Bicycles and
fishing nets

Chinese fishing nets

Our second stop in India was Cochin, much further south than Mumbai. We set out on foot again, and encountered some of the most aggressive tuk-tuk drivers we’ve ever seen just outside the port gates. Tuk-tuks are the little three-wheeled scooter/taxis that are barely big enough for a driver and two passengers crammed in the back. They look almost like a motorized rickshaw. Two of the drivers followed us for what must have been eight or ten blocks trying to get us into their tuk-tuks. It was impossible to convey to them the concept that we just wanted to walk. Clearly we must be crazy.

Eventually we reached the pedestrian ferry that we were headed for, and took it across the water from W. Island to Mattancherry for 2 rupees. Cochin is made up of a series of inhabited islands connected by bridges and ferries, each with unique names. Mattancherry was the “village” part of town, with several old colonial buildings, residential areas, markets, and chinese fishing nets. We found a place that rented out bicycles, so we each got one and just set out aimlessly along the waterfront.

Helping to fish

The first area we visited was the part of the coastline with the Chinese fishing nets. These are big wooden structures built along the waterfront that are used for lowering and raising nets. The structures are beautiful and graceful, and watching them slowly tip up and down was mesmerizing. We were invited up on to the platform of one of the nets, were they showed us the types of fish that they were catching, and also let me help pull in the net. When we pulled down on these thick ropes, large stones tied above us as counterweights dropped slowly downwards, and long curved poles made of tree trunks lashed together rose out of the water. The construction of each structure was somewhere between rustic and rickety, but they really were the most memorable image of Cochin that we took away.

After that, we spent a few hours just riding around through the streets on our bikes. At one point we stopped to read a yoga schedule, and we were invited in to visit a children’s daycare. The kids were so cute and shy, and they really didn’t know what to make of us. We sat on the floor and smiled at them, but mostly we got a mixture of confused and bashful looks back. There was also a pretty solid language barrier there — neither of the two women looking after the children spoke much english at all, and our knowledge of Hindi is basically non-existent. Still, it was a wonderful visit, and we left smiling.

Indian children at daycare

We spent the remainder of our time in Cochin just relaxing and wandering around. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant patio on the water, where we met another Canadian couple and enjoyed some cold beers and delicious food. We then set out to the market stalls to see if we could buy some clothing more suited for the stifling heat and humidity. Finally we headed back to the ship, and said farewell to India. These three short days in India have given us just a small taste of a huge country, and have whetted our appetites for more.

Comments

    Incredible adventures in fishing Mark. Makes casting on Newboro Lake look so simple. So happy to hear you’re back safe and sound on the ship. India sounds like quite the place to visit, too bad it was so short. Won’t be long and you’ll be in Singapore right? Miss you… Love Mother Goose

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