Saturday, March 11, 2017

Kochi/Cochin - (Kerala Day 4 & 5)

From the distance of St Francis Church (Kochi/Cochin - Kerala Day 4), we crawled. I mean traffic crawling, not as in we literally knee or leg crawled prior to us arriving in Kumbalangi Chinese Fishing Village at about 6.00pm. Late. As per our scheduled itinerary, we were late. Then again, what other choice did we have? Nothing none. Except staying put in the van and watching Cochin daily hectic life passing by. Hecticness? Indeed yes. Traffic hustle and bustle, one of Cochin's underpinning reality unveiled right in front of us. Come to think of it, quite an experience actually. Otherwise, we wouldn't have known, neither have anyone who have already visited Cochin told us. People generally as you know, will share and speak about the best things a country has to offer instead of preparing you for the unexpected across the travelling loop? What goes on behind the scene in other parts of the world? Culture, social norms, life's madness, daily struggle and what not? Precisely (Trivandrum Part 2, Trivandrum/Kovalam & Kerala Alleppey Houseboat).  

Thanks to the gods of Kerala, by the time we stepped foot in Kumbalangi Chinese Fishing Village, life in this part of Kerala had quieten down. Absolutely appreciated as a slower pace of sightseeing welcoming gesture, more importantly, away from the crowded tourist spots for leisure at our pleasure walking. Simultaneously for resting and relaxing our tiredness after being hot sun blistered earlier. Should Kumbalangi Chinese Fishing Village be included in your Kerala itinerary? What is there to doubt. You should by right. Why not? Unless you are not a nature loving person? Kumbalangi Chinese Fishing Village mind you is definitely another Kerala nature beauty paradise albeit not my first time though in a fishing village. Seen some and seen those in my country Malaysia as well. Nevertheless. I loved my every moment of this nature embracing and coming with it life by the sea and fish catching earning a living. Sensually soothing as another new experience. Utterly. I'll tell you why. 

Kumbalangi Chinese Fishing Village, a tiny village facing Kochi backwaters in the western part of the city for your information is India’s first designated ecotourism village. Indeed, the first rural tourism village of the state. All my thumbs up for ecotourism (Alleppey Houseboat Overnight Stay). Admirable allowing your mind to wonder, ponder and watching fishermen closing a deal out of their catch and also, petty traders trying to earn a living from tourists and locals, kids fun time. Plus, of course taking a broad spectrum 365 degrees turnaround on the surrounding. That's about it for us in Kumbalangi Chinese Fishing Village. You can on the other hand embark on other offered activities. Free, no, you don't have to pay for idling your time at the shore, or how about paying for fishing your own fish, guided by the fishermen, thereafter your catch chunked into a meal for your Kerala cuisine tucking in the restaurants. If fishing is not your travelling game changer, nothing can still stop you from entering any of the no-frill roadside eateries for a seafood meal. Boat ride additional is part and parcel of Kumbalangi Chinese Fishing Village sightseeing, though I cant't tell you how far further sea you will explore.    

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 in Elite Hotel whilst  listening to our driver and lady tour guide on how challenging it is to earn a living in Cochi. Certainly rang the bell loudest. 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 into the wooden theater.

Due to Kerala language miscommunication between our guide and the people in charge, time was stalled, yet we made it just in the niche of time for sitting at the first row amongst almost all Westerners. Kathakali show started off bravely. Sword braving, heavily painted and rolling their eyes in every direction actors who potentially have already practiced their act millions times, but, imagine sitting right in front and fixated on them? Loud, quite scary and somewhat tickling our laughter notes too. Look, I'm not denying Kathakali show is not Kerala pride, still, sorry guys, we couldn’t help giggling and within the first, let’s say 15 minutes, Kathakali’s bubble busted to boredom. Same thing over and over again and show in the end ending up as, for me personally, time killing dredging. Having said that, at the end of it, 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 the walk along the busy, dusty and chaotic traffic Cochin street. in search of some shopping. 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 after washing. What is return sincerely Cochin shopping worthy? Himalaya brand. Cheap. You better buy if you are a Himalaya brand worshipper. 

By this last day too, I figured out that Keralites are living under their Kerala trees coconut husk and shells. Mainly the women who wouldn’t stop slyly staring, laughing and giggling at the back and in front of me. 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 bellies 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!! Honestly, inside me, I was concern if even the men will clobber me. Luckily, nothing of that sort.  
In between the few hours of aimlessly walking up and down, a comfort break took place in Woodlands Rangoli Vegetarian Restaurant. Splendid ambiance. Nice meal. Piping hot onion bhaji teamed alongside tomato chutney and tamarind-mint chutney, washed down by coffee.

Nothing much next, we walked back to our hotel and on our way to the airport, as early as 6.00 pm for beating the 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 and over indulging in these can result in? Belly protruding and hanging like the Keralites. Perhaps also, heaven will call faster than expected.
Airport arriving, god, Malindo Air and their nonsense again. Flight delay before returning back to my Malaysia. Conclusively, I must say that Kerala is a stunner. Food to die for, beauty awing sightseeing spots, but shopping is just so-so and speak about Keralites and their antics. Kerala is sincerely a travelling wonder lust. I bet you will love it as much as I did.    

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