Fish, water and cats in Kochi

We decided to take some time to recharge our batteries in Cochin and just enjoy not moving around for a few days. It was the perfect place to just take it easy and process everything we’ve seen so far in India.

Kochi is a slow seaside area where nothing is rushed and if you want to see anything special you have to go miles out for it anyway. So far we’ve seen loads of cats, some Chinese fishing nets, a small section of backwaters, loads of Catholic churches and some crazy thunderstorms.

We switched up our accommodation in Kochi (also known as Cochin and I’m never sure which to use) twice for variety and our previous host seemed really disappointed that we’d missed out on all the beautiful things in Kerala. It’s so easy to get caught up in the fear of missing out on the sights and attractions of an area, so I’m just going to ignore his disappointment. Everywhere we’ve been we’re told we haven’t given ourselves enough time to really see an area, but we also don’t have an endless budget and for our own sanity we need to just chill out and recharge.

If you’ve been checking our blog regularly over the last few weeks you might have noticed a sudden surge in new posts. That’s because we’ve taken the time to catch up with everything which has escaped us recently. Fort Kochi might be a slow town, but it’s exactly what we needed.

The only things we’re finding unbearable here are the humidity, lack of air-conditioning and the millions of mosquitos. Everywhere else we’ve been has just provided air-conditioning as standard, but most properties we look at here don’t have it and at night it’s like sleeping in a hot shower room. To escape it you have to crack open a window and risk either people watching you sleep as they pass by the room or a torrent of hungry insects. Our last night here cost triple the price of the previous place, but it’s worth it for the cool air and enough space in the bathroom to sit with your legs in front of the toilet. Aside from all that it’s been pretty nice here. We’ve even enjoyed the thunderstorms which have lasted a lot longer than any we get in the UK.

As we’re on a strict budget for the first part of our trip we couldn’t really afford to do much here, but we did do a day trip to the backwaters. The tour was a bit all over the place (mostly due to a language barrier and a terrible tour guide) but the scenery was beautiful. At the start of the day we got chatting to an American lady in our minibus who has just been to Sri Lanka and we were looking forward to asking her about it. Before we reached our destination however, the minibus stopped and without explaining why they split off four people from the group randomly and took us elsewhere. For hours we were confused about where the other people went and quite disappointed we didn’t get to chat to the people we had started getting to know.

Our tour guide was pretty aggressive in his delivery and one of the first things he told us was that it’s a group tour and if we wanted our own boat we should have paid for it. Considering we were sold the trip by our hosts and weren’t aware we’d opted for the overcrowded budget tour, it seemed like a strange thing to say at the start of it. The rest of the day carried on similarly with very little explanation as to why things were happening and aggressive deliveries of random facts about stuff. At one point we stopped and were shown how they made string from coconut fibres but there was a puppy nearby and there was no way my attention was going to be on a spinning wheel. The lunch made up for any morning woes, which was huge portions of rice and curry on a banana leaf, followed by a rice pudding and a tiny banana. We were sweating by the end of it but I’d happily have eaten it again if they offered. Our afternoon was spent on a canoe slowly winding through backwaters, before we were dropped off at the minibus and driven home without a word that it was the end of the day.

My advice if you ever visit Kochi is to definitely not just go on the tour your homestay gets commission for, but do some research into your option first and see some reviews of them before you buy. It’s pretty standard advice but so easy to forget when the tour in front of you seems so convenient.

The rest of our stay in Kochi was a chilled mix of walks and resting with multiple visits to our favourite restaurants Dal Roti and Sutra. We’d definitely recommend both of these places as the food was super tasty and really affordable. I personally recommend that you don’t get a biryani and a masala chai when it’s 32° outside.

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