Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sidetrip to Kochi Kerala

I wanted to see a different part of this huge country, and since we had extra time, Frank Smita and I bought ID90's on Jet Airways and flew from Mumbai to Cochin (Kochi) Sunday morning. The flight was at 545am which was hard, but we reached at 730am to enjoy the full day.
We checked into Le Meridien using my Starwood points. It's a beautiful resort in Kerala, which is the south western tip of India.

We booked our Ayurvedic massages for 10am (all three of us went at the same time and each of us had 2 massueses each) and it was 70 minutes of PURE PLEASURE. Hot oil and 4 hands ...it did not suck!! Look how relaxed we were afterwards..............
It's was a very relaxing day, we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon by the pool with a view of the backwaters in the middle of a coconut grove! In the evening we took the hotel car (an ambassador) Look how cute:

We were able to have the car, with driver, for 4 hours for about $20...yes, it was a bit expensive for India, but we were at a resort. It all balenced out though....because our dinner was only 2 cents at this little roadside restaurant. We started off the next day with coconut waters and dosas for breakfast.

We knew being in Kerala, we had to experience the house boats that are famous on the backwaters. It was also Franks b-day, so we had reason to celebrate. We booked a 2 bedroom boat, complete with a captain and 2 chefs. We boarded at noon and couldn't believe the views that came our way.

This was beginning the high season, so there were quite a few boats on the waters. They would park at the side when it was lunch time and in the evening if it was an overnite trip.
A couple hours into the trip, this little canoe pulled up beside our boat to sell us these shrimp as big as our heads. We couldnt resist and added that to the dinner menu.
Here is the living area taken from the bow of the boat...this was taken in the evening, but is open and there was a wonderful breeze when moving...and a ceiling fan for when we weren't.

We parked for the night and there was a tiny village on a thin strip of land between the backwaters and the rice fields on the otherside.

Kerala is a state known for good education and english literacy. They came up to our boat wanting to practice. They brought us flowers and asked if we had a pen and notebook to give them....how sweet!
I only wish we could've stayed longer. I love the feeling of nothing to do BUT relax. We watched the sunset that night and the sunrise in the morning. I havent done that in a long time!

The boat docked the next day around 10am and we had the driver to make a couple stops before taking us back to the hotel. #1......the beach...you know I needed to get my sand. Allappey beach was beautiful, and even though we didnt stay very long, it was worth it. This was a special stop too because smita started her sand collection here....

#2... Hill Palace Museum. Smita really wanted to go here because some of the furniture and silver belonged to her relatives.....amazing!! Whaaa??? Frank and I posed at the top of the 5 million stairs we had to climb to reach.

On our last night in Kerala we planned to go see a Kathikali performance. It was at 630p and so we stopped first for some shopping. The first store we walked into on Jew Street kept us busy. Frank actually went down the whole road and back while smita and I stayed in this shop. We both bought beautiful wall hangings (that we are going to get framed). Hers is pinks and purples and mine is....guess........yes turquoise and greens. We also bought jewelry. I bought a "om" pendant and another one with emeralds...and some earrings too.

Kathikali is story-play and is an ancient dance form made up of over 800 words in the form of complex combinations of gesture. These are based on mainly eye, face and hand movements. The make up is entirely natural, made up of a coconut oil base, mixed with spices such as turmeric to give the basic color combinations. I will post the video I took at the performance as soon as I get it off my camera...can't find my cord at the moment.

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