Tired the local toddy from the local liquor shop referred to locally as "kallu shap", thanks to my friend who was adamant and insistent. I tried to discourage him from drinking too much because I knew what is sold in these local shacks are not the authentic tapped toddy but the locally distilled "killer" (literally speaking) stuff. I could only take a few sips as it not only tasted disgusting but also had a distinct stink. My friend purchased a couple of bottles for later consumption and I am so glad to report that he is still alive! Although I must say I chickened out from going inside the shop and trying it. Blame it on the slightly derelict, shady look it had. So, thanks to my cousin's friend who acted as our delivery guy. Much later I came to know from one of my neighbors of a popular place in Cochin where you get the authentic stuff but by then time was short so that was shelved for later. Anyways, one experience checked off the list ..well partially. The original plan was to get into one of the “shaps” and try it . All said I am sooo glad my mom does not read my blog.
Visited the local market in town after a really, really long time. Maybe the last time I visited I was in 4th grade?! It was great to be in the middle of all the hustle and bustle and was particularly exciting to check out shops that sold indigenous kitchen ware, farm tools and other household goods. If baggage limits was not an issue I would have gladly shelled some INR and carried them over.
After the market expedition, took a trip down memory lane and went to one of the local coffee shops and had chai, South Indian style, served in steel cups with deep saucers. This was my old school/college hangout place. We went to (as I like to call it) the vintage section of the cafe and it was an instant hit with my friend. Adding to the experience, on our way out, we were approached by a stranger asking us if we would like to exchange some dollars. I guess seeing a white guy he automatically presumed. Although it was tempting as he was offering us a pretty good price compared to the exchange value at Delhi airport, better sense took over and we said thank you but no thank you and went our way.
It was elephant tail ring (embedded in silver or gold) next in the agenda and so one early morning (by jewelery shop standards) we landed in front of one of those humongous gold stores scattered across Cochin asking if they carried these rings. Apparently it is out of fashion and the couple of pieces they had did not fit. And so we decided to do the final thing on his to-do-while-in-Kerala-list which was to see the Chinese fishing nets but since he also had a plane to catch in a couple of hours we decided to take the route where he could see them en route. We had not even left the city when we figured traffic was going to be challenging and dropped the idea of taking the fishing net route and instead took the regular route.
Unfortunately/ fortunately (all relative) by the time we were done with our morning adventures, my friend missed his Delhi flight and had to rebook on a later flight. Getting into the next flight was an adventure in itself but not interesting enough to blog about. But then if he hadn't missed the flight we wouldn't have had a chance to try out some amazing boiled tapioca with red fish curry for lunch! All is indeed well that ends well.(Title translation- Alcohol, Tapioca/Cassava and Fish Curry)