Kochi is one of two main entry points to Kerala (the other is Trivandrum) It is that laid back when discussions started about the name, people gave up half way through and so you will either come across this place as Kochi or Cochin.
I predict a thousand years from now residents of Kerala will spawn feet from their backs, no one can be arsed working, service would be quicker if snails served and the best thing is – No one cares. Even the pilot en route, as soon as he entered Kerala airspace got that chilled out vibe and couldn’t be arsed putting the seat belt sign on as we came in to land. The taxi driver took an hour to drive for 30 minutes and even the people speak a different style of Hindi. Probably a less formed version because they just could not be arsed learning the proper version.
Kerala could be a different world were it not for the distinctly India things that you just cannot escape. By now I hope I have got across the message that everything in India is hard work, genuinely. Even the simplest of things like going and buying a beer have been tampered with India style. It is getting boring to be honest and twice now I have complained about it to Indian guys and they have both blamed the English “you created this mess” was the response. Well, not really. I come from a working class background and most of my family haven’t been further than Batley park. So the chances of one of my grandparents having had absolutely anything at all to do with India is just not possible. But even so, India has had a long time to put things right – In Kerala they just haven’t been arsed I accept that, but what about the rest of India?
Kochi is basically a load of islands all floating about off the mainland and all have their own history. The main one is Fort Cochin which is where we decided to base ourselves for a couple of days. It has rained since our arrival and despite the fact it is monsoon season even the rain can’t be arsed putting the effort in and so all you get is some feeble effort of a rain shower which is quite frankly ridiculous. You dry off between rain drops hitting you and it is a great trade off to the heat. The climate is cooler and so the days of fifty degrees are gone and we welcome with open arms more moderate temperatures such as the cool 24 degrees we have had today.
Once upon a time Europeans colonised Fort Cochin and decided it would be the perfect spot for the first church in the whole of India. Entrance was free which was great because within a minute we had finished walking round it and before long we was on the North Coast looking at the fishermen. They can’t be arsed getting boats out and fishing like fishermen usually do, nor can they be bothered to get a fishing rod on the cheap from Argos and spending the day fishing off the cost with a maggot, a few beers and a bit of hope.
Instead they have built these large, indistinguishable contraptions that are basically fishing nets without the effort. They are essentially crane like things with huge nets that hang off. The idea is a few guys lower the net together, have a few joints and then raise the net. The new guy then clears out the fish and they repeat. These are a common sight and we watched many of them. Though to be honest it looked like a bit of a fail to us with most only catching the odd fish. I guess they just can’t be arsed thinking of a different way.
The buildings on Fort Cochin are distinctly colonial and European. The problem is no one could be arsed re painting them over the last however many years and so the result is a tired looking place that is in desperate need of some tender loving care.
We enjoyed getting a feel for the place, but mostly we enjoyed the laid back, relaxing attitude of the place. The trip thus far has been at full pace, my motto has always ‘get in, do it, get out’ and invariably this takes its toll. The result is that we get to do everything, but the fallout is exhaustion.
Kerala is our favourite place in India and I suggest that anyone heading this way enjoys it while it lasts. The state is growing at an alarming pace and new hotels are opening weekly. Before long this desolate slice of paradise will be overtaken by lager swigging tourists that, courtesy of Thomson Holidays have found themselves washed up on the pristine, intimate shores. Thankfully the Visa application form for India has slowed down the tourist influx from Britain, ensuring that only literate holidaymakers make it this far. Whilst currently this rules out most chav’s my bet is it won’t be long until Kerala is just another tourist riddled Goa.
The intention was, that on the 4th September we would fly back to the UK from the Emirates where we will have spent previous week grilling on the beaches. However, the cost of flights have risen dramatically and what was pre £500 is now £1000+ With this in mind I have shopped around a little and come up with a couple of options. I talked to the kids and asked how they were feeling, what they would rather do and got their input. Between the three of us the final part of the trip is now sorted. The direct flight from the Emirates is scrapped and has been replaced somewhat more interestingly with a flight to Amman in Jordan. It will be early September and we will visit Petra and the Dead Sea before heading West on land calling at Jericho, Jerusalem and then finishing the trip in Tel Aviv, Israel.