This trip can be cut roughly into thirds: the intense bustle and color of Varanasi, Agra and Rajasthan, the lazy, tropical paradise of Goa and the relaxed and landscape-blessed region of Kerala.
Kochi makes a pleasant enough stop for a couple of days. Here the colonial vibe is at it’s strongest. It’s hot and sleepy. Lovely villas, more reminiscent of the English countryside than India’s typical concrete and lean-to style, line sparsely trafficked roads. Crossing the street without risking your life seems to be unique to Kochi.
Chinese fishing nets are the main attraction here and you can while away some time watching the sun set behind these rickety piles of sticks and net. There are plenty of gift shops, tea houses and charming restaurants (we strongly recommend a place that is either called Pumpkin or Bob Marley, they seem to be having an identity crisis, but the food is excellent and ridiculously cheap) where you can divide the rest of the day. And that’s about it. Which is why, after two very pleasant, unmolested days, we were off to the Western Ghats for a change of scenery.
Side note: In India, the quantity and quality of stray dogs as well as their treatment by the locals, is a pretty good indicator of the prosperity and quality of life in a town. It stands to reason that if you can’t feed and shelter yourself, you could care less about the diet and health of a dog. In Kochi, Mandy was hard-pressed to find a dog willing to eat our leftovers. We take this as a very good sign.