Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Our first destination was Cochin. The train arrived an hour late and we were supposed to be in Cochin for only a day, so half the day was already over when we reached Cochin. The driver, who we had hired through a travel agent, met us at the station. But he spoke no Hindi at all, and very little English, and communicating with him was a Herculean task. My father, as is his wont, lost his temper at once (one of the downs, I was talking about earlier) and raged against the education system in Kerala for not having Hindi as a second language and all that jazz. All I could do was roll my eyes and try to block his voice out.
And another bone my father had to pick with was that the car that we had booked was a Qualis, and the driver had come in an Ambassador. So the first place we went to was to the KTDC, where Deadly Dad demanded that we should be given a Qualis. After a silly confrontation, which was not needed at all, the guy in charge told us that we should speak to the travel agent who had booked the Qualis for us, and told us to use the Ambassador while we were in Cochin.
So after all this we went to our hotel at last, Hotel Aiswarya! There we freshened up, that is, just splashed water on our faces, except my brother, D, who just had to use my face wash!
Anyway, we had to hurry, if we wanted to see any of the tourist’y’ places in Cochin, which all shut down by 5:30 pm. And we had just a little over 45 minutes to see the places. Thank God all were in the same vicinity. So we drove to the area of Mattanchery, where we went to Jew Town, and saw the oldest SYNAGOGUE in India. It looked very ordinary from the outside, but the prayer hall was beautiful! There was also a room, which held paintings depicting how the first Jews had come to India. That was quite interesting too. It reminded me of how the Parsis had landed on the coast of Gujarat, hundreds of years ago.
After the synagogue, went to see the DUTCH PALACE. This building also looked quite ordinary from the outside. And we were just in time too, 15 minutes to closing time. Inside we saw murals depicting the Ramayana, and a few palkis and dolis, exquisitely crafted! One of the rooms contained the royal clothing, very rich!
When we came out, my stomach began growling uncontrollably! I hadn’t eaten anything since the morning in the train, when I’d eaten two cold idlis. I then bought a pack of Cheetos, and some peanuts to assuage my hunger somewhat.
We then went to see the CHINESE FISHING NETS that are unique to Kerala. On the pavement, my mother saw people selling fish, and as is her wont, went up to explore on her own. She became very excited when she saw all the different varieties of fish, and the giant shrimps, and ordered us to take pictures! I didn’t think it was a good idea, but Ma insisted! There was even a shark-like fish, which D insisted was a baby shark, but I was not too convinced.
When we reached Hotel Aiswarya, it was about 7:30 pm, and all of us were ravenous! We went straight to the restaurant and ordered our food. We had fried fish (yummm!), tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala, appams, and chocolate ice cream for desert. Then we went to our room and crashed on to the beds!
This was the end to a very tiring Day II.

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