January 10 – Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
(Written by Aubree Pack, photos by James Hearsum, video by Aubree Pack)
Say THAT five times really fast!
(Seeds at the local market we visited)
After arriving in India from Dubai (and surviving the airport – more on that in a second), we headed right to our hotel. It was about 6am before we got there. We had left Dubai around 10pm and had a 4 hour flight, plus we had the time change between the UAE and India. When we arrived at the airport, our plane hadn’t even stopped moving before people had their bags and were cramming towards the doors. The poor flight attendants kept trying to get them to sit down, but to no avail. We found out later that typically flights from Dubai to India have a lot of Indians that have been working in Dubai for a few years and they haven’t seen their families since leaving to work. So it’s certainly more understandable that they were in a rush. I can’t imagine being away from my family for 6 or so years at a time… We also spent well over an hour waiting for our luggage. The airport was small, packed, and really humid. So we were all a bit exhausted when we finally emerged.
(Some locals enjoying the flower show)
Once at the hotel, we decided that those of us who were interested would sleep until 10am (4 hours from when we arrived), have breakfast, and head out to see a local market and the town of Thiruvananthapuram. We walked quiet a ways to try and find a bank that would exchange money for us, but then we were all sorted. We took some tuk tuk’s (rickshaws) to a local market, where we say lots of locally grown food, fish, and meat. They also had clothes and other household items.
Video Link – A Tuk Tuk Ride
(Submissions at the flower show for the Hanging Basket category)
After having lunch at an amazing seafood restaurant, we headed out into the town with our driver. We wanted to see the local temple, but it didn’t open until 5pm, we asked our driver to take us to a park or garden. He didn’t understand us, so Ashby and I said ‘flowers’. Much to our excitement, we ended up at an annual city flower show! What luck, huh? We spent about two hours walking around and enjoying the different plants on display. It was very much like a flower show you would see in the states, but on a much larger scale and with more of the local southern India flora.
Video Link – Crazy Ferris Wheel at the Flower Show
We also had fun with the ‘festival’ side of the show, where there were rides (see video above!) and games. Some of us had henna done (one cost 30 rupees, or 75 cents!), while others tasted some of the local sweets from venders.
(Ashby and Pandora have their hands done with henna)
(some of us didn’t get the traditional henna… because, well, the snake was super cool!)
For dinner, we had our bus driver take us down to the beach, which was a wild ride. We’ve had some of those already, but it was in the dark, so it was all the more exciting. Lanes and speed requirements – optional! There we enjoyed more local southern India seafood. Some of us spent time walking on the beach, which was lovely. My favorite part was seeing all the little crabs skirting about along the sand. Then it was back to the hotel to try and get some good sleep before our early start the next day to the Tropical Botanic Garden Research Institute!