Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Back to the USA

Hello, hello...we're back!

After a 4-hour delay at Paris which seemed like forever, we finally reached NJ. I am still a bit on Indian Standard Time, but the travel weariness has finally left.

It was an amazing trip. Not exactly a vacation, though. When you visit your hometown for just a little over a week after a period of 3 years, there is a lot on the agenda...family and friends to visit, places and things that stir your memory, changes to adapt to. We tried to cram as much as possible into our schedule, while spending sleepless nights, getting acclimated to the sounds of a neighborhood driveway construction (the roaring noise usually started about midnight and did not stop till the wee hours of the morning), the sounds of geese, cows and dogs which began their cackling, mooing and barking at ungodly hours, not to mention mosquitoes singing into our ears at all hours of the day. Oh, and melodious loudspeaker music from distant churches, temples and mosques that woke us up, if we did manage to find a few minutes of sleep amid this cacophony.
But this was my home through my school days and I would have been disappointed had it been any different.

We landed at Bangalore. I was impressed by the newly constucted airport, a huge improvement from the last time I visited.



Our first meal in India...crisp idli, vada, sambhar and coconut chutney.

Hot weather and spicy food can make even the most diligent of security guards doze off from time to time.

We had a connecting flight to Trivandrum. Baggage claim took no time at all at this tiny airport and we were out earlier than expected. While waiting for my parents and the SUV, we had yummy masala tea from the tea stall right outside the airport.

It felt so good to see my parents.

In the spirit of making the most of our short vacation, we drove down to Padmanabhapuram Palace in Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu, right from the airport, luggage tied to the top of the SUV. Constructed in 1601 AD by the Rajah of Travancore, the palace looked small and dark from the outside, but as we wandered through its various rooms, we realized that it was in fact, a sprawling complex. It was amazing to see the wooden, granite and stone structures so well-preserved.

The Entrance


Musuem


Ornate wood carving on doors, stairway, ceiling and furniture








Hanging lamp in the King's council chamber



17th century grinding-stone


And what's this?

Well, what do you know...it's a toilet, Eastern-style.

After visiting my grandmother and devouring the wonderful lunch she had made, we finally reached my parents' house at night, totally exhausted.
My parents live in a little port town, Tuticorin that was recently named a city...very urban and upcoming. But their garden, geese, pigeons and 2 dogs, as well as their neighbor's cows, make you feel like you have landed in the middle of the countryside.



2 days later, we were again on the road again, on an 8-hour drive to Coimbatore, to meet my brother, sister-in-law and niece.

On the way...

We stopped at a roadside restaurant for breakfast. We didn't need to ask where the rest rooms were, as you can see.

Whew...this is like a novel. Time to take a breather.

To be continued...

3 comments:

BeachRunner said...

Welcome back, Kavi!! Your trip sounds amazing. Family, friends, yummy food, geese, 400+ year old toilets ... awesome stuff.

I look forward to hearing more about your trip. Happy new year.

lauren said...

welcome back! oh my gosh - that toilet is unreal! cant wait to hear more about it...

Anonymous said...

You really squeezed in a lot in one day!

The public toilet looked so nice and colorful from the outside. hahah..tell me more, tell me more! Pearl