We have just left Cochin, India. It was a different country. Not in a bad way. I mean different in the sense that you could be in the worst traffic of your life or have the road all to yourself (except for the cows).
So the first day in this beautiful country we did nothing (Mom had to work with her students). The second day however, we met our driver. He drove us to Munnar: a small town with lots of tea plantations. We went to our hotel (not the cleanest in the world). The food was great (you know except for the dead bugs in the cereal). Then we went to a tea museum and tea factory. Then we went back to the hotel for lunch. We rested for the rest of the day. The next day we drove to a different hotel, and along the way we made a few stops. The first stop was a cool water fall. Then we rode elephants. It was the most fun riding any animal (enough with horse riding: elephants all the way BRO). Next we went to a spice garden that just smelled beautiful (that’s it, just smell).
Then the Elephant Court Hotel in Thekkady. It was super beautiful and had amazing Wi-Fi. Then another long day of driving (no elephantsL). We went to an amazing beach resort and rode the waves in to the sunset. Dad and I lost our sunglasses (here we come South Africa). Then we went back to the ship, and mom and I had Mexican dinner for my birthday!
We were in India. The first day we did nothing at all just ate, slept, and played computer games. The next day we got off the ship – finally! When we got out of the gate we were attacked by taxi and tuk tuk drivers; it went something like this: “get in’’, “NO GET IN…’’, “GET IN MY IN MY BELLY” (Editor’s note: Joe is channelling Austin Powers – they didn’t really say that).
Then our driver came. Then we drove through an island made by people. We were driving on the island, and all of a sudden, we went to the other side with a truck coming at us full speed. My life flashed before my eyes… We then went to the country side. We then went to a hotel with a TV channel called animax. Now, if you like anime, you are going to LOVE this channel… It is all anime. The commercials are anime, but the shows are in Japanese. Warning! Do not eat the Chocos. They have bugs in them :(. The next day we went to a resort called the Elephant Court, and on the way there, we went ELEPHANT RIDING. When we got to the hotel, all we did is WI-FI. I only looked up five nights at Freddy’s 3 (by the way the demo is out), which introduces Spring Trap, that is really it.
We spent our last few days in India continuing to explore the state of Kerala, which is in the south-west of India. Ahead of our trip, I did know that Kerala has both a very diverse religious population, as well as a strong history of communism and socialism. But I was still really struck by the number (and sheer size) of the Christian churches throughout the area. It was remarkable to see such small villages supporting such large churches. Our driver began our trip pointing some of them out, but then gradually stop mentioning them (I think he was afraid of boring us!). And the kids were struck by the presence of hammer and sickle-themed graffiti, plus advertisements featuring Che and other revolutionaries and/or communist figures. We all enjoyed the fact that many signs for the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPIM) looked a lot like CRIM, especially from a distance. As these signs seemed to be everywhere, sprayed onto town walls and fences, the boys joked about the graffiti welcome they had to each town.
The pictures here are from our houseboat trip in the Allepey backwaters area, and our stay in a beautiful beach resort on Marari Beach (that is our cottage in the background of one of the pictures). The Indian Ocean was warm to swim in, and offered excellent waves in the early morning. Strong undertow though, and we ended our beach trip with one less pair of sunglasses (washed away) and one black and blue toe (goofy story of clumsiness in the strong surf, so of course it was me).
This port was a relaxing and wonderful family event. This is the first port we explored entirely on our own, as a family. Also the first port where we stayed primarily in less urban areas. As exciting as the cities in Asia have been so far, it was very nice to have some calm, serene time with bird sounds, gorgeous views, and quiet. Oh, and some of the best food I have ever eaten…
We arrived in India a few days ago. I spent the first day with my students learning about the global spice trade with the Synthite organization in Cochin. Then, with our own car and driver, our family headed for the hills and tea plantations in Munnar.
The sunset, as seen from our balcony, was just gorgeous on both evenings we were there.
Continuing our exploration of the state of Kerala, we have a relaxing few days planned. Today, we rode elephants and toured a medicinal spice garden. But honestly, the tea plantations are so incredibly beautiful they are going to stay in my mind for a long while.