Final Stop--Beautiful Tropical KeralaDecember 4, 2017 in India ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C
It is no wonder our local home paper raves about Kerala as a travel destination—it is much more manageable than some of the other areas we have been to in India. European influence is very evident, starting with the Portugese as early as 1400s, then the Dutch in 16th century, and finally the British until Independence in 1947. The houses remind me of plantation homes with wide verandas surrounded by lush tropical plants and trees. Kerala has had international and multi-faith influence since the Babylonians brought Islam almost 3000 years ago. The Jews arrived in the 5th century BC and St. Paul brought Christianity in 1st AD. As we drove around town I spotted far more Christian churches than Hindu temples. 15% of the town is Christian and about the same are Muslim.
One of the highlights of my last few days was the cooking class with Nimmy who welcomed us into her beautiful home and large teaching kitchen to prepare a lunch of various curries. For the last two weeks we have been eating almost solely vegetarian. From time to time there would be a spicy grilled fish or chicken or mutton curry available. The dishes we have enjoyed here have been substantial and varied and I never missed not having meat.
On our final day, we enjoyed a 4-hour cruise in a houseboat along the 400-mile canal system of Kerala. Like the Venice of India. Along the canals are homes fronted by stands of banana and coconut trees. Behind the houses are large expanses of rice fields. In front of every home a long, narrow boat for fishing, commuting, and carrying produce to market. A very relaxing day and a great way to observe what life is like away from the cities.
Now, a few more hours relaxing around the pool at the Trident resort then starts our 36 hour journey home: Kochi to Mumbai to Frankfort to Washington DC. The cyclone that lashed us with torrential rains a few days again has moved past Mumbai so hope all goes well with our travel.
This has been a fabulous trip. Our Gate 1 Signature Tour guide, Jay, was one of the best we have ever had on any of our trips. He was a wealth of knowledge, a happy soul, and very open to sharing stories from his own personal life. The experiences were so varied and I feel we are leaving with a deeper appreciation for all facets of Indian culture.Read more