Trip Start Sep 02, 2012
Trip End Oct 10, 2012

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Where I stayed
Intrepid Kaleeveedu Lodge Kochi
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
Kochi jail

Flag of India  , Kerala,
Sunday, September 30, 2012

We said our goodbyes to our hosts, Tomichen, Nimmy, Ann Maria and Anto.  It was a privilege to have stayed with such a lovely family.  We then travelled back down the river to Apelley.  Our bus to Kochi was just a short 5 min walk from the quayside.

 We arrived in Kochi at 11.30am after a 2hr ride on the local bus, which I have to say rattled along at a fair old pace.  We are staying at the Intrepid Lodge - nice digs, pity it's only for a night.

 I'm starting to worry about Doris and her clothes situation. She keeps offloading bits here and there to make space in her case for more souvenirs - I'm concerned that by the time she reaches Goa she'll only have a pair of undies and a vest top!  She complains that her suitcase doesn't get any lighter, she's yet to realize that every time she goes out shopping she fills the vacated spot she's just created in her case!

  Kochi is a very old Port, it gets its name from the Chinese who came here to fish.  Ko means similar & Chi stands for China, they thought it reminded them of China, hence the name Kochi.  But it was Vasco De Gama the Portuguese explorer who in 1538 opened up trade with Kochi.  Dutch, Portuguese and English settled here to export spices etc back to their respective mother countries.  We walked along the harbor front where fishermen were still using the same kind of nets that the Chinese brought to Kochi all those years ago.  It reminded me of a kerb side fish supermarket.   They appeared to be doing some very brisk trade. There are some lovely buildings in Kochi, the influence of European architecture is quite evident.  Hope to explore a few more places tomorrow.     
 Kochi 1st October:  We had to get up early this morning to go to the indoor fish market at the harbour, 6 people were riding on bikes and 4 of us were going to take an auto-rickshaw.  About 5 mins before we were due to leave we got a phone call from Santo to say that only Indians were allowed into the market.  We found out later that buyers from overseas had visited the fish markets, undercover, posing as tourists, and had found things not quite to the standards they would like, so now the Indian authorities require Europeans to make an appointment and bring their passports.  Which means that the fish markets can do as they wish when not being officially inspected.  Makes you wonder if we have any control over health & hygeine standards when we import food into our country.  We were a bit disappointed, it would have been interesting to look at all the different fish varieties on sale.  Our next best option was to take an early morning walk down to the shoreline and watch the fishermen bring in their nets - we weren't banned from doing that.   

Santo had organised a very special lunch today. One of his friends gave us a cooking demonstration using the fish they had bought at the market.  First he made a fish stew, a popular dish of the region using tuna, this was followed by red snapper marinated in a marsala mix and deep fried.  It was nice, but there was a taste, which I think was black tamarind that I didn't quite like. 

  We left for the railway station at 3.45pm to catch the overnight train to Mysore.  We were split into 3 taxis and Santo had said that the journey would take about an hour.  After about 10 mins the driver asked Fred where were we going, Fred said " to the railway station" Fred then asked the driver why he didn't know where we were going.  The driver then asked Fred which station?  This is the time when you start to get a feeling in the pit of your stomach that things aren't quite right. Fred told him he had better phone one of the other drivers and find out where to take us.  The driver got on the phone, did a bit of a head wobble and a bit of shouting. We assumed all was well. Thirty minutes later we arrived at a railway station.  By now our senses were on red alert - this can't be right.  The travelling time to the station according to Santo was suppose to take an hour!  Our driver pulled up outside the station, jumped out and started getting our luggage out the boot of the car.  We were very aware that the other taxi's had set off before us, which meant that our fellow travellers should have been standing at the entrance of the station, as is the normal drill. We instinctively knew this was the wrong station.  Meanwhile, our driver was not happy that we had stopped him from removing our luggage from the boot of the car. Basically he wanted to dump us and run, things were becoming to complicated for him.  After 10 mins of him piss farting about on the phone, we managed to find Santo's number. We told the driver that he must call Santo, which he did, he speaks to someone, who obviously is not Santo.  He then told us that the message was that everyone was waiting for us on Platform 3.  We were all ready to lynch this lying little bugger.  I told him to ring Santo's number again, and this time I will  talk to him.  Finally I got to speak to Santo and gave him a quick run down of our situation.  I  then handed the phone back to the driver, who was told to take us to the correct station immediately. 

  We managed to get to the station on time with about 20 mins to spare. Crisis avoided.  Had we been foolish enough to get out the taxi and unload our luggage at the first station our driver had taken us to, we would probably have missed the train, which would have been a major cock-up!  The overnight trip went reasonably well, we shared a compartment with a really lovely Muslim couple and their 1yr old daughter.  The baby took an instant shine to Fred who quite happily kept her entertained till her bedtime. The young couple were really concerned that the baby might keep us awake in the night, but as it happened we didn't hear a peep out of her once she went off to sleep.   
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