India: Day 7

July 13, 2010

The people that had told me that the south of India was completely different from the north were absolutely correct.  In fact, I would go as far to say that you could draw a line in the middle of the nation and divide it into two countries — that is how widely different they are!  The most noticeable differences were the terrain, the weather, the look and the attitude of the people, the language, and the food.  Does that really leave anything else?  I am obsessed with the tropics, so I was already in love with Kochi before really exploring it.  If I see a palm tree, I am instantly smitten with the place.

Having just spent a week racing from one monument to another, I felt it was time to relax and enjoy my surroundings and for me the best way to do that was to spend the day at the beach.  My friend Kristen and I hired a taxi to take us to Cherai Beach, which is about thirty-five kilometers away from Kochi.  I had been told that Cherai Beach was different from other nearby beaches, as it is very clean with calm surf, making it ideal for swimming and sunbathing.  Another bonus of going to Cherai Beach was the view during the drive.

Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the photos I took during my time at the beach.  While it was not the most beautiful one I had ever been to (though I did very much enjoy my time there), there were hundreds of Indian women swimming in the ocean with their saris and it made for some stunning photos that I wish I still had.

After several hours it was time for some lunch and we headed to the Lonely Planet and New York Times recommended restaurant in Fort Cochin called Tea Pot.  They claimed to have the best dessert in all of India, which was named “Death by Chocolate.”  Since my friend and I are both chocoholics there was no other choice than to eat there.  Of course, it was no surprise that the only people in the restaurant were tourists.  Overall it was a pleasant experience, however when in India, eat like the Indians do.

My back was starting to really hurt me from a week of sleeping in hard beds, so I decided to visit another Ayurvedic spa in hopes that a massage would help.  When I went to make an appointment I was sad to discover that they were completely booked for the rest of the day.  I then called to our hotel’s spa, which was a Western spa, and they did have an availability, although with a male massage therapist.  Normally that would have not bothered me in the least bit, since I am a Medical Professional, but I had seen the Massage Therapist at breakfast time and there was something about him that gave me the creeps.  Nonetheless, the pain I was experiencing won the battle over my intuition and I made the appointment.

The first five minutes of the massage were normal and I started to question just how good of an intuition I really had.  Then the Massage Therapist started to get closer and closer to places that only a lover should be touching me and before I knew it he was touching me in those places.  I asked him to stop and instead he asked me if I enjoyed it and why I was not making any noises.  He continued to touch me inappropriately and it took everything in me to not kick this guy in the face.  I quickly got off the table and started to dress.  As he was walking out the door, angry that I had ended the “massage” early, he confessed to me that he would not be able to sleep that night, as he would be thinking about my body.  I rushed back to my hotel room in order to take a shower and wash away the experience.  Even though I felt violated, I was more upset that I did not follow my initial intuition — something I had worked hard on to develop as a female traveler.

I did not want this terrible experience to ruin my fondness for Kochi, thus my friend and I went to watch the sunset along the water.  I am so delighted we did, because I was able to end the day with smile on my face.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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52 thoughts on “India: Day 7

  1. Lilliane

    Oh hell, Andi, i’m so sorry.. it happened to me in Bali. Remember i had a back pain? i went to see a balinese “doctor” who got dangerously close to those private areas. I felt violated but din do or say anything.. I erased it in my memory and went shopping afterwards! makes me mad thinking about it. Hmp! I’m glad it didn’t ruin your day.

    I love the color of the last 2 photos.. esp the Pink one. So i’m sure one day you’ll be able to see we have a plenty of palm trees in our tropical island. 🙂

  2. sofia

    That guy deserved nothing less than a punch in the face!! It’s just sad that we always have to be on our guard 24/7.
    I hope that didn’t scare you away from trying Ayurvedic massage again, it really works wonders!

  3. Monica

    Oh Andi! I’m so sorry that happened to you. That’s repulsive! I would have dropped kicked him in the face for sure. I wonder how many female travelers out there have experienced similar “massages.”

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  5. Annie

    Andi, first of all that’s so disturbing about the massage but honestly I think it’s huge that wrote about it, because I think when people feel violated they hide. It seems like you did the right thing and if these beautiful photos are what you have to show it seems that all is well in the world!! Hope you are ok!

  6. aadhu ahid

    shit..wonder how many ppl get violated daily & how he manages to get away from the fists of husbands/boyfriends. nice pics tho

  7. Laura

    Ick! So sorry you had to deal with this! How awful… thanks for sharing though, and glad you were able to get out of that situation. It sounds like you handled it very well – what a skeezy guy! Thanks for the reminder about the intuition, too!

  8. Ant Stone

    That’s shocking… I’m sorry you went through that ordeal.

    The Tea Pot looks suspect, in that it’s only got white, presumably western customers. I think you summed it up well, “…when in India, eat like the Indians do.” Or at least where they do.

    What kind of prices were you paying?

    I love Fort Cochin, to the point I’d like to live there. The Jewish Quarter was a true surprise, I hope you enjoy the rest of your time there.

  9. Amy

    Andi, what a horrible experience – I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Thank you for sharing the story – it’s a strong reminder of the importance of listening to that intuition.

  10. Ted Nelson

    Yikes, sorry for the creepy experience and sorry about the deleted photos. A good lesson to always follow your gut. Good thing that the lesson only cost you a creepy experience.

  11. LoveK

    Ugh! I’m sorry for your experience but glad that it didn’t take an even more unpleasant turn and that you got out of there okay. He totally deserved the kick in the face that you held back!

  12. Sarah Wu

    Hi Andi,
    Thank you for sharing your lovely experience in Indian.It is an amazing post! I especially love that The facade of Tea Pot shot you took. I’ll come back and follow up on more of your travel adventures. I’m going to follow you on your twitter too!

  13. Alouise

    I love your photos of India, they really are stunning, especially the last two. Thanks for the intuition lesson, sometimes it feels silly to listen to it but I really think we have it for a reason.

  14. Jason

    Andi, thats unfortunate that you had to go through that ordeal. The problem is, that this kind of thing is all to common in India. Although it has been many years since I visited, it seems that nothing has changed. Liza had a horrible time dealing with the groping of men whilst she was there. I think your blonde hair also has a lot to do with it. Don’t let it get you down though. Keep your chin up, and enjoy the rest of your time there.

  15. ayngelina

    Oh wow, what an awful experience, did you report it to your hotel. Unfortunately a terrible tale that will warn the rest of us to take extra precautions.

  16. Aurora

    Oh dear, that is terrible! I’m so sorry to hear about that most unpleasant experience!

    I enjoyed reading this about Cochi though. When I was in India with my family we spent some time there, at a really lovely place. The picture of the nets remind me of that place, there were some right outside of there. And I must say that chocolate cake you mentioned sounded delicious… 🙂 We did get some of the famous Ayervedic massage as well, fortunately not like the one you had.

  17. Kyle

    oh my god Andi, that’s awful. I once had a horribly inappropriate experience with a masseuse as well and since then I won’t go back to a male masseuse. Which is a shame because like you said, most are professionals.

    But you’re very resilient to bounce back and still enjoy the rest of your trip. I’m glad you weren’t scarred enough to make you dislike India.

  18. Emily

    Ugh, what a creeper! I’m so sorry you had to go through that, but I’m glad you got up and walked away. And even more glad that you still managed to find the good in the day rather than letting some ass ruin a part of your trip.

  19. Rebekah

    You shouldn’t have held back — you SHOULD have kicked him in the face as well as several other places!

    These pictures are absolutely incredible. This is a side of India I didn’t know existed.

  20. Cata

    I should have been there to give him a well deserved kick you know where!!! It makes me so angry that you had to go through this experience!!! NeXT time you should complain with the managers!!

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