Witnessing around 300 people gather on the beach for a lively fish auction is an experience no one should miss….
Those who want to see a Keralan fishing village in action need to brave an early morning start which I know is a lot to ask of someone on holiday but it’s an experience no one should miss.
So we leave Cochin around 7.30am and when we arrive, we walk to the beach where in the early hours there’s a lot of activity. You’ll see as many as 300 people on the banks and around 50 boats going in and out to sea. It’s a sight to behold. The first catch comes in say about 7am and if it’s a good day, the fishermen go back again and again until about three in the afternoon bringing with them several baskets at a time of sardines, mackerel, anchovies and other edible fish. Then there are the lively auctions. It’s more like a stock market only with nods and gestures rather than shouting out the prices.
After that we walk, cycle or take a tuk tuk around the neighbourhood for a further insight into the local economy. You’ll see houses selling breakfast and ladies selling crushed ice for preserving fish. Everyone knows each other. Even if you don’t have the money to buy and sell fish, there are people here who will lend it to you. Throughout the world you always hear about the terrible side of moneylending but here you’ll see the good side of it.
We then take you for lunch at a traditional family house near the backwaters. The couple, Shaji and Suni, have two daughters whose weddings were attended by close to 2,000 people… they have a very long family tree! You’ll learn all about Indian weddings over banana curry using a family recipe which you won’t find anywhere else in Kerala.
Then we go to our open-air village market also used as an important meeting place. In the early morning, after their tea, the men frequent the reading rooms where they read all the different newspapers and start debates about the world around them. There is also a homeopathic clinic and western medicine hospital which offer a huge range of medicine from modern to Ayurveda.
To get back to the ferry it’s a beautiful ride through the paddy fields with the breeze on your face and perhaps sightings of hovering kite.