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It’s getting hot in here, let’s turn on all our fans
February 27th, 2006 by teragram

The temperature is rising folks. We’re in the mid- to late-thirties and it’s only going to get hotter.
/me melts

We went to Cochin (aka Kochi) in Kerala (God’s Own Country) for the weekend. We being me, C and A. I bought a painting from the world’s coolest cafe/art-shop. It’s unselfconsciously cool, which makes it even cooler. Basically it’s a two-storey shop in Jewtown (yes, that’s what the area’s actually called) filled with piles of paintings. There is no better word than strewn for the arrangment of said works of art. In the middle of the upper floor are a couple of tables with some mis-matched chairs. We knew the sign outside had said coffee shop, but we had to ask someone before we were sure this was it. We had a masala tea while I pondered which painting to buy. C, who wasn’t there when I bought it, is no longer frightened of it, thankfully.

Paying caused some difficulty. Both our bank cards were eaten by bank machines in Bangalore (hopefully our new ones are winging their way to us now), so we were relying on credit cards for the weekend. Unfortunately, the art shop was too cool for credit cards. A‘s brave attempt to get some cash by going on the back of the owner’s skooter to a nearby bank machine failed. So the owner suggested that I take the painting, and he come to my hotel later for the money. Luckily for him, I told him the name of the hotel I was actually staying at. I had thought I’d gotten the painting for a reasonable price, but when he brought all his kids with him to pick up the money I had to wonder if he was bringing them out for a slap-up meal on this poor schmo.

We took a backwater tour on Saturday. The first half was a smooth, leisurely trip on a sort of a large canoe powered by two muscley men. The pace and the scenery really reminded me of The Thin Red Line, but the whole day was mercifully free of gun-shots. The second half started really well. We had a Keralan Thali on a lovely house-boat, and another gentle trip across wider stretches of water. Then we got to The Island We Would Never Have Visited. We got to see sea-shells being turned into calcium-hydroxowhatsit. This involves a fascinating exo-thermic chemical reaction which gives off noxious, and no doubt dangerous, fumes. There was an unspoken consensus that we should vacate that room as quickly as possible. It was even more uncomfortable than the previous room where we were told that temperatures can rise to 4000 degrees celsius, as we all tried to clear our minds of images of burning human bones.

We were then treated to an interminable tour around the garden of the man running the tour. We could tell it was his garden, because he had occasional shouted conversations with his wife. Every plant was good for Ayurvedic medicine, apparently. And of course Ayurveda is better than western medicine because it treats the cause of the illness rather than just the symptoms. Did you know that by eating the roots of a particular plant, diabetics need no longer take insulin? Or that if a pregnant lady drinks pineapple juice with black pepper it will help keep her child healthy but that if she drinks pineapple juice without pepper it will cause an abortion? My favourite of his theories was that smokers get cancer because they lack vitamin C. All you need to do is have a glass of pineapple juice a week (with pepper of course, if you’re pregnant) and you can smoke away to your heart’s content. Pun intended.

C, who’s given up standing for such things, had long since returned to the boat. The whole group gladly joined him when the garden tour seemed to be over. The boat trip back was just as pleasant as the trip out had been. So all in all it was lovely, and even the boring bit was educational! Who knew Ayurveda could be so powerful, and without the use of science?

Tomorrow’s pancake Tuesday! I’ll have to enlist A‘s help tomorrow evening in preparing some sugary lemony treats.

On another unrelated tangent: does the headline “Too Few Female Tech Leaders, But Efforts Under Way to Grow More” make anyone else think of ladies in business suits being grown in vats? Or is it just me?

Tg – melting


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