I’m Going To India (INDIA!!!!) With the Kerala Blog Express – The Details

On January 8th, just a few days after the voting contest ended, I received an email with the subject “WELCOME ABOARD THE KERALA BLOG EXPRESS”.  I had been “short listed” and was told to send in a copy of my valid passport photo page.

Thank you ALL for voting!

I was giddy and surprised and giddy.  AND, I hope you guys don’t mind a brief interruption from my all Belize website.  Because WE ARE GOING TO INDIA!

Kerala State Animal: Indian Elephant
Kerala State Animal: Indian Elephant photo from Wikipedia UNTIL I TAKE MY OWN

I sent in my passport info and then made an immediate appointment at the US Embassy in Belmopan to renew my passort.  As of January 1st, 2016, they would be NOT giving extra pages in valid passports, I would have to get a new one.  You see my passport was full – and the Indian visa would need two empty pages.

Official Tree: Coconut - this photo taken last night outside my condo
Official Tree: Coconut – this photo taken last night outside my condo

And most frighteningly, the tentative arrival date was February 14th.  ONE MONTH AWAY.  10,170 miles.   12.5 Hours later than us.  MOBILIZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kerala.  A small state in southern India.  Not far from the magical looking Maldives and amazing sounding Ceylon/Sri Lanka.

2000px-India_Kerala_locator_map.svg

But…I’ll be honest.  I had never heard of the place.  IN fact, I was pronouncing the name wrong all during the contest.  How gauche!   Here’s the correct way.

34 million people and a prominent spice exporter since 3000 BC.  THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!

National Geographic Traveller called Kerala “one of the ten paradises of the world”.   The New York Times recently reviewed the beaches.  Travel and Leisure has put the state on many lists.  Top places to travel in 2014.  I’m just reading all of this now!!!!

"Munnar hillstation kerala" by Bimal K C from Cochin, India - from Wikipedia
“Munnar hillstation kerala” by Bimal K C from Cochin, India – from Wikipedia

BUT FIRST, get passport.  CHECK (the US embassy turned it around in 8 business days).  Apply for an e-Visa.  Shockingly easy – though the questionnaire was quite long.  Am I matriculated?  Not sure…I need to look that one up.  Have a been to Pakistan…nope.   Had any of my relatives?

For $60US, it was granted in less than 24 hours.  Good news.  I sent that in.  FINALLY…I was told to book my ticket.  All is paid for within the two week tour except the visa fee…and they re-imburse me for 70% of the ticket (or up to $1000US).

With 3 weeks left, I hit the internet like a 19 year old hacker.  And found a round trip ticket for about $1000US.  From Belize City to Houston (overnight) to Frankfurt to Mumbai.  45 hours later with the help of United and Lufthansa, I would be in India.  Feeling, I am quite sure, like a sack of elephant dung.

A tea plantation
A tea plantation

I am leaving February 10th and I fly out of Mumbai again on the March 7th.  I am giving myself one week, on my own, to explore what our tour may have missed…or glossed over…or something that just seemed particularly amazing.  Like boating rafting through tiger preserve.

rafting_at_periyar_tiger_reserve_266

Perhaps I will spend my week meditating or shopping or scrubbing the floor at an ashram…or at an elephant sanctuary.  WHO KNOWS!

Here is the official itinerary from the Kerala Tourism Board.   There will be about 25 of us.  So far, I’ve connected with female bloggers from the UK, New Zealand, Cyprus and Bulgaria.   It’s a “first class” bus trip…and I will have a roommate…but what a way to experience India for my first time.

14-02-2016 Arrival at Trivandrum International Airport – Overnight stay at Kovalam

15-02-2016 Sightseeing in Trivandrum – Overnight stay at Trivandrum

16-02-2016 Proceed to Alappuzha – Overnight stay at Alappuzha

17-02-2016 Proceed to Marari – Overnight stay at Marari

18-02-2016 Proceed to Kumarakom – Overnight stay at Kumarakom (in the “backwaters” of Kerala – houseboat country!)

bg_kerala_Houseboats

19-02-2016 Proceed to Thekkady – Overnight stay at Thekkady (home of the tiger sanctuary)

20-02-2016 Full day at Thekkady – Overnight stay at Thekkady

21-02-2016 Proceed to Munnar – Overnight stay at Munnar

22-02-2016 Full Day at Munnar – Overnight stay at Munnar

23-02-2016 Proceed to Muziris – Overnight stay at Cochin

24-02-2016 Proceed to Kozhikode -Overnight stay at Wayanad

25-02-2016 Full day at Wayanad – Overnight stay at Wayanad

26-02-2016 Proceed to Kozhikode – Overnight stay at Kozhikode

27-02-2016 Proceed to Kalamandalam – Overnight stay at Cochin

28-02-2016 Full Day at Cochin – Overnight stay at Cochin

29-02-2016 Departures

For lots more information and lots more pictures, you can check out the Kerala Tourism Board’s site.  But if you hang on for a few weeks, I hope to show you all of it.

Febuary just happens to be one of the hottest months – highs of 90 and lows of 73 and one of the driest.

Okay…I’ll stop talking now.  WOOOOOHHHOOOOO!





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  • Susan

    It’s OK, keep talking sounds fantastic! So you had to pay your own air fare? Well, that makes sense since everyone is coming from different parts of the world! Glad you found a fair fare! Have fun!!!

    • They will reimburse me 70%. Which is great…and that reminds me…need to find out how that process all works 🙂

  • Bruce

    Excited for you. Good job. BE CAREFUL!

    • I shall be for sure. I try to be careful on all my trips…but yes…this one is PARTICULARLY far away.

  • I am so excited for you! I can’t wait to read your IndiaScoop!

    • Oh good. I know it’s a long one…but this chance is JUST TOO GOOD! I’ll scatter in some Belize too…

  • Damian L

    Congrats,Have fun!

  • Jim

    Very good I’m happy for you. Can’t wait to hear about a part of the world which I know close to zero about. Have a good time. Yes, you will be missed but this is a great opportunity for you. Good luck

    • Oh i won’t be missed…I’ll be talking INDIA INDIA INDIA for weeks!

    • SPmQQse

      HAHAHAHAHAAA