Kerala pt 3 – final

            I have 20 minutes before the rickshaw gets here. I slept so much last night and instead of feeling well rested this morning I feel like I have to have my guard up. For some reason I feel like I’m being ripped off left and right again, between the hotel and the rickshaw. For the hotel they keep asking me my program and what I’m doing and how much I’m paying for xyz. I know they’re just curious, but still, I just don’t like being asked.

            Today, Top Station, some stops along the way, and then to Kochin.

 

            It was OK. I don’t think I made it to Top Station exactly, but he dropped me somewhere close and in the middle of a tea plantation where I walked and sat down in a quiet shady area. Before that we stopped at a few locations, a dam, echo point (where I whistled my all mighty finger whistle and a man asks me, “madam again”). I almost caught myself getting on an elephant ride and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The afternoon was quiet and perfect though. Afterwards I got back in the rickshaw in order to begin my decent back down the mountain to Kochi Fort. It was a longer journey than I was hoping, but that’s what it is. About an hour and a half to getting to Cochin, the conductor asked me where I was going, even though he already knew, and made sure to direct me to the correct bus when we reached the station. The bus ride was nice, no one bothered, no one stared. I watched a lovely courtship by the conductor of a passenger who I assume he knows and sees every day. It was very sweet.

            When getting off the bus I was just going to walk around and hope to find a hotel when some kid (early 20s ) walked up to me and asked where I was going. I knew he wasn’t an agent or hawker by the way he approached me, and he said he knew a cheap place. I took a chance, followed him, and found a great cheap (very cheap and not so luxurious either) place for the night. We even went out for a beer and some food. The guys in the hotel, which they were renovating, invited me up for a bit as well, but tiredness overtook and I really waned to see the Chinese fishing nets in action so I went to sleep.

            Later than desired but early enough, I rose to take a walk to the nets. I had the best morning ever. While walking by the second set of nets, one of the fishermen yelled out to me to come on the doc with them. I joined and ended up spending the next few hours learning about fishing from them (although quite minimally). Johnson, the ring leader introduced me to everyone, told me when to pull up on the rope, and how they know when to catch the fish. I messaged my friends how I was adopted by the fishermen for the day. When men came over to look at me, they would tell me to go to the other side. We had chai three times that morning, twice with a banana dish (fried banana or like a muffin type thing). It was awesome. They asked minimal questions, and Johnson seemed to like to show off when his friends came around. Johnson looked like an Indian Chinese man if that’s possible. Each of the friends had a specific role, a specific rope to pull, and was unique in his own way. Some of them spoke to me, some just smiled. They never seemed to pull up the net without at least one of them having a beadie (type of cigarette) or actual cigarette in their mouth. I learned to pull enough so that my hands became a bit sore from the ropes. Eventually I knew it was time, said I was going, and Johnson said, “Good bye,” we shook hands and I walked away, just like that.

            I wanted to check out the Synagogue, but only managed to see the outside because it was Friday. On the way back after noticing the time I got nervous, took a rickshaw, who was super honest and nice, showered at my hotel, and ricked it to the airport for Bangalore.

            Kerala, as a state, as a whole, is definitely one of my favourite places in India. It’s a shame I couldn’t have spent more time there. Pictures to come soon…

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