Monday, March 20
Aspinwall House, Kochi, 14:33
I had a night of nightmares and sleeplessness. This morning after breakfast, Irma went swimming in the pool and I lay down on the bed. The result: she met the Australian watercolourist and I didn’t.
We walked down to Aspinwall House for the biennale, but stopped on the way at Cabral Yard. I climbed up a steel installation and we both walked around a leaf-based hut. Even better, we sat at the café. Irma had a chai and I had a proper home-made samosa.
The slow walk around Aspinwall House, where at least 45 artists had exhibitions and installations, took most of the day. Sometime in the middle, after literally wading through Raul Zurita’s Sea of Pain, we sit on benches designed by Camille Norment, that emit low groans and moans from time to time, sometimes forming a kind of choir. I watch a few people walk out the other end of the space onto a short jetty where they stand in forty degrees of sunlight.
We will carry on for another hour or so, liking The Pyramid of Exiled Poets, which Valerie Mejer Caso may (or may not) have created: a giant structure through which we will walk a long, twisted path in pitch darkness, listening to readings of dead poets.
Afterwards we will walk down to the ferry and sit in a beer garden comparing notes and drinking Kingfisher.
In the evening we will return to Tissa’s Inn by tuk-tuk, via a rip-off tourist fabric shop. (“Can you do me a favour? I get free gasoline if you go into the shop. Then I give you free ride.”) We will both order Trio Fish and fried ice-cream. We will ask for starters but we will get them after the main course.
I won’t mind: I will get king prawns cooked in hot garlic sauce.