A Travellerspoint blog

Casa Mia Homestay, Fort Cochin, Kerala

Not as expected!

sunny 31 °C

Casa Mia
This was my second stay at Casa Mia. The first time, was back in March 2014 when I spent two nights with Usha and her family.

This time, I was with my wife of 12 months, who was very much looking forward to her 'Casa Mia' experience.

After a testing 90 minute journey from the airport (horrendous traffic jams caused by the construction of the Cochin metro), we arrived at Casa Mia.

We were warmly greeted by Usha and her family and given the usual welcome drink.

On my previous visit, at the request of my hosts, I was asked for my ideas as to how Casa Mia could improve its rankings on Trip Advisor.

I was more than happy to do this, as I have extensive experience of staying at other homestays in India, all within the same price range as Casa Mia, all of which provide a range of inclusive extras, including larger rooms with a view, not currently included at Casa Mia.

My suggestions included: provision of tea/coffee making facilities for each room; installation of TV; mosquito repellent; complimentary toiletries in bathroom; upgrading the quality of towels. Also, bottled water should be available for guests at all times.

The only improvement was the inclusion of Casa Mia branded soap in the bathroom.

Not only will Usha and Anthony have to address these issues, they will also need to improve the rooms by ensuring that all electrical switches are working correctly and also ensure that extractor fans in bathrooms are fitted with safety covers.

Breakfast choices should also be varied for guests staying for a week or longer. The daily offering is an omelette, with toast and jam, supplemented with a coconut wrap. Tea was also served, but was not always hot.

It would also be nice if the breakfast table was prepared and set for a meal, as this would make it more of an occasion.

Frustratingly, the amount of time to use wi-fi is from 8am to 10.45pm. This is very restricting, especially if you need to contact business colleagues in normal working hours in the UK.

Like the rest of Fort Cochin, Pattalam Road has become noisier, with the increase in tourist numbers and the opening of more Homestays in the area. This is also impacting on the quality of stay at Casa Mia.

There is no doubt that staying in a homestay has many benefits and it is a great opportunity to experience how other cultures live their lives on a daily basis.

However, the disadvantages are that sometimes family routines can affect the quality of your stay. As a guest, despite the fact that you are paying for, what you hope is a quality service, you have to accept that you are not always a priority!

In my view, Casa Mia is fine for a brief stay, as the rooms are very clean and the location is convenient. But for a longer stay, to be comfortable, the provision of more creature comforts are required.

Posted by PeterBoasman 22:25 Archived in India Tagged home stays Comments (0)

Fort Cochin

in decline?

sunny 30 °C

This was my third visit to Kerala. I have always been fascinated by the history and natural beauty of this souther part of the Indian sub-continent.
It's sad to report that the impact of urban development, mass- tourism is impacting heavily on the quality of staying in this part of the world.

The construction of the Kochi metro has caused major delays to travel on the roads and the journey from the airport to Fort Cochin has now doubled!

I was so sad to see the amount of garbage that has been dumped on the beach by the Chinese fishing nets along the promenade. There has been very little done to address this problem in the past five years.

If you enjoy a drink of the alcoholic variety, then you should avoid Kerala! Drinks, at exorbitant prices are available in hotels. Otherwise you have to join the long queues at Government outlets which are only open at certain times! Again at inflated prices.

The prices of staying at local home stays has also increased, with a basic home stay charging 2,400 Rupees per night!

Going on a boat-trip on the backwaters was also disappointing, due to large amount of rubbish discarded in the water. This rubbish was not only household garbage, but industrial electrical waste also!

My experiences are also supported by a recent article in The Hindu.

It time for the authorities to act before it's too late!

Posted by PeterBoasman 22:07 Archived in India Tagged places Comments (0)

WHY LIVE IN INDIA?

The story so far!

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WHY LIVE IN INDIA?
This is now my fourth visit to India! I’ve wanted to record my experiences, consistently, in some form – but have been too lazy to do so! That’s a shame really, as some of my experiences have been beyond belief, some too personal to share and some simply amazing!
The view of some people is that Indi a is a place to far away, is dirty, unhygienic and too strange! That’s true to a degree, but then you can say that about any prospective holiday destination
The initial motivation to visit India, and Goa in particular, was stay at a relative’s house which needed some maintenance. This was my introduction to Indian culture, well, the Goan version of a Portuguese influenced Indian culture at least!
The house itself is situated in coastal village of Betalbatim, a ten minute stroll from Sunset Beach and a 15 minute ride in the local bus to the South Goan capital of Margao City.
Staying in the village gave me a privileged opportunity to mix with the locals, get to know ex-pats and meet the challenges of dealing with legendary Indian administrative procedures.
Adapting to daily life was very easy, if very different to a U.K. lifestyle. The e advantages of living in Goa are many:
1. Cost of living is on average 70% cheaper than the U.K.!!!!! For example:
a. Loaf of bread – 30p
b. Fresh milk (1 Litre) – 40p
c. 75 cl of lager (Kingfisher) – 75p
d. Local spirits - £1.80 per 75cl

2. Fantastic beaches. Goan beaches appeal to both young and old alike They are clean, safe and protected by vigilant life-guard Boats and the local police. Great beach shacks at Betalbatim, Colva and Majorda provide cheap fresh sea-food menus.
3. Cheap flights for those wishing to explore other places in India.
4. Friendly locals who will make you feel welcome and cater for anything you want.
5. Fascinating local attractions such as Betty’s Boat; Spice Gardens; waterfalls; night markets; nature reserves to mention just a few.
6. Cheap tailoring – get your bespoke clothes made here at a fraction of the price you would pay in the U.K.
7. Most locals speak good English
a. One bed self-catering apartment - £165 pcm
b. Bus fare (Betalbatim – Margao) – 12p one way
c. 3 course dinner in local restaurant - £5 per person
d. Newspapers (local) – 6p
e. Sky TV (showing Premier League footballand recent films) - £7 pcm
f. Taxi fare – pre-paid from Dabolim to Betalbatim - £5
g. Cheap daily scooter hire – less than £2 a day

Posted by PeterBoasman 00:19 Archived in India Comments (0)

Less than a week to go!

Preparation

For years I've toyed with the idea of writing a blog about my experiences with travelling in India, particularly to South Goa. The aim of mu blog is not only to share experiences of my travels, but also to provide current practical advice which inform, help and support fellow travelers to this part of the world. I no doubt will have a number of experiences that will be an education. I hope by sharing these experiences that I will help other visitors to Goa avoid the many traps that are set to relieve us of our money, waste time and lead to much tension.!

Posted by PeterBoasman 23:10 Archived in India Comments (0)

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