Heavily moustached and with a frown on his face, the Indian man read the text on the side of the bus. “29 nationalities” “30 bloggers” “Trip of a Lifetime” “#KeralaBlogExpress” and each country making a banner around the top – it’s a lot to take in at a glance.

From the window seat, I watched his eyes dart across the words with curiousity. His gaze eventually met mine and I gave a wave. A bright smile erupted on his face as he waved back. This has been my India so far.

india-smiles-kerala-blog-express

I’ve quickly learned that Kerala is a fantastic introduction to India. Where I can imagine being overwhelmed by the sheer chaos of somewhere like Bombay, Kerala seems to hold the balance of having a lot of people but spread across the landscape.

I cannot describe how lucky I feel. I’ve met not just exceptional bloggers but Indian people too. I have never felt so at ease in a foreign country – sure you could put it down to the fact that we’re being very well looked after by Kerala Tourism – but I think it’s more than that.

 

It's elevator selfie time here at the @marriotthotels here in @kochimarriott – spot the bloggers 😉 📸: @claudiamary #keralablogexpress

A post shared by ✈️ Before My Mam Dies (@beforemymamdies) on

We’ve been on houseboats, seen the locals’ daily life but with every place, there has been a smile (and an affectionate head wiggle).

For someone who can quite often be introverted, these simple gestures are amazingly calming. They say that Ireland is the home of a thousand welcomes but I reckon Keralites have friendliness on their birth certs.

girl-smiles-at-kerala-school

I could write essays about the people. Men donning moustaches, women with gentle grace, children full of the joys of living. All of their smiles would brighten the darkest of places.

boy-on-a-bike-smiles

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