From the back waters to lands end

Kovalam Travel Blog

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Chinese fishing nets in Cochin

Hi all,

From Goa we headed out to Hampi a large temple complex East of Goa.  I think we are beginning to get templed out.  The one interesting thing about the area was the amazing rock formations like mountains, huge 20-30 ton boulders all jumbled together.  Constance was blessed by an elephant so I suppose she won't have to worry about losing her memory when she gets old.  Of course she had to slip the elephant a few rupees.  The Hampi Hilton (a division of Exodus International) allowed us to camp on their grounds.  For some reason all of the Exodus level hotels also insist on providing free live stock displays at no extra charge.

Powder dyes at Mysore spice market
  The hotel boasted a family of black swine.  Constance has an intense dislike of our little cloven hooved friends and was constantly chasing them around and throwing things like dirty dish water and swear words at them.  One decided to move into one of the tents, not ours thank God.  They were also keen to leave deposits every where they went, again there was no charge for this service, thank you Exodus Int Inc.

From Hampi we went to Mysore and saw an amazing palace these Maharaja guys liked their creature comforts.  Constance was on cooking duty that night and went to the market to personally attend to the death of six chickens.  Unfortunately it was a late dinner that night as we had a bit of a mishap with the truck.

Mysore Palace Maharaja's starter home
  Owing to a flat tire we got a bit behind schedule and ended up wandering around the country side trying to find a good place to camp.  Just a word here, they grow a lot of rice in this area and rice paddies don't make good camping sites.  As the sun was going down we decided to make a run across a former rice paddy to a cricket pitch.  This in retrospect, was as Martha Stewart might say "not a good thing."  Large trucks driving across former swamps may sound plausable but it really doesn't work well at all.  Needless to say "she went down hard by the stern".  I've secretly renamed the truck the Edmond Fitzgerald.  Captain Nick our fearless leader was alarmed at the 30 degree list the truck had suddenly taken on , the local villagers were however greatly amused.
Sahib Doug in the Kovalam light house
  They don't have cable.  A local tractor was summoned but was not up to the task, picture a lawnboy garden tractor trying to pull out a semitruck and it gives you some idea of the situation.  After a great deal of digging and swearing it was decided that a bigger pulling device was needed.  This had to be put over until the next morning, meanwhile, the Edmond Fitzgerald slowly sunk into the abyss...  On the bright side everyone was starving by the time Constance's fried chicken dinner was ready at 9:30. Quite the success.  The next day the heavy equipment arrived and eventually managed to pull out our poor ship. However, by this time the natives had become truely restless and getting all of our stuff back on the truck while making sure nobody ran off with anything was a real trick.  I now know how the Americans felt when they pulled out of Viet Nam.  Poor Captian Nick last saw his Ipod running down the dirt path in the hands of a local ragamuffin.  What they will make of Black Sabbath is anyone's guess.  The only damage to our "good ship" was to the rear tool box usually afixed by welded brackets to the undercarriage of the body.  While we were driving down a patch of bumpy aspalt the tool box  gave up the  ghost and abandoned ship, but our good Capt Nick, ever ready with some handy nylon rope, reattached it.  We were going to tell him about the wonders of duct tape, but now was not the time.              

We arrived in Kovalam yesterday, after probably one of  the sweatyist drives we have ever been on, the humidity is at least 110%.  So it feels like, maybe 45 above.  We are heading down to the beach after this entry, and as soon as the sun loses a bit of intensity.  Earlier this week we spent a day and night on a house boad cruising through the back waters of Kerela state.   Eight of us from the truck on the house boat, yes we took all the people that snore.  (that should read men that snore) Picture luxurious green rice paddies, water lilies, water hyacinths, and fishing eagles, and white egrets looking for bugs.  The back waters are a  vast series of  fresh water canals, some man made, some natural.  These serve as highways and irrigation systems, laundry tubs and bath tubs for the people who live there.  Doug and I chatted with a farmer( his name was Rani) as he made a fence out of green willow sticks and coconut fibre rope. He owned the rice paddies around his house and had cows and chickens.  No car, but then there are no roads here.   He was a Christian too.  There is a lot more Catholic Churches here in Kerela state, and we saw our first Orthodox church here in the back waters too, St.. Thomas Orthodox Church, unfortunately we couldn't get close to it.  Our crew aboard the house boat cooked us our meals, and waited on us and drove the boat.  We may have had the snorers, but we also had the partiers too.  The beer drinkers were in fine form, luckily the beer was strong 8% and they all fell asleep by midnight.

Of interest to the Saskatchewanites reading this, we also spent a couple of days in Cochin, yes Cochin, India.  It was a fort city, and had Jews and later, Dutch and Portugese living there.  We visited the oldest synagoge in the Commonwealth countries.  Very historic.  There are old Chinese fishing nets set up along the shores, that are fixed in place and work on a cantalever system, so I've been told, I can say that the nets go up and down and dip into the water, and that if the fish are swimming passed they might get caught. There are a lot of churches there as well and a high portion of the population is Christian, they were even putting up Christmas trees in the lobby of our hotel.  One could almost forget what time of year it is, if it weren't for those small reminders.  By the way, if you are ever in Cochin ...India, don't send your laundry out to be washed, because the laundry won't get washed but they will charge you.  Luckily Doug went and kicked some butt with they staff and got most(but not all) of his money back.  Believe me those clothes were dirty!!

the_kids says:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Auntie says you'll have to drink a cup of javex each when you return. Patches, Tommy, and Tuffy say hi. Uncle says you'll need some good scrubbing in the tub. Miss you, love Terry, Crystal, Auntie, Uncle, and T,T, & P!
Posted on: Jan 07, 2007
barryd says:
Great Pictures, the stresses of life "you know where" definetly are behind you. You're looking great Constance and your scoundrel partner is looking no worse for wear either. All the mud, dust, manure, %^&*, expletives and temples must be rejuvinating. I loved the tale about the equipment failure and getting stuck, the number of times I can relate to that scenario. The mud can act like a great big suction cup, also can't imagine the local farmer was too impressed with the rice patty aftermath .. Appears the further you get away from major centres the better your travel experience. I wonder if the hotel allowing you to camp on they're grounds (farm yard), was more about providing entertainment for the room guests with view than hospitality. Given opportunity Pigs can sure tear a place apart. House Boat experience also sounded great...tad bit of romancing going on, I hope??
Posted on: Dec 31, 2006
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Chinese fishing nets in Cochin
Chinese fishing nets in Cochin
Powder dyes at Mysore spice market
Powder dyes at Mysore spice market
Mysore Palace Maharajas starter h…
Mysore Palace Maharaja's starter …
Sahib Doug in the Kovalam light ho…
Sahib Doug in the Kovalam light h…
photo by: lrecht