Is it a month already? Seems like we came back just yesterday. We’re dearly missing the weather of India—the heat, the sunshine, and yes, the humidity of Kerala’s lush green seaside. There’s a lot we loved there and even more we haven’t seen yet. Must. Come. Back. Some day.
A little competition. India vs. Poland. Who’s more developed? Who’s developing more quickly? In Poland we’ve been catching up for the last quarter of a century, and in many ways we still are. It’s always intriguing to see another country on their way to improved living standards and relations with the rest of the world. How’s India doing then?
Two kilograms each, and none of it is muscle. That’s how much weight we gained during the two weeks of eating Indian food. There’s so much of it, and so diverse, we wanted to try everything. And it’s often so good, it’s hard to stop eating, even when we know we should.
Drum roll please! The final act of our epic journey is about to begin. Our good friend’s getting married in a flurry of colorful ceremonies, surrounded by a posse of relatives, friends and acquaintances. We’re here to keep him company, cheer loudly for his newly forged family, and thoroughly enjoy ourselves.
I figured you’d ask. Many languages outside of India have the expression “sacred cows”, so the way these animals are treated here became a bit of a legend. We were curious ourselves, how much of it is true? We found that some of it is, in some places, some of the time.
Time to cool off. 25C is the top temperature here this season and we had to dig out sweatshirts for the evening. Clouds slowly glide up and down the mountains, occasionally covering the whole area in thick, drizzling fog. Everywhere you look it’s shades of green. Imagine the perfect scenery to Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire” and you have Munnar.
The lazying around continues. We moved away from the open sea and onto the backwaters of Kerala—900km of waterways spread along 200km of the Indian shore. Our home for the next two days is a kettuvalam—a houseboat with two bedrooms, a captain, and a cook—surrounded by water, small villages, palm trees and rice fields.
We have been warned. A friend claimed India was the most trash-infested country he had ever seen. Others told wild stories of public defecation and littering. To be honest, we’re not nearly as shocked as we expected to be, but there’s certainly a long way the country has ahead of itself to clean up its act.
It’s not all sky, sand and sea in Kerala. Being the subcontinent’s eastern seafront, some of the first explorers from the west arrived here, followed by centuries of foreign contacts. We took a day off from lazying around and went discovering the old port of Kochi.
Sound of sea waves crashing against the shore. Their melody putting us to sleep and welcoming us to every new day. We’re in Kuzhupilly Beach, just north of Kochi. The moment we arrived we knew it was a most fortunate decision to spend a full four days and nights here, relaxing, recharging, looking out to sea.
You must’ve seen the films on YouTube. You may have heard the stories. Thick traffic, bumping into, brushing against other vehicles, pushing through a mix of cars, scooters, animals and people. Potholes everywhere, if there’s at all any asphalt surface. Brutal road conditions. How much of it is true?
This is it, we’re in India. Not the cosmopolitan streets of Bengaluru anymore, and with far fewer white people in sight. Food is getting even better, weather is still great, we’re integrating closer with local people, literally rubbing shoulders, and arguing over the price of watermelons.
We’re quite surprised at how comfortable we are feeling here. It’s hot, it’s hectic, there’s a billion people in the streets, there’s litter everywhere and we keep fending off rikshaw drivers peddling their services. Yet, we’re really confident walking these here streets. They’re familiar.
Mystical and spacious as the misty mountain ranges. Noisy and chaotic as the busy street markets. Wacky and cheesy as the blockbusters of Bollywood. India’s musical scene is as broad as the country and as diverse as its people. We are tuning in right now, hours before leaving for the subcontinent.
Almost there. Tomorrow at this time we’ll be sipping outrageously overpriced coffee at Chopin Airport, waiting for boarding for the first leg of our journey. Looks like we have everything covered, past dilemmas resolved, auto-responders operational. It’s just bits and pieces left.
Three weeks away from now we’ll take off from Warsaw, stop over at Doha for some frozen yogurt, and then head straight for India. We’re in the middle of our usual planning & preparations routine, steadily getting a bit more anxious with every passing week. It’ll be fun to see how our, certainly flawed, expectations stack up against reality on the ground.