I have gone nearly the entire summer without the intoxicating scents of the quintessential summer necessities, sunscreen and bug spray. In fact it didn’t feel like summer till a few days ago, when I landed in the southernmost state of India, beautiful Kerela, sigh. Until this week the multiple cans of 50 spf sport sunblock were used exclusively to kill the bugs that have started to overrun the Delhi flat.

First of all the flight, that darn knife and the airport security. The same knife from the fourth of July has resurfaced and with only about an hour of sleep I grabbed the wrong bag, meaning the one with all the contraband. Still asleep the security guards starting saying, “knife, big knife.” My first thought was, this is a joke. Nope, they had found my big knife. I unwillingly gave it up, but probably for the best, this should make the last round of airport security easier knowing that I don’t have to worry about getting caught with weapons….again.

The flight down here was not the best experience. After hearing about how great the airlines are here I was excited to fly. Unfortunately that was not the case. I figured that after getting about an hour of sleep the night before I would just pass out for the flight. I laid down to doze just as the plane was taking off and about 2 hours later I woke up and asked my seat mate if we were in Hyberbad, as this was the layover stop. Nope, we were in Delhi. I was sooo confused as I was quite sure that I wasn’t dreaming up the take off two hours prior. Apparently as soon as we took off we had to turn around and make an emergency landing because some piece of equipment was not functioning. We continued to sit there for about another hour before taking off. I also heard about the great food on the flights and was anxiously waiting for the meal only to find out that this was the American Airlines of India and I would have to purchase prepackaged foods.

(Naitra’s fiance flew in for 4 days to surprise her from San Fransisco at right)

Luckily Kerela was love at first sight. I was not at all happy up north and the mountains, although beautiful were not for me. I am a southern girl at heart. Naitra and her mom picked me up at the airport, which I didn’t realize was such a schlep and took me for some real Kerelan food. The meal was straight off a banana leaf and you eat with your fingers which is incredible to watch and much harder to do than it sounds. Naitra’s house where I stayed while in Cochin is in the touristy area and is a huge 200 yr old house built by the Dutch. The house is so big that the rooms are bigger than my whole apt in Austin and the doors are made for someone 8 ft tall. There is a banquet hall in the basement. Naitra’s poor mum lives there by herself as the principal of the school and in a house that big wouldn’t be too fun.

(views across the street from the school of all the Chinese fishing nets and the view looking off the island)
The first full day there I left at 6am for Alleppay since this was said to be a good spot to launch from for the backwaters that snake through the whole state. Naitra and her mom were too nice to say anything but I had been using Hindi while in Kerela since that is the national language. Although I knew that they spoke Malayam in Kerela I figured how different could they be. I kept saying ‘acha’ which is ok in Hindi and someone in Alleppay finally corrected me and let me know that there it meant father. If I think back to the previous day it’s a little embarrassing to think that all that time was was saying ‘father’ to people, oy!