We breakfasted in another of the charming little cafes that Old Cochin was becoming memorable for. In and amongst the whitewashed alleyways nestled various small eateries offering different options for any meal of the day; today we chose a small guesthouse with a wonderful walled back garden that was the patron’s own back garden. She moved some of her personal possessions off her wrought-iron garden furniture so that we could eat our French Toast, bread, jam and tea out there under the banana tree. The previous morning we had sat in a shady garden of a slightly larger cafe with solid wooden seats built into the white walls and, pretending to read the morning papers, had quietly eavesdropped upon a group of North American expats who were discussing how lazy their garden workers were being.
Over in the noisy, polluted new town of Cochin, we began our long, disjointed journey north to the Wayanad National Park that lay up in the Western Ghats to the north. Changing at several different junctions, our slow, trundling train journey was more reminiscent of the Sri Lankan Hill Country that the steady blur of the Tamil Nadu plains rushing past our window that we had grown accustomed to. As a result, we only got as far as the limit of the railway’s reach at the dirty strip-town of Nalimbur before stopping for the night in a grubby, cheap room above a small shopping centre.