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Published: October 16th 2016
Architecture and detail of designs in Bali is beyond comprehension. Detailed and beautiful.
I'm sitting in a Muslim owned restaurant in Fort Kochi, cooled by a breeze from the Indian Ocean even though the air is still sticky and humid. Something about tropical weather and palm trees makes any place feel like a vacation.
We arrived to Kochi in the Kerala state a few days ago and in 2 days we will be in Delhi up north. I had believed a quick jaunt in southern India would be a less jolting culture shock than jumping straight to the insanity of New Delhi. India is still the most foreign place I've been though. I'm finding myself wondering what the customs are and how can I act without being offensive. Can I show my shoulders? My knees? How do I eat my food? Who can I talk to? Am I being ripped off? And what the hell is that guy saying (even though he's speaking more proper English than I know)?
Kochi was once a Portuguese colony so the buildings have tall ceilings and are painted in pale blue, pink, green and yellow. They have an old charm to them, yet a uniquely Indian flair. Most of the folks in this area are Catholic,
a byproduct of the previous inhabitants. Many of the men also sport tiny and tight little European mustaches as well.
We have eaten a ton of dosas already, crispy pancake like things rolled up with spiced potatoes and curry sauce. Maybe too many dosas. We've also tried Tibetan food: manchurian, momos, and homemade wheat flour noodles. Our homestay mom made us pancakes for breakfast too (usually breakfast is curry). They were like crepes filled with cardamom coconut flakes. Yum! I always love dessert for breakfast.
I tried soursop fruit. It's similar to a chirmoya but has a ton more seeds and really takes some patience to eat, but the soft white flesh makes it work it. Lots of mango juices and papayas.
This morning I practiced hatha yoga with an Indian teacher- my first time ever. Admittedly it's also the second yoga class I've been to since I left home. I knew that part of this trip would be disconnecting from my identity of "yogi" or "yoga teacher", but I have to admit, it's hard to figure out who I am when people ask me what I do back in the USA. Still working on figuring out
who I am.
Many of the tuk tuk drivers are just part of a tourist trap to bring tourists to government owned shops, but one thing I've heard from the drivers and other folks multiple times is how lucky I am to be American. It's a hard concept to grasp when there are clowns running for president and my dreams have always led me to far off countries, but it's also opened my eyes to how I am quite lucky to be American. Per their reasoning, it's a clean country, we have the freedom to go where we want, we can do any job we chose, and there is great technology. With caveats, that's all true and being in a country like India I can see how different life here is. Just another reminder to be grateful for the life I was blessed into.
Last night we watched a Katahkali show. Four men dress with elaborate character makeup and costumes and then perform a story from the Mahabarata using a unique form of sign language and intense facial
Expressions. The best part of the show was watching the makeup, a transformation that turns tiny Indian men into beautiful
This father and son stopped me asking me to take their photo. They also showed me his ID card and asked me to mail it to them.
Parvati, fierce Arjuna or majestic Shiva. We also saw a traditional flute and tabla (hand drum) concert at the same place, Kerala katahkali Center.
I've been mostly on my own the past few days- Orion and I are needing some space and time. That's not a surprise at all though. Could you realistically spend 24/7 with the same person for 5 months without wanting to rip their throat out at some point? It's a challenge to be individuated and to meet other people when we are doing everything together.
We had spent about 3 days in Bali as well, but I'll skip writing about that in detail. We stayed in Kuta Beach as its closest to the airport, but I can say that it's definitely not my scene. Arriving there was the same shock as arriving to Phuket, only more difficult because I am traveling with a man and I don't drink or go to bars/clubs these days. We shopped, got scammed into a timeshare presentation, and ate some great vegan food.
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