I'm now back in Cochin for a few days, currently sitting on a jetty in
the bay, under a full moon, and the call to prayer from the nearby
mosque ended a few minutes ago. Of course, I'm sitting here by myself,
even the four apparently French women at a nearby table have left. It's
probably early for dinner, just 8 PM, but I have a full day tour of some
of the Kerala backwaters scheduled for tomorrow, have attended a sample
performance of the local type of theatre, Kathakali, and spent last
night in a reclining chair on the ship from Lakshadweep. I opted for
non-veg again, with seered(sic) fish, spiced rice and eggplant.
My luck holds- I dropped my dive mask from the sink while rinsing it
before I left Agatti, and the frame broke right at the bridge. This was
AFTER the last scheduled dive of this trip, and the mask is still
usable, it's just that the lenses conform to my face, instead of being
straight. And I may be able to repair it. But, I think a new, probably
frameless (if I can get corrective lenses in that type), mask is indicated.
I think the synagogue with the blue Chinese tiles is open on Sunday, and
it's just down the road, so I can connect with the Rushdie book a bit
Delhi and Agra are going to be difficult, since I really only get two
full days there, and leave at 02:45 after that second day.
I think I like India, and want to come back- I've not even scratched
The hotel here has a broadband connection, and were perfectly willing to
let me unplug their computer, and plug in mine, so I got a few queued
email messages sent, and downloaded all of my incoming (mostly junk).
Sat about 15:00, on the Kerala backwaters
I realized today that it's been about two weeks since I talked to or
even saw anyone I though was from the US. There are a couple of
Canadians on this backwaters trip, but that's the closest to anyone from
the US since Joe left Havelock Island.
I also realized that I've not used a toilet roll since I arrived in
India. They've often been available, but water is working very well for
me. And I've not been ill at all, barring a bit of a stuffy head, that
didn't even impede diving.
The boats here are made of smaller planks, sewn together with coir
(coconut fiber), which they spin and braid here. We took a power boat
for the morning part of the trip on Lake Vembanadu, and am now being
poled through some canals. This one was dug a long time ago, as a
shortcut from the river, Moovattu Puzha, to the lake, but functions as
the main road, too. There are the two Canadians, me, and five Indians
in this boat. We saw a place where they burn mussel shells to make
slaked lime, and had a number of the local plants explained to us, saw
two woemn spinning coir, with the help of a clever electrical motor
setup, and had coconuts dropped from a tree for us to drink and eat. We
also had a very nice lunch, to which I added an optional bowl of
mussels, and most of us had coconut toddy, also. We also got a bit of a swim in, in the lake.
A chat with the Canadians about Kathakali indicates that there are at
least two places in Fort Kochi that do perfomances, and they got 4
dancers and two musicians, to my one and one.
There are four other boats full of tourists that we're passing going in
as we're retracing our path out.
When I got back to the hotel, after a nerve-shattering ride, I found
VU3SCC had just arrived and was waiting for me. We chatted a bit, and
he told me all the things he needs, and left for his home, very close to
the airport, 35+ kilometers away.
I had a restorative shower and lay down for a bit, then decided to take
a look at the Chinese fishing nets just a bit west of here. In addition
to the nets, I found a fair crowd of people promenading on the seawall
and waiting for the sun to go down, as well as fresh fish stalls and
food stalls where they'll cook your new purchase for you to order.
After postponing the decision as long as I could, I bought 5 tiger
prawns, and had them grilled. They were delicious, as was the kalamari
noodles that I got to accompany them. I'm just glad I only bought the 5
for 120 INR, instead of twice the number for 200 INR. The grilling cost
30 rupees. I had a short chat with another Canadian, too. He was told
that the synagogue is closed tomorrow, too, for a Jewish holiday. If
true, foo! My flight is at 10AM Monday.
I like Fort Kochi.
I'll see if I can get another mango lassi, and send this out in a few