Kerala is located in the south west tip of India. It is south of Goa. You fly into Trivandrum if you are going on a holiday to Kerala. The Indian state of Kerala has the highest literacy rate in the whole of India. I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks in Kerala in November 2007. The people are poor and some live in very poor conditions but there is no doubting that the people are friendly. The cost of living is very low by Western standards. A two course meal with drinks in a restaurant for 2 people costs about £6. Kerala is a large state and because the roads are very busy getting anywhere fast is very difficult. Allow about 4 hours to travel 100 miles ! I stayed at the Leela Kempinsky in Kovalam, which is a fantastic hotel but there are plenty to choose from. A good way to get around is by rickshaw or tuc tucs. I took this picture, below, of several outside the Leela. They charge about £1 per mile and will wait for you for several hours whilst you go shopping or have a meal if you want them to, and for no extra charge.
Every afternoon, after school, the local school children went down to the beach. One thing I noticed is that the kids are very well dressed in immaculate school uniforms. Their mothers must have cursed though, as they all seemed to wade into the sea in their uniforms !
Whilst in Kerala we visited an elephant sanctuary. You can have a ride on one if you want. I didn’t bother as they looked a bit uncomfortable to say the least. It’s not unusual to see an elephant being walked along a road in Kerala. Here is a photo of me next to an elephant!
We went on an overnight cruise on a houseboat on the Kerala backwaters. We had three crew members looking after just the two of us. Whilst cruising past houses on the waters edge we saw many Indian women washing clothes, bathing and washing their hair. I even saw several people brushing their teeth using the river water. I guess it can’t do them any harm or they wouldn’t do it.
This is a picture I took of a typical Kerala houseboat. We stayed overnight on one of these. If you go to Kerala you must go on a backwater cruise. They operate from several places but the main place is Cochin.
And finally, this is a picture of me relaxing on our cruise boat on the Kerala backwaters. Three crewmen looked after us and I felt like a VIP ! We had a driver, a cook and a thrid crewman (not sure what he did)