The Indian tourism board’s tagline, Incredible India inspires a litany of alliterations.
I can’t help coming up with my own: interesting India, intriguing India, intoxicating India, indomitable india; irresistible India. This is not merely empty play on words. India is indeed all that (somebody stop me, please).
Today we discovered the less wondrous part. Johnny, my now de facto travel buddy, has come down with a bout of nausea and vomiting after the lassi from lunch: inedible, indigestible India.
Thing is, if you’re spending this much time in a country where basic sanitation seems more luxury than necessity you ought to be prepared to run into… well the runs. As a friend who spent nine years here warned me, “No one escapes food poisoning in India!” *Gulp*
You’d be doing yourself a favour if you included in your India Survival Kit — apart from an open mind and an indifferent attitude towards dirt and grime — some oral rehydration salts, imodium, charcoal pills and for the traditionalist, perhaps some ‘poh chai’ pills.
Fortunately the bug seems mild enough to not threaten happy days in Trivandrum, our next stop.
Trivandrum or more politically correct, Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of Kerala, one of two states in India with a communist government. No, the irony in the Kerala tourism board’s adoption of the phrase “God’s Own Country” did not escape us… nor did the very prominent temples, churches, mosques and synagogues. Marxism and religion have found a comfortable compromise here.
Socialism has done the state good. One fact I always knew about Kerala even before I arrived was that its high literacy rate trumps that of some of the world’s richest countries.
To be honest there isn’t a whole lot to do in Trivandrum itself although we did give the temple-church circuit a go. My top pick would be the Puthe Maliga Palace Museum which was formerly the residence of the Rajas of Travancore.
It is the yoga ashrams and beaches outside the city that are bigger draws in Trivandrum. Chilling out on Kovalam beach after a therapeutic Ayurvedic massage is going to be a princely indulgence but thankfully, they come at proletariat prices.
Meanwhile, stomach ache or not, we’re off to savour some delicious Keralan cuisine. What’s travel insurance for if you can’t risk it a little?
For more pictures of Trivandrum, head on over to http://www.flickr.com/photos/airasia/sets/72157623376827608/
AirAsia’s “What’s Your India” Contest terms & conditions
1. The “What’s your India” contest [“Contest”] is organised by AirAsia Berhad [“Organiser”]. The Contest will run for 9 weeks commencing from [“Contest Period”]: 10:00 (GMT +8) 9 February 2010 and end 23:59 (GMT +8) on 11 April 2010.
During the Contest Period, one (1) winner will be picked at the end of each week. The will be nine (9) winners to this Contest and each of them will receive the following prize:-
• ONE (1) souvenir from India by AirAsia Berhad.
2. The Contest is open to all members of the AirAsia blog except for the following [“Participant”]:
a. Permanent and/or temporary staff or employees of AirAsia Berhad, P.T. Indonesia AirAsia, Thai AirAsia Co., Ltd., AirAsia X Sdn. Bhd. and Go Holiday Sdn. Bhd and its immediate family members;
b. Representatives and/or agents (including advertising & promotion) of AirAsia Berhad, P.T. Indonesia AirAsia, Thai AirAsia Co., Ltd., AirAsia X Sdn. Bhd. and Go Holiday Sdn. Bhd.
3. By virtue of an entry to the Contest, Participants signify acceptance and agreement to all terms & conditions set out here.
4. To qualify for the Contest, participants will have to do the following:
Week 1: 10:00 (GMT +8) of 9 Feb 2010 – 23:59 (GMT +8) of 14 Feb 2010
Week 2: 10:00 (GMT +8) of 15 Feb 2010 – 23:59 (GMT +8) of 21 Feb 2010
Week 3: 10:00 (GMT +8) of 22 Feb 2010 – 23:59 (GMT +8) of 28 Feb 2010
Week 4: 10:00 (GMT +8) of 1 Mar 2010 – 23:59 (GMT +8) of 7 Mar 2010
Week 5: 10:00 (GMT +8) of 8 Mar 2010 – 23:59 (GMT +8) of 14 Mar 2010
Week 6: 10:00 (GMT +8) of 15 Mar 2010 – 23:59 (GMT +8) of 21 Mar 2010
Week 7: 10:00 (GMT +8) of 22 Mar 2010 – 23:59 (GMT +8) of 28 Mar 2010
Week 8: 10:00 (GMT +8) of 29 Mar 2010 – 23:59 (GMT +8) of 4 Apr 2010
Week 9: 10:00 (GMT +8) of 29 Mar 2010 – 23:59 (GMT +8) of 11 Apr 2010
a. All participants need to be a registered member of the AirAsia blog.
b. A new blog post about a city in India will be posted every week. (Total 9 posts in 9 weeks)
c. Participants need to submit a comment describing why this city (according to the blog post) resonates as their India, and to end the comment with the sentence “What’s your India?”
5. Only entries in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia and Chinese will be accepted.
6. All entries must be submitted and received by 23:59 (GMT +8) on 14 Feb 2010, 21 Feb 2010, 28 Feb 2010, 7 Mar 2010, 14 Mar 2010, 21 Mar 2010, 28 Mar 2010, 4 Apr 2010 and 11 Apr 2010.
7. Only Participants that fulfill the Contest Mechanism stated above shall be eligible to win the Prize. Incomplete entries and/or participants that fail to fulfill the Contest Mechanism will automatically be disqualified from the Contest without notice.
8. The winners will be selected based on the most relevant and creative answer by a panel of judges appointed by the Organizer.
9. Selected winner will be contacted, at any time deemed appropriate by the Organizer, via email.
10. Under no circumstances shall the Organizer (including its respective employees, staff and agents) be liable for any loss (including loss of opportunity and consequential loss arising therewith) and/or damage suffered by any Participant and/or winner in connection with the Contest.
11. The winner is bound by the terms and conditions that come with the prize. The acceptance of prize indicates the acknowledgment and agreement of such terms and conditions.
12. The Organizer reserves its sole right and discretion to delete, remove, not consider or reject comment with content that is deemed by it to be improper or offensive in whatever nature.
13. The Organizer reserves its rights to publish or display materials or information, including but not limited to the names of all Participants for marketing, advertising and publicity purposes in any manner it deems appropriate. The Organizer further reserves its right to use any personal data of Participants in any manner and/or for any purpose it deems fit and Participant is deemed to consent to such use with no monetary payment.
14. The Organizer reserves its right to cancel, terminate or suspend the Contest with or without any prior notice and reason. For the avoidance of doubt, cancellation, termination or suspension by the Organizer shall not entitle the participant to any claim or compensation against the Organizer for any and all losses or damages suffered or incurred as a direct or indirect result of the act of cancellation, termination or suspension.
15. The terms and conditions herein shall prevail over any inconsistent terms, conditions, provisions or representations contained in any other promotional or advertising materials for the Contest. In the event of any inconsistency, conflict, ambiguity or discrepancy between the English version and the Bahasa Malaysia version of these terms and conditions, the English version shall prevail at all times.
16. The Organizer reserves its right to vary, delete or add to any of these Terms and Conditions and/or substitute or replace the gifts from time to time without any prior notice.
17. By participating in the Contest, it is deemed that the participant agrees to be bound by the terms and subject to the conditions herein set out upon submission of entry. The decisions of the Organizer in relation to every aspect of the Contest including but not limited to the type of prize and winner shall be deemed final and conclusive under any circumstance and no complaint from any participants will be entertained.
18. The decision of judges appointed by the Organizer are final, conclusive and binding and no further appeal, enquiry and/or correspondence will be entertained.