Kerala, God's Own Country


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Asia » India » Kerala » Kollam
December 16th 2007
Published: December 21st 2007
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Unfortunately, we had very limited access to the internet while in India. There was, in fact, a little internet hut with two computers in my village - we made it a routine, (after awhile just for kicks) to walk down to the stall to ask to use a computer, at which point we would be told (very matter-of-factly and unapologetically) - no internet today. Mind you, we walked there EVERY day and the response and delivery never changed - a very interesting model to base your business on.
In any event, this leaves us to sum up 5 weeks worth of experiences in just a few sentences - now in hindsight. After 6 weeks in Europe of packing up our bags every three days to set off to new places and people, we found ourselves rooted to one locality, left to interact with the same choice few people and environment. Furthermore, this was a place with people, customs, and language familiar to me, but completely foreign to Pippa. (Speaking of which, Pippa was a big hit and item of great curiousity in my village. While most tourists in India are only observed at a distance, people were able to interact directly with Pippa. Plus, unlike the usual fare of tourists passing by, Pippa truly embraced the culture by wearing Indian clothes and even learning one Malayalam word a day - which reminds me.... hey Pippa, sukhamano? 😊 )
So, what did we do these 5 weeks? Well, the day usually started with me running off to dance class first thing in the morning. After breakfast, we'd hatch a plan for the day - usually, we'd try to squeeze in a sunset at the beach. Actually, the destinations during this trip were secondary to the means of getting to them. In fact, most of our time was spend sitting in the car, listening to music, while absorbing the feast of sights out the window. The places that do stick out, though, include riding an elephant in Koni, boating down the backwaters at Kumarakom, Palaruvi waterfalls, going out on a fishing boat into the Arabian Sea, and, of course, sunsets at the beach 😊


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ThaniThani
Thani

A few days after we arrived, we decided we wanted to go for a walk. So, in place of driving, we asked our driver to accompany us to a nearby seaside destination. However, due to my poor understanding of both the language and metric system, we had little idea of where we were actually going to and how long it would take to get there. Still, despite several offers to be driven, we INSISTED on walking, as we did not want to feed into the image of spoiled foreigners unable to brave the heat. So, off we went... for what seemed like an eternity in the blistering sun - only to return as the laughing stock of town... to this day we don't know how far we walked, as the number of kilometers changes each time this story was retold. Still, it was worth the memorable sights along the way.... as well as the lime juice and banana offered in sympathy upon our return by the driver's father :)
Walking along a railway bridge...Walking along a railway bridge...
Walking along a railway bridge...

This is moments before someone warns us that a train is approaching and we make a mad dash back to the car.
Chillin' with Sister GonzagaChillin' with Sister Gonzaga
Chillin' with Sister Gonzaga

The two of them had quite a few amusing interactions.... at one point, Sr. Gonzaga was even insistent that Pippa was Chinese!
With the Tailor...With the Tailor...
With the Tailor...

We ended up spending quite a bit of time with him as Pippa and I kept managing to rip our clothes apart and we'd have to go running to him. He was a peach - he'd always stop whatever he was doing to fix 'em up for us ... that is, at the price of forcing Pippa to engage in a conversation with him in Malayalam :)
The driver... hard at work :)The driver... hard at work :)
The driver... hard at work :)

In all seriousness, Pippa and I gave Shetheer a run for his money during the month we were there. We turned him into our driver/tourguide/bodyguard, and as such, made him responsible to tend to our every whim and fancy - including finding us seaside spots and other destinations to drive to, accompanying us on 10km walks, providing us with music, and locating elephants in the area for us to feed :)
Pipaya at Shanmugham beachPipaya at Shanmugham beach
Pipaya at Shanmugham beach

Our last glimpse of sun, palm trees, and seaside before heading to the airport to catch our flight back home


30th March 2009

Holy Crap you guys were out of touch for a long time! It was worth the wait though because the entrepreneur at the local internet hut has given me an inspiring model for how to handle my own office work. Nice pics too! I'm jealous you got to meet an actual tailor.

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