The Crows Of Fort Cochin

[S02E01] Finally, after a year’s absence! Welcome to the brand new followtheboat podcasts! In this first episode we take a nice, gentle stroll around Fort Cochin, the area in Kochi where the European adventurers settled after opening up trade routes between Asia and Europe. It’s a typically warm day so Liz hides under the shade of the tree-lined avenues, forever surrounded by the cawing of crows.

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Meenakshi Amman Temple Of Madurai

Last time we left you we’d been wandering the back streets of Madurai and offered plenty of photographic evidence of its energy. In this post Liz gives a more cerebral account of our experience in this fabulous city, taking in the huge Meenakshi temple, which wouldn’t look out of place in Disney World. Her guide teaches Liz about the five sense, and they’re not the sense you or I learned about at school. Strangely every single photograph taken inside the temple ‘disappeared’ from Jamie’s camera, but we have plenty more images of the huge ‘gopurams’, as well as the people of Madurai. Liz’s prose is what travel writing is all about…

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The Magic And Madness Of Madurai

Having finally made it to Madurai after our fairground ride through the Western Ghats, we were able to relax, put on the walking boots and go for a romp through the back streets of this great city. It is full of strange wonders and fascinating people. This post, with its many photographs, captures just a small part of this: street vendors, manual labourers, layabouts, kids, beggars and strange architecture…

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Pongal, Pilgrims And Palani

In the previous post we finished somewhere in the middle of the Western Ghats, lost, yet the journey up until that point had been fascinating. Not only were the local people preparing for the fantastically named ‘Pongal’, a celebration not too dissimilar to Harvest back at home, but Tamil Nadu was over-run with pilgrims from all over India. As we drove in one direction, so there were thousands of pilgrims walking barefooted the other way, heading towards the temple in Palani that wouldn’t look too out of place in a James Bond film.

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Getting Lost In The Western Ghats

Over the next month we will be serialising our road trip of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the two southern-most states of India. We cover 1,200km, ascend over 2,000m, get lost in the mountains, rub shoulders with gods and relax in tea plantations. The eight or so posts will come out on Mondays and Thursdays, where each new episode continues from the last. They return to what followtheboat was always about: documenting our observations of the people we meet and places we visit through words and pictures. Lots of pictures! We start by taking in the incredible Western Ghats, the huge mountain range that divides India and dictates the monsoons. Just don’t hire the driver we had the misfortune to end up with…

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Colaba, Downtown Mumbai

Colaba is downtown Mumbai. It’s the gentrified part of the city where university buildings sit next to the law courts, art deco apartment blocks and 60s prefabs. It is also the first part of Mumbai that we, as yotties having arrived by boat, get to see. My brother, having seen the photographs, described it as a tropical London. That’s not far off the mark.

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This is the first of three sets from this country of contrasts. What is there to say about Eritrea that my photographs don’t already tell you? I can tell you that everyone I know who has visited Eritrea puts it up there as one of their favourite countries visited and I think it is perhaps my fave country of all time. It is the second poorest country in the world. Just remember that when you clock the amount of smiles captured here.

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The People Of Sudan

Suakin has to be seen to be believed. It is one reason why I took so many photographs of both people and buildings. Along the dusty road from the anchorage and old city lies the market, and behind the market, the residential area. The market is surrounded by wooden buildings that look more at home in The House of Fun, such is the angle at which they sit. It is the residential area, however, that really shocks. More buildings made of any scrap of cardboard, metal or wood have been cobbled together to provide some kind of shelter from the sun.

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