My midterms just ended (thank god) and travel week with my program has started! It’s for 9 days and we are accompanied by the Varanasi exchange group.Normally they travel to West Bengal for travel week, but there’s some civil conflict over there so they joined us instead. I’m really jealous they are in a home stay program, but it’s still a fun experience living in the student hostel. I learn more about Manipal’s campus culture versus the local one. Today was 90% traveling! We woke up and had a quick breakfast. It was pretty good compared to my cafeteria breakfast. We had toast with apricot jam, watermelon, pineapple, fried eggs, and cha. The fried eggs were soooo good. I haven’t had an egg cooked like that in a while. The cha tasted kind of funny. I think they use a different kind of milk in Kerala vs Karnataka (the state my university is in) or maybe it’s processed a different way? I don’t know it tastes weird to me.
I really didn’t do much today. We had a 6 hour bus ride from Fort Kochin to another city in Kerala. Now I am in Munnar and we are spending two nights here. The hotel is sooooooooo nice. The bed is really comfy. I can drink the water there. The best part is THE SHOWER IS HOT! Not just lukewarm, but steaming hot. It’s amazing, I’ve never felt this clean in my life. The weather in Munnar is significantly cooler and there’s a nice breeze every few minutes. Thus far, Munnar and Fort Kochin have been my favorite places in India. Fort Kochin just had reallly reallly good food. Kerala is known for having coconut based dishes and it’s delicious. Also, it’s tastes familiar to me because my step dad cooks with a ton of coconut products (especially when he makes lentils and curry).
Today was scheduled with the most exciting activities in Kerala. We visited a tea farm and the little community built around it. The community is honestly the coolest thing I’ve seen here. They are 100% selfsustainable and have some cool programs at the farm. Generally, the tea leaf pickers are women, so the tea farm provides specialized maternal and child healthcare for them. Also, when the mothers do have children they get time off and free day care for when they return to the tea fields. There is a special vocational school at the farm for the workers children with disabilities. They teach them skilled trades and create product with the natural biproducts from the tea farm. I bought two things from that store actually, a pair of earrings and a pierce of art. I’ll show you both of them when I’m home! After the trip to the tea farm, we went to Munnar town center and wandered around. Krishnendu and I just walked in and out of random shops. I found a gift for you and that’s all I bought. We spent one more night in Munnar and left forn Alleopy in the morning.
It was a SIX HOUR bus ride to Alleppey!!! It was absolute torture for me. I was incredibly carsick and had to take an antinausea pill to survive. The pill knocked me out because a side effect is drowsiness. It worked to my advantage becuasenext thing I know we were arriving in Alleppey at the house boat! We didn’t do anything here other than hang out on the house boat and ate dinner. We did walk around a nearby ‘village’ (it was too modernized to qualify as a village). I had a rough time in the ‘village’ because a bird pooped on me from the tree above. Thankfully, it only landed in my shoulder and shirt. My program director said in Hindu traditions being pooped on by a bird means I was blessed and wiped the poop off with his handkerchief. We kept walking and only a few minutes later a bug flew directly into my eye and I had to dig it out. Fun times! We ended up walking almost three miles round trip and the while way I was anxious about what was going to happen next. After the walk, we ate dinner! The food in Kerala is soooo delicious. I looovveeee appam and this yogurt curry ( I don’t remember the name). They prepared tiger prawns for dinner tonight, you would have died. Honestly, there was so much hype around them and the prawns ended up tasting like nothing. Tomorrow we leave at 8AM to tour around the area a little more then we are back to Karnataka for a day in Bangalore! That will be a 13 hour train ride! Halp!!!! Traveling in India takes soooooo long and it’s exhausting. I should sleep now I have a long day tomorrow. I love you so much! We are already in October!