Today we got up early because it was a travel day. During travel days we also have a fast day because the public toilets are either non-existent or disgusting dirty holes in the ground that might have feces in unwanted places (use your imaginations!!!). Off we go on empty stomachs. We leave our guest house by 8:00am and take the public transit bus to the city bus station. We get on the bus with our huge packs and stand in the back. We bump along for about an hour heading towards the Trivandrum city bus station and everything seems quite normal, the usual cars honking and the bus weaving through erratic traffic. At one point a small section of the road is flooded, nothing major just ankle deep for a small stretch of road. The bus keeps on going and as we enter the city of Trivandrum we hit some major traffic and come to a standstill. The bus slowly crawls along and then . . .
we hit some major water! The bus comes to a stop! We arrived just east of our intended local bus loop. Looking outside we see water everywhere. Carolyn, Allegra and Birch are all wearing their running shoes, so they make a quick change and put on their flip flops and we all head out of the bus into knee-high water. It is pretty shocking to be in this situation and we all make the best of it.
We start treading along taking care of where we place our feet and follow a line of people heading to some higher ground. There are banana stalks and shoes bobbing by. You cannot see one inch below the murky water. There is no way to judge the depth. It is up to our imaginations to focus on the lovely possibilities of what is swimming or floating past us. The amazing thing about the entire situation is that all the people around us have high spirits. They are making the best of a bad situation and everyone is in the same boat (actually, that would be preferable - haha!). Three men casually stand knee-deep in brown swirling water outside a chai-wallah stand, sipping their chai, laughing and joking, their white dhotis hitched way up. Men have their brief cases on their heads - it seems like business as usual.
Looking around we are the only tourists wading along with these huge backpacks trying to find the central bus station. People are very helpful. We talk to one local and he says the central bus station is not far but that the water is at least waist high and we couldn't cross by walking and we would have to hop on a local bus to cross that section of the road. The local bus loop was just across the road, so we cross and successfully get to the other side. Here we begin asking the bus drivers which bus would take us by the central bus station and no one seems to know. They either don't understand or completely misunderstand us. One driver directs us to a bus and we get on and ask that driver and he nods his head, "No, No" so immediately we get off. A half hour has passed by this time and we finally ask someone how far the central bus station is and we discover it is only a kilometre away. So we head in that direction.
As we wade along, the water slowly gets deeper and deeper - this is what the original guy was talking about. We stop at an intersection and see people ahead of us crossing. They are making it across and the water level is just above their knees. We decide that we can do this!! We all pull up our pants and make sure we are carrying all our belongs at a good height. Off we go! We slowly step forward and the water is rising and the current is a little strong - we form a chain, it's getting a little deeper, a little deeper. . . Whew, the water level at its highest point is just about mid-thigh on Allegra. We aren't soaked and we successfully cross this section of the city. It only becomes dangerously high when a bus rolls through and creates a wake causing the water to lap a little higher and luckily none of our orifices get wet! Now it is smooth sailing - we just keep walking along and catch our bus to Allepey. Just another day in India!
Hurray, we reach dry land and we are all heading to the Central Bus Station to catch our bus