The heat hit me like a slushie to the face. It was stifling hot and I was tired, jet lagged and instantly sticky.
My linen shirt did Trojan work at combating the heat and as I waited for my bag at arrivals, I was glad I had chosen it for the flight. I was finally in Kerala.
On March 17th, I started my journey to India. I was one of 30 contestants from across the globe that had been chosen by Kerala Tourism to take part in the Kerala Blog Express – a tourism initiative to introduce people to the beauty of this country.
It’s funny, initially, I didn’t realise that I had my flight scheduled for Paddy’s Day (NOT PATTY) which is arguably one of the biggest days on the global calendar. I also didn’t realise that I was wearing green all the way to Kerala either.
Embracing my Irishness, Emirates who I was flying with, took out their cameras and snapped people donning green feather hats. A “why not?” moment for me, for sure, AND we got to keep the photos too.
It was my first time with Emirates and I was wildly impressed with the experience. Even though I was in the usual Economy class, I still felt valued. There was excellent entertainment on board (hello Marvel section) and I had a whole row to myself.
“I don’t usually fly in business class but I do fart in business class” – Demetri Martin
I arrived in Dubai, a huge beast of an airport, and navigated my way through. It can be pretty daunting being in unfamiliar territory but I was relieved to see that it was well sign posted.
The flight to Kochi (Cochin) was packed to the brim. Not only that but I was surrounded by kids. One had a great time kicking my seat and screaming at the top of their lungs. By this stage, it was now 4am and my patience was wearing thin. Unable to sleep, I resorted to listening to music and lip syncing to Adele. Time well spent, I think!
And so back to the beginning, there I was in Kochi International Airport. Extremely smelly and desperately hoping that my check-in bag hadn’t ended up in China, I was melting. My Irishness kicked in and I slowly started turning into a tomato.
Eventually, I spotted my bag donning the Kerry colours (C’mon the Kingdom!) be thrown onto the carousel and I was away.
The Kerala Blog Express team were there to greet me with flowers and I got my photos taken with the sweat dripping off me. I was authentic at least!
Our journey to the hotel was an hour and a half and I dipped into snoozes. But I got glimpses of what the real India looked like. There is poverty here that you can’t ignore compared to where I currently am sitting writing this blog post.
Many of us are staying at the Xandari Resort, a beautiful haven off of the dusty roads. A former spice warehouse, the hotel has kept the old look for its restaurant that’s right by the pool and overlooking the water. The staff are charming and it’s incredibly clean. I’m sharing my room with the lovely Livia from Brazil and our room has a patio with the water at our feet.
So far we’ve eaten like kings and queens, met many of our fellow bloggers and today explored some of the town.
My body clock is still a mess and the mozzies are having a field day on my skin but already I feel myself falling in love with Kerala. The streets here in Kochi boast some incredible architecture and street art and I just feel like I’ve been thrown into a colour wheel.