Published: April 25th 2012April 25th 2012
friend Ann from Vancouver at roof top Pumpkin Cafe in Cochin where she, her husband and me had curry lunch and black coffee.
Nautica reached Cochin, India early this morning. I was up at dawn as usual to take my hour walk around the exercise deck. I really believe that the most memorable moments from this voyage may be experiencing the beauty of the sun coming up over exotic new lands. This morning was no exception. There had been rain during the night so the air was very humid, but there was a slight breeze and calmer seas. The sun coming up over the Indian sub-continent was just awesome. A rainbow appeared out of a dark cloud mass to the west. I took that as a good omen for the day.
Nautica is now in the port of Cochin, Indian. Bill is off to a overnight visit to the Taj Mahal at Agra. I couldn’t justify the cost of more than $1,500. Instead I disembarked the ship by myself and wandered out the port gate. I was determined to explore this beautiful, ancient city on foot. I eventually ran into a very nice couple from Vancouver Island and together we decided to see what we could see.. We became lost a couple of times but we had no fear. Eventually we
street scene showing goats lounging along the curb.
found a local ferry that took us and a large group of local Hindu and Moslem folks across the bay to the oldest part of Cochin. The ferry trip cost 3 rupees each or about 6 cents U.S. I have found that the best way to take in the local culture is to use the same transportation the natives use. What a fun day we had!
We wandered along the promenade by the sea and passed dozens of goats wandering aimlessly around eating whatever they could find. At several intersections we had to wait for a herd of emaciated cows to amble by. The Hindu women are beautiful and dressed in brightly colored saris. The Muslim ladies wear head scarves but are also fashionably attired. The children are all smiles and just adorable. I know I shouldn’t say this but the men all tend to look alike with their black mustaches and white clothing. We stumbled across St. Francis church built in the mid 1500s and the oldest Christian church in India. We also visited the Santa Cruz Basilica and the Dutch Palace at Mattancherry. The Dutch and Portuguese fought over this city for centuries before the
Jenohn at the Cochin laundry. Temperature was 42 degrees C. or about 114 degrees F.
British came and it became part of the British Empire. As in Hong Kong, and Bangkok, folks here drive mostly on the left side of the road. Of course in practice as in Vietnam they tend to drive where ever the hell they want.
Wandering around the narrow old streets and taking in the local flavor was fantastic. We stopped at a spice market where the scent of exotic spices and perfumes was over-whelming. We walked by a couple of Hindu temples but could not go in because non Hindu folks, and only higher caste Hindus, are allowed inside. At one place we walked around the “clothes washing” site where hundreds of local come to do their laundry by scrubbing and pounding their clothes on concrete slabs and then hang them up on rope clothes lines to dry in a huge communal drying area. One very thin old man dressed only in a loin cloth was taking in ironing and using an 15 pound iron that was heated with burning charcoal inside it. I’ll never complain about doing my laundry again.
The highlight of the day came when we discovered a roof top café
Port of Cochin
M/S Nautica in Cochin
in a side street called “The Pumpkin”. We clamored up two flights of steep, dark stairs to get to the outside deck where we were the only patrons except for a young German couple. I ordered vegetable curry soup which came with a sort of flat bread which I rolled up and dipped in the soup. I also had a hot cup of very black Indian coffee. It was exceeding hot and humid today and I had been told that it is best to have a hot drink rather than a cold one in hot weather. I believe it worked, though by the time I returned to the ship I was completely soaked in sweat. We eventually took two more trips in local water taxis across the bay before returning to the ship. At one point Ann and Don and I hired a tuk tuk driver to whisk us around to a couple of places. I am thankful we weren’t killed in the process. I held my breath as the little three wheeled vehicle careened down narrow streets zipping around pedestrians, busses, cows, goats, motorcycles and deep potholes. The entire day cost me a grand total of 140 rupees. An
Aboard local ferry in Cochin harbor, Nautica in the back ground
Indian rupee is worth about 2 cents, so that means I forked over a total of $2.80 for a fabulous day exploring a beautiful part of India. I am having a super time. Now I am headed to my stateroom for a good night’s sleep. Nautica is steaming toward Mumbai which we will reach on the 27th.
There are more photos below