claire and david’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 30 Jan 2016

Location: Kochi, India

MapDay 3 on our trip around the south of India and we have booked a boat trip down the Kerali backwaters, a type of canal system or delta. We were picked up from our hotel at 0800 hrs and after picking up a few more groups from various hotels set out for about a 1.5 hr drive by minibus. Arriving, the women were escorted to a toilet at somebody's house across the road and the men were told to use a tree. From reports back the tree was a better option. We then travelled by pole boat down the delta to a coconut fibre rope making industry and spent some time watching the women twisting the fibre into very strong rope. The men were nowhere to be seen. We then went around a spice plantation looking at cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and other spices. We then returned concentrating on the wildlife such as kingfishers, snakes and other bird and animal life. The group were able to transfer to a bigger boat and were poled across to an island for lunch - a tahli or tapas of vegetarian curries - beautiful. We spent the next 2.5 hrs poling around the backwaters watching the banks slide past before being bussed home.

Dinner that night was at a restaurant called Oceanus. The meal was a prawn marsala, coconut rice and a mushroom dish. Generally, the food was nice but because of the long lines waiting to get in we got a bit of a rushed experience which detracted somewhat from the meal.

Day 4 and after breakfast we packed our bags and moved hotel to the Intrepid - Kelaveeda Lodge. We met some of our travel companions for the next month and had coffee exchanging experiences of previous trips away. Claire and I then walked down to the riverfront were we found a nice restaurant to have lunch - chilly (sic) potatoes, fish fry and pineapple rice. Some lovely food. We then walked back to the hotel and organised ourselves for the official start of the trip orientation meeting and dinner.

We were able to meet all of our travel companions 6 Aussies, 4 Brits, an American and a colleen. Most have done some travelling before but all had interesting stories. We walked down for dinner, incidentally to the same place we had lunch, so we tried different food and enjoyed as much the second time around. We were able to have "special tea", beer from teapots as they did not have a licence to serve beer at the restaurant. We finished the night by finding a bar that served special tea and cocktails (they had a licence for the cocktails) before walking home around midnight.

Day 5 had a 0930 hrs start with a local guide and the oldest church in India followed by Chinese fishing nets and a walk through the fish market. After a particularly exhilarating tuk-tuk ride we also saw the Dutch Palace museum. This shows some of the history of Kochi particularly their later rulers under the British leading up to becoming a Republic. Lunch and now waiting to go to a cultural dance show followed by a late dinner.

Tomorrow we start early and travel to Ooty, the home of snooker. We are promised colder weather, - 2 C at night and maximums of 20 C before returning to 34/5 C and high humidity. Kochi has been wonderful.