Published: April 15th 2011April 15th 2011
Pretty on the outside...
I’ve discovered the exact location of purgatory. It’s platform one at Ernakulam station. The only shred of evidence to the contrary was a gaggle of nuns who turned up for a while, but then maybe they were doing time for cursing or eating fish on the wrong day. Anyways, they sure as hell got to leave a lot faster than I did. I was waiting for the 3pm train to Coimbatore that the man on the loudspeaker kept promising was on its way. When it still hadn’t appeared by 10pm I knew that he was lying, there was no train.
Aside from the lying, purgatory isn’t too bad. There’s food and chai-wallahs, the temperature is at the pleasant point where you sweat just enough to avoid having to use the bathroom (waiting at stations is a two person job, else you have to squat with your backpack on and it’s a bit tricky to get back up…). It does smell though. And there’s the waiting. And the staring. India is not the country to visit if you are shy or paranoid.
I was waiting in Ernakulam station after having spent two pleasant days in Fort Kochi, an island off mainland
Kerala which still displays the relics of it’s former colonisers. There’s the Chinese fishing nets that adorn the coast and the old British timber cottages and cobbled streets nestled around two huge cathedrals that dominate the town. There’s the catholic one which is stunning from the outside but oddly decorated in gaudy pinks, turquoise and gold inside (it is Portuguese I guess); and then the Protestant one which, from the outside, looks old and grubby, but on the inside is elegantly decked out in blue and white. I think you’d have to get married in the later but have your photos taken outside the former.
There’s not much else to do in Kochi, it’s a pretty place and filled with lovely restaurants - I’d say it would be a lovely place to visit as a couple but for the single traveller it’s lacking a little in amusements. There is of course the Indo-Portuguese museum, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Unless seeing various statues of Jesus on a cross is your thing (each one attempting to be more gruesome than the last), in that case go for it - there must be over 300 in there. And there is the
exciting cellar that ‘contains the remnants of the old Portuguese Fort Immanuel’ otherwise known as a bit of wall that some thought it best not to concrete over….
Eventually, after nearly 10hrs of waiting my train did limp into Ernakulam station and it was off to Ooty with me. No explanation was ever given as to where it had been.
There are more photos below