Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

Yes, a foot massage sounds great!!!

On Monday, Michael was picked up and headed to the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER) to give the first two of his 8 talks.  As he drove off, I decided to take a stroll around the hotel complex and ended up at the beach.  I could see a large crowd on the walkway (including the contents of a small tour bus) and being a true “sticky beak” (Australian for nosy person), I hurried to see what was happening.   I was NOT disappointed!!  The crowd were all looking down to the sea…..


…watching a large group of men pull in and clean out a fishing net.  At one point, I counted 58 men working together on one of the nets.

They were in the process of cleaning out one of the nets that had already been pulled in and it was fun to watch them discard the jellyfish out of the nets….they were flying EVERYWHERE!!!  IMG_7955

The fish were loaded into the orange bins and then the prawns were picked up separately and loaded into another bucket.  Many of them were mixed in with the jelly fish and the men were carefully picking them out.

After the net was empty an even larger crowd gathered to buy the fish that had just been caught……


I saw one man receive 5 or 6 small fish (presumably payment for his help) and then roll them into his dhoti (skirt like thing), tuck it at his waist and then walk over to help with the next net coming in!!!

Meanwhile, a second net was beginning to be towed in so I waited happily to see the entire process.   Expectedly, I gathered a friend…..one who had a cousin that could give me a massage and a brother that could take me to the Backwater!!   After I assured him that we had all of our sight seeing adventures planned and under control, he just started talking to me about the fishing process. 

He said that the nets were set by the row boats that you could see in the distance . Initially, there would only be one or two men holding the ropes but eventually they would be joined by more…..


….and more men, finally splitting into two groups, each pulling on one side of the net….


Then a group of men waded out into the ocean to help guide the ropes and nets further.  If you blow this photo up, you can see the boats in the distance and can follow the white buoys (Styrofoam) that indicate where the net is…..IMG_7968

More and more men climbed down the rocks and  joined the pull as they were needed……IMG_7982

One older gentleman stood nearby and I was amazed at his toes…..


Eventually my entrepreneurial friend figured out that I wasn’t going to buy anything and left to focus on the next group of white people who showed up!!!

As the nets are being pulled in, there is one person who is tasked with rolling the ropes and nets without getting them tangled.  It was quite a process….


In this  video, you can see him rolling the rope with the three men in front of him guiding the rope into his hands.  You can also see the men in the water and the boats in the distance.  Also, notice that as each man gets to the end of the queue, he returns to the front to continue to help with the towing process…..

Kerala Fishermen #1

In this second video you can see that the rope has now given way to the net and that they are carefully pulling the nets in to shore.  You can also see how the current pulls them back toward the ocean and that they use the incoming waves to help them…..

Kerala Fishermen #2

The singing and chanting got more intense as they became  closer to fulfilling their duty and that just made for more excitement on shore as well.

The nets had both sinkers (rocks tied at intervals to the rope) and floaters (bags of Styrofoam to keep the net above the water.

At one point a hefty rope was placed around the net to help with the pulling process.  In this last video, the net is safely on shore and all of the workers stand on it to keep it there…

Kerala Fishermen #3

I loved this photo showing their intense concentration as they pulled….


As this final drama was playing out, I looked over at the first net that had been pulled in and found that they were now washing it out in the ocean…..


….and then pulling it back in to get it ready for loading on the boat tomorrow….IMG_7988

This is QUITE a process!!!!

I looked at my watch and realized that it was time for me to go for my scheduled massage so I left before the second net was unloaded.  My friend told me that they do this every morning so I hope that Michael will be able to join me on the walkway to watch this drama unfold on another day

Now, I had never done massages prior to this year but one of my clients gave me a gift certificate for Christmas and I enjoyed it so much that I pledged to get one every 2 weeks during tax season.  I went to Kaylee at our gym and I honestly believe that she helped my tax season go easier just with her magic fingers!!

So, at this hotel and spa they have two different types of massages and I decided to try something new.  The state of Kerala is known as the home of the Ayurvedic Massage which is a specialized massage that makes large use of therapeutic and herbal oils.  So, when in Kerala…….

They had over 15 different types of massages and I was having trouble deciding which to do but the “Rejuvenation Massage” looked interesting as it was a mixture of a general massage and  foot massage.  I booked my 1-1/2 hour massage (for just $US28) and waited excitedly for my appointment.  When I got there the clerk emphasized that it was general and foot massage and was that ok.   I answered in the affirmative, remembering an enjoyable  foot massage that I had received in Bangkok.

I was introduced to my masseuse….a TINY lady….just over 4 feet tall.  When I sat on the stool  I was still taller than she was!!!

I entered my room, expecting low light, a comfortable, warm  table and some soft music….WRONG!!!!


The thing that concerned me most was the rope hanging from the ceiling!!!!

ShuRan (my trainer for the morning)  gave me my instructions and had me sit on a small stool and…..we were off.   Now, Kaylee normally asks if I am worried about my hair.  No such question here!!  She filled her hand with an oil (smelled coconut-ish) and slathered it directly on the top of my head.  She then worked it into my scalp for about 15 minutes.

Next she turned on a propane stove and heated a small bowl of oil (no idea what kind this was….could have been vegetable oil for all I know)!!!  She took a handful of this delightfully warm oil and started working on my back and shoulders…..it was heavenly.

Then she asked me to lay down on the floor mat and, as she removed her shoes and washed her feet, I realized that she was going to use her feet to do a portion of the massage!!!  She hung expertly onto the rope and carefully continued the massage adding more oil at every turn.  About 10 minutes into this I realized that when they said “FOOT MASSAGE” they didn’t mean MY feet but HER feet!!!

I then moved to the table (NOT soft by the way) and she finished the massage, ending up with a sweet smelling cream on my face and neck.

There was no soft music, but it was fun to listen to the ocean waves and calls of the birds as I relaxed.

All thru this I was wondering exactly what this oil was going to do to my clothes when I re-dressed, but I shouldn’t have worried about it.  She provided a heavy robe for me to dress in although I did feel a bit weird walking back to the room with my clothes in a bag under my arm!!!

After looking the mirror and seeing that I did indeed look like a Lobster dipped in butter……photo

….I hopped in the shower and tried to get the oil out of my hair, ears, nose, eyelids and between my toes!!!  

The experience was so much fun and I am glad that I did it. 

One thing that surprised me is that I have not been sore at all.  Often at home, I am sore for a couple of days and since this was a much deeper massage, I expected to be really achy for the rest of the day.  Instead, I just felt relaxed and comfortable!!!

So, once again, while Michael worked, I got to experience a wonderful slice of this amazing country!!!

2 thoughts on “Yes, a foot massage sounds great!!!

  1. The fishing process looks really interesting. A lot of man power needed for that one. Was it a big catch? It sure is a good way to guarantee that the fish you are buying are fresh.Your massage sounds like quite an experience. You may have to plan another.

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