Kochi

With 2 days to look around Kochi, we headed straight out and grabbed some food. Indian food was a great change of flavours from the SE Asian we had started to get a bit bored of. We had no idea what we were ordering so ended up with a load of snacks, which were delicious and stupidly cheap even compared to the food in Vietnam.

There isn’t a huge amount of obvious stuff to look at in Kochi so we went straight down to the water to have a look at the Chinese fishing nets. The strange contraptions were in action with groups of 5 or so men pulling them up and down but rarely finding more than 3 or 4 small fish in them. The crows got most of what did come up so I’m not sure how much benefit there was to this activity but maybe they had some occasional success.

After watching for a while we walked around the coastline and watched the boats go by for a bit before having a panic when we couldn’t find Claire’s bank cards. Fortunately they were back in the room we had checked in to earlier so panic over.

We spent the afternoon in a few cafes planing our trip round India and getting trains booked as it had become clear our tactic of planning only a couple of days in advance wasn’t going to work well in India. There’s lots of nice cafes so this was a nice way to spend the hottest part of the day.

Evening came and that meant it was curry time, so we went to a nearby restaurant decorated in the style of an Argentinian football shirt for no apparent reason and ate 3 curries, 2 parathas and a big plate of rice for about £3, including drinks. It was delicious too, and we decided we could get used to eating like this!

For an evening activity, we went to a Kathkali show. We had been a little confused at the lack of obvious tourists in town, but found them all here. The show itself is a traditional style story telling with no words but crazy costumes, make up, music and unbelievable eyeball control. The actors use their eyes and hand motions to communicate what is going on and have to train for 6 years before they are allowed to perform.

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The following day we went to Mattancherry Palace, an old palace that is now a museum with information on all the old Rama’s of Kochi and a bit about the history of the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial times too. It was interesting, but there was a lot of reading to do which became a bit tiresome.

Next up was a famous synagogue around the corner which was pretty plain, so we went for some food. We were starting to get to grips with the different types of food being available at different times of day thing that occurs I Indian restaurants, so had a Dosa and a Chappathi set which were both delicious. We later found out that the restaurant has the best thali in town according to the locals, which explained the people in there all eating that.

It was by now very hot so we hopped in a rickshaw to take us back and via a shop. The drivers get free fuel from the owner of the shop if they bring enough people to it, so we agreed to look around for five minutes so he could get his stamp. It was surprisingly easy to not buy anything and we were back on our way in no time. We also went to the Indo Portuguese museum. If you ever get the chance, don’t go there unless you are really desperate!

A bit of relaxing later, the heavens opened and a thunderstorm started, so we decided to spend a bit more time indoors planning the trip. The rain did not let up for hours so by the time we went out for dinner the roads had become lakes and we were glad we had chosen a rickshaw rather than walking! We ate some more excellent food before getting a lift from a random local man who picked us up from the side of the road. It was a bit weird at first but him and his wife were lovely and we had a chat on the way to our second restaurant of the evening.

A few curries later and we walked back to pack up and head to our sleeper train up to Goa. We booked a taxi to get us to the train station and despite being used to slightly mad roads and driving, this was another level. It was like being in a real life version of the game Crazy Taxi as he sped around, through and probably over anything that got in his way. We made it in one piece though and we’re soon looking for a platform.

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