We arrived in Kochi (Cochin), Kerala for my Fulbright conference. All of the South and Central Asian Fulbrights were brought in to share our ongoing research and to network with one another. As the website says, “Sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program provides funding for students, scholars, teachers, and professionals to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools.” I am a Fulbright-Nehru scholar, a special partnership between the U.S. and India that brough over 200 of us to India this year. A handful of us are senior scholars like me. I am here to do research. Others professors are here as lecturers. The bulk of the grantees are graduate students here doing dissertation research and young things just out of college here as English Teaching Assistants.
I learned during the opening remarks that Hillary Clinton had hoped to come to India on a Fulbright right after graduating from Wellesley College. They shut the program down with Indian that year due to political issues, so she went to Yale Law School Instead (where she met Bill, of course).
We stayed at Le Meridien, which is actually two hotels. To get to the main building, we have to take a ferry down the river. It is charming about two times and then a bit annoying when you are trying to get somewhere or you leave something back at the hotel room!
We saw lots of coracle fishing boats as we sailed to our room–especially early in the morning.
Kerala is hot. Like south Florida in the summer hot. Tons of humidity even in the evening. It makes us truly appreciate the mellow climate of Bangalore where there is hardly any humidity at all and the nights are cool and crisp. After the long bus ride from the airport, we all wanted nothing more than to jump into the pool and order a drink from the swim up bar. It is a strange pool, with multiple layers. The tiles on the pool were falling off, to the great delight of the kids. They really enjoyed collected the blue, red and white tiles as treasures throughout our stay.
The kids and Todd even enjoyed night swimming while I was at my sessions. Not a bad way to spend a few days!