Kerala, Kochi & Coconuts: Panorama travel with Edwina Keelan

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The British supermodel Naomi Campbell visited Kerala State in India, and as she is an idol of mine, I followed in her footsteps when I needed to get away from it all. 

Arriving in Kochi (also spelt Cochin) I collected my Indian Rupee ready for a six hour taxi ride south to Munroe Island.

No word of a lie, it really was idyllic. Beautiful flora and fauna with open waterways and lush golden green coconut trees as far as you could see. It was incredible!

My taste buds were wowed by fresh fish caught from the waterways of the Arabian Sea, with accompaniments such as sauces, chutneys, creams laced with coconut and served with coconut crepes. I  fell in love with fish served on coconut leaves. No need for refrigeration here as the fish was dried.

Keralan people I found very friendly indeed. This place Munroe Island was off the beaten track and was far from touristy.

The weather was fine and warm in January and February. People from Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Germany and England were all here on Munroe Island. I shared fruit with a lovely young Dutch couple.

Keralan people are resourceful. Coconuts are made into rope, thatching for homes or open-air workshops, canoes dug out of coconut trees, and coconuts are made into cosmetics for skin and hair; the list goes on.

On day two I got up 3AM ready for my 5AM canoe ride to see how people really live. I saw people washing their clothes, brushing their teeth, children up and ready for school. They are a really quiet people.

…fresh fish with clear, glowing eyes on ice from the Arabian Sea…

On day three I moved onwards to Varkala Beach on the Arabian Sea. I saw people enjoying the sunset, people chanting on the beach, meditating and doing yoga and eating ice cream. I found it a bit too touristy.

There were lots of shops selling silk and cotton clothing.

The highlight of the trip was fish and chips and fresh fish with clear, glowing eyes on ice from the Arabian Sea for public view.

I ate fish and chips for lunch and dinner at an open-air restaurant three nights straight with the sunset of the Arabian Sea in front of me. Finally, I found some peace. I was happy.

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On day six I headed to Fort Cochin, a Port City with big floating container ships out to sea heading for Saudi Arabia.

This city terrified me as a roof collapsed in a pop up gallery in the Old Dutch Quarter of the city. I was almost killed.

But despite this, I enjoyed a half day trip to see a school, church, and where the governor lives.

I have never seen so many so many bananas everywhere as when I stayed in Cochin. They were even in dirt alleyways and polluted waterways.

But you can feel the presence of terrorism. In shopping centres, Malls Supermarkets, Cinemas, all are like airports on high security. Guards look  for cigarettes, lighters, and water bottles, and they security-check receipts when leaving the supermarket.

On my flight back, an hour before arriving back in Sydney I realised how grateful I am for a lot of things, like being alive and  how lucky I have it in Oz!

Everyone loves a travel tale, so tell us yours! Contact Panorama here:Warren.Heggarty@flourishaustralia.org.au

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