Cochin

Trip Start Jan 10, 2010
1
8
25
Trip End Apr 12, 2010


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Where I stayed
Union Home Stay

Flag of India  , Kerala,
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fortunately the bus ride back to
Calicut was much quicker than the way up and we arrived with plenty of
time to get some food before our 4pm train down to Kochi (Cochin).
Cochin
is made up of a number of islands and part of the mainland, connected
by both road bridges and ferries. The nicest place to stay is out on
the islan of Fort Cochin, but sinc our train arrived on at 8 onthe
evening we decides to stay on the mainland in Ernakulem and catch a
ferry across in the morning.

On
Thursday we caught the 30 minute ferry, only 2.5 rupees (about 3
pence), out to Fort Cochin island. After a bit of hunting around for a
good priced room we found a small guest house run by a lady name Annie,
who was much more friendly and accommodating than the other places we
had tried.

Walking round the island we
watched the fishermen using their huge crane-net-thingies all along the
water, although most of them seemed to be catching more looks from
onlooking tourists than fish! We had a go at helping one of the crews
pulling the nets up, and the guy in charge told us that the fishing has
been really bad in the last few weeks. The number of fish admittedly
did look low, but I think he mainly just wanted us to give him money as
he kept mentioning Euros and Dollars!

We
met a rickshaw driver named Jithu who was really nice and we chatted to
him about a charity event he was involve with called Rickshaw Run. They
organise long distance races, such as Darjeeling to Cochin for
rickshaws. Sounded mad, these rickshaws stuggle to get 3 people and
their bags across town centres in much if a hurry! But something to
look into at some point, would be pretty fun!

We
also visited the Indo-Portuguese museum in the town. The history of the
Portuguese in Cochin is just as influential as in Goa, but they didn't
stayed here as long.

One of the most
interesting pieces in the museum was the Keralen Lock. I'll try and get
a picture up, but photos were prohibited so had to buy a postcard. But
basically there was no written description of the lock on a sign or
anything but the museum porter came and told us about it. It represents
all of the major faiths in the area and also of harmony and getting
along with your neighbours etc. The name, Mani-chitra-thal, translates
to bell-art-lock, which is exactly what it is! It contains a number of
crosses representing Christianity, a crescent moon for Islam, seven
Jewish candles, Chinese script saying "good faith", and a trident
belonging to the Hindu god Shiva which he used to destroy evil. All
intricately and artistically crafted into a lock mechanism.

The
nights in Fort Cochin were the hottest and muggiest we had experienced
so far, and after 3 nights we decided we needed to move somewhere a bit
cooler!
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