It's been a month since I went home to India; Now I've arrived at the conclusion that it was one of the best trips home in a long time. My parents had planned a week-long holiday - just the 3 of us. We do travel well together. Like we did when they visited me for a month in South Africa. In fact, I can say that I thoroughly enjoy traveling with them and always look forward to our next trip.
They have the qualities I want in travel companions...easy going, don't complain if its sweaty and hot (and its sweaty and hot all the time in India), will eat pretty much anything without any fuss, and have energy to go-go-go! And I can be difficult around them though; I am difficult around them because I can be. Because I know they get me. Just this morning, when Gr and I were discussing how tough communication in a second language can be, he said, "With you, I can say whatever I want without thinking if it's ok." I guess that's why it's called "unconditional." People with whom you can have a temper, be unreasonably snippy with, and yet know that you are loved.
We went to Kerala - the neighboring state. And being a neighbor, we'd neglected going before simply for the usual reason that we can always go since it's next door. Kerala, by it's own advertising, calls itself God's Own Country. Wonder since when God had a country…and why would He just pick one? It's like this bumper sticker I saw a while back that said "God Bless Texas" - so what about the rest of us non-Texans?! Ok, moving on from that tangential thought. We wandered old Kochi (Cochin), stopped to watch the famous Kathakali dance. What was special was that we went early and watched the artist apply his make up - took him an hour. My 15 minute make up ritual in the morning is nothing!
Spending time on a house boat cruising the backwaters of Kerala was idyllic. Something that I'd always wanted to do. We had a whole boat to ourselves. And a chef, who was so very good at the traditional cuisine. Heading back to land, am certain the boat sat a few inches lower!
And finally, we went up to Munnar, the "Switzerland of India" - well, that's what people called it in the days of yore when international travel was only for the elite and people had no idea that Switzerland is much cooler and much higher. But, this was for my dad. He's 77, and rarely says that he wants to go some place or see something special. And this one place that he dramatically told us, "If you dont want to come that's ok. I'll find other like-minded people to go with." That's how much it meant to him to see the tea gardens of Munnar!
Some more interesting pictures here.
Mom, dad, and I spent an insensible number of hours driving...and when we got back, I slept for a whole day! The next morning, they were perfectly fine, back to their routine, fighting fit, while I was completely exhausted and still bleary eyed. When did I turn into a sissy traveller?