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 travelled back down the river to Apelley, where we caught a bus to Kochi. 
 It was a 2hr ride to Kochi on the local bus, which I have to say rattled along at a fair old pace.  Arrived at Kochi at 11.30am and checked into the Intrepid Lodge - nice digs, pity it's only for a night.  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. Their catch was available to sell to the public. There are some lovely buildings here, the influence of European architecture is quite evident.  Hope to explore a few more places tomorrow.    
 1st Oct Kochi  Got up early to go to the fish market at the harbour, 6 people were riding on bikes and 4 of us were to take an auto-rickshaw.  About 5 mins before we were due to leave we got a phone call from Santo to say that Indians only 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 they can do as they wish when not being officially inspected.  Makes you wonder if we have any control of health & hygeine standards when we import food into our country.  We decided that as we were already awake we would take an early morning walk down to the shoreline and watch the fishermen bring in their nets - we weren't banned from doing that
At lunchtime Santo organised for one of his friends to give 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 and then 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.  He 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 and we assume all is well.  After travelling 30 mins we arrive at a railway station.  Our senses are on red alert - this can't be right, it is suppose to take an hour!  The driver jumps out and starts trying to get our luggage out the boot.  We were also aware that the other cars had set off before us, which meant that they should have been standing at the entrance of the station, as is the normal drill. We instinctively knew this was the wrong station.  The driver was not happy that we have stopped him from removing our luggage from the boot as basically he wants to dump us and run! After 10 mins piss farting about on the phone, we find Santo's number and tell him to ring him which he does, and speaks to someone obviously not Santo and tells us that everyone is waiting for us on Platform 3.  We are about to lynch this lying little bugger and tell him to ring Santo's number, and this time I will  talk to him.  Finally I got to speak to Santo and give him a quick run down on our situation.  I  then hand the phone back to the driver and he is told to take us to the correct station. 
 We got to the station on time, crisis avoided.  Had we been foolish enough to get out the taxi and unload our luggage, we would probably have missed the train, which would have been a major cock-up!  The overnight train 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. They 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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