Ernakulam notes and reasons to be pleased or cautious just now.
Again, a sunny mood prevails despite being about to spend another in a city. Firstly, with huge thanks to my father for his time and PC, I know that the vast majority of the photos I’ve taken so far are safe and sound in the UK. Yeehah: I can delete them from my camera and restart using a likeable resolution!
Also, when I booked in for tonight, my hotel offered me two unheard-of bona: clean sheets and a clean towel. I didn’t need the sheets and there hadn’t been a towel in the room originally. However, the offer of a towel really pleased me: I would be able to shower this evening and tomorrow morning without needing to pack a wet towel. This also makes the most of my own towel being washed yesterday. A simple thing and probably not worth this many words but it’s been unique in my Indian experience.
Today also served notice that a feared dose of Mughals’ other revenge wasn’t in progress. At the time I wasn’t in the best possible place to receive the notice but no harm has been done.
I may have been silly however. This evening I bought another bottle of pepsi and downed it rapidly. I was still thirsty and noticed the stall had bottles of ‘Maaza’ (a soft, non-fizzy, mango drink. The stall-holder looked in his freezer and said he didn’t have any cool bottles of Maaza but had ‘Mango treat’, which was very similar. I have no worries about the bottle he produced from his freezer but I allowed him to put ice in it. It’s likely the ice was made from his tapwater and possible that it wasn’t totally safe.
I also talked with the stallholder’s mate, a guy who makes and sells soada water: it’s used by many stalls to make lime-sodas which are refreshing mixes of soda water, cordial and freshly squeezed lime. There’s no guarantee that the glass has been washed in totally safe water* and the lime is occasionally squeezed through manky-looking sieves. It certainly hasn’t done him any harm: he’s got muscles like rocks.
*it will have been washed
I didn’t think that the soda water* I’ve drunk would be unsafe but the stallholder’s mate’s pedal-bike was loaded with crates of bottles of soda-water. Since quite a few of them had originally contained pepsi, mirinda and other soft drinks, there’s a chance that some of the soda-water I’ve drunk wasn’t from original bottles either.
*I drank these neat because I didn’t totally trust the glasses, sieves and cordial.
Oh well, my digestive traumas have been nowhere near as bad as they could have been so I’m not worried. Nor should the above be read as me accusing anyone. I’ll keep on drinking soda water because it’s a refreshing alternative to warm water from my filter-bottle but I will be a bit circumspect about soda-water bottles.
Shampoo in India appears to be sold in strips of 8ml sachets, as are crisps, paan, detergent, juice and other items. Stallkeepers will have a bar above their heads with strips of sachets dangling from them, not unlike a delicatessen dangling strings of continental sausages in front of its clientelle. While the crisps and paan aren’t that much use for personal hygiene (and 8ml of crips hardly satisfies my appetite), I appreciate the shampoo sachets. If one of them was to burst in my rucksac, 8ml might not be a disaster. A full bottle would. I’m not keen on the extra use of plastic and so will cross these sachets off the Indian experiences I intend to repeat. Now where is Ernakulam’s branch of the Body Shop…?