Sunday, May 31, 2009

From Dosa to Da Gama's burial place

Alongside Dim Sum, Masala Dosa is now my favourite breakfast choice. For those who don’t know Masala Dosa (you should really try it!) it’s a fluffy giant pancake-like bread filled with mildly spiced potatoes and onions.

With full tummies Prasanti and I take on the city of Kochi, leaving all the planning to our driver, Pranesh. First stop is the Dutch Palace which was originally built by the Portuguese in 1555 – for the Kochi kings or maharajas. It’s pretty but unimpressive from the outside. However, a whole room full of detailed murals depicting the stories of the Hindu gods Ramayana and Mahabharatha stopped us in our tracks. If it wasn't for the heat interfering with our concentration, we could have spent hours here unravelling the meaning behind the rich colours and tiny figures.

Instead we walk to the Jewish Synagogue which dates from 1568. It’s closed for lunch time when we get there but the walk was an experience in itself. There is a lot of curiosity about my 'foreign' Indian friend, as though being born in South Africa makes her an exotic version of their own.

“I’m not local!” she sighs when a woman approaches her to fill in a survey about local tourism.

The street here is lined with many tourist shops and we admire the pretty skirts and silk scarves. Prasanti points out the Kathakali dolls and we make a mental note to go and watch this traditional dance show later.

Next Pranesh takes us to St. Francis Church which was built in 1503. It is also the original burial place of Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer who opened the sea route to India via the Cape of Good Hope (that beautiful place I call home).

We end our dash though the city with a visit to the Chinese fishing nets (see pic) and even get a chance to experience first-hand how it all works, with a small bucket of fish to show for it and too many hands fishing for tips.

Back at our hotel we freshen up and change into traditional Indian outfits while enjoying some Masala tea before heading off for our Kathakali show.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like I would rather be there this week- Cape Town weather is forecast to be rain and more rain. And then there was the drama with the 50 whales that beached and were then euthanised in Kommetjie.....

Love Mich

Mona Lize said...

Cape Town has its magic too. Even this time of year. Red wine and rain against the window pane, tomato stew and home knitted woolies to cosy up in!