Yesterday I waved goodbye to Thailand and flew off into the sunrise to India, where Neil was waiting at the airport with a sign he wrote on his iPad. Adorable! On the plane, I met a girl from Seattle and we got to talking, so she came to the beach with us and we all had dinner together. I love making friends with new people!
I'll be in India for 3 weeks. I'm planning to go to Kerala in the south, New Delhi, Rajasthan (where Neil's family is from), and possibly Leh in the Himalayas We both REALLY want to go to Leh, which is consistently voted the most amazing and beautiful place in India by Indians and foreigners alike, but it's at 12,000 feet and goes up to 18,000 so we need a lot of time for acclimation and traveling between the lakes and hikes. We're right now working on logistics, so check back in the next few days for a more finalized update on our schedule.
Kerala is beautiful. Very few people come here for tourism; foreigners tend to prefer Goa, which has better beaches but none of the mountains and forests like in Kerala. Since I've been living on fairly beautiful (alright alright, they are completely stunning) beaches, we decided that Kerala had more variety and was a better fit. Yesterday we went to the beach, ate some amazing Indian food, and drove part of the way to a hill station called Munnar.
|Kite flying at the beach|
|Kochi, one of the larger cities in Kerala, has eclectic historical influences|
|Fun fact: Vasco de Gama built this church and is buried there.|
Today we spent 4 hours kayaking around the backwaters of Alleppey. We kayaked through tiny canals between rice paddies and saw people washing dishes, washing themselves, and fishing in the canals. It was a bit shocking; they eat, bathe, and wash clothing from the same water, and believe me - that water is NOT clean. The kayaks were a wonderful way to experience the canals and see how many Indians live, and kayaking is not a very popular attraction; most Indians prefer to take giant houseboats through the larger canals, and even foreigners prefer the houseboats or larger motorized boats. That means that we went through canals where foreigners are rarely seen, and as a result there were a LOT of confused stares.
|Of course one of the restaurants has a pet eagle??|
We then stopped at a beautiful tea garden for lunch and to enjoy the views.
After a few more hours of driving, we went to an elephant camp where we rode an elephant through a spice garden, learning about the different spices that grow in Kerala and enjoying a great view! We also gave the elephants a bath - and they returned the favor. IT WAS AWESOME~! I'm loving the native animals in Asia :)
Finally, we arrived at our hotel and are getting a good night's sleep before our adventures tomorrow. We're planning on a hike and some ziplining through the trees. Why not?