The driver of the tuk-tuk handed me his phone. We were pulled up on a dark street near Kovalam and this was not what I had anticipated. However, a friendly voice on the other end of the phone explained that the driver had gone the wrong way and he wanted to check that I would pay the difference for him to take me to the homestay. It was worth the extra.
On arrival at Graceful Homestay, just outside the city of Trivandrum, I was overcome with apologies about my journey there (actually a mix up at the booking booth), and welcomed with open arms to a large airy suite with its own balcony. Giles explained how everything worked and sorted me out with a cup of tea – this is something every English traveller needs after a train/tuk tuk journey in India, despite the heat.
In the morning light, I could fully appreciate my surroundings. I had jungle outside my windows, with a distant view of the coast, but I had no idea really of where I was! I wandered downstairs for breakfast to be greeted with a table full of Keralan dishes which Giles explained to me along with a history of the homestay and his family.
This was the end of a hectic scramble across India and I had plans to continue, but the ambience got the better of me and I settled down for reading and relaxation in the sun on the verandah, watching the gardeners go about their work. Not long after this, Sylvia bustled in with her unending energy explaining about the 10 year celebration at her sister’s resort and would I like to come too. Of course I couldn’t say no.
Being treated as one of the family is a special thing when you’ve been away from home, even for only a few weeks.
On my last couple of days, Giles sorted me out with a whistlestop tour of Trivandrum and I popped into the ayurvedic clinic next door. Although I thought I had sorted out a full massage myself, I got regular updates from Giles and Sylvia about how the time had changed.
At the end of my stay, Giles gave me a lift to the station to make sure I caught my train. I was refreshed and ready to face the bustle on the rest of my trip.