Mr Abu, the owner of the Honolulu Homestay had said he could arrange tours of Fort Cochin and boat trips or whatever we wanted during our stay in Cochin. Fearing a hefty commission we opted to venture out on our own and wandered the streets of Fort Cochin. We meandered in and out of the tourist shops along Princess and burger street finding our way to the famous Chinese fishing nets that line the quayside.These huge, medieval looking cantilevered devises were very impressive and proved an interesting contrast against the naval container yard in the background. After another mouth watering Thali lunch we headed to the Dutch Palace in Mattencherry. This 16th Century building was actually built by the Portuguese and now houses some incredible murals of Hindu art. Keen to try another cooking class, we hunted down the sort after Maria's cooking school. We booked a class for the following day and sat and chatted (had a lecture about the power of the brain) with Maria's husband for what felt like an age! We finished off the day with a meal at the busiest local place we could find, taking a while to look over the extensive menu only to be told that only two items were available that night!
Day two saw us opt for another boat trip. This time it would be a whole day split into two parts. At 08:00 we were picked up by the minivan to join the other foreigners on what turned out to be quite a 'tour group' type day. The morning saw us once again on small canoes paddling along the smaller canals. It was, again, lovely and peaceful as we drifted along, watching the local women having a good natter whilst they repaired the banks of the canals. We were soon ushered off the boats and off through a spice farm to see a 75 year old lady deftly make coir rope out of coconut husk. It was a fascinating experience that we didn't even know was part of the trip! Lunch was another thali, this time served on a banana leaf and, seeing everyone else have one, we opted to share a beer. The afternoon saw use change to a larger and beautiful looking rice boat. It must have been the lunchtime beer as everyone seemed to fall asleep for the majority of the 3 hour trip. I think the only thing that kept us awake was the terrible music coming from the headphones of a German guy sitting next to Jane!
We spent the following morning lounging about until our lunchtime cooking class with Maria.We were joined by Annie from Canada and we chatted about our respective travels in between demonstrations by Maria of how to cook various south Indian curries. Whilst not as polished as the class we had in Pushkar it has certainly added a few more recipes to our collection. Having filled our bellies and grabbed our packs we set off to catch the (thankfully air con) bus to the Airport. Reluctantly we left India but couldn't wait to see what adventures we would find in Sri Lanka.