God’s Own Country (India #3)

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DSC_0960There is a silent slosh sound as the boat makes its way, stealthily, through the canals. It feels, to a certain extent, rather impermissible. This must be the feeling adulterers have when they slip through the night, when you flee for the state for your crimes of treason. Slowly, steadily. I mean, sure, it could also be extremely relaxing if you would rather lack imagination.

Location: Kerala Backwaters

How to get here: Once you arrive to Kochin (Fort Kochin more specifically, much more touristy), there is an abundance of tourist agents that offer these backwater tours. This particular one day trip was 800 rupees.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. First things first – after a 14 hour bus ride, we had finally arrived in Kochin (well you actually arrive in Ernakulam but its just about 10km away from Fort Kochin). The city still had remnants of celebrations from New Years Eve (which, as predictable, was an incredibly unsuccessful and boring parteh), made from what seemed cheap white paper but looked like amazingness on a string.

Waking up is never pleasant for me, yet such sacrifices I make for the sake of traveling. The tour was pretty standard: get picked up by car, 45 minute ride to a remote location where you get(murdered and your organs sold) on a big boat with other tourists. You get a tour guide, some coffee and then you sail in the distance…

In a way, traveling is a little bit disappointing after you’ve been doing it for a while. In the idea that things become progressively less “new”. The backwaters of Kerala were more or less identical to my trip down the Mekong delta – except for the boat drivers being much more indian. It’s strange, how we believe we are all so different, when in fact mere details separate us. As a wise muppet once said, “peoples are peoples”. I did enjoy however all the many locals fishing and doing their thing with the boats. The Mekong was much more commercial and fast-paced, whereas here the waters were calm and smooth.

We stopped on a little island to behold a ruined building and see various different animals, like cats and dogs (I named them Rabies and Liver Diz’ease), and plants, including a cinnamon tree, which, it seems, has edible leaves that taste just like cinnamon too! (Because the cinnamon is otherwise made from the bark). Some tasty mussels to quench our hungry stomaches.

We were shown how the locals get on top of the trees to gather coconut. Apparently, sometimes you can choose to chop up the flower instead and make alcohol. Sure, you won’t be able to have both alcohol and coconut (aka food), but then again it wouldn’t seem like a very implausible tradeoff considering humans are involved.

In some cultures, alcohol is food so it just kills two birds with one coconut.

Once we arrived back, we received a feast (I am slightly exaggerating) before being taken to slightly smaller boats (again, pretty much identical to what happened in Vietnam) so that you can explore smaller canals. I guess once you’ve seen one backwater you’ve seen them all. However, the Kingfishers (the pretty blue birds) were a pretty awesome addition! It would have been much nicer if I could have just laid back in the boat and slept. There is a certain quaintness to it all, the rhythmic slosh of the boat and the ducks quacking here and there.

I got lazy so I just ended up posting a lot of pics.

Also, if you have the time, go to Pepper house. The cook is an icelandic woman, so it gets as exotic as it could around here. The chicken, the mushroom pasta and the cheesecake. The papaya lassi in the fancy glasses. Really good quality food and the place looks nice too.

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