I’m in Allepey, Kerala, at the moment. Here people tend to hire houseboats for a few days and travel through the backwaters. I’m only here overnight so I wont be doing that, but my ‘resort’ is overlooking the lake which is lovely.
Let’s be completely frank here – I’m not
staying in a resort by any means. Scared to lay on the bed because I’m not sure
what could be lurching within the sheets and pillow, I’m thrilled to say I will
be here for one night only. The room is very old and disheveled. Cobwebs,
boarded up dark brown windows with added bars for security measures,
disintegrating curtains and a cupboard which looks as though it dates back to
the 18th century just about sums up the room. The room is like something out of a horror film and it ended up bringing me to tears tonight.
Firstly, the ‘resort’ can only be accessed
by foot – about 500 metres from the road. So I’m completely secluded. After
assessing the long narrow and empty road we drove down, there also isn’t
anywhere for me to get food, so I’m reliant on the food made here. Looking at
the kitchen, I’m nothing short of nervous. But hey, it’s all an experience! Internet is also only available in the front reception area, which is currently deserted.
Come sunset, the place is eerily quite. My room is hidden away from other people and I’m petrified of the dark. Owen Skyped me to help calm me down, which did help. I also emailed Ganesh to tell him how upset I was and asked he make sure the future hotels are not like this. Ganesh instantly replied and sorted everything out. Within minutes I was moved into a little hut next to the only other people who are staying here. Yes, I need to sleep with a mosquito net, and yes the toilet and shower doesn’t have a roof - but I don’t care. I’m with people. And rather than feeling like I’m in a haunted old house, I feel like I’m in a mini lakeside resort. It’s dirty, but I feel safer than before and that’s all i care about. Finally I can relax a little.
Earlier today I had my first Ayurvedic massage. There was nothing else to do so I thought, why not?! This was an experience in itself. Stripped completely naked in front of the two Indian women, I quickly realised this was going to be no ordinary massage. A thin piece of cloth the thickness of a tissue and width of string was tied over my ‘bits’ to cover ‘not much’. They certainly weren’t shy about putting this on me! Picture a tissue thickness g-string they have physically put on me. I was directed to sit on a stall which had a white cloth draped over it. Here I had oil dabbed on my shoulders, elbows, wrists and finger tips. It was then massaged all through my hair and down my arms. I then realised I was about to be slathered in the stuff. Although slightly awkward at first, with everything out for the world to see, I soon settled into the experience, recalling that this is what they do every day. Plus, Im not one to shy away from this sort of stuff anyway.
I then lay on this wooden bed which was also covered in white cloth to try and soak up some of the oil. By this point I had two women working on me - in sync also. Oil dripped from every part of my body and the women rubbed their hands up and down, not missing any part. I mean that literally! Everything was massaged! Boobs, bum.. My goodness they were not shy. My face was last to be treated before being directed into the hut across the way where I was to have a shower. The shower was old and dirty, and a bucket of water with a scoop awaited me. I was shown some soap and packet shampoo, which sat in a rusty ledge, which I was to use to wash the oil off. Recalling that this is all character building and one of those experiences you look back on and laugh, I embraced the whole process and washed myself from the bucket. Although a very different experience, I would be lying if I didn’t say it was somewhat relaxing. The purpose is not a deep tissue massage but to get the herbal oils penetrating deep into the skin. My skin feels amazing since.
So, with these memories, I shall say goodnight. I’m just hoping morning comes quickly as I’m not exactly comfortable here. Ready to move on…