We then headed south to Kerala. We arrived in Cochin, which seemed to be a very vibrant city. Lots of new buildings going up - a young engineering graduate we met told us he was hoping to find work in the IT hub where lots of international tech companies are based. We visited some of the historical sites (an early synagogue, Catholic church and "Dutch palace") reflecting the diversity of groups that had settled or colonized the area.
We stayed on a lovely island near Kumurakom in a small resort. The only other guests were a group of families from Agra and some honeymooners from Mumbai.
Then we drove to Aleppey and boarded a houseboat for a leisurely overnight trip along the waterways of the lake/river/canal waterways. We passed many villages and rice farms accessible only by water. The houseboat captain said that some areas regularly flood in the rainy season and families have to take refuge in local schools until the water levels recede.