India 9 – Cochin
After the excitement of Holi and Hola Mohalla, we embarked on a couple weeks of touring Southern India in a more sedate manner. Pauline (Evelyn's sister) joined us for this portion of India.
Our first stop was Kochi (also known as Cochin). Our hotel was a couple blocks from the beach, so we walked down to see the Chinese fishing nets(an ancient cantilevered fishing technique) at sundown, while the nets were idle.
We also watched the nets during the day, when they were being worked at high tide. The huge nets are lowered into the water, and then raised a few minutes later. The net is fixed to a pole on the shore. While fishing, the entire net is lowered by a primitive fulcrum mechanism using long bamboo poles. By the same mechanism the pole is lifted along with the catch. As seen in the lower image, it takes a crew of five strong men to handle the nets.
A first stop was for fresh coconut milk, which we later found was a mainstay drink for the area, as we had it many times over the next couple weeks.
We were given a tour of the area by Thomas (lower-center), our host along with his wife Ruby, at their homestay in Thodupuzha, just outside of Cochin.
We then went onto a rubber tree plantation (left-center, middle, left-bottom) and learned how the rubber is harvested from the tree. Unfortunately, the rubber processing plant was not in operation that day due to a labor strike, so were not able to see the processing of the rubber sap. Across the road from the rubber trees was a pineapple plantation. We learned that the rubber trees must be cut down and replanted every few years, and that pineapples are planted alongside the rubber trees until the latter forms a canopy.
As we drove by field after field of tea toward Madurai, we came across one being harvested, and stopped for a closer look (right-middle and right-bottom). We saw that the harvesting is done by hand using a special basket with a scissor-like edge allowing the workers to just off just the top, most tender leaves.
Evelyn and Pauline both wanted to see elephants, so we took a side trip to Elephant Junction, a wildlife sanctuary at Periyar, and fed one elephant.
Monkeys were everywhere, and here is a small sample of some of the photos we took of them.
When I was photographing the fishing nets that evening, a cruise ship lifted anchor and began sailing out to see. I was using a long exposure for the image, and rather liked the surprise result...
In this one minute clip, you can see tea leaves being harvested, and Evelyn and Pauling feeding an Asian elephant.