Saturday March 7th
The only way to describe Indian road traffic is managed chaos. Everyone pass each other despite oncoming traffic, just a few honks of the horn is required prior passing, and the one with the smaller vehicle will normally yield to the side of the road or stop altogether. And those brave pedestrians don’t even flinch when a bus veers and passes them with what looks like a couple of inches away…
We are travelling in a comfy, large bus and until now I’ve been quite comfortable with the traffic. However, today we headed towards the mountains – up to 1400m and down to 1000m on the other side until we reached Thekkady, the heart of the spice country. Picture narrow winding roads, no visibility and our bus passing another bus in a tight turn. I think I cried a few times!
The views on the mountains were spectacular with tropical forests opening in front of our eyes – and later on tea and coffee plantations were stretching into the horizon. As much as I love the colourful, busy buzz of the cities, nothing beats the birdsong and chirping crickets in the wild nature spreading in front of you in their fifty shades of green.
During one of our stops we saw how the latex rubber sap started running once a cut was made to the tree, and how it was collected to a bowl for future use. Our spice tour revealed me that cinnamon and vanilla can be made our of leaves too and not only bark and pods like in other regions. I love it how I learn new things during my travels!
I just love it how Kerala people have gone out of their way to create memorable moments for us: we’ve had music, dance, drinks and greetings everywhere and today was no exception. We’ve even had an elephant lead a celebration in Thekkady and even not-so-brave me managed to feed him a couple of bananas. The highlight of the day was the kalaripayattu show. This ancient form of martial arts is claimed to be even older than kung fu – and certainly looked really impressive.
The next few days are all about the sustainable living, spices, teas and tiger sanctuaries. Let’s hope that I’ll be able to say that I’ve spied with my little eyes an wind tiger (the changes to that as big as winning the lottery but you never know…)
Disclosure: This trip was sponsored and part of the Kerala Tourism #KeralaBlogExpress 2 -initiative. All opinion expressed here are my own and are based on my personal experiences in Kerala.