Published: December 11th 2006December 8th 2006
Backwaters of Kerala
Local fishermen trying their luck in one of the many water canals
Backwaters of Kerala
When few months ago Lily's dad told us he's about to arrive Bombay for a convention on November, it seemed as a faraway dream that we would travel together, but it all came true when Lily's mom decided to join the celebration as well. We met them in Bombay and took a flight together to Kerala, a southern state in the Indian Peninsula and home of the famous Backwaters, a tropical heaven.
We first headed Munar, a pleasant hill station built by the poor white Brits burning in the heat of the planes. At 1500m above sea-level, the climate there is cooler than anywhere else in Kerela. That weather is what made Munar famous for its extensive tea plantations. We played it "intellectuals" and payed a visit to a small tea museum where we witnessed the surprisingly simple process of the tea-making - from green leaf to black tea in less than a day! Don't believe the adds no more. Wissotzky actually rips us off, it's now clear.
Another thing we immediately felt was how nice the people of the south really are. Smiling and helpful, they gave us a good feeling wherever we went.
Chinese Fishing Nets
Old-school means for fishing in Kochi backwaters
Naturally, travelling with parents means better living conditions, but it was still a surprise seeing the luxurious house-boat they ordered from Bombay. We were going for a 2-days sail on the Backwaters in a double-room boat equipped with a kitchen, balcony and four staff members who took care of everything, from stirring the boat to cooking our meals. It was a royal treatment indeed. We spent the lazy time resting on the boat's deck watching the tranquile tropical life around us consisting of many coconut trees, water flowers and green rice fields. The people of this region live on small lands, sometimes few squared meters only, but they still manage to grow rice and animals for their living. We were again surprised by how friendly they were, not a trivial matter for such a heavily touristic site.
Back in Kochi, we visited the famous old Jewish Synagogue, one of the city's highlights. Jews originally established Kochin, after being dispelled from Israel circa 500 BC. We spoke with one of the 13 jews still living there and found out that most of the community Made Aliya years ago and now lives somewhere in the Israeli Negev Desert. To tell the
truth, we didn't quite get it why they chose to replace this beautiful and tranquile place with the hectic middle-east, but on second thought, making choices was never a strong side of our people.
Kochi is also known for its Chinese fishing nets, allowing a spectecular view into old-school fishing technique that still exists in Asia. The huge nets are operated by a staff of five fishermen and the fresh fish are sold just nearby the beach. Local restaurants fry the fish for you after you buy them in one of the stalls (and yes ACHI, they already speak Hebrew...), but we had bad experience with the cooking quality, so our suggestion is to try one of the fancier restaurants in town.
At the age of 60, Lily's parents, Aviva and David, are still young in body and mind, and made us feel a little ashamed jumping out of bed every morning at 7am, a time we were still dreaming our seventh dream. After spending an amazing week together, we escorted them to the local airport and took a night train back to Goa to relax from the streneous week :-) .
Gateway of India
This gate was previously the main entering point into Bombay and India
is taken from "The Ship Song" by Nick Cave from his masterpiece "The Good Son" (1990) (Lyrics)
. The boat trip reminded me this amazing love song.
There are more photos below