Our new driver, whose name I cannot remember, drives us into Kochi to take in the sights and sounds of both Jew Town (see Jew Town, May 3) and the Fisherman Village. Regardless of the date you see on the photo (we forgot to reset the camera from US to Indian time), the date is January 26, an official holiday in India (Republic Day), and we soon learn our driver has only the scantiest itinerary for us as he hadn’t been notified he was to be our driver for the next day. In spite of it, he had come through for us by meeting us at the train station the previous night even though it was near midnight. We suspected he might have been slightly peeved since he would have to miss any celebrations going on in his neighborhood. Just a thought. Right away we notice the plastic Mary on his dash and assume he’s Christian.
All day long we were treated to ML’s vocal rendition of an old country song I had managed to miss all these years, “Well, I don’t care if it rains or freezes Long as I have my plastic Jesus . . . . ridin’ on the dash of my car!” (from the movie Cool Hand Luke). I don’t think she was being sacrilegious, I suspect we may have visited one too many church by that time. Either that, or we were beginning to feel the miles we were packing in–most of it on bumpy roads. A little humor in these situations never hurt!
This small bazaar and quiet street our driver has chosen to park on will lead us to Fisherman Village where the Chinese fishing nets are located. It looks much quieter and less crowded than any city we’ve been in so far. Neither do I recall even one beggar here.
There’s obviously an abundance of fresh green coconuts in the state of Kerala, where they’re used in Indian cuisine. The natural juice is considered a refreshing thirst quencher, usually served with a hole cut into the stem end with a straw sticking out. A seafood soup served inside half coconut shells is outstanding, and you get to eat part of the bowl (the coconut flesh) at the same time. Yummy.
What about this very unusual (at least to Americans) tree. If anyone knows what it’s called, would you please leave a comment?
Also, this other very unusual bush I saw in a local garden.
Finally, here we are at Fisherman Village at Fort Kochi, where the men are hard at work. The fishing nets are believed to have been introduced by Chinese ruler Kublai Khan. They are supposedly the only nets of this kind found outside China, and many fishermen earn their living using these massive nets. They’re operated mechanically with rigs to hold horizontal nets of 20 meters (~65 ft) or more across and at least 10 meters high, with outstretched nets suspended over the sea, and large stones suspended from ropes as counterweights at the other end. Each installation is operated by a team of up to six fishermen.
The net is lowered into the water where it’s left for only a short time before it’s raised again using a pulley system. The catch, usually modest–a few fish and crustaceans–may be sold within minutes to passers by. I didn’t know at the time that you can take the catch a short distance to a street entrepreneur who will cook them for you, but I doubt the life-time vegetarians would have liked that very much. (Not to worry, Ml and I would have our fresh catch a day or two later on the houseboat.)
One last shot of the Fisherman village, cruising along just beyond the fishing nets, was this barge with a load of rocks.
We’ll be taking a little cruise of our own in the next post, another highlight of the trip. Hope you’ll be able to join us.