It’s Friday so we must be in Cochin. We had to endure a face-face customs inspection. While this sometimes conjures up fears of mad rushes and pushing, on this cruise there is none of that. People actually pay attention to the announcements and get on with it. By 10:00 over 1000 people had been processed!
We met Gisela and Chas at the exit. We jointly decided that this was good karma and so we arranged for a taxi for the day (4 hours) to drive us around. The only specific destination was the Dohby Khana, the local clothes washing facility. Chas had taken a photo of a young girl there several years prior and he was determined to find her again.
Cochin had Portuguese, Dutch and English rulers/invaders before India gained its independence. These influences are seen every where, from churches to cemeteries to peoples names. Our first stop was the wash area. Chas found the parents and grand parents of the young girl. She is now in school. Nearby there were some interesting sights, which is of course always the case in India. This type of laundry is being threatened by progress in the form of washing machines. There is considerable resistance to this modernization.
We head off to the Indo-Portuguese Museum. We visited there 2 years ago, you are no longer allowed to take photos so we will treasure the ones we took then. The chains used to channel rain water always fascinate me, no chance of leaves blocking the pipes. There is a boys school nearby, with the usual football game of course.
We next visited Fort Kochi where we dip our feet into the Lakshadweep Sea. The beach attracted more people who were prepared to take advantage of the surf. Nearby is a Dutch Cemetery. It is normally closed but we were fortunate that someone with a key was there. We had a good walk around. The majority of the grave stones are unreadable but a few look like they were restored or recreated.
There were 2 obligatory shopping stops, both had good quality wares but the second is where the urge to buy overtook the ladies. Carpets from Kashmir didn’t make it onto the must-have list though. By this time we were all getting hungry. There are so many wonderful food smells along the roads from small stalls, it was inevitable that we would succumb. We stopped at what was obviously a tourist focused restaurant. Looked great but it was already full of tourists. Our driver was convinced to take us ‘to somewhere where you would eat’. This worked! The result was a typical meal, eating with right hand. Very clean, very flavourful food at half the price of the other place.
By this time it was getting close to the end of our day. This was our second visit to Cochin and it still has much more to offer in the way of sights to see. If you are ever there, please email Xavier, he is a great driver and guide. savioimu @ gmail . com