Afterwards we walked down to the beach, saw a bunch of people cooking what looked like atomically spicy fish, in the crazy heat. And people selling trinkets and fruit. We put our feet in the water which was glorious, because it was soooooo hot!
The next day we to an elephant temple built in 750 AD. All of us Americans were all impressed that they would let us just walk around in it and touch these stone carvings that were centuries old, which was pretty amazing, actually! We ran into a school group going on a field trip there as well, they were very friendly!
29 January 2016
She had amazing, intricate mendhi on her hands and feet. The second photo shows a traditional wedding design, with the faces of the couple on her palms.
Friday night we went to the first event for Krithika and Ragu's wedding. (🎶which of these things does not belong here🎶)
Awe, so sweet of Jeff to only eat half of the complimentary cookies from the hotel! 😀
And then we went to shop for Jeff and Albert. Albert found a very nice outfit quite quickly, Jeff has slightly few options, and Erin had to talk him out of the pink and teal outfits. The guys desperately wanted to get him into some shoes which were never going to fit, but not as desperately as Jeff was to get a hat, which also was never going to fit.
Friday 1/29- After flying back from Kochi to Chennai Thursday night, we met up with Albert and Melaena. They also work at UVM and came over for the wedding. On Friday we went shopping with Krithika's aunt Kavitha. The guys at the sari shop helped us try them on which was very educational, and also loads of fun!
28 January 2016
We arrived back at kochi and took a walk on the boardwalk.
"Hang on, you're not really gonna wear that dhoti, right?"
We stopped by a local shop and Jeff tried on clothes in a room full on mannequins.
28 January 2016
Then we saw firefighters at the scene of a fire, possibly a car having gone off the road. Not sure if anyone was hurt, but it really made the lack of helmets and car seats scarier.
Then we stopped and met some women who were weaving fabric and they showed us what they were making and how it worked. And Jeff took some artsy pictures.
We stopped first at a Hindu temple to Shiva. To go inside, Jeff had to take off his shirt like everyone else, which actually didn't help us to blend in, but there was a shirtless 2yo who found him completely fascinating!
The temple was amazing, it had so many layers, with an inner sanctuary that had a series of chambers leading to a fire at the top, and an inner building covered with intricate murals of the gods, and a trickling fountain of milk that people were waking up to, cupping a bit in their hand and then drinking it and brushing the rest on their heads. We decided to abstain from the milk, but it was still an incredible place to see.
Thursday 1/28- then it was back in the car to kochin to fly back to Chennai. When we stopped for gas we noticed a set of fire buckets and people pouring gas into graduated cylinders. Our driver told us that it was to show people the quality of the gas before they buy it.
27 January 2016
Wednesday 1/27- Had masala dosas for breakfast, per Jeff's request, which were amazing. And then we took off again, saw people bathing and washing their clothes in the backwaters, a woman apparently washing her baby goats, and more tiny people in umbrella hats working in the rice fields.
Jeff spent more of Wednesday talking with Rajesh, the captain.
"So, are there giant pythons here?"
"No sir, it's a lake sir."
"Poisonous sea snakes?"
"No sir, it's a lake, sir. Just small snakes, very safe sir."
Jeff is still learning how to take selfies...
The houseboat was really relaxing and really hot. Rajesh told us about the racing boats that we saw along the way. In the evening, we are food off of banana leaves, which was great, except for the endless, merciless sweating.
We stopped briefly at this little village and got some people some souvenirs and on the way out Jeff took a picture of these ladies and waved and said hello and they giggled and waved back. Leave it to Jeff to seek attention from dock-loads of Indian women on his honeymoon 😉
26 January 2016
After lunch we took off again further into the backwaters. It was amazingly beautiful to float by and see the rice farmers. Then we found a place to dock for the night and walked around the rice fields and the village took some pictures with some other travelers and Jeff got checked out by a rooster.
Jeff spent a lot of time talking with Rajesh, the captain.
"So are there crocodiles here?"
"No sir, it's a lake sir, just small snakes."
We stopped about an hour out into the backwaters and bought fish and prawns for the next two days from this lady. The cook, Sanjeev, was fantastic! Then after lunch we sat in the upper deck and had a kingfisher and checked out the birds. Jeff was impressed with the Indian Eagles 😊
Tuesday afternoon 1/26- The houseboats were amazing and there were hundreds of them weaving between each other all over the place! We boarded ours at noon and then got some coconut water while we were disembarking.
We stopped at a beautiful beach in the way to Allepuzah and watched some people try to swim in way too much clothing.
Then we got in a cab to drive to the place where we rented a houseboat to explore the backwaters. We saw a lot more of the everyday life in rural Kerala. People walking and riding around with their kids, butchering and selling pigs, more super cool Chinese fishing nets, and of course, more traffic jams. As it turns out, the helmet and car seat guidelines are a bit more relaxed in India.
Tuesday morning 1/27- they have amazing fresh pineapple and watermelon juice that we had every morning while we watched the tiny canoes duke it out with the tankers. Then Erin got overly excited about the different root systems in the garden.
25 January 2016
It actually was really great, we saw the place where all of the nice hotels and laundrymats send their laundry. That guy is ironing with a heavy cast iron, iron, that's filled with burning coconut. We now understand why it seems like none of the linens are that clean. And then we drove around to a Hindu temple where Jeff made some friends. And then a Muslim temple, and finally to the mattacherry palace where they have a museum with great murals that you're not allowed to take pictures of. Fortunately, the Internet does have pictures, so here they are!
And then we walked around the beach, which was depressingly dirty, and took some pics with the locals, before taking our life in our hands and climbing into a "tuk tuk", with this guy, for a tour. There's no doors, or windows, or seatbelts, but there is fringe hanging from the ceiling.
We also wanted to check out the Chinese fishing nets that are apparently famous in this area and are all over the place. We took a video of one being lowered and then pulled back up (but I guess they don't show up on the journi, so we'll have to show you another time!)
Monday 1/25- had amazing Indian stew, crepes with honey, and fresh watermelon juice for our complementary breakfast (definitely put the hard-boiled egg and pre-packaged honeybun to shame.)
And then went for a walk around town.
Sunday evening 1/24- Had an amazing massage at the Ayurvedic spa where we're staying and then ate some monkey brains.
JK, but there was fantastic Indian food, turns out tripadvisor was right!
Sunday morning 1/24- Quick 1.5 hr flight from Chennai to Kochi, and then a 1hr cab ride that turned into 2 when our driver got lost. Fortunately it was pre-paid, unfortunately it was 95 degrees outside and the cab didn't have air conditioning. But our little hotel was very cute and peaceful!
24 January 2016
Sunday afternoon 1/24- We walked around town a bit and met a lot of cute local goats.
Sunday morning, 1/24- Definitely not in vermont anymore.
Sunday really early morning 1/24- We're pretty excited to go to bed for a few hours. But Jeff may have been more excited about their succulent gardens, it's a toss up.
Saturday 1/23- Wow, the Doha airport in Qatar is really different from the airport in Chennai...