When last I left you, we were having a rain delay in Cochin, Kerela. Turns out that was one of the best things to happen to the trip. It gave us time to stop and remember, we don’t have to see everything in India, but enjoy the fact that we’re not working, relax and enjoy India.
That we did. Later that day Fritz and I went to the water to see these giant Chinese fishing nets…I’ll post some stills and videos later… at the fishing nets we saw a row between the police and and some locals. Turns out that India has banned most non-permitted vendors and like Delhi, where they have banned all “street food” the vendors in the state of Kerala, mostly fish mongers, were losing their businesses.
We asked the police what they were doing. They insisted they were enforcing the law by having the venders destroy or move their carts. We asked the vendors what they were going to do to earn money. One responded, “I don’t know.” Then he offered to take our picture…for free.
While the mood was tense, with locals losing their livelyhood and the cops in riot gear holding their batons tightly, the event remained cordial. The vendors moved on.
Later that afternoon we met a German traveler named Jana. She was studying in the UK and doing some research for a paper. She had been in India for about 7 months, with about 6 weeks back in the UK and Germany. Speaking of Germans, we ran into three of our German friends from the previous day in Allepy. The trio, we found out work for Google and were in India for business and made a trip out of it.
Fritz and I were about to leave that night, but because we made so many new friends, we ended up staying another day in Cochin.
The next day the six of us met up for breakfast, ran into some American travelers and headed back into town. Fort Cochin, the area of Cochin where we stayed, is a small town. Sooner or later, you’ve met everyone there is to meet and so you see them again and again. We soon made many friends.
After sitting around breakfast waiting for the rain to come and go again, we headed back to Jew Town for some shopping.
Then it was off to Mysore.
It takes a really lon time getting anywhere in India. India, outside of the major city centers, doesn’t have highways like we have in the US and Europe. The highways here are really two lane roads and many parts are in really bad shape. Sometimes the highway just stops and drivers are confronted with a concrete block that has an big red arrow or a sign that says “diversion.” (That’s one reason that there are 90,000 traffic deaths a year here.) And yes, this causes some major traffic jams. It takes about 10 hours to go 150 miles… so it’s generous to say that traffic moves at 15 miles per hour. But, transportation takes time. Delhi is building a whole new freeway system starting at the airport. They say it should be ready for the Asian Games in 2010…someone should fact check that for me.
By the way:
1. Did anyone know that Vasco de Gama was originally buried in Cochin?
2. Did anyone know there was a in 1536.