Coconut Coast

Trip Start Sep 22, 2010
Trip End May 17, 2011

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Flag of India  , Kerala,
Monday, October 18, 2010

Last but not least, we ventured even further south to Kerala, India's southwestern-most state.  Kerala means "land of coconuts" and the locals proudly call it "god's own country."  Kerala was stunning and we spent the majority of our time in India here.  

Kerala has an interesting recent history, namely being that it was the first state in the world to freely elect a communist government, which persists to this day.  We were there during an election and were suprised to see campaign posters covered with the hammer and sickle.

Kerala is well known for its beaches and backwaters, massive networks of canals and rivers that were historically used in lieu of roads.  We made sure to experience a bit of both.

Varkala was our first Kerala destination and we couldn't help but get stuck there.  It's a small cliffside town, with great restaurants and shops perched high above the Arabian Sea, along with beautiful beaches.  Our accommodation not only provided us with a great place to stay for $6 a night, but also staff who immediately befriended us.  Cheers to Boban, Vijay, and Dadu!  

One Keralan highlight was a backwater canoe trip outside of Kollam.  A knowledgable guide took us through serene backwater villages where life was slow-paced and self-sustaining.

Finally, we visited Fort Cochin, a romantic sea-side town steeped in blended history.  Starting in the 16th century, the Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, and Brits all had a heavy influence on the area, which still lingers today.  Fort Cochin is a spice trading mecca and walking through the bazaar while taking in the sights and scents was unbelievable.  Another great thing to see was the nightly fish auction from the day's fresh catch.  It seemed like complete chaos to us outsiders but was well-organized, like the trading floor of the NYSE.     
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