Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Friday, 19 April 2013

Incredible India - Day 1 - Fort Cochin

So on Wed 27 March, the boys, A and I set off  from Cape Town. We flew with Emirates. Who are the cheapest by far (we get a 35% discount thanks to being on Discovery Vitality DIAMOND status :) ). It's an awesome airline and I love flying with them. They are amazing with kids too giving them awesome special meals, toys, gifts and all sorts of fun things to keep them well happy and occupied.
The trip to India

We flew via Dubai and then on to Mumbai and then straight on to Kochi (down in the Southern Part of India, South of Goa, in Kerala State, where we spent most of our holiday).

Map of India - we went to Kochi, Munnar, Thekkady, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Mumbai
We'd been warned that the 3 hours we had between flights in Mumbai was NOT ENOUGH and we'd struggle to make our connecting flight. We were lucky that we did, with ease, but I researched it extensively and made sure we knew exactly what to do. As it turns out the domestic terminal is really another airport about 5km away, so it's not actually close or easy to get between the 2. Anyway we got there and after about 26 hours of travelling we arrived in Fort Cochin after 3 flights, 2 taxi rides and a bus journey a bit sweaty and tired but otherwise unscathed.
Map of Kerala
 Fort Cochin is the old part of Kochi and is characterful and cute and interesting. We caught a taxi from the airport and due to traffic our driver took us a longer but faster way via a ferry. 
Us arriving in Fort Cochin
 We stayed in the Rossitta Wood Castle hotel for the night.It was very odd and quirky, but had some sort of charm! I guess it was comfortable enough - although we were tired enough that anything would have been I think! Still it was reasonably priced, friendly and the food was tasty and it was very well located.
After checking in and getting settled and cleaned up we had a quick snack, regrouped and then went for a stroll to check out the beach front area and markets and see what was to be found. We found and explored the beautiful Chinese Fishing Nets...
  I just love this photo...
Some gorgeous rock art.
 Spices, churches, paintings etc.
  Is this not the most fantastic tree you have ever seen!? I adored it! Simply magical!
The boys and I in Fort Cochin
We also interacted with the locals and found the children in particular to be really friendly and engaging. They all smiled and wanted to greet us. They were beautiful too. There was not much or a market, and no real shopping opportunities, but enough to make for an interesting and enjoyable sunset stroll. By the time the sun set the boys were totally tired of travelling and exploring and decided that they just wanted to plant their bums in bed watching TV, which they wisely did.

A and I were not giving up that easily though and soldiered on determined to go see the traditional Keralan Kathakali Dancing at the Kathakali Centre just a short walk away. So off we went to witness this amazing weird and wonderful spectacle.

For the first hour you can watch the Kathakali artists painstakingly and meticulously applying their make-up and getting into character. They then explain and demonstrate the various aspects of Kathakali, which takes about 6 years to learn apparently. It is a musical, interpretive, expressionistic dance story-telling of sorts told with chanting, drumming, gestures and many specific expressions facial. It was fascinating but rather loud and then a bit long, because much as I found it interesting I was actually struggling to stay awake... despite being seated front and center! Oops. It retrospect it was probably not the best way/time to experience Kathakali but I am very glad I got to see it it was quite an experience and unlike anything I have seen before!
After the Kathakali we were beyond exhausted and just wanted to sleep. We were not even interested in dinner. So we walked back to our hotel, donned ear plugs and eye shades and slept solidly for about 10 hours!

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