Sunday, December 11, 2011

Kochi, Kovallam and the end of our South India Tour

So it's been a while since my last update. To be honest I needed a break from updating the blog. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time. I usually start with transferring the photos to my laptop, then I have to go through all the photos and decide which I want tokeep and delete the rest, then resize for the blog and so on. Just the photos can take me up to two hours per night. Then I have to write, upload the photos and post. All in all it's a three hour process and I've had a few nights where I've been up until 2 a.m. and so like I said, I needed a break.

A lot has happened since my last update. We had a great time in Kochi and my high lights were walking in the old fort area and watching the traditional Kathakali dancing. These dances require a lot of time to put on the make up which is all naturally colored. The red comes from a red rock as does the yellow and black. Traditionally these dances would take eight to twelve hours and are the old ways of story telling. We watched one hour of the make up process and one hour of the story telling. It's really hard to describe and was one of my favorite memories of the trip. The pictures below are of make up process and the dance. The use of flashes were not permitted so the photos may not be all that great.

After Kochi we drove south to  Kovallam and are staying at the prestigious five star Leela Resort. I'll mention that I never want to leave here and if anyone has a credit card number they want to email me please do so! 
We had a great relaxing drive here yesterday and today we drove three hours south to where the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean all meet. It's the southern most part of India and was spectacular. The photos for this part will follow shortly.

I've spent the last three weeks traveling with my mother and step father and their friends Donnie and Lee. We went to hill stations at 7500 feet in the mountains to the coast line, have seen some magnificent temples, ate some wonderful food and had a great time over all. My most memorable experiences include the overnight house boat ride through the Kerala back waters and the friendly people in the small farming villages. The 3000 year old temples in Madurai, the visit to the hospital near Iduki when I got sick, seeing wild elephants at Nargarhole National Park and busting my gut on the freshest seafood imaginable. My most memorable experience though will be the people of South India. Their friendly smiles and warm hospitality. Everyone smiled and were happy to have their photos taken. The children bold and full of questions. People in the state of Tamil Nadu seemed to be more barefooted than with shoes, people in Kerala have fancy houses and is chock full of temples, churches and mosques, all side by side.

The best part of this trip? Experiencing it with my mother and my step father Steve. This trip couldn't have been possible without them, they took great care of me. And it was nice to have someone that I could share the experience with, not only my parents but my best friends.

Tomorrow we fly to New Delhi where we'll stay with my cousin. My mother and Steve will fly out the day after back to the states and I'll hang out here in India for another six weeks, mostly with little plans so I expect to wing it most of my time here. I have considered a side trip to Thailand for one or two weeks to visit Chaing Mai and Chaing Rai in the north. Hopefully that will work out.

Anyway, here are the photos of the Kathakali performace.

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