Wednesday, November 08, 2006
So after we had breakfast we got back into the car and left the mountains of Munnar and began the 4-hour decent down to the town of Kochi.
Kochi or Cochin is the central part of Kerala. With its wealth of historical associations and its setting on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, Kochi perfectly reflects the eclecticism of Kerala.
The oldest church in India is there, winding streets with mosques blending with some 500 years of Portuguese, Chinese fishing nets, a Jewish community with a Synagogue that dates back to the 16th century and a grand Palace built by the Portuguese and then given to the raja of Cochin, the place reeks of diversity.
The older parts of Fort Cochin and Mattancherrry are a combinatio0n of medieval Potruguese, Holland and an English village all situated the scenic and tropical Malabar Coast. (Guidebook pages 910-911).
The drive down the mountain was beautiful we saw many different plants, trees and flowers. The kids were wiped out and unfortunately slept most of the way. Jimmy was too tired to wake up and see Monkeys! Kay was not feeling well and Billy was sleeping.
We made a stop for snacks and then we were there!
We went straight to the hotel checked in and had a late lunch which was wasy good but very overpriced. Then we went on the “ harbor” cruise.
It was should we say interesting, swimming back at the pool would have gone over better. But we were here to see the area and see it we did. There were oil tankers Naval vessels all surrounded by flotsam and jetsam not to mention that particular smell.
We did have several great photo opps and the cruise boat had only us on it and what we hoped were not Gilligan and the Skipper too!
That night we had pasta in the room for the kids, hired a sitter and Mom and Dad went out for a nice quite dinner.
The following day was very busy. We set out to see Fort Cochin, Manttancherry, the Jewish Village, and St.Francis Church a fish market and a spice market, WOW.
The kids had a great time at the fish market playing with fresh caught fish and prawns. The Jewish Village was very old and well kept. We being tourists were wearing shorts so Tracy and I had to rent “ pants” from a local vendor who it appears makes a living renting pants to the Foreigners.
We purchased a wall hanging/blanket from one of the Vendors it was gorgeous however upon returning home it was covered in mold and fell apart when we cleaned it. We are still in the negotiation period and we will see what happens. They have promised to send us a new one? Kay loved all the colors and art stating “ I can do that”
That night we went to a Kalaripayattu show, which is a very disciplined type of Martial arts. You can only imagine what happened when Jimmy being big into the Power Rangers saw what was happening stood up and right on the spot morphed into the red Power Ranger and shouted out “Power Rangers Emergency” into his concealed power rangers communication device! The martial artists were awesome and we all had a great time. Really.
That night there were no baby sitters available so Mom and Dad had a candle light dinner complete with white linen tablecloth red wine, steak and shrimp, in the bathroom. Romance is not dead!!
The following morning we checked out and headed to the fishing village of Kumblaghy… It is a working tourist village and in no way similar to City Slickers.
We took a canoe type boat throught the backwaters propelled by one man and a stick. We drank fresh cut coconut and ate the meat. Kay and Dad were the only ones who like it. Billy kept trying to get out of the canoe and swim after the “pish”. We hunted crabs, made rope out of coconut hair and watch as the “village” people made thatched roofs out of the coconut leaves. Then we had an authentic Kerala lunch complete with prawns, butterfish, special Kerala rice and Kingfisher beer. What a feast. The Kerala rice is different than other areas because it is thicker and is double cooked. It has a slight brown hew to it and if you drink the water is cooked in it will give you strength, just like Guinness!
Then we had something called natural toddy. It is fermented coconut juice. The juice is made the night before, you cannot put it and a sealed container (I think because it is explosive). I t has a smell that will gag you but if you can get past that it’s not bad. As the dearly departed Darin MacGaveen said in Christmas Story,” This stuff’s not bad but it’s not good either” may he rest in peace.
The whole village was awesome and is a definite stop if you are in Kerala.
We left and experienced something that in all our travels is unique to India. We went to a Hotel the caters to people with long layovers. That’s right you rent your room by the 4,8,12 or 24-hour period. It was great we got to work out take showers and then get ready for our flight. The whole idea was to have the kid’s nap but that never happened.
The trip was great and when we arrived back in Bangalore Jimmy stated,” its nice to be home”.