We had a very early start today and made tracks for the airport at 04:45. Our host Sidney at Jessia Brown Coco Huts was great and woke up to make sure we got off OK in the cab he had arranged for us. We made it to the airport in good time and went in search of some breakfast.
It just so happens that the Goa domestic terminal does not have much in the culinary department and we didn't fancy paying £5...yes, £5(!) for a tube of Pringles. Rather, we opted to wait for the plane food which was pretty good and reasonably priced!
As we couldn't get a direct flight from Goa to Kochi, in Kerala, we had a 2 hr stopover in Hyderabad,where we had to pick up and re-check our luggage (meaning we also had to go through security again etc.). We thought this process was going to be incredibly chaotic and stressful; happily, all went smoothly and we found ourselves Kochi-bound.
One we landed in Kochi we again made use of the prepaid taxi service. There is generally a tariff for both AC and non-AC cars based on the general area you want to go to; as we've explained before, the money is paid at the official counter and the numberplate of your driver is printed for us. This ensures that only the approved driver will take us and will be allowed to claim their money from the prepaid booth on completion of the journey.
From our experience on this trip, the further South in India you go, the better the sense of direction the taxi drivers have. Our taxi driver today only used Google Maps for the last few minutes of the journey. It's hardly passing The Knowledge - but not a bad effort!
We arrived at Tag und Nacht, our hostel in Kochi, where the owner (Antonio) was waiting for us and showed us to our room, which was very clean and spacious (maybe we'll share a picture when we've tidied up)! We asked him where he would recommend to go to eat Masala Dosa, which is essentially a very large crepe made from rice flour and is one of my favourite Indian dishes! Not only did Antonio give us an excellent recommendation, he also put us in a tuk-tuk/auto-rickshaw and told the driver where to take us.
Now for the restaurant - even at 3pm, it was jam-packed full of locals having a meal- which always bodes well! Before we even looked at the menu (a whiteboard balanced against the wall at the entrance) we knew it would be excellent food which was well priced.
The food did not disappoint (we will be returning tomorrow if I get my way)- and Lorna's expression sums it up!
It cost 120 INR for the two plates you see above, a litre of mineral water and two cups of Masala chai to finish the meal on a sweet note- that's £1.48! It's true what they say, you should always eat with the locals. This was also a cutlery (and napkin) free zone, so Lorna got messy...
After this delightful late lunch, we headed for the ocean to see the famous Chinese fishing nets, originally installed in the 14th Century. It's safe to say that there have been many repairs and replacements over the years! Nevertheless, they're very impressive and require a team of 6 to raise and lower them.
We had a look around some of the market stalls and it was nice to not feel pressured into buying anything. This proved to be a better sales tactic than the usual hustle(!), and we came away with a few local offerings.
Time escaped us so our next port of call was dinner (yes, more food). Lorna found a lovely seafront restaurant where we were able to put to use our now finely-honed skills when choosing the quantity of Indian food to order.
It is quite simple really, think about what you want, then halve the amount of food you're about to order and double the number drinks. Unlike in the UK, no-one will bat an eyelid if you order a single main course to share, even in a fairly nice restaurant. We prefer to do that and order some more if we need it than to waste food (we've learnt the hard way)- so far we have not been disappointed with portion sizes!