Kaleidoscopic Kerala: A Trip To God’s Own Country – Last Day

DAY 5- KOCHI TO GOA: LAST RITES

I remember feeling absolutely DEVASTATED when I woke up that last morning, the thought of boarding a chugging train that would drop us off at the Margao Station [THAT VERY AFTERNOON] haunting me.

After wolfing down a nutritious breakfast and draining several glasses of fresh fruit juice, we lugged our suitcases from our cosy rooms to the bus one last time.

We still had a bit of sight-seeing left to do, though, and that cheered us up a wee bit. First up, the Paradesi Synagogue which displayed the most vibrant tile work; a true sight for sore eyes. [Fun Fact: It also just so happens to be the OLDEST ACTIVE SYNAGOGUE IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS. I mean, WOW!!] Next, we toured the Police Museum, taking in as many awe-inspiring relics as we could. We then diligently explored the chaotic Kochi bazaar, bargaining like professionals and bidding “Adieu!!” to the last few bits of our personal cash.

Loaded with antique trinkets and refreshments to snack on, we began our short drive back to the Ernakulam Junction Railway Station, our grins quickly drooping when it finally hit us; we were going home.

To be honest, as we desperately glanced out our cabin windows as the train huffed out of the station, trying to imprint on our minds these last few glances of our beloved Kerala, I was kind of looking forward to seeing my family again. Seeing my dogs again. Seeing my school again. [Believe it or not]

“And, you know, it’s not like we’re NEVER coming back here again,” I comforted myself, sinking into the plush train seats. “There’s always next year. Sorry, Kerala, you can’t get rid of us THAT easily!!”

Kaleidoscopic Kerala: A Trip To God’s Own Country – DAY 4

DAY 4- MUNNAR TO KOCHI: REST AND RELAXATION

After a quick, refreshing breakfast at the grand dining room of the majestic , we set out back to Kochi, anticipating another stomach-churning drive. Thankfully, our guide worked in a mid-way sojourn at a water-sports facility to lessen the impact of the roads and it sure did help!!

A rejuvenating speed-boat ride was EXACTLY what we needed to ward off our impending queasiness. The frigid water that drenched our tees awakened our senses and made us feel alive.

As we were being dropped off from the boats to the jetty, we gathered in one large circle and chatted excitedly about our favorite parts [“DEFINITELY the last curve. I was so close to the water, it felt like I was SWIMMING!!” “No, mine was the long stretch in between. It seemed like we were gliding on the clouds…”]. Before we realized what as happening, we were zooming back towards Kochi, the wind caressing our faces and drying off the last few drops of water.

As we neared the city, us kids finally started to feel the side-effects of four days on non-stop physical activity; i.e, being tired.

So, while the teachers decided to roam around shopping bazaars and feast on mouth-watering roadside chaat, us kids opted out and settled down for a night-in.

Of course, we spent most of the night hogging on crisps and babbling nineteen to the dozen [eventually only turning off the lights at two in the morning- shh… Don’t tell our teachers!!], but it was a night-in just the same.

Kaleidoscopic Kerala: A Trip To God’s Own Country – DAY 3

DAY 3- KOCHI TO MUNNAR: A BUMPY RIDE…

The drive from Kochi to Munnar was the single part of the trip I would rather not relive. Don’t get me wrong; we had TONS of fun during the first leg of the journey- we played 21 questions, blasted and sang to Bollywood hits, pranked each other to glory… We had a BOMB!!

It was the last hour that killed (and I mean that -ALMOST- literally)

During the last few kilometres was when the nausea unexpectedly kicked in and most of us began succumbing to car sickness. In the blink of an eye, our bus transformed from a party-on-wheels to a mobile hospital.

Luckily, about 15 minutes after we checked into the glamorous , we were whisked away by the teachers for a round of chocolate-tasting and boy, did that flush away the frowns or WHAT?!

From cashew-encrusted to bitter almond to treacle-coated, there were more types of chocolate than we knew what to do with!! Using up a big chunk of our allotted pocket money, we splurged on a bunch of sweet delicacies to take back to Goa. Well, at least that was the PLAN. Somehow, most of the treats got -ahem- eaten up on the way. Don’t ask us how!!

As a little surprise, our tour guide let us tag along to watch a FABULOUS martial arts demonstration after our round of choco-feasting and it just about rocked our socks off!! [Including mine, and I’m a black belt!!]

That night, we went to sleep with our sweet teeth indulged and a sudden urge to star in the next Karate Kid movie. In other words, we went to bed feeling EXTREMELY happy 🙂

Kaleidoscopic Kerala: A Trip To God’s Own Country – DAY 2

DAY 2- Kochi: CANNONBALL!!

As our bus drew up in front of Wonderla the next morning, our screams rose to a decibel level. Who could blame us?? A FULL day let lose at one of the BIGGEST theme/water parks in the country?? Count us in!!

After our tour guide briefed us about the basic rules and etiquette we were expected to follow, the fifty of us spent the next NINE HOUR riding EVERY SINGLE attraction a dozen times each.

The most formidable ride was -by far- the Twin Flip Monster, which tossed us in every single direction (like beans in a Maraca -look it up) about fifty feet from the ground. Personally, being a MAJOR adrenalin junkie, I quite enjoyed my five minutes being flipped in mid-air, although most of my classmates didn’t share my point of view (and quite understandably, at that). The most frequented attraction was the Rain Disco, which sprayed us with water in time with eardrum-shattering, fantastically-amazing electronic dance music. Another favourite was the spooky House of Horrors with its creepy music and blood-curdling screams for help.

For possibly the first time, our teachers flaunted their true colours and embraced their “wild teenager” side. They were as (if not more than) eager as us to try out everything (and I mean EVERYTHING). From the awesome Lilo Adventure to the daunting Swanky Slides, they were game.

Needless to say, we were more than a little disappointed when the rides began wrapping up and we were forced to load ourselves back into our trusty bus. We’d had more than our share of fun, though, and still had three whole glorious days to look forward to. Which brings us to…

Kaleidoscopic Kerala: A Trip To God’s Own Country – DAY 1

DAY 1- KOCHI: TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

“Pinch me, hard, because I’m pretty sure I’m dreaming. It’s only logical. I mean, have I ever been so unexpectedly thrust into such a perfect situation before? Has ANYONE??”

Thoughts like these swarmed through my mind -like cops at a crime scene- as I hauled my 100-kilo [or so it seemed] backpack into my- sorry, sorry, into OUR room. “Our” as in mine… AND my best friends’.

SQUEEE!!

Unfortunately, I had next to no time to mull over this exhilarating series of events, because before I so much as splashed some water on my face I was being hurried out of the chamber by a distraught-looking teacher [hey, being in charge of nearly fifty unruly students is NO JOKE!]

Turns out, I was going to get much more than a “splash” of water on the face because we were going on a boat ride! As we glided along the aquamarine waters and stared in awe as the Sun fused itself with the horizon; chic skyscrapers, glamorous buildings and quaint boutiques unveiled themselves along the river banks, making us one crazily excited bunch when the teachers informed us that they’d scheduled a stopover at the nearby LuLu Shopping Center for some retail therapy before we returned to the hotel.

Of course, the mall was a dream come true for us country bumpkins. It was glitzy and swanky and shiny and such a refreshing change from our usual after-school haunts.

Exhausted but incredibly content, we trooped back to the entrance of LuLu around 120 minutes later, armed with brimming shopping bags and sunshiny smiles.

Dinner back at our hotel was delicious and the perfect end to a perfect day. As I tucked myself into bed that night, I couldn’t help but get super excited for the rest of the trip.