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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Adventures in Kerala!

We have just returned from a lovely, five day vacation in various parts of Kerala, a state adjacent to the home of our first two organizations in Tamil Nadu. We began the vacation with nothing short of craziness, as we got up at 3:30am to catch a 5:30am train from Coimbatore to Cochin (a.k.a. Kochi) and nearly missed our train! We asked for direction from a staff member at the train station, only to find ourselves literally launching our bags through the door of the departing train...a train that turned out to be the wrong one! Luckily we met some very nice, English-speaking people on the train who told us when to get off to meet the proper one.

Despite the early-morning drama, we arrived safely in the main city of Cochin and were greeted by some very friendly residents who happen to be “friends of friends” of Pranavi’s family. They were amazing and arranged our entire five-day Kerala accommodations, travel, and sightseeing! We stayed for two days at the Abad Metro Hotel in Cochin, very nice accommodations for us! We were so excited to have comfortable beds, nice pillows, a hot shower, flushing toilet, and TV to watch the World Cup! Our second day in Cochin, our friendly driver, Shaiju, took us sightseeing around the city. We visited the old Cochin Royal Family palace in the morning, before spending the afternoon and evening in Fort Cochin. We visited many museums, learned some Indian history, and finished the day by watching a Kathakali Dance performance.

Our Kerala friends also arranged am overnight houseboat trip for us in Alleppey. This was the highlight of the trip for us so far, as we enjoyed our very comfortable float down the Kerala backwaters. The staff served us three full, Kerala-style meals, complete with prawns we bought in a village along the river. The houseboat dropped us off the next day at Rice Village, a resort run by a family in a village that’s only accessible by boat. The owners two young daughters took us on a little tour around the village, which was complete with many nerve-wracking trips across rickety wooden plank bridges. All around, the stay at the Rice Village Resort was a very relaxing one, and everyone took great care of us~! We completed our evening by watching the Indian version of “Deal or No Deal” with the owner and his daughters.

This afternoon we arrived at Amar Seva Sangam, our second organization in Tamil Nadu. We will be here until Saturday morning, and hope we can see everything in the short amount of time we have to be here! Stay tuned for details!

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