Lazy in Fort Cochin
Trip Start Aug 10, 2008
80Trip End Dec 01, 2010
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Where I stayed
Here in Fort Cochin, I felt strangely like I was on a holiday within a holiday, there were lots of foreign tourists, a couple of bars, western food and relaxed people with no hassle. It was nice in a way to see some foreigners for a short time, but it was a different type of traveling and the prices changes to reflect it too
It was really enjoyable to walk or sit by the sea, watching the Chinese fishing nets being raised and lowered, the lone fishermen along the shore with their hand nets, the daily beachside fish auction with the monsters they’d pulled from the ocean, dolphins popping up as the sun set.
Due to train times, I find myself in Cochin for longer, but probably due to my own laziness as well. It's hard to relax for so long. I try to think how I filled my days in other places and it just seemed to happen. I feel I am on holiday here – not traveling! With the beer and posh cafes I’m spending more money and meeting more people who are just on a quick escape from work. I don’t know if I feel guilty or like a fake! It doesn’t seem so natural for me here.
Here are some of the nice things that kept me here:
The mix of people, the locals are of various religions – including a large number of Christians (they had a big procession around the nearby church every Saturday). There are also lots of French people here – visitors and settlers
Fresh fish – this was a really luxury – for 200-250 rupees you should go to the beach, choose some fish and seafood from the fishermen and get it cooked in one of the nearby restaurants – I dined on butterfish, king prawns and squid – and you couldn’t get fresher…yum yum
Jew town - an older part of town with Pardesi Synagogue and the Dutch Place (Mattancherry palace) with local history museum.
Just a walk out brought interesting encounters, I was walking to Jew Town and suddenly the heavens opens with some of the most ferocious rain I’d seen, soon followed by thunder and lightening. I though of how poor Nan Dot would feel as I ducked for cover at the entrance of a nearby shop. It’s not as bas as it sounds because it was a nice break in the warm weather and it only lasted a few minutes, but in this time I got chatting to the shopkeeper who was pleased to show me his collection of bank notes and coins. Some from different countries from the tourists but also some really old ones – like those I’d only seen in a museum
Posh art café food – well it was a ‘holiday’ I did sneak in here a couple of times to read my book and enjoy a real western soup or quiche
I hired a scooter for a day and had a great time just cruising along the coast, past shrimp farms, beautiful deserted bays and interesting buildings and people. I chatted to a boy who told me the tsunami had hit this area just 25km away. He worked on cruise ships now because there wasn’t much work here but he always enjoyed coming home. It was a great ride out and no worries about traffic – there was hardly anything around – the only problem I had was that although I’d covered up I forgot my wrists on the handlebars and had some wicked red armbands afterwards!
An interesting Hindu festival, with a procession along the streets. I went with Bobby, one of the locals living near to the hostel, who also treated me to a dosa on the way back.
A small island (can’t remember the name but it began with V) had a nice sandy beach and people waded in the sea. I sat with a nice family and the lady insisted in calling me several times during my visit to see how I was, despite the fact she spoke no English and I couldn’t speak her local language!
The local theatre had a cultural show – Kathakali – which is dramatized presentation on a play about traditional Hindu stories. It’s not spoken but focuses on precise movements – facial expressions and hand gestures and had fantastic makeup and costumes. I went with Mark and Emma who had arrived towards my last few days here. Even the way they prepared the stage with sand pictures was intriguing.
Ernakulum – the nearby town – not much to see here but just went to buy train tickets, and go to the station.
I spent lots of time simply relaxing, reading and walking, an enjoyed seeing the blood lilly’s in bloom, growing wild along the path – the same flower I’d had on my windowsill in England!