After being consecutively conquered by the Portuguese, Dutch and British for its location at the exit of the rich spices plantations, Kochi stays a crowded little island off the coast of Kerala.

Our first encounter was with a group of fisherman working together to submerge and lift their enormous Chinese fish nets just to gather some small fish and more plastic rubbish from the waters. Their invitation for us to join them to pull the ropes and take some pictures was nothing but innocent, after taking videos and pictures, one of them approached and asked if we could help with some money for them, in the low season the fish is not as abundant. So we gave them 100 rupees (~USD 1.5), they got some money, and we got a great picture and video. Here you have, 100 rupees:

On our second day in Kochi, we took a trip to see the “backwaters” of Kerala, a delta with carved channels used for irrigation and transport of the massive and fertile field of coconuts, bananas, and spices.

 

Backwaters of Kerala
Breathtaking view of the channels in the backwaters.

Apart from the breathtaking scenery, this setback area nourishes small communities, fishermen, and micro-industries that we visited. For example, a factory where disposed clam shells are collected and mixed with charcoal to be introduced in a furnace, mixed with water and dried resulting in cement! Another one collects coconut shells to remove their fibers to weave threads of ropes.

Backwaters of Kerala
Me being thoughtful of the cement micro-factory.

Kochi is also the house of the Modern Art Biennale of Kerala, attracting flocks of young hipsters and art aficionados to it multiple installations spread around the city. I’m not a great connoisseur of Modern Art, but apparently, they are doing something good, since it works.

 

Kochi Biennale
Modern Art… go figure

Kochi tips: Ernakulam (New Kochi) is easily accessible by train or bus.

Transport: Whether you arrive by train or bus to Ernakulam, grab a rickshaw (pre-booked at the train station) for 50 rupees to the Ernakulam-Kochi Ferry and pay 4 rupees more to cross to the island, every 15 minutes. Any taxi or rickshaw will take much more to cross the bridge, take longer and you won’t enjoy the ferry trip.

Accommodation: The Maritime hostel (by The Hostel Crowd) has decent rooms for a fair price and will also arrange tours to the backwaters for you. Simple breakfast included.

Eating: The Solar Cafe serves great fresh juices and organic breakfast. For dinner don’t miss the fish at the family run Seagull by the river.