Chapter 13 The One With The Banana Leaf Plate

We woke feeling very refreshed after a good sleep and full after last nights gourmet dinner of cheese and crisp sandwiches (the only thing open nearby was a very limited supermarket and with no cooking equipment we just had to go for a classic).
Having slightly reluctantly signed up to a boat tour – I am definitely someone who doesn’t enjoy Brits abroad tours or really boat rides – Sara and I hopped in a rickshaw to this busy harbour and were shown onto a big and rather busy ferry boat. Dosed up on travel sickness pills and ferociously chewing gum I was nervous to say the least but my mind was put at rest as we pulled up to some beautiful four seater sheltered canoe boats and were guided onboard. We shared our boat with two Bristolian ladies and were punted along by the most silent driver who wore a comedic umbrella hat presumably to keep off the sun. Our tour took us along sleepy canals past huge houseboats and plenty of little fishing boats and local people doing their washing and bathing – so serene and quiet it was lovely.
Soon we pulled up for some breakfast, milk tea (like a chai with very little spice), soft sponge cakes made from rice flour and a veg curry. With no cutlery Sara and I watched around as people used the cakes as little sponges so tried our best to copy – a tricky but delicious meal. We headed back to our little boat for a few more hours of floating but with so much to look at, the time went so fast and soon enough we stopped at another cafe/possibly just the front garden of someone’s house and sat under a large blue canopy for fresh coconuts! After time to wander the canals on foot we headed back to this lunch spot and our boat captain for the day began to dish out food for us and about 4 other canoes full of tourists. Sitting at a long table we were given banana leaves as plates and served up an amazing thali : lime pickle, a pickled bean thing, shredded beetroot and coconut, shredded papaya, Kerala rice which is like risotto rice, veg curry, spicy fish and pappadams! Such an amazing feast! This time the head boat guide captain – sanjim – showed us how to eat with our hands using the four fingers on your right hand as a scoop and fingers pointing into your mouth using your thumb nail to flick the food into your mouth. At this point, enjoying such a relaxing day, Sara and I decided to cancel our trip further south to the ashram in favour of heading back to Kochi towards where our flight would leave from, relieving us from too much extra train journeying! We had met this lovely Israeli girl who had spent time in Kochi who gave us plenty of tips so, inspired, we finished our lovely boat trip and headed to the bus station to find our way there.
As predicted there was no logic to the bus station and we simply just asked as many people as possible for help until we got answers that correlated. By chance, the bus we found has two seats at the front left so very satisfied we settled down and headed up to fort cochin and to Rosarios home stay on our new friend Ashira’s recommendation.
The house itself was set on a lovely garden square and was run by the sweetest man Sakeer and Radha who spoke no English but chatted away to us in Tamil. As soon a we got to our cute little private room however, Sara rushed to the bathroom and promptly was struck by our worst bout of Delhi belly yet! Thank goodness we had decided to go somewhere quiet instead of the ashram where we would have chores, meditation and prayers! So I headed out to the nearby shops for loo roll, water and crackers and eventually we both got some sleep both hoping for improvement by the morning!


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