The Day the Kerala Fish Fry Could Have Cost Us Our Ride Home
It’s taken me a long time to write this post, partly because not a day goes by when at least a moment in my mind and my heart is devoted to this magical journey that was the summer of 2014 through India, and partly because writing it would be a clear end to a chapter that I don’t want ended. India does that. Once you’re in, she’ll never leave you, even if you leave her.
I started these words over eighteen months ago, first a running tab of words in my head under massive trees amidst flimsy plastic tables with old, cheap tablecloth and chairs where we sat surrounding an outdoor fish-fry vendor stand, waiting for the fish that was just caught that we just picked minutes before that was being cooked for us. All the while, we were sitting under a torrential downpour, the monsoon season fully in our face. One of the things I find in many of my relationships with close friends, with Derek in particular, is that I can count on less than one hand, the number of times there has been visible tension between us. While the day did not start that way, as we sat under the storm, every inch of our bodies drenched, waiting for this fish that I’d been raving about, I saw a look that could cut into steel. With the passage of time, we were getting increasingly more and more late to the airport, potentially in jeopardy of missing our flight back to the States. And we had not even left the island yet to get on the ferry to take us to the mainland from where we still needed to get to our friends’ condo where my cousin would pick us up to drop us off at the Cochin airport.
Like all the other days of this incredibly epic trip, day fifteen was magical. We took the ferry from the mainland in Cochin across the bay to Fort Cochin to see the fisherman catch fish. I’d been raving about the freshly caught fish and its varied preparations by the fisherman, that we would eat. And that it would be the greatest tasting fish we’d ever eaten. Like all other days where we were faced with the throng of people to get from point A to point B, we were in a queue for the ferry where people were literally on top of each other. Perhaps because it was our last day, my patience had finally worn thin, getting into the face of the person caked onto Derek and I, pushing him away. He just smiled and gave us the Indian head nod, which of course infuriated me some more. But my fake anger subsided very quickly. We were too excited for Fort Cochin.
Upon arriving, we immediately got lost in the maze of brightly coloured Muslim town, its thin corridors leading this way and that directly into peoples’ homes. Part of the adventure, we both joked, we finally found our way through the main streets of Fort Cochin, beautiful with its prevailing Portugese architecture, centuries old Chinese fishing nets along the shore, ancient fishing boats out in the sea, tourists and locals, the fish-fry stands with loads and loads of fish.
After eating the best fish I’d ever had (along with the fish curry we had off the beach in Goa), we snagged a tuk-tuk, rushing us to the ferry.
We made the flight, and after saying goodbye to my cousin and his family, we were off to Bangalore, where we had dinner with another cousin of mine, and then it was all over.
India was soon in the rear-view mirror.
I sit here writing this knowing that, even though our last India adventure was eighteen months ago, once the two-year mark hits, we’ll be off onto another, an even more epic, adventure.
The best is yet to come.
Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.
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