24 July 2019 – Still Here in Kochi
Wow, another month has flown by and I haven’t blogged, not much to write about I suppose. Well, we’ve been “hunkered down” for a good portion of that time, staying dry and out of the rain. The rainy season has picked up, sometimes raining night and day for several days in a row – and then the sun comes out and Diane does the laundry. We still go to the market (rain or shine), we go to LuLu Shopping Mall for shopping relief when required.
The first big excitement came a few days ago when we caught a rat, not on the boat, but on the dock. Here, rats are attracted to traps that have a piece of ripe banana inside. There are a lot of rats. Thankfully, we’ve not had one on the boat, but we know of an unoccupied boat that got a rat onboard and the “boat watcher” had to trap and dispose of “them”.
Last weekend, we went over to Fort Kochi Island for a few hours. To get there, we first had to take an Uber ride of about 10 minutes, for about $ 2 CDN. Next, we boarded a very crowded ferry that moves people, tuk-tuks, motorbikes, cars and trucks from Vypin Island over to Fort Kochi Island. The ferry costs about $ 0.20 CDN per person.
Next, we were met by Nazar and his tuk-tuk, or more properly – his “auto-rickshaw”. He is very proud of his vintage 2002 single cylinder petrol powered tuk-tuk.
The first stop was to check out the Chinese fishing nets “in action” and up close. They weren’t catching any fish, but it was primarily just a show for the tourists. They are quite large and if full of fish, I’d imagine very heavy, and that’s why they have counterweights.
Alongside the West shore, you can’t help but notice the erosion caused by the annual SW monsoon. On this day, the waves were quite minor, but that isn’t always the case.
Next, we drove by an old Catholic church, St Francis Church. Originally built in 1503, this is one of the oldest European churches in India and has great historical significance as a mute witness to the European colonial struggle in the subcontinent. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama died in Kochi in 1524 when he was on his third visit to India. His body was originally buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were removed to Lisbon.
Outside, in front of the church was yet another example of an Indian “Harley”. There are millions of these Indian built Royal Enfield’s in this country, and in many different styles as well.
Next on the list was a “drive by” of the Dutch Cemetery. The Dutch had a big influence in India during the period 1605 to 1825.
Next, we went to the Indian Naval Museum. Here, I recalled some terminology based on my career in the Canadian Forces. I’m well aware that UK ships are referred to as HMS (Her Majesty’s Ship) and that Canadian Ships are referred to as HMCS (Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship). I also recall that India was a colony of England, and is still part of the Commonwealth. Naturally, India had the equivalent of HMIS (Her Majesty’s Indian Ship) up until 1947 when India gained independence. What I didn’t know was about the mutiny of the Indian Navy, which broke out on February 18, 1946 – and, in only five days, delivered a mortal blow to the entire structure of the British Raj. Apparently, this is one oft-forgotten saga. The entrance fee for the museum was a bargain at about $ 0.80 CDN per person. I didn’t bother asking about a seniors discount. On display was a Sea King helicopter, a sister to those in service with the Canadian Forces “up until about a year ago”.