Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fort Kochi, Kerela, day 2; backwaters, Teapot, sitar & tabla

I have no idea where we were today in reference to Fort Kochi but it was one of the most pleasurable days I've ever spend. My travels usually revolved around mild adventures or temple visits, but I had no complaints about spending the day sitting beneath the woven canopy of a wooden boat, drifting through the backwater canals of Kerala, soaking in the green.

We stopped at a small lime factory, where the burning coconut husks only added to the heat and choked the air. One of the Indian men in the crowd showed us to pick a bodhi leaf from the tree we disembarked under and stick it to our foreheads to keep cool. It did the trick!

After stopping a few minutes later for lunch, curry and rice served on a banana leaf, we continued to a smaller canal, where we transferred into row boats. We docked where a content looking elephant was being given a bath and walked a few minutes to a spice plantation. The woman giving us a tour of the grounds picked some bright green "curry leaves" from a thin leafy tree, rubbed it between her fingers, and offered it to us to smell. I couldn't believe the aroma as I took a whiff, like a whole pot of blended spices spinning through my nostrils. It's no wonder Canadian food is so boring! What do we have? Potatoes, corn, some carrots, and, oh, wheat?

Our last stop was a small, handmade rope factory that used woven shredded coconut husks. Apparently the quality and strength of the fibers made great rope. Honestly, I was more interested in the chickens running around the house.

Back in Fort Kochi, we visited the Teapot, a quaint little teahouse with a cozy decor, displaying teapots from around the world, fun artwork, great food, and, of course, lots of great tea!

Last thing I did, before calling it a night was to return to the Kathakali Center for a live sitar and table performance. Though I'd listened to my mom's Ravi Shankar records more times than I could count (live in San Francisco was my favorite!), it was the first time I'd had a chance to see it live. While the complexity of the sitar flung my consciousness into the sub-realm, the heart-grounding, penetrating thump and hum of the tabla kept me from floating off. I remembered a ride from my hometown into the city, one time, with my biology teacher's brother. We spent most of the ride talking about the Beatles and how he'd once brought his girlfriend to see Ravi Shankar at the Halifax Metro Center. After the first piece was finished, and everyone gave him their applause, she leaned over and said, "Oh, I thought they were just tuning their instruments." "It was a long night!" he said.

1 comment:

  1. Wow these photos are great, i almost feel like I was there. You even found an ox =D