A last visit to Fort Cochin
In the afternoon, I take the ferry to Fort Cochin for the last time. I just want to chill out by the sea near the Chinese fishing nets. When I arrive, Chris – the Belgian who has been living in Kochi for over 4 years – is walking around the place. He is handing out brochures with his offer of tourist trips. This is his next attempt to make a living here with trips tailored to Western India-goers.
A next effort to start a tourism service
He does not recognize me right away, but that does not take long. He still has to eat and suggests that I come along for tea. This morning he was able to deposit his tour brochures in 6 hotels, now he has to wait and see whether people will be enticed. I hope so for him, and say that I will also try to advertise his services when I am back in Europe. After dinner, he still wants to arrange a few things. We say goodbye with the promise that I will email him.
Spotting some dolphins during my chill out by the sea
I sit down near the first fishing nets and watch the movement at sea. There seem to be dolphins swimming around here; very occasionally, I see a fin and a back of one of the dolphins coming up, but after a while, they have all disappeared again. I walk a little further on the promenade along the water. However, I do not want to put in much effort, it is scorching this afternoon, so I find a spot in the shade to further chill out by the sea.
Finding peace of mind
When I sit down, I notice an Indian sitting in a tree two meters in front of me. We have eye contact, but he does not speak any English. I offer him a cigarette, but he does not smoke. We both sit quietly looking at the sea – many Indians spend the afternoon here. By just sitting here to chill out by the sea, I experience a kind of peace of mind and go through the images of the past weeks, without overthinking.
Encounter with a lizard
I am amazed that this inner peace is only now happening to me, at the moment I realize that my trip is really coming to an end. Meanwhile, my tacit companion has gone to visit other places. Just when I want to do the same, I spot a lizard in front of me – 25 centimeters long, tail included. I manage to capture it with my camera. After the lizard has disappeared, I leave as well to drink a refreshment at an improvised terrace.
Disrupted tourism all over Asia
It does not take long before a young salesperson comes over, but this one is not the pushy type either. Like so many others I met before, he tells me there are few tourists, and things are not running so smoothly. Chris had also told me earlier that the hotels do not currently charge high season prices as they fear scaring off the small crowd of tourists. The tourist economy in India seems to be disrupted, as in other Asian countries.
Chill out by the sea watching everyday scenes
I decide to go chill out by the sea one last time, and to my luck, I see the fishermen arrive with their fresh catch. All simple everyday scenes, and that is enough for me to feel satisfied. That is how I want to remember Kerala. On the way back to the ferry, one of the German girls I met in Alleppey passes by. She has rented a bicycle and stops when she sees me. I tell her that my holiday is almost finished. She is on her way to a shop where she saw a nice chair yesterday. I wish her luck with the negotiation.
Rounding up with a good meal
Back in the hotel, I have dinner for the last time in the resto there. Today as well, I have to pay precisely the same amount as the previous two days, and yet I always take something different, in the same order though: soup, main and side dishes, soft drinks, and coffee afterward. Again I devour a good meal for little money. I am curious about tomorrow’s return flight to Chennai.