My name is Kendra, and last week I arrived in Cochin, India. I am a recent graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, and I traveled here to work for four months with Raxa Collective to learn more about Conservation-tourism in action.
Before I arrived in India I didn’t know what to expect. I knew the culture and food were different from the western style I grew up with, but when I arrived I was completely spellbound by what I experienced. My first sights of India came during a drive I took through the southern city of Cochin, and it was amazing. I didn’t expect it to be so full of life and color, especially in the rain. I saw women in beautiful saris racing across the busy streets in the rain and billboards advertising intricate and colorful jewelry. This was my first view of India, and despite my earlier apprehension I was enthralled with it.
Soon after I had the opportunity to see a completely different side of India from the metropolis I first drove through. I was taken to a more rural area where I stayed on a beautiful authentic houseboat. Here I was introduced to the classic backwaters of Kerala, the traditional Snake Boat races, and authentic food. I must admit I was a bit hesitant to try the food at first because I am not the type of person that handles spice well, but the food happily surprised me. It was spicy, but I found I could handle the spice in smaller doses.
A day after my experience in the backwaters, I went back to Cochin and was able to take in the sights and sounds of historical Fort Kochi. The architecture of some of the buildings was enough to amaze me, but there was so much more! The delightful little restaurants and shops all around Fort Kochi, in particular Princess Street, offered a great place to look around and a great way get to know the culture of the area.
Overall my first few days in India were a whirlwind of sights, sounds, and tastes, all different from what I was used to, but a pleasant surprise in my mind. Now with four months still ahead of me I look forward to what I get to see and experience next!