Friday, January 1
Lighthouse Beach, 00:20
Yesterday has moved imperceptibly into today. I have walked out of Leo and I am standing on the pavement looking along Lighthouse Beach. Policemen and policewomen are patrolling up and down. Policewomen on horses and riding up and down the beach along the shoreline.
Everything seems calmer than in previous years. The fireworks are starting and the drunks pretend to be sober when the police pass.
At about 12:20 we will phone Ani for the ride home we agreed, but we will get no answer. We will keep trying and then decide to walk back to Hawah Beach where the rickshaw and taxi rank is, and see what we can find. We will find nothing, except a pliceman telling us to keep walking.
We will walk up the hill and near the top we will find a rickshaw parked. We will persuade the driver to take us for not much more than a normal fee. The road will be completely blocked so he will pull onto the other side and drive at ferocious speed as though nothing would even consider coming the other way.
As we get to Kovalam Junction it will become clear that the junction is at a complete standstill. He will suddenly veer left into a non-existent gap, force his way across the two or three lanes of traffic and shoot down a small alley.
We will race down a network of small alleys, hardly wider than the rickshaw. It will feel like the car chase in whichever Bourne movie has the car chase.
Suddenly we will shoot out onto the main highway and I will realise that we have missed out most of the journey home. We will end up getting home in about half the time it normally takes. I will be astonished.
We will go to bed late and get up late. We will spend most of the day reading and relaxing.
At 16:00 we will call Ani who will come to take us to Trivandrum. He will be very apologetic. He was breathalysed on his way to pick us up and charged with driving while drunk. The police took his phone and he had to go to the station this morning to pay to get it back.
We will drive to Villa Maya, which (we will learn) is the third best restaurant in India. I have no idea what or where the other two are but they will have to be more than amazing to beat this.
We will all agree that it is some of the best food we have ever eaten. We will also all agree that the toilets are the best toilets we have ever seen anywhere.