Chillin' in Kochi

Trip Start Aug 26, 2012
Trip End Dec 22, 2013

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Flag of India  , Kerala,
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I'm sure I’m starting to sound like a broken record but it was another long drive day to get from Wayanad to Cochin. The first 4hrs of the drive was really tough as we had to descend the Western ghats through 9 hairpin turns.  It is unusually for me to be car sick but I was during this;  a combination of the decent and turns plus the maneuvers Amanda had to do to avoid some really idiotic drivers who were trying to pass on a turn.  The rest of the drive was actually enjoyable with tons of schools kids to wave and say hi too.  Except for the one boy who waved and then gave me the finger, for which I gave it right back to him.  It was a purely reactionary gesture and feel a teeny bit bad for it now.  

In Cochin we stayed in the modern part of town known as Ernakulam right near the main ferry terminal.  Arriving later in the afternoon most of us headed to the nearby food court for dinner and succumbed to fast food from NFC; think KFC.  While eating our dinner we were approached by the owner of the 7D cinema in the same complex convincing us that we should go see the 18 minute film.  For Rs 120 (just over a dollar) we thought, what do we have to lose.  It turns out it was a more of a ride at Disney where the seats move, water is sprayed and the film is supposed to be 3D with glasses but wasn’t.  The first ride was 8 mins and was supposed to be about the dinosaur age but wasn’t really.  The second "feature" was 10 mins on a roller coaster or roller coster as it as advertised and was a bit better on the experience side of things.  Definitely good for a laugh and I think we made the owners day by selling out a show.  We couldn’t leave before having a group photo taken with our thumbs up.  We are thinking our photo will be on his next advertising flyer and should have asked for royalties.

The next day we took the local ferry over to first to Mattancherry which is the main market area, the epicentre of the Malabar spice trade and home to the wealthiest Jewish and Jain merchants.  There are also many high end antique markets which is full of Jewish furniture and un-portable heirlooms from when they emigrated en masse to Israel in the 1940’s.  As we wandered around the streets we passed by the Jewish synagogue and then made a visit to the Mattancherry Palace known locally as the Dutch Palace; erected by the Portuguese and gifted to the Raja of Cochin. Of all the palace visits this was by far the least exciting and about the only thing going for it is the beautiful mural paintings.

Heading north towards Fort Cochin which is where the Portuguese erected their first walled citadel, Fort Emmanuel, we passed by many spice warehouses and got to see lots of loading and loading of trucks with various spices, bags of rice, onion and garlic.  It was so nice and peaceful just to wander along and take in the sights of the day.  We all met for lunch at a cool little café called Kashi Art Café where I had probably the most delicious tuna melt ever.  I know in India you ask?  But it was fresh tuna, lots of garlic and cheese on this fresh made bread toasted with butter.  I also had a nice limeade and the best cappuccino I’ve tasted in a long time.  As you guessed this place catered to Westerners and while inside you would think you were in London, Paris or Italy.

Refreshed from lunch we visited the famous Chinese fishing nets that are lined up along the northern shores.  The nets are suspended by big wooden poles and operated by levers and weights (stones) and take four men to operate.  We were called over by one of the fisherman to take a look and we happily went in up and on the contraption.  He explain how they work and types of fish they often catch and we were allowed to stay will the raised the net.  They caught mostly catfish which is not really a choice fish for selling. Apparently it’s not the right season for catching much other than catfish with the nets. They will raise and lower the nets up to twenty-two times a day.  Thanking Simon the fisherman and preparing to give him RS 100 he started arguing and saying there is six guys and he needs Rs 500.  We said no way and started walking away; kind of ruined what was a nice moment for me. But I’m learning to quickly shake these interactions off my back. You have to or you’ll get eaten alive.

With most of the afternoon left and still feeling battered and bruised from the Chembra Peak trek and missing out on getting a massage in Goa, Mike and I found a place to get a massage.  It was called a rejuvenation massage and not like any other massage I had before but by the end of it I did feel rejuvenated and relaxed.  Started with a head massage, then face and the body; front then back. By the end there was so much oil on the table I was sliding every time she pushed down on my neck and shoulders.  A 10 min steam bath and shower in attempt to wash the oil off finished the hour.  Heading back on the ferry, my final hours in Kochi were spent finding an ATM and enjoying dinner at the Grand Hotel which had a posh atmosphere but the food didn’t necessarily match.

Some how I managed to lose all of the pictures I took in Cochin - still figuring out the new camera.  So these pictures are courtesy of Mike who I spent the day with. Thanks Mike!
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Uncle Don on


Your blogs are incredible. I've consolidated 190 pages so far. Your Grandmom is thrilled every time I send her a new packet. Keep up the good work and travel safe!

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