Archives for category: Kerala food and nutrition

Rebecca Vest:

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Becky, Arun, Lauren, on Mike send their greetings to all

Becky, Arun, Lauren, and Mike send their greetings to all

A perfect time and place for this

A perfect time and place for this

Counting the hair-pin turns is the way that you can measure how high up you’re venturing into the mountains of Kerala, the Western Ghats, as we drove from  Trivandrum to Kallar and then beyond. After each turn we all started to move a little farther away from the windows as we exposed the majestic beauty of the tall mountain we were scaling. Bellies full of Vada (gram flour doughnuts), a savory snack and Chai tea (tea with milk). It was an amazing afternoon, we finally made it to the top where we were all just in awe, quickly followed by all of us settling and quieting down. The air was a change from the heat we’d all been experiencing to a slight cool breeze. The cool air, rolling hills, and sky brought a feeling of calm to everyone there. The trip had been very fast-paced, filled with so many different sites, adventures, sounds, people, music, food, and our group that valiantly persevered through the indulgence of India and Indians. The side trip up to Ponmudi brought tranquility, reflection, and a sense of being ‘on top’ of India that was literally and figuratively a pinnacle of our trip.

Tom Hazuka: I teach fiction writing at CCSU. I have travelled to many countries, but this is my first trip to India. I can’t say that India held any particular attraction for me as a destination; it was one of numerous places I’ve never visited, but hoped to some day. When I noticed the poster on campus advertising this trip, I took advantage of the opportunity. To be honest, I had never heard of Kerala and couldn’t have located it on a map of India.

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It is the rare trip that maintains a steady plane, and this one is no exception. I’ve had a bad cold (or something) for the past two days, resulting in my first full-blown case of laryngitis. But Arun, a recently-minted Keralite PhD, who has been invaluable to our group at every stage, procured some antibiotics at the chemists (drug-store) and I hope I’m on the mend. No prescription needed in India, and the five day set of 10 pills costs only $2.20 (USD).

Each day so far has been a series of revelations, both large and small. Among numerous highlights, my favorites include having lunch on a banana leaf at a ramshackle open restaurant (quite possibly we were the first Americans to enter the place); seeing the Theyyam fire ceremony; visiting the Vizhniam fishing port with its hundreds (thousands?) of people pulling a precarious living from the sea; and milling in the crowds of pilgrims outside the temple at East Fort.

Outside of the laryngitis, low-lights have been few, but number one has to be the garbage strewn or piled virtually everywhere, and the attempts to get rid of it via burning. That can’t be healthy for people or planet. I must admit I am also not thrilled with the recklessness of the drivers, and the threat of grievous bodily harm one faces when crossing a busy street-or just about any street for that matter!

Off to a rubber plantation in the mid-lands tomorrow, which I expect to add to my list of highlights.