Trip Start Nov 02, 2009
25Trip End Nov 27, 2009
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Where I stayed
Wild Palms by Sea
Wild Palms consists of three double storied buildings surrounding a small pool and garden. There are probably about a a dozen rooms. We really liked the quiet setting and being on the beach was great. We would highly recommend this hotel and the service was excellent.
Breakfast is included in the price - a choice of Kerala breakfast or British breakfast which is toast and eggs. We close the local option. It was a sponge-like pancake served with a bowl of very flavorful vegetable stew. You are supposed to use the pancake to soak up the liquid and scoop up the potatoes and carrots, but we had to cheat and use our forks a bit
Our driver arrived at 9:30 and Kip decided to go after all. Our destination was Padmanabhapuram Palace about 2 hours south and just over the state line into Tamil Nadu. The Palace was worth the trip, but the drive there and back was an unforgettable experience. The car ride gave new meaning to the term "white knuckle". The traffic on the two-lane highway with no shoulder is shared by every imaginable form of transportation including pedestrians, bicycles, bicycle rickshaws, auto rickshaws, cars, SUVs, slow-moving buses and giant trucks all trying to pass anything the slightest bit slower.
Padmanbhapuram is the city of Lord Vishnu. The palace complex consists of several two story buildings. It is the largest wooden palace in Asia. It was built over several generations during the 17th and 18th centuries. It features sloping roofs, balconies, shinny polished floors and wooden shutters designed to counter the intense sunlight and heat. The wood beams at the entrance are elaborately carved - probably imported from IndoChina.
It was well maintained and several English-speaking women were inside to explain the special features of the various rooms
We then piled back into the uncomfortable seats for the horn-honking drive back to the hotel. Most of the ride looks pretty much the same. Small open air shops line the highway creating a multi-mile Indian strip mall.
The highlight of the ride back was spotting an elephant on the side of the road. We asked our driver to stop the car so we could get a closer look. When we got out with the camera a group of kids came running toward us. They were thrilled that we stopped to take a picture of their elephant. Then they all crowded in front of the camera because they wanted to be in the picture too. They loved it - we loved it. Everybody happily waived goodbye
Back at the hotel we had a little time for a dip in the pool and a snack before dark. We had the entire place to ourselves. We are here a couple of weeks before the high season and the only other guests were two women in their 60s from England. It also meant we had the staff to ourselves. They must have trained at the Les Schwab school of hotel management because they literally came running whenever they thought we might need something. We just finished our snack when Kip said "that looked like a flash of lightening" A second later it started to pour. A group of guys ran out with umbrellas to cover us as we hurried inside.
We had pre-ordered dinner before we left that morning and they called when it was ready. Kip and I had the fish biriani which turned out to be fabulous. The fish was fresh pomfret, perfectly cooked and served in rice with incredible flavors. It was a perfect way to end another day in Incredible India.