Ohh Kerala, Kerala! What shall’e do with thy Kerala?
After almost one month intense AIESEC journey through India, most of us got separated. The last destination for all together was Goa. That’s where we said our ‘’see you soons’’ to each other, not a GOODBYE for me. Because I don’t say goodbye, I never liked the idea of it. The majority went back to their homes and the rest decided to go somewhere else. Three girls wanted to visit Sri-Lanka so bad. Me and my friend, with whom I planned things way before India, agreed on visiting KERALA. Since it is pretty far destinations from Goa to Kerala, we went to Bangalore with others by bus, where the middle point is. After spending a day in Bangalore we headed to the South where Cochin was awaiting!
After spending more than 10 hours (including the flaws on the road due to the weather conditions) in a sleeper bus we finally arrived to beautiful Kerala. The day we arrived on (7th August) there was a strike between municipal drivers. So it was almost impossible to across the bridge to reach Cochin. While waiting, someone just stopped in front of us and offered to take us to Cochin; until our hostel destination. After a long bargain we agreed. My friend found the place while we were in Bangalore but I can say he made a good job. It was supposed to be hostel, since there is none but home-stays I guessed we also stayed in one of them. There were only two rooms and one common kitchen which you can use whenever you want to. It was like a hotel I can tell. The name of the hotel is ‘’Serenity Home-stay’’.
After settled in our room we got ready to explore the place. Cochin is a small city in the state of Kerala. We looked into online a lot to find the best place to chill and relax after a long – exhausting journey to be honest. Here we came; COCHIN! I am glad that we chose this place to visit. It is a very small city but lots of things happening around. Every corner you can see different type of home-stays, restaurants, shops, cafes! So far Kerala is the place where I felt like home..
We were walking around and on our way to seaside we discovered a café called “Teapot” which would be our favorite spot to go on our upcoming days! Not much of a fancy café I can tell, but the atmosphere and coziness.. That caught my attention definitely. I ordered cheese sandwich and jasmine tea. My friend ordered “Blackberry cheesecake” which was the yummiest CHEESECAKE I (we) have ever eaten, without exaggeration! We were trying to find excuses to go to the same café every single day haha! Everything was really yummy and the prices were pretty reasonable. I suggest this café strongly.
We went out from the café and headed to the sea side. After inhaling some fresh air and drinking fresh coconut-water, we wanted to check some shops around. I saw a colorful one and directly focus my attention there. It was a perfumery: “Imran Perfume”. I asked what are those colorful powders for and the owner explained that those are the makeup materials for the famous Dance Show of Kerala: KATHAKALI. We never got to see the show, though it was nearby and pretty reasonable price. I regreted it afterwards that I never got to see the famous show. I heard from a friend that’s like a musical and a bit sexual but he said it was totally worth it.
The owner of the shop is also called Imran. He named his shop after him J He was a friendly guy whom we will not forget. I bought lots of incenses with different fragrance and plus we bought oily perfumes (which he told us more natural and long-lasted) with also different fragrance. They were exactly the same scent of the original ones. He also sells leather bags/rucksacks in his shop.
After a lovely conversation with him we asked where to visit in this town and he suggested us “The Jew Town”. Pretty small but cute place itself. Graffiti’s on the walls and lots of rickshaws. There are also many shops and churches there.
By the way, after my research the majority of this town is Christian and after that Mohammedan. That’s why you cannot get to see cows on the street or any temples. That’s what I witnessed so far. But to see people from different cultures and religions live at peace with each other.. That’s heart melting! They just DON’T judge you from your color, religion or language. That’s the KEY to the WORLD PEACE!
On our way back home my friend showed me a sign about YOGA classes written on a random Hotel’s entry. We entered to ask more about it. Because I promised myself to do yoga and meditation after AIESEC journey in India, but I was mentally and physically tired to attend any one month courses. Few minutes later the main Yogi came to inform us and he asked me to join 90 minutes class early in the morning and I agreed. From that day on I took private yoga classes during five days from him. Five days intense yoga course was totally worth it. Thanks to my lovely Master.
We spent here exactly seven days – ONE WEEK! Long enough when comparing to other cities during AIESEC journey haha! Well, seven days are long enough for this small place though. I would suggest maximum three to four days to explore everything easily and slowly. There is not much you can do as an activity as mentioned. Backwater is the most famous activity especially in “Allepey”, and don’t leave the place without doing it. I AM SERIOUS. It was heavenly beautiful. I enjoyed every piece of it. Thanks to its reputation it is also known as “Venice of the East”. I have been to both by now and I can tell there are different of course but the feeling they give you is exactly the same, especially when you get to have someone you love next to you.. We paid 750 INR per head for a daily backwater tour. It was not in Allepey due to the heavy rains, but somewhere near to Ernakulam. The transportation from your hotel and back to your hotel and one meal was included. It was really amazing.
The journey lasted 3 hours and in the middle of it we stopped to have lunch. They call this “Saddiya Kerala Dish” and was not really spicy. What I really loved about it is they use banana-leafs as a plate. After the main meal we ate banana with “Palada payasam” as dessert. Palada payasam is like rice pudding with milk. During the journey we learned different usage of coconut itself, was shocking to know them all.
The city itself looked more European to me, comparing to other cities in India. Maybe since the Christianity takes the role of the place. Most of the cafes are pretty cozy and you should visit the Italian restaurant to try pizza and every day after 7pm there was live music. Whenever we felt hungry, we tried different places to taste different food. But the cuisine in Cochin is pretty similar to our cultures (Turkey/Oman). According to one of shop owners in Cochi, we went to a restaurant to try “Shawarma”. Though my friend insisted on saying it is traditional Turkish food, which also was, the name was totally wrong. It is “DÖNER”, not Shawarma and whatnot! J It was soooo yummy I ordered one more not to forget its taste haha!
One day after my yoga class I decided to go to the nearest island by ferry. “Vypeen” was pretty close and I said why not! I took the ferry and by mistake I found myself in Ernakulam but after that I was able to reach Vypeen, finally. It was raining cats and dogs and I was alone. Someone came and talk to me. She said she is from Mumbai and came here for business. She wanted to see the light house before flying back to Mumbai in 4 hours. We chatted and went to see the light house. It was on a lunch break, we couldn’t enter. We walked to the beach called “Pothuval Peen” and talked there a bit about her jobs, my life and my India journey through AIESEC. It was pretty windy and after one hour she said she had to go to pack her stuff and go to the Kerala airport to catch the flight. I wished her the best and she left.
I started collecting seashells out of blue. But not all of them, I picked the ones I liked. After collecting enough, I decided to do some yoga to refresh my mind and body.
After that I went back to the light house. The entry was 50 INR and the time I got up it started raining. My luck in life haha! The view from the top was mesmerizing. All green everything. And some colorful spots in between. I went down and decided to walk for 10 minutes. I wanted to discover the place by myself. I saw many luxury houses and beautiful gardens. Then I took rickshaw to go to the ferry station. By the time I reached in Cochin I bought some famous Kerala snacks (unniyappam, pazham pori and samosa ❤) and we ate with my friend.
While staying in Kerala/Cochin we wanted to go on another tour in Munnar. It was a bit expensive but the tour was not daily. All expenses were included. Transportation, one or two days in a hotel and tea workshop and whatnot. We were not sure about it. While we were still considering to do the tour, we figured out that the Kerala was flooding. It was on the breaking news and even on Google map it was showing the NOTICE! We were sad but to be honest didn’t take it that serious. We thought it was due to Monsoon and the heavy rains. The locals told us not to worry but we heard that the tour to Munnar was cancelled because of flooding and the people who went there the day before got stuck on the hills and couldn’t come down. We kept following the news and the thing got more serious day by day. Since they told us not to be worried in Cochin, we did the same, were not that worried.
My friend’s flight was on 20th from Ahmedabad to Muscat and mine.. well, I hadn’t booked mine until then. Since we were really exhausted and there was nothing to see and do more in Kerala, we wanted to go back home earlier. He booked his second ticket on 15th from Kerala to Muscat and then I booked mine on 14th from the same airport to Istanbul. We made a plan and moved from our home-stay to Kerala city where the airport is. We booked a place to stay for a day near to the airport and decided to see the Asia’s biggest mall ‘’LULU”. (I might seen more shopping malls than temples in India haha).
We went there by Uber and decided to watch a Bollywood movie on our last day (together in India). Since there was no subtitle we booked a movie called “The Meg”. The mall closes at 10pm and it was 8pm-ish when we were in the queue of ticket corner. The guy told us the economic class hour has just finished and we should buy VIP ticket. We asked the price: 300 INR and since it was pretty cheap comparing to our own cinemas in our countries, we bought two tickets. We took our snacks and went into the cinema. Everything was gold and was really enchanting! The time we entered the hall we both were shocked and didn’t really believe what we show! It was not a cinema, nor a super-luxury home. It was something else. I can’t describe but the cinema was small enough to be VIP and too comfy to be VIP. The seats were electronic and the blanket, pillow, many buttons on the seat and the side lamps, sockets and the MENU! I thought we were somewhere else but in a cinema haha! We cuddled and enjoyed the movie with our blanket on us. The movie was really amazing though.
After midnight the movie ended and we headed back to our hotel. I had 4 hours until my flight and I preferred to sleep meanwhile. Then I headed to the airport with my friend and was ready to go home.. Unfortunately my friend’s flight on the next day got cancelled because of the flooding. It came to Kerala even to the airport and everywhere was under water. I was soooo sad and worried about my friend and Kerala people, homeless people :(. Sadly, lots of people have died because of the situation and I was in kind of a situation where I didn’t know whether I should be happy and thankful to be back home or to be absolutely sad because I left my friend there all alone.. But luckily, he found way to go back home after 3 days being stuck in a hotel room. The time he got back I felt relieved and happy but still the situation was getting worse and worse everyday in Kerala..
When I reached the airport I felt a bit sad but also freaking happy at the same time to collect magnificent moments with special people in India. I thank them all to make my journey UNFORGETTABLE. I surely see you guys soon somewhere in the world. Because the world is OURS!