Perfect stay in Kerala

Trip Start Nov 27, 2012
Trip End Feb 24, 2013

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Where I stayed
Green Palm Homes Alappuzha
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of India  ,
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

We left Goa feeling fully chilled and looking much healthier.   Now for the most exciting part of the trip so far, our first overnight journey on the famous Indian railways.  We arrived at Margoa station at 2045 and it was chaos – pretty standard for an Indian station.  Our names were not on the cabin list so there was a slight panic as we tried to find an English speaker who could help us and fearing we would have to squeeze in to the crowded sleeper class carriages , not the lovely 1st class air conditioned sleeper I had booked for this 14 hour journey.   Eventually we found a man with a briefcase who calmly opened it and told us our carriage number – and what a cabin it was, luxurious by Indian standards.    Within minutes we heard the call of "chai" from the hallway and beckoned in the chaiwaller for our first taste of authentic Indian Railway chai.  Clean sheets arrived, our order was taken for breakfast and I had my first experience of an Indian railway toilet (you can see the tracks below).  We were soon tucked in for bed.  

At 0700 the next morning the first call of “chai” and “coffee” was heard and we were up and dressed.   We had ordered omelettes for breakfast not really sure what to expect.  It arrived 0800, a hot masala omelette (in tin foil), two slices of bread and a sachet of tomato ketchup.   An omelette sandwich, what a great start to the day.  

We sat back to enjoy the scenery as the train entered God's own country – Kerala.   Arriving in Cochin we met our driver and it was a 2 hour drive to the backwaters of Kerala.   This is a large area of water where three rivers meet and areas of land have been reclaimed to create many islands.   Running down from the Ghats these waters served as part of the original spice routes. The car dropped us by the water as we stepped in to a long wooden canoe to go over to our home for the next three days.    The Green Palm House is a family compound which welcomes guests to stay, one of the many homestays that are becoming popular here.   Maria the host is lovely, her mother Anna does all the cooking which is superb and the rest of the family help out.    The family were farmers and still grown a lot of their own food, it is very different to the food in other areas using a lot of coconut and vegetables.

This is one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited in India.  The island has a community of around 1,000 people, the houses are around the edge of the island and along the canals with rice fields in the centre of the island.    Outside each house is a step down to the water and this is where each family will wash themselves and their clothes, prepare their food, clean their teeth and so much more.     These are simple people living at one with their environment and with a very strong community, it is magical.   We have enjoyed canoe rides day and evening, many walks and visits to local people who are all so welcoming.  Terry had a cooking lesson so we can look forward to some Keralan cooking when we return.   The last three days have been some of the best we have enjoyed on our many trips to India, this place is magical and we will certainly be returning.  

Medical update :  A trip to the Doctors today – Terry has developed a large blister on his foot which has turned nasty and I have a lovely collection of mosquito bites on my ankle which has now swollen up.   Visiting a Doctor in India is a joy -  we were in and out within 15 minutes which included consultations with the Doctor, a jab in Terry’s bum and picking up various tablets and creams from the receptionist.  The bill – around 6.
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