Sorry it's been awhile since the last post, but last night was kind of crazy and I wasn't sure if there was internet access in the room. SO...a brief recap of yesterday's events:
You can go over to G's blog to catch a brief synopsis of my wonderful experience at the domestic airport in Bombay. That was fun! Actually it wasn't too bad, but I knew when G asked to speak to the travel rep. that this poor guy was in for it! G told me that in order to get things done (or your point across) one must yell and pull rank. So G did just that. :) THANKS!
The flight was great--a little bumpy, but great. Kingfisher Airlines really does spoil its customers. Water as soon as you board, a full meal (which they called a snack), complimentary headsets, individual tv's, more water, tea, coffee, and pretty much anything else you request. This flight was less crowded than my first domestic flight, and that was nice. And I think there was some sort of conspiracy because the only other white girl on the flight sat next to me! :-)
Last night I checked into the hotel and I was escorted to the Kochi Cultural Center where I was going to see a Kathakali Dance. Men dress up in elaborate costumes and re-enact scenes from various epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata (sp?). I arrived about one hour early and was able to see one man in the process of putting on his makeup. It's really cool and really an art form. As I was sitting there (alone) watching this man put make up on better than I EVER could, a woman came upstairs and sat down next to me. We started talking and turns out she is an ayurvedic doctor. Since I was the only person that was there to see the show last night, she asked me if I could wait until Thursday night when more people were scheduled to be there. She also offered (since I was so inconvenienced) to give me a 2-hour ayurvedic treatment Thursday before the show!! HELL YES!
This morning I was awakened at 5:00 a.m. by this chanting over a loudspeaker from a nearby temple. This happened right when I got here last night and thought maybe it was a once-a-day kind of thing. Guess I was wrong. It's very drab chanting, not the kind of thing that would encourage me to get up and go to the temple! So, I laid around for a bit and then had breakfast. My driver and guide came at 9:00 and we set out to explore the old city of Kochi.
Our first stop was the St. Francis Church, now belonging to the Church of South India. It was once Anglican, but after Independence, the church split from the Church of England. It was simple but nice. It's also the site of Vasco de Gama's tomb. His remains have actually been transported to Lisbon, but the tomb is still there.
Next was Jew Town and the city's only surviving synagogue. My guide told me that there are only about 30-40 Jews left in the entire state of Kerala! The synagogue again was simple but nice. (No pictures allowed!) Mantacherry Palace was the palace of the kings of the state and have very intricate and charming (but not very sophisticated) murals on various walls. The entire first floor is a Hindu temple (no non-Hindus allowed).
I also saw the chinese fishing nets that are situated on the Arabian Sea. These enormous nets are attached to long tree trunk-like things that are lifted up, submerging the nets for 3-4 minutes. Then they lower the tree-trunk things and the nets come up full of fish and prawns and other Arabian Sea paraphenalia. Quite interesting.
There isn't too much to see in Kochi, but it was a nice morning. (Pictures to come later tonight after the Kathakali dance.) I am a little tired due to lack of caffeine, running around town, being further hasseled by shopkeepers (one guy told me I was going to Hell because I wouldn't come in his store), and waking up at 5:00 a.m.! I am hopeful that my ayurvedic massage will rejeuvenate me!