Breakfast at the hotel on the rooftop, saying our goodbyes and then a bus to the airport. Along the way, we stopped to get some other passengers, who are the other half of the southern tour. An Aussie family, a Canadian couple and a Welsh guy. I think we have a couple more to join, but I guess we won’t know until we’re there. 3 hour flight to Kochi, a small airport, where we exited onto the tarmac and into busses to the terminal. We found our transfer guy, and the tiny shuttle bus, (another girl and I squished into the back seat) and an hour’s drive past home loan adverts, car dealerships and shopping malls into Fort Kochi, where we were staying. Our flight was so delayed, we went straight to dinner at a restaurant for our meeting, and organised to see the Chinese fishing nets the next day instead. The next day, we visited the Dutch Palace, which was a rather plain building that was knocked down and rebuilt with the Portuguese, Dutch and English invasions. The inside was a kind of museum, that was a bit dull. The only interesting thing was a mural that looked similar to Indonesian artworks I’ve seen. I was also told I was cute by a bunch of giggling Indian girls. We then went to Jew Town to the 400 year old synagogue. Again, nothing spectacular, but it was interesting to see the influence. There were quite a few shops around the synagogue, and we had some fee time to browse. They had some beautiful antiques that I was dying to take home… Especially some old wooden hinged boxes for papers and memory keepsakes. Then St Francis Church. Vasco da Gama, the first European explorer to set sail for India, was initially buried in here until his remains were returned to Portugal in 1539. Again, knocked down and rebuilt several times. Again, very plain. Lunch was at the same place we had dinner. They served us a Kerala thali – a selection of food – on a banana leaf. So delicious. It was vegetarian except for fried fish. Yum! I couldn’t eat it all. After that, a couple of the girls were talking about going shopping back at the Jew Town, so we caught a tuk tuk and went from looking for small brass Ganesha (Hindu elephant god). We found a couple, but Nicole and I went to a shop I was looking in before for a big Ganesh. It was beautifully made. She helped me negotiate a price, and ask about postage at the post office. The seller was lovely and packed it up for me, and even asked for a selfie with us. In the evening we gotta tuk tuk to a performance of kathakali dancing (the Keralan tradition dance form). Before the show we watched the performers put on their makeup in the courtyard outside the hall. Considered one of the oldest dance forms in India, Kathakali is a combination of drama, dance, music and ritual. It reminded me of the Japanese Bunraku with the colourful makeup and symbolic hand gestures and exaggerated movement. The characters with re-enact stories from the Hindu epics, Mahabharatha and Ramayana. We watched one particular scene where a demon was trying to seduce a prince. As we left the theatre, it was raining, so we got tuk tuks to the restaurant, but then we had to walk home. The hem of my pants were soaked and muddy. Luckily I could zip the legs off.