Weary travellers - just passing through...

Trip Start Nov 01, 2012
Trip End Nov 27, 2012

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Where I stayed
Mostly on airoplanes and trains!
What I did
BIG rain!

Flag of India  , Kerala,
Friday, November 2, 2012

Right, just a quick post to let all you keen watchers know that part one - the trip to and transit to and transit through Kochi has been achieved.

It was reasonably eventful and we'll add some details shortly....

Right, here goes: a brief resume of our 10 hours in Ernakulam.  [Jane's comments added in square brackets]

Tip number one for any potential travellers to India who, like myself, might like to indulge in a
little glass of red whilst flying. Don't book with Kuwait Airways!   Whilst their service and catering was fine, the choice of beverages was, for me, sadly lacking....

Tip number two for all you travellers. If you need to catch a connecting flight at Kuwait City Airport, an hour is only just enough!! Yes, we caught our connecting flight but we certainly didn't get the coffee (or large glass of red!) that we craved....

So, five and three quarter hours to Kuwait, an hour changeover and four and a half  hours to Kochi andit was all going pretty well. Even the bags turned up despite the fact that we'd not seen them since Heathrow. All we needed to do now was to pop along in a taxi to the railway station.

Now bear in mind that we landed at 4am and it was still very dark. We exited the airport through a crowd that wouldn't have been out of place at an Indian Test Match and it's pouring down! Yes, absolutely bucketting.... We have no idea what taxi's look like in India (they're white in Kochi!), it's pitch black and we've copped the back end of a monsoon. It didn't actually take long for us to find a taxi but by the time we did, we were so wet that all the windows in the taxi steamed up instantly adding a touch of interest to the drive into Ernakulam (where our train was pre-booked to leave from). Now the road from Kochi airport to Ernakulam is straight, it's quite fast and it's absolutely covered with big trucks that all appear to have been serviced at a garage where they specialise in taking bulbs out of the rear lights! Half of them had no lights at all at the back. Yes, I can be sure of that even though I couldn't actually see out through the steamed up windscreen. [Jane: I sat fairly silently in the back with no view whatsover other than these huge elaborately decorated lorries and very aware of the horns of all sundry vehicles – noisy or what!]

Oh, and for those who are interested, they drive on the left in India. Well, most of them do... - sometimes....

Anyway, we got to the station in one piece, and thankfully in good time for our train. Having checked and re-set our watches, we worked out that we only had - er - nine hours to kill. And no, my rucksack of 19kg wasn't feeling too heavy yet... On the plus side though, at least it was light by now. Dawn came up in double quick time. I've never seen it go from pitch black to light so quickly. And the rain was dying down so we found the left luggage, committed to the 25 pence to store both our bags for the day and headed off into town with the commuter rush hour.

It wasn't imrpessive, our first sight of Ernakulam! The prospect of nine hours here was "daunting" to say the least.

Anyway, we walked for twenty minutes or so and came across "the sea". Well, it's not actually "the sea" but part of the backwaters for which the area is well known. And this particular backwater has been commandeered for commercial activities and contained the biggest bloody cargo ship I've ever seen. I suppose somewhere has to be the workhorse of the area. It was just a touch worrying that the hotel we've booked for when we return in a couple of weeks is on the "island" (Fort Cochi) just on the other side of this particular backwater..

Anyway, they've made a nice job of tidying up the promenade called Marine Parade, so we took a seat for half an hour to take in the view and use up some of the "float" in our programme. Hot news: Marine Parade seems to be a "carousing walk" for young Indian gay men!! We were soon surrounded - but unaccosted....

It was now almost 9.15am - only four and three quarters hours to go. In need of some "facilities" and there being no such amenities available, we blagged our way into a posh hotel for coffee and use of their amenities. That took up another forty five minutes - fantastic... And a nice view of the chaps taking a walk on Marine Parade to boot... - with monster cargo ships in the water beyond!

Breakfast next. We had two reviews to go on. Coffee Beanz wasn't up to the standard required.  It had closed down! So we went to the India Coffee House where we had a traditional Indian breakfast, hot, sweet coffee with toast and jam. Sadly, we couldn't quite work out how to order the chapatis and bowls of Indian stuff that the locals were tucking into. Another day...

The sun had come out by now and we were refreshed! So we walked. We walked the "cloth" market area, the "builders merchants" market area, the "plumbers" market area, the "we make anything you could possibly want in steel" market area, the "electrical" market area and finally the "gold" market area. Sadly, Jane didn't find the "jewellery" market area or the "clothes" market area. Heyho...

Back to the station now. It's about 35 degrees and, at a guess, 90% humidity. "Sticky". Goodoh, only three hours to wait for our train.

Anyway, we survived the wait, retrieved our bags, bought water and a small curry (biriani - 60 pence) from a guy on the station and a couple of curried pastries and claimed our berths at 2pm local time....

That's "Kochi part one" from me. Heading for Cavelossim next....

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