Edit Blog Post
Published: March 22nd 2011
The two weeks at the Ayurvedic center were great but we were ready to move on although sad at the same time. While my hip is still bugging me, it is a lot better and I feel very energetic. Kelly’s blood pressure has dropped although he is feeling somewhat lethargic after his head treatments.
We have been having discussions as to what changes we might make in our diet (both at home and while still on holidays) and blew all good intentions out of the water when we got samosas and deep fried bananas at the train station in Calicut – but they sure tasted good.
It was a 4.5 hour train ride south to Kochin in central Kerala and then another 30 minutes by auto rickshaw to the historic area of Fort Cochin where we were to spend the next couple of days. Arriving late at night, we found a room at the second homestay that we checked. It was about a 20 minute walk from the waterfront and that was OK. All around were narrow lane ways that were fun to explore – all the houses were protected by high walls and were a mix of older
style houses (tile roofs, white stone walls) and new houses that were painted in very vibrant shades. Add in the palm trees and bananas for a lot of overgrown greenery
Our first day we walked over to the area known as Jew Town, which is the center of the Kochi spice trade. Winding through the alleys, we passed the local fish and vegetable sellers – carrying their products to the housewives. While many of the stores in Jew Town are now turned over to tourist goods, there were enough ware houses containing sacks of fresh ginger, that the air was filled with the smell. We even had lunch at the Ginger House restaurant where all menu items contained ginger – it was a very picturesque setting overlooking the river with fishing coracles passing now and then – and the garbage washing up close to our feet!
The quintessimal image of Kochi is the Chinese fishing nets along the waters edge. They aren’t used much now except for attracting gullible tourists who want to have their photos taken, helping raise the nets! The fish that is for sale in the fish shacks further on all come from the fish
market and are delivered early in the morning. At the fish shacks, you are able to choose the fish that you would like for your meal and then walk with it to the restaurant that is associated with that particular shack. We got a snapper and 2 kalamari for 250 rs and then paid another 115 rs to have it cooked with lemon and garlic at Maxims. Delicious.
The liquor laws in Kerala prohibit the open consumption of alcohol. So unfortunately all bars were tucked away inside – although it was somewhat cooler. There was a liquor store close to our homestay – all barricaded in front so the employee looked out though a whole in the bars. Any of the locals who were buying hard liquor (and there were lots of them) shoved the bottle in the top of their dhotis so no one could see.
Day 2 and I don’t want to know how hot it is, or what the humidity levels are!!!. Other than going on an early morning promenade through the laneways to the waterfront, we didn’t do much other than take a short and cheap (2 rs each) ferry ride to Vypeen Island for
a brief wander around.
One of the traditional arts is Kathakali which has been around for centuries. Traditional performances can last up to 10 hours but shortened versions are performed at the arts center up the road from our home stay. Applying the makeup and costumes are a big part of the performance and access to this part of the performance started at 5pm with the main act starting at 6pm. The performers (actors, drummers and singers) are male only and spend years training. The first part of the show was a demonstration of the various mudhras (hand gestures) and facial expressions that are used to tell the story. The muscle control was amazing. The short part of the overall story that we saw, depicted Jayanthan (green face) getting annoyed with the damsel Lalitha (yellow face) flirting with him so he cut off her ears, nose and breasts! Nice!!!!
The next morning it was back to the train station and northwards to Goa for the remainder of the holiday.
Tot: 1.371s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 9; qc: 55; dbt: 0.0159s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb