Kochi and Fort Cochin
16.04.2007 - 18.04.2007 37 °C
Having got a 14 hour train we arrived in Kochi in the heart of Kerala.
We stayed in Fort Cochin, a tourist area perfect for exploring the local area and also surrounded by iconic giant Chinese fishing nets. The local sites included Santa Cruz Basilica, St Francis Church and a centre for the traditional local dance, Kathakali.
We signed up to the evening showing and from what we'd heard it was not to be missed. The show was formed of two drummers, two actors and one narrator / singer. The actors were decorated in extravagant make-up and commutated using intricate and complex hand signals. The main form of expressions came from the actor’s enthusiastic facial movements and drummers beat.
After an hour of the show my arse was numb and due to the complexity of the performance I wasn't really following the story. That’s not to say that it wasn't interesting. That night’s story was an ancient story of love. The king falls in love with a beautiful girl but she is unsure whether to marry him. The king upset orders her to be his wife at which point the girl has had enough, goes crazy and the King chops off her breasts - Classic!
The next day me and Paul decided to explore Fort Cochin and after an hour in the midday sun we were lost. I was getting more bewildered by the growing number of Communist 'hammer & sickle' symbols and after reading the guide book discovered that Kerala was the first freely elected Communist State. With this knowledge in mind I set out to ask one of my fellow comrades for directions. I found a group of them hanging about a jetty (probably plotting their next move) and when they saw me they all froze. 'I’m looking for Jew town' i said hopefully, two men came over and direct me back to the main road while the other two wave franticly at a boat approaching the jetty. '3km down this road' one points and the other asks in a lower tone 'how much hash you want?' After walking away I wasn’t sure whether we had disturbed a drug deal or used the code word 'Jew town' to start one, either way we found our way.
Later we found the world heritage site, Mattancherry Palace, a present to the local king from the Portuguese which has amazing 400 year old graphics. With Kochi exhausted we head next to the cool of the mountains in Mummur.