So here I am in India! I am still having a difficult time believing that I'm actually here. I have to pause for a couple of seconds before exiting my hotel room to be greeted by the wonderful December warmth. When I arrived at Heathrow to check in for my flight, I was originally turned away from the Etihad check-in counter as I did not have an ETA (a newly introduced system to ease the Visa on Arrival process which I'll cover in more detail in a later blog post), but after a few calls to India and a chat with the manager I was able to confirm that as this ETA procedure was only introduced on the 5 December, it would not be fully enforced until the 27 December which meant HOORAY; I was able to set off for Trivandrum. Upon arrival, I realised I probably should have applied for the ETA as the Visa process took so incredibly. One thing I've learnt from this is to always keep an eye out for changes in the immigration policies of the country your visiting.
After meeting with the organisers of the #CometoKerala competition, the other winners and I took a stroll from our hotel (Turtle on the Beach) down to Kovalam beach which was streaming with families and groups of people as it was a Saturday. If you are in this area and are bit of a morning eager beaver, head on down early in the morning to see the fishermen pull in large fishing nets! I was too busy catching up on sleep to do this when I arrived at 6am but I have been told that it is quite the spectacle!