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KERALA TOURISM NEWSLETTER

ISSUE: 210

FEBRUARY 2011

Interview

Tom McNamara - a holiday that redefined perceptions of life

It was on the 27th day of their stay in the backwaters of Alappuzha that Kerala Tourism met the McNamaras - the adorable Irish couple on board the houseboat Coco Holidays.

Their holidays in the backwaters of Alappuzha turned out to be unique, due to the fact that it was for the first time that someone holidaying in the backwaters of Kerala has stayed continuously for a long period like 27 days and that too on the same houseboat. Of course it came as a surprise for Mr. Switen George who owns Coco Holidays and for Kerala Tourism it was an occasion to acknowledge.

Tom McNamara is kind of semi-retired in his profession, who used to run a chain of department stores in Ireland and is quite active still in property development. Both Tom and his wife have been to Kerala on five occasions before their latest tryst in the backwaters.

Sharing his thoughts with Kerala Tourism, Tom said: "My semi-retired status allows me to travel and see places around the world. Of all the places in India, the most beautiful to me is Kerala. And this time, I was looking for a tranquil, serene holiday to get away from my demanding business life. So this time around, I was looking for a half holiday, half retreat sort of tour and I chose Kerala.

And about his 27-day backwater holiday, Tom McNamara felt each day absolutely beautiful. There was never a dull moment and he felt like floating on paradise, while his soul and heart enjoyed an elated feeling. "There were beautiful sights to behold. People used to wave to us," Tom said.

For Tom the month-long backwater stay also had a purpose besides some fun and leisure. This is what he had to say: "These days, I am trying to change my way of life...looking for a new direction. It was like a monastery for a month and it did help me in taking some serious decisions which would have an effect back home in Ireland.

While Mrs. McNamara was quite happy to allow her husband to do all the talking, she too eventually chipped in and said: "Even though she joined her husband during the last seven days of his stay in the backwaters, she found the experience to be a delightful and memorable one."

Talking about local food, the McNamaras opined that it was quite difficult for them to pick out a particular dish as their favourite. Why because, all these days they were treated to a variety of local food, which they felt as absolutely great. They also appreciated how the houseboat chef tried his best to keep the amount of spices at an agreeable level. For Mrs. McNamara, she managed to take some time to learn some of the local recipes and really enjoyed the time learning some basics of ethnic cooking in the houseboat kitchen.

Interestingly, Mrs. McNamara invited our attention to the traveling time from Ireland to Kerala. She said, "It is not too much of a time-consuming travel at all to reach Kerala. It is equal to the time that it takes Irish holidayers to reach south Florida to enjoy the summer time. This is a fact that travelers from Ireland would be happy to know among other things about Kerala."

Before we wound up our conversation, this is what Tom McNamara had to say: "We are looking forward to be here in the backwater again in January next year. Because you can't improve on perfection and this is a perfect tour for us."

For Kerala Tourism, the McNamaras are true ambassadors of our land and culture and we are indeed looking forward to the privilege of having them back amidst us at the earliest. And we also do look forward to have more of their countrymen in Kerala in the future. We wish the McNamaras good luck.

District Tourism Promotion Councils KTDC Thenmala Ecotourism Promotion Society BRDC Sargaalaya SIHMK Responsible Tourism Mission KITTS Adventure Tourism Muziris Heritage saathi nidhi

Toll free No: 1-800-425-4747 (Within India only)

Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala, Park View, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India - 695 033
Phone: +91 471 2321132, Fax: +91 471 2322279, E-mail: info@keralatourism.org.
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