Our final stop on our tour of the West Coast of Southern India was Fort Kochi (aka Fort Cochin). A very walkable city, so we meandered our way around. Through the tourist trap area, along the boardwalk by the famous Chinese Fishing Nets, in and out of art galleries (of which there were many – and after soaking in ancient temples and history, it was interesting to see modern Indian art), and through the odd-to-say (and even now, odd-to-type) Jew Town where lies Paradesi – the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth.
Here we were in for a treat, a Hindu festival that occurs only every five years was in full swing. We witnessed a parade full of drummers, twirlers, and 500 women walking with candles and offerings. Traditional song and dance were performed every evening. Decked out elephants were walked around town. It was vibrant and just awe-inspiring.
This is where we said goodbye to our travel buddy Cameron, then spent a couple days sleeping and recovering from the two week whirlwind we had with him. But before goodbyes were exchanged and the marathon slumber started, we spent our final day with Cam at Lu Lu, India’s largest mall. This mall was quite something. It wasn’t the size of it that was amazing (’cause we’ve seen bigger, West Edmonton Mall baby!), it was watching the shoppers. It was pretty obvious that some had never seen an escalator before, and watching the cautious navigation at the tops and bottoms was humorous to watch (oh the things we take for granted). No wonder they have security guards posted at the entrance points to each set to keep everyone moving…except when they caused back-ups by holding the crowd back to help coordinate the timing for selfies – it seemed the solo escalator shot was the big thing.
In addition to people watching, we shopped, we ate, we rode the mini rollercoaster, and then watched a movie. The top highlight of the mall was hitting the arcade. To fully understand why this was the climax, we need to go back to Cam’s first day. Then too we went to a mall in Mangalore and came across the ultimate in arcade fun: The Raging Ape. The concept: grip two metal bars and hold on as long as you can while electric shocks surge, the ape lights up, and steam emanates from the ears. Matt subsequently kicked himself for not giving it a go right then and there. But the game that Matt let get away on Cam’s first day finally came back on Cam’s last day. The look of joy on Matt’s face when he found it was priceless! The massive grin when he beat the game, even better!!