Week 1: 21 – 26 July, 2012
I arrived in Trivandrum, capital of the beautiful state of Kerala at the southern-most tip of India. I flew Singapore Airlines from Newark to Singapore (thanks to the insight of my good friend, Calen Rayne, who informed me that this is the longest nonstop commercial flight in the world — nearly 19 hours in the air)! I met up with Tracy Jones (my colleague) at the Singapore airport (a really cool airport, BTW!) and we flew into Chennai (Madras) and then on to Trivandrum. I left Newark at 11pm on Saturday night (21 July) and arrived at my destination at 3pm on Monday afternoon. It was a long day!!
We had an amazing dinner last night (24 July) at a resort on the ocean called surya samudra (Sun Beach) http://www.suryasamudra.com/. It was rather magical.
The rain has held off and the temperature has been hot but with pleasant breezes, so it’s been very comfortable. Thanks to climate change, they are experiencing a 22% decrease in rainfall so far during monsoon, so to them, a drought. We ate outside (no pesky mosquitoes – thank heavens) with the sound of the surf and really fabulous spicy Kerala food (Indian with coconut – similar to Thai but much spicier – cardamom, etc.). It’s high tide “season” because of the monsoons with lots of really rambunctious waves, so the sound reminded me of Ross Marino’s ocean sounds on steroids! We had dinner with the Trivandrum office manager and a partner in Pursuits from Switzerland (originally from Chicago). She was very entertaining!
We’re heading to Kochi tomorrow (further North), where I will be living when I am seconded. Tracy’s parents are coming for the weekend from Singapore, so that will be really fun! She tells me they are foodies and that her mother has her own personal jeweler, so I’m sure we’ll get along great.
Everyone here has been very friendly and they all seem to be really happy. (They smile a lot.) We’re working with Bevin, our relationship manager, who has been taking very good care of us. I asked Bevin if the people are REALLY happy or is it just for our benefit. He said, no, they are really happy because they can live with their families in Kerala (God’s own country) and work in Trivandrum for a great firm! OK, then!
I’m going to bed now. Just got back from dinner and it’s been a long day, so I’ll catch up with you later and fill you in on the crazy driving!