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Travel Diaries – Blogs, tips, clips n Slips

From the Saddle or Travel – the reality!  by  Capt’n Cork n Cruisin’ Cate

21 May 2009 – Life on the High Seas ,

Well, what can one say about India?????  First stop Cochin.  The shipping terminal is on an island which was created (land fill) by the British during their colonization.  Being the oldest European settlement in India, you see Portuguese and Dutch mansions and palaces plus Tudor style mansions as well.

 We traveled 70 km south of Cochin to the canal area of Kerala province where there is an inland lake 70 km long and 32 km wide.  There canals were created everywhere for living areas for people also to irrigate rice paddies.  Locals bathe in the canals, wash clothing slapping it on rocks, and use the water for cooking,  all with boats constantly plying back and forth.  Their immune resistance must be enormous.  This was a great fishing area till fished out, so fishing boats were transformed into huge luxury houseboats – thatched roofs and some 2-storey – for tourists.  We lunched at a beautiful resort on the shores of the lake, then back to old Cochin city.  Oh, the filth, rubbish and decay!!! – in the streets, gardens, clogging canals – everywhere.

We visited the fish markets – just like Darling Harbour – trestle tables set up along the beach with today’s catch.  So many peddlers – persistent and intimidating.

Then on to Mumbai.  We had booked an afternoon tour so we caught a taxi into the city in the morning.  Went to the Gateway to India Arch – has been cleaned since 1965!  There were thousands of Indian just standing and enjoying the day – such a colourful sight.  We crossed the road to the Taj Mahal Hotel where the security is massive following the recent terrorist attack.  It is a magnificent hotel and we were led through the reception area, up a magnificent staircase, for morning tea overlooking the Arch and harbour.  We then visited Leopold Café – Shantaram and Lonely Planet fame – where there are still bullet holes in the walls and windows from the terrorist attack.  Indians believe the terrorists struck – at Western sites – to ruin India’s tourist industry.  Mumbai seemed so exciting and vibrant.  Then the afternoon tour.

Saw so many interesting places including the Gandhi Museum where he spent the last years of his life in a friend’s home.  Have also attended a lecture on Gandhi on board – fascinating.  Saw the dhobi ghats – famous outdoor laundry covering a huge area – which has been operating in the same manner for centuries.  As education in India improves, there is becoming a shortage of people to man such places.

My email has just been rudely interrupted – I have been ordered to ‘huddle’ with Cap’t Cork in our cabin, curtains drawn, away from exterior walls.  This is ‘pirate drill’ as we are now in pirate country – wasn’t going to mention this kids – but Dad’s ‘huddle’ was so funny it was worth telling.  We have a huge banner on the back of the ship saying “No ship is to come within 50 m of Sun Princess”.  Believe it or not, it’s in English – hope all those pirates are well educated! Plus we have massive fire hoses lining both sides of the ship at the ready.  Cap’t Cork hopes the water is charged with Pea Beau.

At this point, I must depart as Bridge is calling.  I’ll send this – in case I lose it – and will continue this afternoon.

With lots of  love to all – Cate

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