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November 12, 2003

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India's state of Kerala is a long, narrow strip of coastline running along the country's southwestern shoreline. The Western Ghats, a line of hills and ridges, and dense forest shelters Kerala from the mainland. Kerala has gained fame for a distinctive Indian sub-culture and as a peaceful backwater. We're trying to reach these backwaters, so we left Kochi and continued south. This afternoon we arrived in Alappuzha, or Allepey for short, which is a market town built between canals and coconut trees.
The shaggy dog gets his first haircut in three months (since Nairobi). The barber speaks Telu, I speak English, it will be amazing if I don't come out of here with a shaved head.
One rule in India - never get in an autorickshaw, these three wheeler taxis, without negotiating the price and being firm with your destination. A ride around town should cost 20 rupees (about 50 cents) but if you don't negotiate first it might cost 200 rupees.