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Kochi and South India

INDIA | Thursday, 6 March 2014 | Views [803]

Kerala – Kochi

Valentines Day


We checked into Mother Tree Inn and all excited that we both had slept on the overnight train- went out to explore our new town! Since we heard bad things about the industrial parts of Kochi, we decided to decrease our potential roaming radius and stay within Fort Kochi.
First we wandered eight minutes down the road to watch the Chinese fishing nets.


After an hour we discovered the local passenger ferry to get to the other side of Vembanad Lake (I have no idea why they are calling this bay a lake). We paid our three rupee fee for the Vypin ferry ticket and jumped onboard.

Oops. Apparently women sit in the front. A massive engine separates the compartments and men sit in the back.

Too late now.

We went to the other side of the river and found a quiet staircase sitting between an orphanage and primary school.

We watched boys dressed in blue uniforms run between the two buildings. Some shady looking characters came on a pedal bike and took one school boy away and retuned him with an orange soda that was oversized for his small trouser pockets. Immediately six small boys caught on, came over and stole the soda from his pocket.

We watched the action for an hour, enjoying doing nothing and feeling invisible.

After a few hours we made our way back onto the Vypin ferry. The boat driver remembered I sat in the back last time and as James and I made an exaggerated joking sad face for having to be separated, he laughed and waved his hands inviting me to the back once again.

We made our way to the small quiet streets around Fort Cochin.


You knew this was coming…

I managed to find some cute drawer pull knobs!!!!

I don’t know what’s gotten into me but India has made me forget I have a backpack with boundaries. I’ve purchased 3 dresses, 2 scarves, 2 pants, 2 sarongs, 3 tops, Ganesh incense holders, toe and rings, and now drawer knobs!?!?! I guess it’s a turning point for me- to no longer go to every shop because of the dress I see but instead because they have a tray of colorful pull knobs in all shapes, colors and designs.

So, because I’ve already started this drawer knobs idea thanks to our trip to Anjuna market, I bought more. Purposefully they don’t match, allowing me to still claim the excuse that we need to see what each bottomless bin has to reveal before thinking of passing up the treasure hunt.
James is okay with it. He sees the light at the end of the tunnel. My denial that this trip with go on forever is melting. He now sees I’m decorating an imaginary bathroom with tiny elephants, bedrooms with richly colored fabrics and interesting drawer knobs adorned on furniture we don’t own.

So after collecting a few more knobs, we went to dinner at Elite Hotel restaurant. We walked by and nobody was eating but the place looked like a peaceful oasis thanks to the hanging potted plants drooping in every direction.

We stood outside and made guesses if we would get sick and then walked in. A white family trusted our decision enough to do the same. Within 10 minutes every table was occupied with white people. James and I hoped we didn’t just get every tourist signed up for tummy troubles.
James ordered up some paneer curry, rice and garlic chapati. We had a fun dinner, enjoying our time, freedom, each other.

Saturday February 15th, 2014
I was up at 7 a.m. and was playing with photos. By 9:30 a.m. James joined me for breakfast. We each had an omelette and James scored six pieces of toast with neon pink jam.

We then went shopping in Fort Kochi for a cooking class for the evening. The Mother Tree Inn was useless. They only recommended businesses that their family members worked in: Need a rickshaw? Let me call my brother. Need water? Walk a mile to this specific shop to buy water because my sister owns it. Want to do cooking class? Go to the one my brother owns and has the crappiest reviews on Tripadvisor. We were getting nowhere with them but annoyed at how much they were indiscreetly ripping us off.

So after an hour of research and walking around, we were ready to explore what Fort Kochi had to offer knowing we would be back for a class at 6 p.m.

A rickshaw took us to the Jewish synagogue. Well, Lonely Planet is wrong, they aren’t open on Fridays OR Saturdays. The door was pretty though…

Since the synagogue was closed we headed to the Jewish cemetery. There was a padlocked gate so you can’t actually walk around so it took about 60 seconds for us to advance to the next stop.


With our planned itinerary shot down, we then took a walk around the busy market style streets that boarded the sea.

Well, whatdoya know? Drawer knobs!


To my ridiculously childish ecstatic excitement, they were tiny! I dug through the bottomless buckets with the help of a sweet young woman. James sat nearby, offering random “Sure, looks great” comments. We left with three new knobs, costing a total of 75 rupees, or $1.21.
We ecstatically carried on, looking for more Ganesh bronze figures that one day will sit on the stack of bills acquired by this trip.
Well, we found more knobs. And this lady wasn’t in the mood for haggling so straight up let me take them for 20 rupees a piece!

With my bag full of knobs, we decided to take a break.
For the first time in the country I found the sky blue and silver slender can with the bull smack center. I was in heaven and while I ate my chikki James had a blue Gaterade and Lays masala curry chips.


We stood by some deserted jetty and watched the boats pass on the sea.
A rickshaw took us back to the Chinese fishing nets.


We sat and watched goats eat coconuts and disappointed fishermen as they chucked their rubbish into the waters. We watched as they seemed so puzzled as to why the fish numbers were declining so rapidly and business was bad.


By late afternoon we wanted a break from the sun so we found The Tea Pot.


This place belongs on Capitol Hill in Seattle. It’s antique and worn looking because, well, we are in India, but it looks intentional. It’s spacious and quiet, which is rare around here. We grabbed a table near a window and played cards and sipped on ginger lime soda and iced coffee for a few hours. Eventually we left so we could go grab money and head to the cooking class.

The cooking class started at 6 p.m at Flavour. There were two other couples there, one from Australia and one from England. Both of these couples were just starting their trips, but mostly we all have the same plans: Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Japan.

The class was about 2 hours. We were shown how to make a variety of local Keralan dishes. The instructor let everyone come up and have a go at helping prepare every dish.

We ended up making dry vegetable curry, bringal roast, tomato masala, dal fry, chapati and chicken curry. Eventually these will make it to our RECIPES page, so make sure to check back later!

By 8:30 we were making our way back to the Mother Tree.

I decided to jump in the shower and so did the largest cockroach I’ve ever seen. The bathroom is the size of an airplane bathroom. The shower is a handheld one that you use while dancing around in your flip flops while trying not to drop the soap or touch the toilet or sink while balancing.

This cockroach apparently thought it would be good fun to throw another task into the mix. Sucks for him those handheld sprayers can aim.
I tip toed around the room and now in bare feet these guys are a bit scarier. A massive roach clicked under my bag as if he were paying me back for drowning his friend. James chased the guy around the room until he cornered him and wished him well. Gross.

Now in not such a good mood I started to doubt I was going to make it through this country if this was not even ‘real’ India yet. I went to grab some clothes and a swarm of ants came out from my pack. At that point I had had it. I jumped into bed and we decided to watch Ratatouille. The we-thought-was-dead cockroach came back to life. James finished him off and we resumed the movie.

An hour later we went to brush our teeth and I watched James look down at the roaches gravesite and a confused look swept across his face. The cockroach disappeared. No way? Is this guy shredder from ninja turtles?! Nope- the ants that relocated from my backpack decided to carry him to the opposite side of the room. Doing so they recruited the help of every other ant residing in Kerala.

So, it was an eventful night and I was pretty excited to leave the next morning! Fort Kochi is great for a few nights, but at this point I was really looking forward to getting out of noisy cities and into the mountains of Munnar!!!!!


Tags: beaches, city, cooking, cuisine, culture, india, travel

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