After leaving Varanassi I travelled back to the dreaded Delhi, only for the night though. First thing in the morning I took a flight from Delhi down to Cochin or Kochi, depending on your mood. Why the place has two names, I have no idea, but it does!

Landing in Cochin was like being in a completely different country. On my journey to the hotel from the airport I was surrounded by green palm trees, green shrubbery at the side of the roads and semi-orderly traffic. Is this really the same country where the chaos of Delhi exists? Did I get on the wrong plane and arrive in the Bahamas instead? No, this was the serene India I had dreamt of. The air was cleaner and for the first time smog didn’t cloud my vision and I could see further than a 100 yards in front of me.

However, despite first appearances there were some aspects of South India that were similar to North India. The first morning after arriving in Cochin, I decided to treat myself to a much needed run. I was inspired by my tranquil surroundings and I was filled with a familiar energy that I hadn’t yet experienced so far in India. Kitted in the least offensive outfit according to Indian standards. which included over the knee pants and an over the shoulder top, I set off. Breathing in the fresh air, and feeling the morning breeze on my slightly exposed skin I was enjoying every second and delighted that I could stretch my legs again. That was, until I stumbled upon a familiar sight I had seen many times in Delhi. As I turned the corner on my running route I was face to face with what can only be described as a man’s penis! Yes....there stood a man with no trousers on, full manhood embracing the fresh air and taking a pee. What I forgot to tell you in the last blog for India was that this is just what they do here, they consider it dirty to use the indoor toilets and therefore use the streets and when the men in India need to pee or the other, they just do it regardless of where they are. At first I found this slightly alarming and a little disturbing, however as with most things here in this country you just accept it and move on.
So as the man finished peeing, I nodded my head, wished him a good morning and continued with my run.

As you can imagine, using the street as a toilet has its disadvantages. Whilst I was in Mysore, which is situated South of Cochin, the heavens opened and I experienced rain like I’d never seen before. The droplets hit the ground so hard that they bounced back past my knee, and the downpour continued for several hours. The streets were awash with streams of rain water. However that wasn’t all. With the torrential rainstorm hitting the streets so hard it extricated all the faeces that had been cemented to the pavements and it was now free flowing through the streets of Mysore. The smell was unbearable and something I never want to experience again. But as awful and disgusting as this was, it is something that occurs in India and you just have to accept. The person you need to have sympathy with is a gentleman named Sam Chadwick. Sam is a professional photographer that was travelling with me on the South India tour. Sam is exceptionally passionate about his work and will do almost anything to get that perfect shot. Travelling through the streets of Mysore in the torrential downpour it was then that Sam saw that perfect shot he had been chasing. However what he didn’t see was the free flowing stream of shit running down through the streets and as he stepped off the bus with camera in hand he landed feet first in the free flowing stream. But Sam was a brilliant sport, shook off his foot and his flip-flops and got the shot! Well done Sam, you’re a star!

Despite what I have detailed so far, South India isn’t all penises and shit, there were so many brilliant memories I experienced here. These moments include the workers at the tea plantations, the Kerala backwaters and the delightfully ever inspiring temples. However what stood out for me the most about South India was how kind the people are. Never was there a day that I saw anybody frowning or miserable. They were always polite, eager to help and always with a smile. Something that was incredibly confusing was the ‘Indian head wobble.’ For those people that have been to India will know exactly what I’m talking about. However for those that haven’t I can only describe as something similar to the nodding dogs that sat in the back of cars in the 80’s, but instead of the head moving up and down, it moves from side to side and the meaning of this movement is yes, instead of no as we have become accustomed to in England. So when I asked the tuc-tuc driver to take me to my hotel and his response was the Indian head-wobble, I went to move on to the next tuc-tuc, thinking he meant no, but of course he actually meant yes! If you think that was confusing try understanding it all after a few beers! Very baffling, and although I spent a total of six weeks in India I never did get used to it.

South India was an absolute pleasure to travel to, and this is the one part of India I would recommend to anyone. If you brave the trip to South India I would suggest you just go with the flow and take in all that this enchanting country has to offer. Whilst in India I had the pleasure of learning the virtue known as patience. This is not a quality I had previously whilst living in England, however in India is something you must adapt to.

So with Africa and India under my belt, it’s time to set sail to Australia. Thank goodness I’m on my way to civilisation, bacon butties and the biggest blue beef steak I can get my hands on. It has been 102 days since I last ate beef or pork, and right now I am close to killing a cow!

See you on Oz.......Yew!!