Cochin, Kochi - India

Published: April 12th 2018
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This morning we arrived in Cochin (Ko-chin) or Kochi, India. I could tell Craig wasn’t really thrilled to be here. We left the ship and went through a very bureaucratic procedure of Indian customs. They love paperwork and rubber stamping – thanks to the teachings of the Dutch and English centuries ago. It was hot but thankfully a dry heat. We waded through the offers of Tuk Tuks to get outside the pier gates. We had no plan and were going to start walking the 7 kms into town. Upon leaving the pier gates we were faced with a swarm of taxi and Tuk Tuk drivers. We hadn’t got very far and we were approached by a driver who offered 3 hours for $5, so we got in his Tuk Tuk. The driver’s name was Anas. We thought road rules in Sri Lanka were non-existent, that was nothing to what we were going to experience. Our driver took us to a Hindu temple and thank goodness we didn’t have to go inside, as we were all templed out. The main religion in Cochin is Buddhist, Christian and then Hindu. We visited a beautiful old Catholic church and had a look inside right before a mass was to start. We visited a few souvenir shops that specialised in selling silk rugs, which were beautiful, cashmere, pashmere and silk scarfs and lots of ornaments of elephants, camels and water buffalo. Water Buffalo are sacred animals in India. We met some lovely locals, some of these people come from Cashmere region and the rugs and scarfs are made there by hand. The money they make is shared amongst the Cashmere families.

We visited Jew Town, there are only 3 Jews left, one of them is aged 96. There are lots of spice shops and Craig brought some ground spices to add to his cooking repertoire. I spotted a goat sitting at someone’s front door and went and said hello. She was busy eating a banana. After that we saw goats just wandering around the streets. They are used for their milk. There was lots of rubbish lying around and some spare blocks had rubbish dumped and it stank – goats were also eating the rubbish. Our driver took us to a massage place and we had an hour massage. Craig was massaged by a young man and I had a young girl, as you have to have same sex masseurs. Our massages were good. We went and saw the Chinese Fishing Nets which are lowered into the sea each morning to catch fish. We stopped by a restaurant so Craig could have Kingfisher beer and we could use their wi-fi. I was getting anxious as the ship was due to leave at 5:30pm and we were still in down-town Cochin at 4:50pm. Our driver was terrific and anxious to get us back before time as we told him that if we missed the ship we would need to stay at his home. The trip back to the ship was an interesting experience as there was a lot of traffic and our driver tried to overtake whenever he could..or could not…We managed to arrive at the ship at 5:15 and was relieved to see a big line as the bureaucracy was still going on even when we were trying to get back on the ship and had to have our papers checked at 2 checkpoints. With everyone having to go through this process, you can imagine how long the process was taking.

We had been gone in the Tuk Tuk for over 7 hours and Craig and I really enjoyed the experience and would say we enjoyed Cochin more than Colombo. At dinner that night the Captain addressed the guests to apologise about the customs process and to let us all know that we weren’t leaving until late because the Indian authorities had decided to now stamp ALL (3000+) passports – to say he was exasperated is an understatement.


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