Thanksgiving on the Arabian Coast
I took an overnight train from Chennai to Kochi two days ago — the train ride itself was fairly uneventful – although I made myself laugh. When I bought the ticket, I asked for the lower berth so I could see out the window – forgetting that it was a NIGHT time train – so obviously I could not see anything.
Once I arrived here on the west coast, I had to take a ferry over to Fort Kochi – which was pretty cool. A 7am ferry across the bay to the peninsula tip. I could see at the southern end, there were massive tankers and tugboats, but Fort Kochi itself is way mellow! Besides being harrassed by two super friendly men who wanted me to stay at their homestay (and they were really friendly, just annoying), everyone said hi, good morning and lots of smiles. It was almost eery how friendlyand laidback everyone was!
Kochi is beautiful — buildings are all painted different colors, men are selling their catch on the waterfront, the iconic Chinese fishing nets are on display. It is very chill and very beautiful. It is definitely set up for tourists – of which there are two types – the westerners (the euros, the israelis, and then the assorted american, kiwis, etc.) and then the Indian tourists – of which there are plenty. We all walk along the boardwalk at sunset and take pictures. There are also great cafes in town with good coffee – you almost forget where you are (seriously, this morning I could have been in Northampton, the cafe was so hip and cool and the coffee so good – though the difference might be in the fresh fruit platter!)
It is thanksgiving, so though I am not celebrating it with anyone (though I met a couple of American girls this morning who are from Martha’s Vineyard who invited me to dinner tonight!), I am doing my part to overeat and overindulge! 🙂 I won’t embarrass myself going into detail on all I have had today – but suffice it to say, I am joining all of you in gluttony today! 🙂
Kerala, the state Kochi is in, is pretty different from the rest of India. For one thing, as many people have proudly told me, there is a 95-99% literacy rate and it is a democratic-socialist state. People are proud that they speak english so well (and as someone told me, even the government schools teach english!) and that it is a well-educated place. Teachers here are revered (and they seem to be in most places I have been, so I can only imagine how much more so here!).
It is fairly diverse — having had Portuguese, Dutch, and Jewish ‘residents’ over the years. I have seen a number of people with green eyes (as opposed to the traditional black hair and dark eyes of much of the rest of the country). There is a Jewish community here in Kochi with a synagogue.
In any case — happy thanksgiving to you all!
I am so thankful that you all are part of my world and ‘with’ me on this journey.
much love — aurora