July 2, 2006

You Buy We Cook

Filed under: India — Chris @ 5:31 pm

Originally uploaded by C+H.

Kochi: not my thing. Reminded me a lot of Charleston, SC, in a weird way: both are old shipping centers with nothing much going on that attract tourists and antiquers. The synagogue was pretty nice (the city has a historic Jewish community—Jew Town (no kidding)—that now consists of 14 people from 3 families).

Something which turned out to be really worthwhile that you would think was a suckers’ game is the “you buy we cook” fish stands down by the waterfront. Maybe we got ripped off in relative terms (we paid around Rs 600 for a 3 crabs and 2 lobsters, and another Rs 150 to get them cooked), but the food was really yummy. A tip: curry crab should be cracked away from the diner and should not be eaten in a rush.

P.S. Lots of goats and cats, not so many cows and dogs. Why is that?

P.P.S. Deb asked pretty much every local he met for the first two days where he could get some crab and the answer was invariably “no chance” since it was out of season. Every fish guy on the waterfront was selling crab, and most of it was alive (and therefore fresh). WTF?!

P.P.P.S. We showed up on the one day of every month when alchohol is not permitted to be sold anywhere in the city. We happened across a place that was selling beer out of a hole in the wall—seriously—but we didn’t have the good sense to purchase it or the guts to photograph the hole.



Filed under: India — Chris @ 5:12 pm

Originally uploaded by C+H.

Went to Kerala for the weekend and spent Friday and Saturday morning on a houseboat in the backwaters of Kumarakom (photo set here). This was an incredibly nice experience. The boat, which had two bedrooms sleeping four people, cost Rs 4750 (that’s almost exactly USD 100) for about 24 hours of floating, drifting, idling, and relaxing (incl. a crew of three men, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a basket of bananas). You would think this sort of arrangement would involve docking at various villages where people would be lined up to sell us useless knick-knacks and handicrafts. Nope. The docking was entirely non-commercial in nature. The only up-selling attempted was: Rs 800 for a kilogram of prawns with dinner (not worth it), Rs 100 for 2 liters of toddy (kind of disgusting), and Rs 800 for a massage (we said no). Everybody, everywhere: go do this! It’s fun! (Caveat emptor: these are off-season rates. Prices include a fair chance of monsoons.)

POSTSCRIPT: Shout out to the nice people at the Tharavadu Heritage Home who kindly helped us arrange for the boat in exchange for, at best, a kickback from the boat’s proprietor (we didn’t give them any money, anyway).

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