Saturday, April 14, 2018

April 13th – A Glimpse of Rural Kerala in Cochin

Cochin provides a very gentle introduction to India for most cruise passengers. It has that wonderfully exotic and colourful Indian atmosphere, but there’s nothing like the same level of poverty, traffic or chaos that the passengers will experience in manic Mumbai.

Today we joined an interesting tour that showed us an even gentler version of Kerala than even relaxed Cochin presents. We were taken away from the city into the countryside to get a glimpse into the rural ways of life along the waterways that have made Kerala famous.

We boarded a large canoe propelled by two guys with poles (like punts on the River Cam) for what must qualify as the slowest boat ride I’ve ever taken, gliding a glacial pace across the limpid waters to an island where we were shown around a traditional farm. The pace of life out here is almost as slow as that boat ride, and we were shown around the farm, seeing how they fish, how they process cocoanuts (every single part of a coconut, from leaf, to nut, to husk is used), and how they make pots.

It seems like pretty much anything can grow in this fertile tropical environment (fruits, spices, and cocoanuts of course), and for us westerners only the oppressively hot weather stops this from qualifying as a Garden of Eden. While we were all perspiring profusely, the super-friendly locals were scarcely breaking a sweat, even as they effortlessly shinned up cocoanut trees or span the wheel to make their pottery. For them, Kerala definitely lives up to its nickname – “God’s Own Country”.

Kerala is a place which shouldn’t be rushed, so spending our half day out in the slow-paced countryside was most appropriate. If only we could have a few more hours here to really appreciate time slowing down to a standstill.