Search This Blog


Monday, December 31, 2012

Kerala-- Where To Stay In Cochin

The last time-- and only time until this week-- I was in Kerala, a long skinny coastal state in southwest India, was 1970. I had left Goa, after a fantastic couple of months of recuperating from the arduous drive across Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India, and was headed towards the island paradise of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Kerala is between Goa and what was then the ferry point you could take to northern Ceylon (long closed due to a civil war that raged for almost the whole time since I left until very recently).

I only remember 5 things about the week it took me in 1970 to traverse Kerala, not counting how abysmal the roads were. I remember the state was lush, green and gorgeous with incredible unspoiled beaches and no tourists. I remember visiting an old French colony called Mahe in the northern part of the state which was administratively part of Pondicherry, the 3 scattered ex-French enclaves in India, and that it was far more orderly than the rets of this chaotic and completely dysfunctional country. I remember that the spicy cuisine was delicious and simple and served on banana leaves (although some rudimentary roadside slop houses weren't high-falutin enough for banana leaves and would put the food directly onto the wooden tables... pretty revolting and seared into my memory. I never saw any silverware in Kerala.) I also remember visiting a shuttered on Jewish synagogue in Cochin that some local boys opened up for us but they couldn't speak much English and we didn't learn much other than that the Jews had all gone to Israel. And finally, I recall that south of Trivandum, the state capital, some inept dacoits (bandits) tried to waylay us with a giant boulder rolled into the middle of the road. There was enough room to drive around it and escape.

Kerala has come a long way since then. It's a relatively wealthy state now and has been successfully promoted the way Florida was in the U.S. in the 50s and 60s-- a beautiful, unspoiled tropic vacation paradise. The explosively expanding Indian middle class likes vacationing here. So do Europeans. When I checked out the best hotels on Ft. Kochi, one of the islands that makes up Cochin-- the best of the islands-- they were all over-priced and booked up. Our first choice in any case is to rent a house. So we did. This one is a brand new apartment overlooking the Arabian Sea, a little way (5-10 minute walk) from the hustle and bustle of the real touristy parts of the island. It's nothing too fancy but there are two bedooms, with their own bathrooms, a kitchen/dining area, a living room and air-conditioning units for each room. The owner, a young guy, Varghese John, somehow pronounced Valdez, lives downstairs and is a perfect host-- as well as a great cook. A lady comes in and cleans every other day and does the laundry, changes the bedding ,etc. The hot water works and so does the wifi-- more or less. The electricity goes out for half an hour twice a day-- from 7-7:30 every morning and from 9-9:30 every evening, but that's a function of Kerala, not the house. His e-mail address is If you want to visit Cochin and stay here, mention this blog or my name to Verghese and he'll give you a 10% discount.

Roland and I are only the second guests to have stayed here; it's that new. Two weeks ago Cochin had a big music festival-- it's in swing 'til March-- and M.I.A. (Maya), a U.K. pop star/rapper-- from Sri Lanka-- headlined and she and her family stayed in our house. They were the first guests. Her father was a well-known Tamil activist. She got into some kind of twitter argument with Anderson Cooper after she felt he implied she's a terrorist (which she isn't). Her 2007 second album, Kala a U.S. dance-electronic hit, went gold. Outside of the underground dance world she's best known in the U.S. for having written "Give Me All Your Luvin'" with Madonna and for performing it at the Super Bowl XLVI half time show. This video isn't that. "Born Free" is considered, like M.I.A. herself, controversial. I wonder how she went over in sleepy, very Christian Cochin.


Rechard Glade said...

Cochin is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as 'God's Own Country'.
Agriturismo Sizilien

sansketch said...

Hope u had a nice time here, and visited some of the hill stations also. kerala is my native place,
but u been to here before me! i born on 1978 :-)

Isaac Coomber said...

Very nice post. I wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

waterton national park

michelle clark said...

Thanks a lot for sharing very interesting and useful post with us.

best hotels koh samui

Sixstarlimousines said...

So nice and so informative. I liked it so much. You have done a fabulous job. Eager to be back on this blog with such more articles.
Luxury Car Hire Melbourne

John Cena said...

Kerala in India looks fantastic place. I would love to be there ASAP. Thanks for sharing this amazing post with us!

Quality Inn Maingate Ritchie Bros Auction

My Taxi India said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kovalan ju said...

Kerala is very popular tourist destinations in India. This city is loaded with number of tourist attractions that draw travelers from all over the world. Cochin car rental offer extensive range of vehicles to make your trip very comfortable.

Vishva Bhraman said...

Nice article..

Online Bus Ticket booking
Low Cost Air Tickets Online Booking
Online Hotel Reservations
Holiday Packages India

lionelmessi10 said...

kenapa keputihan tidak normal dan mengeluarkan nanah obat kutil herbal di kemaluan cara menghilangkan kutil kemaluan secara alami tips menghindari kutil kelamin tips menghilangkan kencing nanah cara mengobati kelamin keluar nanah obat alam tradisional kencing bernanah obat kutil di kemaluan pria obat kemaluan keluar nanah Obat Ambeien Ampuh Tradisional Resep Obat Wasir obat alami untuk gejala wasir Mengobati Wasir Secara Alami Obat ampuh atasi wasir Obat herbal efektif menyembuhkan wasir Obat untuk kelamin laki laki keluar cairan nanah Obat kemaluan keluar nanah atau gonore Obat cairan nanah keluar dari alat kelamin Mengapa kencing sakit dan keluar cairan nanah Mengapa kencing perih dan keluar nanah Mengapa nanah keluar dari kelamin Obat untuk kutil di sekitar bibir vagina Obat kencing nanah manjur menghilangkan benjolan kutil di vagina wanita