Saturday, March 11, 2017

Kochi/Cochin - (Kerala Day 4 & 5)

From the distance of St Francis Church, we crawled again in Kochi's evening traffic to arrive in Kumbalangi Chinese Fishing Village at about 6.00pm. In fact, because of the jam, we rushed through with visiting the church (Kochi/Cochin - Kerala Day 4) and also had forego two more nearby places. Obviously, traffic is apparently one of the spoilers to our travelling splendors these days, well, blame it on the rapid development of cities around the world (Rickshaw Ride Hanoi, Govinda's Perth, Pathumwan Hotel Bangkok, Pattaya Beach & Myanmar). Nevertheless, I really didn't expect it in Kochi. Caught me by surprise since none of my friends who have visited Kochi spoke about it. I was only told about how great Kerala food is, as well as it's nature beauty. I guess it simply says that we need to find out for ourselves on the real-deal of travelling instead of wholeheartedly believing others. You bet. 

Thank god by the time we stepped foot in Kumbalangi Chinese Fishing Village, life in this part of Kerala has quieten down. Absolutely welcomed as a slower pace of sightseeing, more importantly, away from the crowded tourist spots for leisurely walking around, simultaneously to rest and relax our tiredness after a few hours of being blistered in the heat. Now, if you asking me whether Kumbalangi Chinese Fishing Village should be included on your Kerala itinerary, why not? It’s another Kerala beauty (Trivandrum/Kovalam - Kerala Day 3) though not my first time in a fishing village. I may not have seen it all, I sure have explored some of the fishing villages in my own country Malaysia, the elsewhere life by the sea and coming with it fish markets. I'm also certain there will be more because visits to fishing villages and fish markets are akin a must in most sightseeing packages (Negambo Sri Lanka, Damneon Saduak Floating Market, Bergen Fish Market, Cape Town & Sapporo/Hokkaido). Nevertheless, being at Kumbalangi Chinese Fishing Village was another whole new experience. Sure. I'll tell you why. 

This tiny village facing the Kochi backwaters in the western part of the city is India’s first designated ecotourism village. Indeed, the first rural tourism village of the state. Naturally, its thumbs up for ecotourism (Alleppey Houseboat Overnight Stay). We basically stood around and watched the fishermen closing a deal or more out of their evening fresh catch, the petty traders trying to earn a living from tourists and locals, kids fun time and then a 365 degrees turnaround on the surrounding. That was about it for us in Kumbalangi Chinese Fishing Village, but there's other activities too. You can idle your time at the shores, or opt for the "catch and cook", of course with the guidance of the fisherman and later take  the catch to the restaurants for them to cook and for you to devour in, or just go to any of the no-frill roadside eateries for a seafood meal. The other option is a boat ride though  I can't say where they will take you.  

From Kumbalangi Fishing Village, we journeyed for the internationally famed Kerala Kathakali show. Arriving way earlier at the back lane narrow street, we shopped for a few packets of the much sorted after fiery Kashmiri chilli powder and highly spoken about Kudumpuli/Kerala tamarind. With another hour in hand, we rested over a cuppa of cow’s milk tea at Elite Hotel while listening to the driver and the adorable lady tour guide on how challenging it is to earn a living in Cochi. Certainly rang the bell loudly on life being equally hectic across the board. See I told you? Travelling isn't always about food or sightseeing. Never assume that the green is always greener on the other side.  

Twenty minutes before the start to Kathakali show, we walked just a distance, we paused for a minute or two to admire the adorable Indian Barbies displayed outside the close-by shop and then we entered the wooden theater.

Due to some Indian miscommunication on slotting us in, by the time the tour guide sorted it out, we made it just in the niche of time to sit at the first row between every other Westerner in Kochi. Kathakali show started off bravely. The sword braving, heavily painted and rolling their eyes in every direction actors surely had gone over their act possibly millions of times, but, imagine sitting right in front and fixated on them? Loud, quite scary and somewhat tickled our laughter notes too. I'm not denying that this show wasn't sensational, yet we couldn’t help giggling and within the first, let’s say 15 minutes, Kathakali’s bubble busted to boredom. Still, at the end of the show, we clapped loudly, I didn’t dare picturing with the main characters, neither the body-barring under nourished drum nor the tabla performers.

Day 5 basically ended once we returned to the hotel. On the last  day, being our free and easy day prior to flying back, we walked along the dust flying streets and against the vrooming traffic to find out if shopping is worth-worthy. I bought two hand printed cotton bed-sheets which eventually were thrown away. Never mind to struggling to fit on my queen size bed, they were disgustingly colour ruined upon washing. But, if you don't shop for the Himalaya products, it would have been such a waste to travelling this far to Kochi. Really, really cheap compared to in Malaysia.

By the last day also, it confirmed that Keralites have not grown out of their coconut shells. Mainly the women who wouldn’t stop slyly staring and laughing behind my back. Obviously I noticed, the question is why? You mean my knee length pants and t-shirt compared to openly revealing their layers of ugly fat belly saree style and two piece attire? Come of it women (Trivandrum - Kerala Day 4). What about the bra-less and bikini clad Western women you see? They are treated the same? Boo-hoo-hoo!! To tell you the truth, I was a little wary if they will women-handle me. Thank god. I was spared. 
In between the few hours of aimlessly walking up and down, we took a comfort break at Woodlands Rangoli Vegetarian Restaurant. Splendid ambiance. Nice meal. Piping hot onion bhaji teamed with tomato chutney and tamarind-mint chutney, washed down with coffee.

Thereafter, we walked back to the hotel and as we journeyed to the airport as early as 6.00pm to beat the late evening jam, we picked-up some of the said as only from Kerala banana chips and local sweets which are definitely Kerala’s sinful pleasures, however, letting go too much will result in fat hanging body shape akin those women (How To Stay In Shape) who stared at me, or sorry to say, heaven will call faster than expected.
At the airport, we managed to stuff the goodies in our bags and instead of departing at the specific time, Malindo Air had to stay true to their delaying policy. Pathetic. Arriving early morning at LCCT 2, oh-boy-oh-joy! Happiness for returning to my motherland where life is not perfect, yet, I won’t compromise Malaysia for any other country in the world and I also won’t compromise my imperfect other half-half for any other man on earth or from outer space. Travelling absolutely has opened my eyes to treasure what I have. No two ways about it.

Overall, I must agree that Kerala is a stunner. Food is to die for, but as I’ve said earlier, buckle up on gawking their generously loaded with coconut milk, coconut oil, cow’s milk and sugar rush delicacies. Otherwise, I don''t know what to say. Moreover, for the ladies, decent attire is never decent in Kerala, especially at temples and streets, but you shouldn't worry about proudly flaunting your rolly-polly stomach. Flaunt all you want please.     
Don't forget to trend alongside "cook with nava-k" on every other social media please!!

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  1. What a fascinating place! The piped dough(?)look really beautiful.

  2. How artistic. Oh, looks like a fun place to visit.

  3. Gosh, I'm in love with those Indian Barbie, dear! xoxo

  4. I have only seen on TV abt the chinese net fishing technique glad u got to visit this place.. banana chips, gosh! I love the kerala ones any day. I love Kerala and is on my wishlist like forever

  5. My parents visited Cochin last week, and they loved it.


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