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On the Kerala houseboat

22 July 2011

It was my last weekend in Bangalore and India for that matter.  My flight out was the following Tuesday morning at 4am and I thought why not join some of my friends who were already planning to Kerala for that weekend.  So I decided to catch a flight there with another friend of mine and we left work at 3pm to beat the Bangalore traffic and make it in time for the 6.40pm flight out to Kochin.

When we arrived there an hour later, we were met by another one of our group members who flew in from elsewhere.  Again, I must say that Bangalore has the best weather so far because Kerala was hot, humid and sticky even at night.

We got to our shady little hotel and I kid you not, there were roaches in the hallways. The bathroom was also not anything to write home about unless if it was to say that it was small, dark and mildewy.  We also later found out that Kochin’s curfew was somewhat earlier than the rest of India’s – 9pm to be precise.  The place was so dead it was spooky.

Arrival at Kochin airport. Hot and sticky!

23 July 2011

After an early night in our creepy little “hotel”, the rest of our party arrived via bus at 6am.  After a quick shower, we had breakfast at a restaurant at the next hotel and finally made our way up to Munnar, a hill station about four hours drive from the city. Once we got up the mountain paths, it was beautiful.  There were row upon row of tea plantations and at every corner, was a waterfall.  Now, as some may know, I’m not a fan of wet places (mostly because of my fear of worms and mud) and that I love the desert.  However, this was one place I thought was beautiful, even though it had a rain foresty feel to it.

After taking some happy snaps at a couple of places (including a spice garden where I proceeded to buy about 7 packets of home-made chocolates), we arrived at our final destination for the day – Kaivalyam Yoga Retreat.  It was… THE BEST.  No really.  I already made a note to self that I’d come back again for a week of relaxation and yoga.

One of the many waterfalls on the way up to Munnar.
Kaivalyam Yoga Retreat, Munnar.
Roads in Munnar – That’s our van!
Half our group having some civilized tea

24 July 2011

The next morning, we all woke up pretty early so we could go back down to the backwaters for our day and night on the houseboat.  We had planned to leave at 7am but I guess we’re getting influenced by the culture here because we eventually left the retreat after a hearty breakfast at 8am.

Nonetheless, after winding back down the mountain paths, we reached our houseboat by noon and were just in time for some home cooked meals (Mayalam food really is delicious).  While it was cloudy and cold up in the mountains, down by the waters, it turned out to be a nice day – sunny and warm.  Perfect weather for a leisurely Sunday cruise down the canals with some chilled out tunes.

By evening time, we were hit by a brief rain shower which cooled the air and after dinner, some games and lots of laughs, we decided to call it a night. A good call since two of us had get up at 3am to catch the 6am flight out to Bangalore while the rest of the party continued on their trip.

All in all, it was a great ending to my three months in South India.  Great new friends, good memories and a fantastic experience.

The “Surge” always out to help
Family photo!
The lunch spread. Om nom nom…
Some of my besties!
The backwaters.
J.T. at the helm – well, not really.
South African sandwich.
Evening showers.