The Start of our Southern Journey
We flew from Kolkata to Kochi via Chennai. Thankfully, a problem with our flights south was detected before our arrival in Kolkata by our hosts and the situation addressed – elsewise, we could have been stranded in Chennai.
We were met at the airport by Prince Charles, our Southern Indian guide and we drove to Kochi by bus arriving about an hour and a half later. After our arrival at our hotel, we went to a local seafood restaurant and proceeded to empty the fridge of cold beer – much to the amusement of the staff (highly unusual behavior for our group of course - must have been the humidity).
Given we were back by the sea, I took that opportunity to negotiate the purchase of a seafood platter of sorts –tiger prawns, fish, calamari, French fries and steamed vegetables. Very nice – much more appetizing than the bland toasted sandwiches that others of our group ordered.
The following morning at 9am, we went for a short bus ride to see the Chinese fishing nets in action. These constructions are quite large and support fishing nets which were approximately six metres square. The fishermen dip the nets into the water and raise the nets again shortly afterwards to catch whatever is passing.
Many of us took the opportunity to pull the nets up and down - with around six people manning a rope each to raise the net.
Once done, we walked along the waterfront to see the variety of seafood on offer – ranging from snapper, mullet, gernard, prawns and octopus.
On the way back to the old town, we stopped and walked in a dhoby (washing) factory. There we watched the dhoby wallas hand washing and ironing clothes – there were two people ironing with coal fired irons which was quite fascinating.
From the waterfront, we went to see some of the Portuguese and Dutch buildings in old Kochi town, including a Jewish synagogue. We concluded that part of our day with a visit to the church were Vasco de Gama, the Portuguese explorer was buried for 12 years before being exhumed and taken back to Lisbon in Portugal. Then we went into nearby Ernakulam for a very nice local lunch – and some garlic prawns which were delightful.
After our return to Kochi, we had a few quiet hours before walking to a K…… performance. This is very much a Kerala dance tradition and we watched makeup being applied before the performance. Facial expression is very much a part of this form of dance. The show lasted for one hour – time enough to get an idea of how it flows.
We then returned to the restaurant visited the night before for dinner and again, I ate the local seafood – a wonderful platter of snapper, tiger prawns and calamari with fries and steamed vegetables.
The following morning we departed by train for Wayanad.