The Indian province of Kerala is only about an hour and half plane ride from Colombo. For our Poya day in November, we went to check it out. We flew into Kochi and then got a ride to the backwaters of Alappuzha about 2 hours south.
We stayed in a cute homestay on the banks of one of the canals. It was so different from the India we saw in the north. It was green and lush and sparsely populated.
We had a chance to relax at the homestay and have some good meals. We also had a chance to go out in one of the boats for a tour of the canals.
We checked out the inside of one of these houseboats.
The next day we went on a guided hike of the village.
We walked by a rice paddy where they were spreading calcium to fortify the rice.
After Aleppuzha we headed to Kochi for a one night stay. Kochi is a fairly small city, but it really didn’t seem like a long enough time to do/see everything.
Of course we had to check out Jew Street and the synagogue:
We walked around a little. It’s a very walkable city with lots of shops and restaurants. Compared with our home in Sri Lanka, it’s a very pleasant place to walk around.
They said that Hinduism is the majority religion, just like the rest of India. But we saw so many churches, it was hard to believe. When we took a closer look at the churches, they looked a whole lot like Hindu shrines. It made me think that maybe people are Hindu, while they incorporate Christianity into their practice.
Erika wanted to go see a puppet show or something. So Renee and I went to a restaurant near the beach to watch the sunset.
There was one small glitch to our whole weekend. It didn’t end up affecting us too much in the end, but it was kind of wild at the time. The Indian government had just revoked the use of 500 and 1000 rupee notes.
The BBC explains the situation here: www.bbc.combbc.com
We saw people lining up to try to exchange their rupees. The lines were often around the block. There were people who were probably going to spend most of their day in line. We originally had thought this would all post a problem. Erika and I had the old 1000 rupee notes, but could not use them anywhere.
In the first place we stayed, we left a 1000 rupee note as a tip, figuring that they would exchange it with the rest of their money. Once we got to Kochi, we were a little stressed because all the ATMs were out of cash. It was insane! But the guy who ran the hotel said he would change our 1000 notes and he also exchanged our US dollars. So between that and using our credit cards to pay for things, we actually weren’t too bothered by the whole thing.