After travelling for a while, the straps of backpacks start melding into shoulder blades. It's like wearing in a pair of shoes, the material softening and that feeling of comfort and familiarity. I watch the children as they hoist their bags on to their backs, and it's as though there's never been a time when they haven't been doing this. I never imagined it would come to them so naturally. Not that I imagined it wouldn't either, it's simply a joy to watch. Rewind twenty years and it would have been impossible for me to predict that one day I'd be treading similar paths across India with my three children.
Cochin. Oh boy, was it hot. I mean really, really hot. Between 35 and 40 degrees I'd say, so not a climate conducive to much sightseeing. So I don't have lots of pictures of the undeniably impressive sites of Cochin because truly, the heat was too much for us all, and we crawled like over-heated sloths from the shade of trees, to A/C restaurants, to cafe's for lime sodas, then back to our Air BnB outside town.
One evening, when the heat had been slowly sucked from the day, we went to watch a Kathakali performance, a traditional Keralan dance form which includes an involved, elaborate make-up ritual pre-performance. This was fantastic to watch, but what we hadn't quite counted on was how gruesome the performance turned towards the end, with breasts being 'cut off' and high-pitched screaming which left Benji and Lily rather shell-shocked!
Amidst the heat, we also made it to Mattancherry, the old Jewish area of the town, which was fascinating. There is a long, rich tradition of Jews living in South West India over the centuries, which today has dwindled down to a population of just five. Regardless, the Paradesi Synagogue is beautifully maintained and it was a good opportunity for us to sit inside the relative cool of its interior and tell the kids about both mine and Andy's links to Judaism (me: my father / Andy: his paternal grandmother).
After our time in Cochin, it was also time to bid farewell to ThaTha and also Granny Amma who had been with us for a whopping THREE months! It has to be said, she is one pretty cool travelling Granny with remarkable energy levels and joie de vivre and always up for an adventure.
Here are a few things about Granny Amma that we will miss and that made us chuckle:
☆ Her peculiar habit of sleeping with her head under the pillow and not on top...
☆ Getting tipsy after one beer and going in desperate search for some peanuts before it all gets out of control
☆ Washing her pants every night (a hangover from her own days of backpacking) which all three of the children adopted! As a result, there were always four pairs of pants hanging in the bathroom every night 😆
☆ Squirting 'refreshing' Botanical Essence in all our faces when it got very hot which made the children giggle and Andy splutter
☆ Prancercising. This normally happens when the aforementioned peanuts don't materialise and another beer is consumed. Click here to get an example 'prancercise' workout! (Granny Amma, remember: I have video proof of you! 😆)
A few more photos of Granny Amma:
Farewell Cochin and farewell Granny Amma, seventy-three years young. We wish you many more travels, laughter and adventure ♥︎