Kochi  Vs Birmingham 

After recently returning from Kochi some of the things that I experienced there I believe would be an asset to our dear City if we changed a little. 

So here are 5 things in Kochi that I prefer and would like Birmingham to adopt 

1) Wet rooms  and a hose by the toilet. ..what a useful and great idea. .. i loved it and would like  one in my bathroom 

2) Using banana leafs as plates, very environmentally friendly (but maybe the cost of importing huge quantities of leaves to this country may out way the benefits 😉)
3) Happy children, the school children in Kochi all look happy, smiling laughing, polite and truly content 

4) Free animals wandering the streets.  Everywhere you looked were animals being animals and living alongside humans.  Cows, goats and dog  just being and it was great 

5) No shoes, I particularly like this last one. There is a culture of taking off your shoes whenever you enter a building, our home stay had a shoe rack before you entered the building, even many shops have a no shoe policy with shoes left on the pavement.  Can you imagine how people would moan in the UK if they had to take their shoes off before entering Marks and Spencer!


Free Money. .Anyone? 

India has a closed policy for non nationals at the moment regarding currency, which means you can’t change money back when you leave the country.  I don’t think you are even supposed to take it out of the country 

Yesterday when we were at the airport drink were a lot cheaper than I thought they would be ..I had budgeted for about  £11 at the airport.

Whilst in the queue for coffee I thought I would leave my spare currency with the young and probably low paid workers at the coffee stall. .about £7

 This wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be,  after buying drinks I explained to the staff as I pushed “free money ” towards them my situation. ..they looked at me blankly.  They spoke no or very little  English, unusual for an airport. 

I tried again, they still stared blankly back at me. Another man in the queue saw my plight and offered help, ” buy more drinks ” He suggested.  I had just bought 4 cappuccinos for the two of us. I couldn’t drink even more! 

He then explained to the staff why I was forcing money on them,  they still looked blankly at me and never touched the money, he tried again.  At last, one of the 3 members of staff politely said, “thank you ” and took the money, albeit very sheepishly 

Degrees of Separation 

Our last night in Kochi was shared with a Scottish musician, who we have seen play folk music at at cafe a few days earlier 

We arranged to meet in a hotel where we could chat over a few beers in Happy Hour. 

This in itself is  almost a miracle in Kochi, alcohol is very hard to buy with their strict alcohol laws. ..and a “Happy Hour ” .. Yes I would class this as a minor  miracle😉

As the conversion progressed between the three of us, the things in common gathered and gathered.  There is a saying that everyone in the world is connected by a  only a few degrees of separation.  

Evidence is beginning to add weight to this with people I meet in my life. .This folk singer who I have never met before and lives hundreds of miles from me amd yet has 3 Facebook friend in common with me and 2 with my partner. 

Although Scottish,  he classes himself as Welsh, my partners family are from North Wales my family’s from South Wales. 

Add to this a few extra bonus points his mum is from the Welsh part of Patogonia, my partner has always dreamt of travelling there and to meet someone with connections to the country was a real plus for him and add to that they were both huge fans of the “Beatles ” meant we didn’t struggle at all with conversation on this last delightful night in Kochi 

Wherever I Leave My Hat. ..

And so ends our last day in Kochi, both my partner and I feel the holiday has ended too quickly. 

We were here for just over two weeks and in that short period managed to make ourselves feel totally at home. My partner acquired a barber , a tailor and gigs. 

We found a plethora of cafes, and restaurants we loved and even bumped into newly acquired friends in them.

We could wander down the road and meet people we knew on an  almost  daily basis 

We even acquired a dog called Shiva, I think we will stay. ..😉

United in songs

Last night was rather special 

My partner plays various drums in bands in Birmingham and whilst shopping around  Kochi he saw a djemba he liked and bought it. 

Eager to test it out we went to the upstairs pizza restaurant last night where a local man called Matt offered him a chance to play alongside him

What fun, hours of music with people joining in from around the world. .Israel  Germany, India and more.  Singing and enjoying popular world famous songs  like “Let it be,” ” Three little Birds”, “Sweet home Alabama ” and the “Banana Boat Song ”

What a Bridge …

Today we took a taxi to the Kerala Folklore Museum and it was a wonderful little gem but strangely rather like the Pit Modeum  museum in Oxford .

On the way back after a lovely “Subway ” yes, the huge sandwich chain is rather popular over here! We decided to walk a part of the way home, and on route crossed a bridge over the backwaters to Willingdon Island, a man made island by the British many years ago.  

The Bridge its self is actually not that special but according to every single tuk tuk driver who has driven us over it in the last couple of weeks  (and there has been many! ) it too was built by the British also and used to open to let large boats through like Tower Bridge. 

It’s the views from the bridge that make it so special,  the huge dragon flies , dug out canoes with sole fishermen on them and floating mangroves. .

Protesteth  too Much

A thought, things that I hated during my earlier life I now love.  Subconsciously did I protesteth too much about the items in question?

Examples of things I strongly disliked are, celery, beetroot, fit flops, gardening and the gym! I now love all five of these things, there are many more examples 

Why am I blogging about this whilst I am in India?  Well it’s because I have had another protesteth too much moment. ..yesterday I bought a pair of genie pants from the market. ….and you guessed it I love the silly over sized things 😀

A Scotsman, A Guitar and Bats 

What on earth could those three things have in common? 

Well, if you were here with me right now it would be would be obvious. 

I  currently in Kochi at a wonderful arts cafe garden listening to a man from Sterling, Scotland singing, “Story of Love. ” 

He is playing on his guitar a young lady from Kochi who he met earlier today is singing on stage with him…oh yes “bats ” Where do they come into this?  

Well , we are in a cafe garden with many trees and many bats and they are flying occasionally around the singer, stage, audience and for added effect making marvellous shadows on the wall backing the stage too. 

Beautiful and also rather surreal listening to Scottish folk songs including, “you take the high Road.” ….. on a very warm evening in  South India 

Friend for the day

It’s a dogs life

Yesterday whilst wandering down the back streets of Kochi a dog joined us.  He seemed a little thirsty, it was a hot sticky day and we were carrying water, so I found a large leaf that could be used as a bowl and gave him water 

Well that was it,  it appeared we were now proud owners of an obedient dog that followed us everywhere.  He sat outside shops and waited for us then toddled along beside us every step we made 

When we went into the Maritime Museum  I thought,  we will surely loose him now as there were security on the door.  We entered the museum and  less than 5 minutes later, he had entered too and was along side us again inside the museum grounds!  

And quite a little poser he was too,  when a group of men started to take photos of a military plane, he joined them and became a bigger centre of attention than the plane, 

with each group member having an individual photo taken with “Shiva ” , yes by this stage we had given him a name 
So the rest of the day progressed with Shiva along side us, until the evening came. .and suddenly. ..he left us

A concert for 1 ooops 2

Last night we went to an Indian classical music concert, it was well advertised and we knew that the venue was popular 

Here’s the thing,  we were the only audience. .it a large room there were just the two of us. 

The concert went ahead regardless and the three members of the band, two singers and a tabla drummer were wonderful and gave us a concert deserving of a full auditorium