Thursday, 25 November 2010

Top thali!

The day's start is a little more leisurely, we have breakfast and then relax, catching up on news and diary-writing.

Shortly before 12 the Col. takes us for lunch to a thali meals place where the food is served on banana leaves, there is no cutlery and they keep serving till one is completely immobile!

The leaf is unfolded and first comes a server with 3 pots containing a red kidney bean curry, avial and a carrot thoran which he dollops onto your leaf in order.

Next come a series of small bowls of payasam, a spiced curd (yoghurt), rasam and sambar and a small conical bowl of set plain curd. And a pappadum, all of which are ranged along the top edge of the leaf.

Then a big amount of rice and a ladle of dhal.

First you mix the dhal into the rice and attempt to not cover yourself in it as you eat with the fingers of the right hand only.

Then you mix the sambar with some rice and repeat.

Then the curd is mixed with rice.

All the while you also mix in a bit of the curries or eat them alone and all the while the servers keep topping up till you wave your hand and say "no more".

It's amazing how much rice people eat - literally twice what I would manage on a hungry day!

Next you have the rasam which is pretty poky and is supposed to be digestive, and last of all payasam which is a sweet milk pudding of rice vermicelli.

Then you wash your hands and waddle to the door like a snake that's eaten a goat and needs a little lie-down actually.

The restaurant is reputedly some of the best food in Kerala and it costs 55rs per person. Or approx 80p.

In term of value it's fantastic, but more than that, the food is great - each dish is individually spiced, but they are completely complementary to one another.

I think it might be the best meal yet.

Then we go on a city tour which takes in the zoo, Napier museum, Puttan Malika palace, a temple, Veli tourist village and Shankhumukhan beach. Today's guide is the boy from yesterday and he seems equally unenthusiastic about herding tourists.

The zoo is ok I s'pose but zoos aren't my thing exactly and I prefer animals to be in the wild, especially big cats and elephants etc. Unless a zoo has amazing enclosures and a proper conservation programme then entertainment is not a good enough reason for having animals in captivity in concrete cages. This one looks more like concrete than conservation.

The Napier museum is a much happier place. It is absolutely beautiful, particularly inside where the ceilings are gorgeously painted. The collection isn't bad either with a lot of dance and music artifacts from across Asia inc. Bali, Java and Japan.

Next it's the palace which was successor to yesterday's palace and has similar but not as intricate carvings and some real treasures such as an ivory throne and a crystal throne.

The complex isn't fully open but what we see is lovely and the Keralan style is enormously attractive.

The temple is closed to non-Hindus and is swathed in tarpaulin so there is little for us to see though the books say the gate is very special.

Veli tourist village is a slightly pointless stop. It's got a boating lake which is closed and a floating restaurant but it's in between meal times, and beach but we're going to the beach next! I'm not really sure why we stop here for 30 mins, it seems slightly pointless! But it's only 5rs - about 7p.

Last of all is the beach, the intention is to see the sunset and as with yesterday there is cloud and little chance of sunset. Today however, westay our allotted time, oh yes we do!

The hawkers, for once, couldn't give a toss about us, they really want the local families who will be far better pickings for glowing plastic tat. Plastic horns anyone?

The beach is relatively clean and there are lots of families and it's a pleasant place to sit. I paddle in the Arabian Sea!

Later, after getting a tuk tuk back home, we have fellow guests for dinner and conversation is lively and interesting.

Dinner is tandoori chicken, a brown lentil curry with cucumbers, dhal, and mushrooms sweet and sour but Indian style. The chicken is particularly good.

And then after much chat and a couple of beers it is bed.

One more day, it's gone rather quickly...

Hurtling towards journey's end



  1. Sounds lively, especially that meal! Will you have time to go back?

  2. We didn't make it back to the thali place but the Col's meals more than made up for it!