Tuesday, April 24, 2012

India..............arriving in Cochin


The Jewel In the Crown, Passage to India, Story of India, Slumdog Millionaire, Beneath a Marble Sky.......all those fascinating stories we've read or seen on the silver screen about a country very different. India was never on my list of places I longed to see........it was a country I preferred to keep in my imagination. It was a dark country, said to be poor, dirty, crowded, and much of this is true. The stories from colonial days, under the British Raj rule, were often titillating and brutal. Being English, and a World War II baby, I grew up when India was still in the period of dominion.....the Indian Empire. That system of governance was instituted in 1858, when the rule of the British East India Company was transferred to the Crown in the person of Queen Victoria (who in 1876 was proclaimed Empress of India) and lasted until 1947 when George VI was King.


That said, it was with a tingle of excitement, and a smidgen of anxiety, that I awoke at sunrise on another smoldering morning to find Cochin (Kochi, meaning 'small place' but with 1.6 million inhabitants), in the state of Kerala, India waiting for me. Sighting first the Chinese fishing nets (Cheena gala), ethereal shore operated lift nets at the harbor entrance, here for details......on either bank of the narrow Ernakulam Channel...........



.............some very old buildings, seemingly 
built in the water of the channel as we 
sailed into port.............


........and the early morning local ferries taking people to work in the city.

Already docked was the elegant German cruise ship Europa.

Walt, our travel companion, watching as the immense Queen Elizabeth is maneuvered sideways into her berth behind the Europa..........

.......Europa's chef and kitchen staff out on their deck watching.........

...........as QE slowly moved in..........


..........and was made secure.
  
We were on the starboard side of the ship. Fortunately we always seemed to tie up that side so had great views of all the activity surrounding the docking of a huge vessel from our balcony.

Below, once again local musicians were in place waiting to serenade us as we disembarked........

...........and the tour buses were lined up ready to roll. Fortunately all the buses we took for shore excursions during the cruise were air conditioned and, all but one, quite comfortable.

Pulling away from the QE in the bus, I was at last in India.

The drive through Cochin was an eye opener. Let's just say this image was from one of the neater areas near the port, after that we were overwhelmed!

Our chosen shore excursion was called 'Village Life'........above and below are the country boats, our transportation through the canals to Vaikom village. 

Next post.......do come back so I can show you the beautiful village girls and boys, and how the local people earn their livelihoods.


6 comments:

  1. I love reading your posts, Mary. I've had much the same feeling about India, so I will be eager to read more!

    xo
    Claudia

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  2. I must confess that I've never had the least desire to visit India and yet I admire their art and culture immensley. My younger son lived there for a while when he had to leave Nepal and apply for a new visa and he loved it. Be interesting to see your photos and impressions.

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  3. My thoughts have been similar to yours about India. Yet, I have friends that have traveled there and share the beauty. Can't wait to see more of your adventure. Loved watch the dockings and departures when we traveled on a cruise ship. It is so fascinating.

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  4. What an amazing ship! Your photos are always so amazing Mary, you seem to capture all that is life.

    Sft x

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  5. Like Rowan I certainly have never had a desire to visit India. My brother and his wife went a few years ago and said they just couldn't get over the dire poverty. I'm certain that your lovely travelogue will show other, better sides of it and look forward to visiting with you as my guide :o)
    Best wishes
    Rose H
    xx

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  6. How interesting, the fishing nets! And being serenaded on your arrival. How wonderful!

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