On March 1st, we packed up our Mysore apartment and hit the road, but before we left, we made sure to take in one last tourist destination: The Mysore Palace. The light show was slightly reminiscent of Disney gone wild, and we were asked to pose in front of the glowing tourist attraction by local Mysoreans.
Let’s also not forget a few other pre-departure experiences:
- The vibrating-singing bowl “treatment”
- A special (and totally disturbing) school
program that featured Indians being attacked by Pakistanis.
- Another wedding invite.
- And stimulating Indian textbook analysis.
We kicked off our two-month adventure with a week-long excursion down the coast of Kerala – from the tranquil beaches of Kunnar, to the historic district of Fort Kochi, weaving through small villages in the backwaters, and finally along the coastal cliffs of Varkala.
First Stop: Kunnar
Despite an eight-hour car ride and a hold-up at the Karnataka-Kerala border, because our driver did not have proper insurance (and refused, for several hours, to pay the fine), we finally reached our homestay on the nearly deserted beach of Kunnar.
Our early mornings were spent paddling and bird watching, while our afternoons and evenings were filled with reading, dancing, and sunsets. Thank you for your hospitality, Kannur. We are in love.
Second Stop: Fort Kochi
Although the stopover in this pre-colonial fishing village was brief, we found the fusion of the Portuguese architecture, the Jewish corridor, the Chinese fishing net-lined pier, and the south Indian hospitality to be quite charming.
Third Stop: Olavipe Village
Basically, we want to move in with Antony and Rema. They are the warmest, most hospitable people we have probably ever encountered, and their Syrian-Christian home (a restored mansion of rosewood and teak), tucked behind the backwaters and surrounded by coconut groves and rice patties, is magical.
Thanks to the patience of the local fisherman, whom we stalked around the backwaters for most of the morning, we were able to acquire a few fishing tips. They even let us play with their “catch.” Which we did. Perhaps to their dismay.
Forth Stop: Philip Kutty Farm
Although leaving Olavipe was no easy task, our next destination took us further into the depths of the backwaters to a fairyland “farm island” homestay.
A room with a view?
Fifth Stop: Varkala
We decided to conclude our coastal tour where it all began last February, during our first visit to India, on the south cliff. While our main objective was to completely embody “the beach bum,” we desperately failed for several reasons:
1. Tiffany burns way too easily.
2. Taylor would much rather play in the water than lay on the beach.
3. Tiffany burns way too easily.
We resorted to taking shelter at our favorite beachside restaurant, where we indulged on Keralan-style prawns. Everyday. Twice a day.