Kochi – Day II – The Backwater Tour Part 2

Bangalore –Kochi – 2 days – Aug 2012 – Day 2

Post-lunch we were taken to another point a few kilometers away and dropped off alongside the road. The guide introduced another gentleman who was in charge of the canal tour.  We turned into an almost invisible lane, wich in turn led us into the backyard of houses. The ladies here were all busy spinning coir.

Ladies spinning coir rope

We stopped awhile to watch them. It was quite interesting to watch the ladies work. There was a certain grace with which they worked the coir together, one winding the coir ropes, while the other worked the machine  to twist the coir into rope. The gentleman with us showed us why the coir seemed to come off the bunch on the ground without the lady have to work too hard. Apparently the fibers interlock with each other when being pulled. So one can hold a lot of coir in one hand and simple keep pulling and twisting to make the coir rope without having to work too hard to have the fibers join. He demonstrated this by rolling out a bit of rope in a few seconds.

We walked further on where a couple of long canoes were moored in a narrow canal. The canoe was divided into sections by narrow beams placed across. These beams also doubled up as seats. There were also plastic chairs place one behind another in between each section. That’s where we opted to sit.

Our canoe

We slowly started to make our way down the canal. It was an interesting experience. The canal ran along the backyards of houses on either side. Some houses grew nutmeg, others had coconut husks drying out for making coir. A couple of houses even had cocoa trees, while another grew vanilla. yet another section was completely a coconut plantation, with the space between trees used to dry out the husks.

Cocoa pods on a tree in someone’s backyard

Intermittently we passed under bridges, at one place with a couple of giggling school girls watching us. 🙂

The most interesting time, for me, was when the oarsman turned the canoe around in the narrow canal. I thought the guy might direct us to turn our chairs and simple walk across to the other side of the boat. Instead he pulled off a really neat u-turn. Good fun!

Blue, blue skies

ducks on the wayside

On the way back we stopped at one of the houses where we were served  more cardamom tea. We were also offered packets of pepper, cloves and nutmeg for purchase. The rates were quite low, as these had been harvested by the people here in their own backyards.
There were also gift items such as wall hangings and handbags made of coir that were put for sale.

From here we returned to the bus, and made our way back to Kochi. Everyone was feeling mellow after the busy day, and most of us dozed off until we got to the city, and our choice of drop-point.  Since we reached early, we decided to stop at Gokul for a light evening snack.

We dropped off our stuff in the hotel, and made our way back to the restaurant. After a nice, steaming cup of coffee, we noticed a batch of banana bajjis being taken to front section that stocked sweets and savouries. I went across to the lady manning the section and asked her if the bajjis were sweet, and got a blank look in return. I then asked if they were hot, meaning spicy, and got a beaming smile in reply. So I happily made my way back to the seat and asked the waiter to get us some. He came back with a plate of cold bajjis, which we promptly returned and demanded the hot, fresh ones. With a sceptical look, he got those for us. And guess what? They were SWEET! These bajjis had been made with ripe banana, and were definitely not the spicy raw plantain bajjis we were expecting.

We quickly wound up our bill, and went over to a nearby medical store for chocolates to take off the sweet taste of friend ripe bananas from the mouth. 😦

Later in the evening we decided to venture further out, and check some other vegetarian restaurants nearby. The driver of yesterday’s cab had told us about an Andhra restaurant about a kilometer away. I wasn’t keen on walking all the way there, not because I couldn’t but it would mean I would have to walk all the way back on a full stomach. Bad idea!!!

Anyway, we came by another restaurant on the way, I forget the name, but it was an Udupi restaurant. Normally the food in these places is good. But the dinner here was quite poor, and my dosa was slathered in chilli paste, making most of it inedible without copious amount of water on the side. After a dismal experience, we slowly made our way back. Then we decided its a good idea to have fruit salad with ice-cream at the place we were staying. A couple of bowls later, we were happy, and thus ended our Day 2.

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Categories: Kerala, Kochi | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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