Thursday, February 12, 2009

Feb 10. Cochin, India

February 10, 2009This was the day we explored Cochin. The City created by a great flood in 1341. Before then the traders used a port 100 miles to the north . The flood destroyed the port also created a good natural harbor at the estuary of three rivers.

The dutch were the first Europeans to claim it for their own and they built the a church. The graveyard in the picture dates from 1724. The church is still standing as the oldest on this subcontinent. Then came the Portuguese and among other things made the Protestant church into a Catholic one. Then the British came along and changed into the Church of St Anthony into Church of England. It has remained Anglican ever since. Vasco de Gama was buried there but Portuges claimed him and took him home. The pictures below shows children on an outing standing around the origonal gravesite and the lovely old lace fans that the British had installed and someone would have had to pull to move the air.

If you are into history you won't want miss the Basilica origonally built by in 1557 by the Portugese or the Dutch palace and ancient Jewish synagogue that is lined with blue Victorian tiles from Holland. Oh, and the Chinese traders also played an important part and left behind their special technique of fishing. Large nets are held up on frames that the fisherman walk along to dip the nets into into the water. There they stay in the water until he walks back hoping that some fish have entered the net. The silhouetted nets standing dark against the sunset along the palm-lined shore were cand for my camera.

Spices are all important in India and have been from the beginning of time. This is the main stret where the spice merchants selling their wares

The Kathakali dance is a fascinating form or drama. It takes about an hour just to apply the makeup to the lead and women's parts are played by men. Although I could not understand a word of what they were saying their jestures and in particular the hands movements told the story clearly. I loved it

The food was fantastic everywhere we went. The variety was amazing, the flavors varied from region to region and the prices were more than fair. In Cochin we sat outside on a balmy evening among the hibiscus at a restaurant near the converted convent where we were staying. When we requested a couple of beers it was politely explained that they didn’t have a license but they would see what they could do. Shortly the waiter returned with a tea tray complete with teapot and cups. The teapot was filled with beer which was happily refilled on request.

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