|Kerala's slogan is "God's own country." It certainly felt like a tropical paradise to us!|
We were hoping that the south would be a change of pace, and fortunately it was. We had decided to visit the state of Kerala, because a number of our friends had recommended it, and our friend Jayson actually grew up there. We flew into a city called Kochi, and we could immediately tell things were different. The weather was 20 degrees warmer, there were palm trees everywhere, and for the first time since we arrived in India, we weren't besieged by touts.
|Jayson's dad, at the business school where he happens to be dean|
From there we went to our hostel in Kochi. Compared to our stays in Delhi, this place was such a welcome change. The guy running it was named Anoob, and he was so friendly and easy going, and he just liked to laugh all the time. It was a fun place. The old part of Kochi is a fairly small town, so we hit most of the recommended highlights in just a couple days.
|We visited the oldest synagogue in India. No photos allowed inside, so you'll have to be satisfied with the gate|
|Inside a basilica|
|The chinese fishing nets are a famous landmark in Kerala. They were a gift from the chinese from hundreds of years ago, and they are still in operation today (thanks to hardworking tourists like us!).|
|We took a dip in the Indian ocean|
|We tried all sorts of interesting south Indian food. Turns out there is way more than just dosas and biryani.|
|The backwaters are very lush and green.|
|The boat was much bigger than we expected. Here we are on the upper deck.|
|More south Indian food. The soup is called sambar, and it is a very peppery vegetable soup (that you can even have for breakfast, I believe!)|
|You can get a sense of how relaxing the backwaters are, and you can also see what a houseboat looks like.|
|Rows and rows of tea bushes.|
|Near the bottom middle, you can see two women picking the tea. It kind of gives you a sense of scale, but then imagine entire mountains covered like this.|
|Here you can see how the fields span across entire mountains.|
|This is how I would look drinking clear tea from a clear glass.|
For those who have been to India, did you also find the first visit to be pretty tough? What food did you like the best? We had so many delicious things...