Kumarakom, Gateway to Kerala’s Backwaters

Trip Start Feb 03, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2010

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Flag of India  , Kerala,
Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We make the long descent from the highlands today to sea level, and the tropical, lush backwaters of Kerala. There are noticeable changes in religions and economic levels as we get closer to Kochi. More churches and mosques are evident, and fewer Hindu temples. The houses are getting grander and the colors more vivid.

After a nearly seven-hour drive (with stops), we reach what seems to be a piece of heaven – the Coconut Lagoon. It is on the shores of Vembanad Lake, and accessible only by boat. As we wolf down a late lunch, one of the resident experts on Ayurvedic massage circulates around our tables taking reservations for spa treatments. He has no shortage of customers after that long drive!

A sunset cruise out on the lake gives us a chance to relax and meet others staying at the resort, including another solo gentleman traveler who we later learn is "family." The climate is steamy and the sunset rosy, thanks to a haze on the horizon. There is a performance of kathakali before dinner this evening – Kerala's unique form of ritualized theatre. This dancer is even better than the one we saw a couple of nights ago, having an uncanny ability to raise and lower each eyebrow opposite to the other in something resembling the "wave" at a stadium. He can also make his entire face shudder as he plays a monkey. This fellow has certainly never come anywhere near a botox needle! Off to bed early, as we arise at the crack of dawn tomorrow to go birdwatching.
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