Our afternoon started gently with a walk along the sea front to admire the Chinese fishing nets and get a feel for the coastline. These nets are one of the iconic features of the Keralan landscape – or so the Rough Guide told us. But to be honest they were a bit of a let down. We inspected one rig and were keenly encouraged to observe them haul in their whopping catch which consisted of one large pebble! Our chat with the head fisherman revealed the truth. These nets aren’t for catching fish… their main prey are tourists! And once you’re on one of these you’ve got to pay to get off.
As soon as we escaped from being strung up by the Chinese fishing net crew it started to rain. And not just any old rain. Each drop fell like a watery bomb soaking everything with its shrapnel. Wave after wave of damp artillery shells rained down on us to the extent that the gentleman in the picture below took pity on us and offered us his stall’s parasol as an umbrella. He escorted us through town like royalty to a quaint tea shop called Teapot. Before I’d had a chance to thank our umbrella man or give him some money for his kindness he’d disappeared like some sort of “angel of dryness” – one of India’s 36,000,000 Gods.
Cowie and I share many passions… but one of our strongest bonds has to be our mutual love of tea. I love tea as much as I used to hate Henry James’s “Portrait of a Lady” which famously begins,
“Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
Our very own Indian tea ceremony couldn’t have come at a better time… giving us respite from the pouring rain and allowing us a chance to plan the rest of our afternoon.
Teapot is mad. But brilliant It’s as if the Mad Hatter and the Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland were in charge. It’s the kind of place that should be featured in travel magazines and TV programmes because it is so unusual and cool.
They have a collection of teapots from around the world ranging from the stylish white and blue set below…
to the kitsch but awesome Siamese set here.
But my favourite piece was their special tea clock which constantly says it’s “tea o’clock”. Step aside Pimms… Teapot got there first!
I loved the tea inspired sketches that adorned the crumbling walls almost as much as Cowie loved the tables that were made from tea chests.
Our afternoon tea which came with a slice of coffee and walnut cake was brilliant. They realised we were from British and served our tea in a London themed tea pot! So civilised and quaint it’s a memory that will stay with me forever.
Feeling greedy and curious (plus ca change) I ordered some Indian rarebits which aren’t particularly like Welsh rarebits! They’re a sort of deep fried eggy spicy savoury nibble that isn’t too far from being like a samosa or baaji. Very tasty indeed. Much more my cup of tea than Cowies!
Feeling recharged, dried out and utterly engulfed by Teapot’s charms we did something quite reckless… we went for a full body Indian massage. This may not seem terribly “out there” but if you carry on reading you’ll see why!
I’ve never been a big fan of massages… Cowie loves them but I don’t really like being touched very much. But what could possibly go wrong?
We walked next door to the Ayurvedic centre and booked ourselves in. Cowie was immediately whisked upstairs to the women only area and I was left downstairs to await my fate. I think my parting words to Cowie were, “I don’t really like being touched… but don’t worry they’ll probably just rub my shoulders a bit and it will be fine”.
A red faced Brit emerged with a big grin and an even bigger bounce to his step looking like he’d just emerged from a Formula 1 pit stop. No sooner than he had paid up and zoomed off than I had taken his place. I was led down a dark, narrow, dusty corridor to a low ceilinged room with some mosquitoes, a sordid black mattress and a hard wooden bench for company. It was as if I was about to be tortured by Jack Bauer.
A podgy Indian man wearing just an orange loin cloth instructed me to take my clothes off which I did automatically, but not completely enough for his liking. This was the first indication that I was about to get a bit more of a “full body” massage than I had bargained for.
Now naked, I was invited to sit on the hard wooden bench whilst two loin clothed Indian men rubbed “aromatic oil” into me from the front and behind. Now, I’m sure this oil has special therapeutic qualities but as far I could tell I was being basted in curry oil and prepared for the grill.
I struggled to keep a straight face as various naked men wondered through the room. I was wishing I was still having tea and cake next door! After they’d oiled me up and given my back and shoulders a go pounding I was moved to the black mattress on the floor which is when things started getting super weird.
It all began innocently enough with the men taking it in turns to do a series of rubs that travelled from the chest up to the hands and from the foot to the knee. My groin was off limits. But then it all got a bit odd. If you’re under the age of 18 look away now or get parental consent.
Whilst lying on my back they manoeuvred my legs vertically into a pseudo lotus position which left me terribly exposed. I felt like a trussed turkey. They played with various positions before I was allowed to lie normally again. But the relief was short lived.
You need to know that I was hanging to the left… so I was very anxious when the chap on my left started doing his sweeping massage moves that stretched the length of my body. To begin with it was fine. He took a wide berth around my groin and my raging fear subsided. But this caution didn’t last very long. Each time his hands smoothed past my groin the end of his finger very gently caught the end of my cock. The first time it happened I just ignored it and thought he must have made a mistake. But after this has had rhythmically happened for 5 minutes on the trot I was getting seriously worried! If I wasn’t careful I was going to get a stiffy in front of 2 naked Indian men who I’d never met! I could feel ever increasing amounts of blood flowing down south… I could feel my cock begin to lift ever so slightly off my leg. O my God. This was serious.
So I concentrated like I’ve never concentrated before and tried to think of something so un-sexual that it would put an end to the brewing disaster! My mind selected vegetables as it’s subject. WHY?!! Potatoes. Balls. Cucumber. Cock. Melons. Breasts. Banana. Cock. Orange. Boobs. Holy shit… we’re almost at half mast.
And then my mind stumbled across broccoli and cauliflower which seemed to work. Simply thinking about steamed broccoli and cauliflower cheese worked perfectly. I could feel the blood gushing out of my willy and crisis being averted. I simply can’t tell you how relieved was or how grateful I am to both cauliflowers and broccoli – they saved me from being utterly humiliated.
I emerged from my massage a broken man and was greeted with the world’s biggest hug from Cowie who couldn’t believe my ordeal, or that I didn’t just walk out! Travelling is all about collecting new experiences and trying new things that you can wheel out at dinner parties. I’ve now got an absolute show stopper up my sleeve!
Hopefully this now means I’ll never have to have another massage ever again! Unless we go to Thailand of course…