This morning we bussed to the train station for Kozhikode. The train station was much cleaner than any other I’d seen so far. They had metal seats on the platform, clean bathrooms, and drinking water fountains. No one lying on the ground. There weren’t as many stalls to buy food, but the ones that were there seemed permanent shops. Once we boarded the train though… The interior was worn, with mission brown leather seats, bashed and battered metal frames, and yellowed windows. The previous trains were a little more up to date, but not much more. 4 hours I spent snoozing or listening to music, then 2 hour drive to Kalpetta, through the hills. It started raining, which made for pretty scenery, but fog obscured our view from a lookout area. Our accommodation was a “homestay” but it was more like a small hotel or BnB. We had rooms off a common sitting area, ensuites, and our food and drinks were provided. Dinner was served buffet style, with Kerala paratha, my favourite bread so far. Curries and rice and banana with curd for dessert. Next day, we bussed to Edakkal Caves which is believed to be a shelter of neolithic people. It had a steep incline to the entry, then 200 steep steps (rock and man made) to the top, in quite humid weather. The caves were pretty, but the main attraction was the carvings inside the uppermost cave. It seemed like geometric patterns, until our guide pointed out human shapes and faces. The cave itself was made by several huge boulders holding another rock overhead. It made me nervous when I looked up, wondering if it would come down on our heads. We were dripping sweat in the cave, so most of us were a bit over it by the time the guide was explaining the carvings. We then visited a tribal village, where the indigenous people had been relocated from the forest. It was basic village houses, and then grew their own crops. We were introduced to the female village leaders, who had fringe hair cuts and stretched ear lobes with discs. The guide also pointed out that many villagers had wider noses like people of African descent. We were scheduled to go to another village and do archery… The clouds were looming and we were all tired, but we put on our rain coats and started to trudge down the path. The guide was well ahead with one guy, and the rest of us dragged behind. We heard the rain before we saw it… exchanged a look, and ran back towards the bus, yelling to let us back on. Our local guide and the fellow had not realised, but the rest of us **** bolted back without them. Our CEO was trying to call the local guide on his mobile, while the bus took off (we thought without them) but the driver did a u turn and picked them up. So much for that. We went back to the hotel, where I finished off a book I’d borrowed from another traveller. Tomorrow on the move again.