow when I have to say goodbye to everyone. So, in what I think will be my final post, I thought I'd introduce you to all those that have made this trip so special for me.

Yousaf is at the bottom - our driver and guardian angel. He's looked after us when we've been ill, driven us everywhere we could possibly want to go, provided us with lalalaleleo, treated us to the cinema, meals out and ice cream, and has had to put up with more then I can say, all with his wicked sense of humour and cheeky laugh. He is an absolute star.

I know I shouldn't have favourites but in the middle is Nande and Manjusha who live near me and are the sweetest kids in the world. Nande is always round with his cricket set for a quick game and pulls faces at me everytime I bowl past him (i'm actually pretty good!) and then three year old Manjusha, with the brightest smile in Kerala, is always smiling and yelling hi and Carlaaa as she runs round to bring us flowers :)

Finally at the top are all the Spoken English teachers (except sadly the lovely Priya) starting from left is Ullas (a coordinator rather then a teacher but we can let him off), then the wonderful Sabitha, then Sue, Chris is towering over us at the back, then me in the middle, lovely bubbly Shirzad, Imelda, Bev, Andrew and finally the usually very cheerful Chandra Bose! It's been great getting to know everyone and as you can see we've had good fun.

So that just about wraps things up - I've loved writing the blog and I hope everyone has enjoyed reading it. It really has been a fantastic trip and has opened my eyes to so many things I never thought I would experience in my life. I'm really going to miss everyone here but I hope they realise how much they've come to mean to me and what wonderful memories I'm taking home.

Posted by carlala 09:59 Comments (3)

Milma

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At my old school we didn't have a tuk shop but at Girls Brigade (yes I was in Girls Brigade!) we did. It was always my favourite part of the evening and to rediscover the tuck shop in the shape of the Milma bar at Manavedan, I've realised it's still as good.

After teaching in hot, dry and dusty classrooms there is nothing better then going for a lime soda and vada under the shade of the blue tarpaulin and celebrate, commiserate or giggle about the previous lessons with all the Spoken English teachers, Indian and English. It's probably where we've all got to know each other the most and it is certainly one of the places I'll miss the most.

Posted by carlala 19:05 Comments (0)

Music

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The other weekend I found out there was a music school in Nilambur that made it's own flutes. Being an ex flautist myself I grabbed the opportunity to go along, particularly when one of the teachers from school said it was down the road from her house and her lovely daughters went there for singing lessons. So - with a 12yr old and two excitable 8yr old twins in tow we headed for a great afternoon of listening to music and watching the lessons.

There are two main types of Indian classical music, Hindustani from the North and Carnatic, from the South. Both are taught at the school so there was a great mixture of instruments including a veena (a carnatic stringed instrument made from a goard), tabla (drums), harmonium, and of course flute. I didnt mention in my previous post that Nilambur means land of bamboo and it is some of the best for making flutes. I tried a few that they had made at the school and they really had a wonderful tone, deep and melodic. One of the teachers played for us and I was amazed at the speed and tone he was able to achieve.

How did the girls singing go? Well just like I used to be, they took the opportunity to miss practice and sat with us instead. It has been one of my favourite afternoons. :)

Posted by carlala 00:04 Comments (2)

Nilambur

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I'm realising there are lots of posts I should have put up in the first few weeks I was here but didn't, so in my final week I'll try and catch up. The first is about the actual town I'm living in, the wonderful Nilambur. Famous for India's (and probably the worlds) only teak museum, waterfalls, rubber plantations and the brand new Rajarani Express.

Before we came out here we were told that Nilambur was a very small, quiet and rural place with nothing there, so I had very low expectations. However nothing could be further from the truth as it's a bustling town about the size of Worcester. On a general day we will head to the supermarket and maybe a quick look at the saris in Designs, then head to the tailors or whatever other errands we have and finally have an ice cream and coffee at Coppelias.

After the scorching sun has gone down the place really livens. All the gold shop windows light up to show off their wears, the men meet up with friends at the tiffin shops (not the women tho!) and we head out for dosa or chicken broast at one of the restaurants.

Not a bad place to spend four months at all :)

Posted by carlala 02:54 Comments (0)

Ayurvedic

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The medicine used by most of the people of Kerala is Ayurvedic, the homeopathic alternative to Western medicine. This is an ancient traditional method which consists of therapies, medicines and diet. All around Kerala you can go on Ayurvedic retreats where you are assessed by a doctor and then you stay at the hospital for anything from 5 to 30 days. During this time you will eat a spice and onion free diet and have your treatments which includes massage, yoga and meditation. It all sounds quite lovely until you see the pictures of half naked men standing on your back amd very hot oil being poured on your face. I'm sure it's worthwhile but maybe a little intense for my liking!

The alternative was a 1.5 hour full body massage at the local Ayurvedic centre for r.550 (about £7), much more my style! The hospital itself has blue and white painted gates with soft geometric patterns. This welcomes you into a cool waiting area where the medicines are dispensed and five year old magazines sit on the table. The doctor came out and gave me a quick consultation and then she led me upstairs to a small room where my masseuse was waiting. All that was inside was some shelves for the oils and a teak table for me to lie on. I have to say the massage was the best I have ever had, starting with my oil drenched hair and head right down to my fingers and toes (which she calmly and one by one cracked with all her might!).

Once the massage was finished I was taken into the en-suite bathroom and put into a strange looking blue pyramid with the head chopped off. This turned out to be a steamer and I sat quite happily in the scented steam - only having a mild panic attack when I realised I was locked in and the girl had completely disappeared!

As you can guess she did come back and after a quick shower I was tucked up in an auto-rickshaw and told to go home, eat a good meal and take pleanty of rest - pretty nice for under a tenner :)

Posted by carlala 04:13 Comments (0)

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