In order to get to Fort Kochi (the backpackers part of Cochin) from Ernakulam, you cross over a bridge and as we did so, we saw some amazing fireworks from the auto rickshaw. Our driver informed us it was some religious festival or another, which seems to be an everyday occurance in India!
We arrived into the main drag quite late at night but Fort Kochi appeared to be a delightful, peaceful haven, perfect for a couple of days of shanti (peace) before venturing further. We found a hotel room, watched a bit of football in an Internet cafe and befriended a fellow Londoner in the process. We’d made plans to meet an old school friend and he eventually arrived with his sister & picked us up at 11pm.
They took us to some house party, which we were evidently NOT dressed for but it was like entering another universe. Turned out to be a palace of a house; almost out of a scene in a Bollywood movie with fancily clad, fashionable people and waiters mixing drinks at every beckon and call. The host was extremely intoxicated but overly welcoming and we felt comfortable despite being slightly out of place. A feast was served around 1am but did little to deter the drinking and laughter surrounding; we settled ourselves in a quiet little corner and tried to be as inconspicuous as possible in our travel attire.
What a night, what a bizarre experience! Another of those gems that only comes through knowing the locals or stumbling upon it. After much entertainment and merriment, we returned to the hotel at around 3am (waking up the poor hotel-staff to let us in since the door was bolted and closed) still in awe at what we’d just experienced.
The next morning we discovered the best cure for our weary heads: Kashi Art Cafe. Homemade soups, coffee to die for and ongoing art exhibitions, this garden haven are most definitely one of the best cafes in the world.