#4 – Laundry, Fishing, Dancing (Gaye)

Our group trundles out of the air conditioned bus to face the 36 degree heat and explore a traditional Indian laundry.

The day's work is almost done except for ironing. This is primarily men's work because the clothes are soaked in salt, scrubbed with coconut husk and then beaten on stones. They are hung on fibre clothes lines with no pegs and then ironed. Shirts are starched with water left over from cooking rice. Im not sure the secret but the clothes are white, white. No greys in this wash. This man is 79 - his job is ironing. He's worked in the Laundry for 65 years. He's so proud to share this fact!

Next we visit a site where fishing is accomplished with traditional Chinese fishing nets. This is a very old and dying practice here. The nets are lowered into the water using these long booms and it takes about 6 men to hoist them up again. The fish is sold to bidders at an auction. I don't think I would dare to eat this fish that had been exposed to this heat all day but obviously someone does. The place is rife with feral cats looking for fish scraps.

Onto the bus for an experience of traditional Kathakali dancing. The male dancers are elaborately made up. There are two drummers and a singer who plays a type of cymbal. A Kathakali performance, like all classical dance arts of India, includes music, vocal performers, hand and facial gestures to express ideas, and footwork. However, Kathakali differs in its style and incorporates movements from the ancient martial arts and athletic traditions of south India. Kathakali is also different in that the structure and details of its art developed in the courts and theatres of Hindu principalities, unlike other classical Indian dances which primarily developed in Hindu temples and monastic schools. It's pretty wild. I never thought that it was possible to have such face flexibility.

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