Sunday, 9 June 2013

getting caught in the rain.

We left Our Home some time ago and following a day of amazingly easy travel (and there was a lot of travel- bus, train, boat and tuk-tuk) we arrived at Fort Cochin in the evening. We jumped off the ferry and, ignoring all the tuk-tuk sharks, we made our way up the street to find a nice place to sleep. Which was also surprisingly it is the low season in the south of India now (the weather alternates between boiling hot and muggy to torrential downpours) everyone is desperate for business and we had hardly walked for 5 minutes before a lady ran out of a building and offered us a very nice room for only $10 a night.

We stayed in Fort Cochin for about 3 days; it's a nice place to wander about but as I said, it's the low season, so there wasn't a lot happening. We also arrived on a Thursday evening and it turned out that Friday and Saturday are kind of holidays so almost everything was closed. So we walked around a lot...along the riverfront we saw the old Chinese fishing nets, which are huge and take four men to lever in and out of the water. Very impractical in the modern world but quaint and a perfectly picturesque photo-op for tourists. We also found an old tree, bare of leaves but painted in bright colours so each gnarl or limb became an animal. We bought a snack of unripe mangoes in some kind of chilli sauce which is exactly as gross as it sounds and which, after 3 bites, we threw surreptitiously onto the ground. We ate a lot of delicious things too though, don't worry. Like dosas, which are basically thin pancakes made with lentil flour and served with coconut chutney...we also spent the best part of a day arguing about the similarities between dosas and pancakes, which I think are enormous because they are essentially the same thing but this was an opinion with which Will was unwilling to acquiesce because he said pancakes are made with wheat flour so that means they are completely different. Flimsy argument, I know; needless to say, I won that one.

Fort Cochin is like a picturesque 'old town', sitting on a peninsula separated from the main city by either a long drive around or a short ferry ride across. We needed to buy a new memory card so one day we went to Ernakulam (the city) to see what our chances were. Turns out it was easy. You need never worry in India if what you are after is some kind of electrical goody- they are completely obssessed with electronics. We bought our memory card from a mini-mall of 3 stories in which every single shop was devoted to technology, mostly mobile phone related. And on a strip of road lined with mini-malls this was the only one which was thriving. When Indians find something they like, they go all out.

On Sunday, when everything opened up again, we walked to the old Jewish quarter (kind of hilariously called 'Jew Town') to visit the old Dutch Palace which was in fact gifted in 1555 from the Portuguese to the Raj of Kochi, but renovated by the Dutch in 1663. It is small, but worth visiting for the amazing Hindu murals which are incredibly detailed and cover at least 6 entire walls. They tell the stories of old Hindu legends (apparently...we could really only admire the intricacy of detail and beautiful colours). The rain which was bucketing down had stopped by the time we had wandered around the palace so we decided to have a meander through Jew Town where the air is lightly scented with cinnamon and cardamom, which are for sale at vastly inflated tourist prices at every second shop. I did give in and buy some overpriced leather thongs though. Now I have cuts on my feet- I just do not have the savvy to buy shoes, this is why I always go barefoot everyone!

We left Fort Cochin the nex day and headed to Varkala, a beach town a little further south. This is not a beach for swimming though, especially in the rainy season. The shoreline is a mess of rips and currents and crazy tides with waves crashing in continuously- if you got swept out even a little you'd have to be fairly lucky to make it back to shore. And there is no way the "life guards" could help; they are all rather portly and clumsy looking and have no equipment save army hats and whistles which they blast whenever anyone gets too near the water.

It is nice here though. So nice that a week has slipped by and we've hardly noticed. There are clifftops to be strolled along, a beach to be sat on, delicious espresso coffee to be drunk and lots of different types of food begging to be eaten. There are storms to watch (and, more times than I think is prudent, be caught in) and the occasional, very clandestine beer to be drunk- I think none of the cafes are licensed but they do, of course, want to make money selling beer to foreigners so they pour it out the back and bring it to customers in giant "coffee mugs". Sneaky.

So that has been our last week...if you remember my post about Goa, well, we've been doing pretty much the same thing only with less swimming and more getting caught in the rain. No pina coladas though...haha. You don't have to tell me, I know I'm a comic genius.   

No comments:

Post a Comment