Kochi

Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
1
227
416
Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Where I stayed
Dream Hotel

Flag of India  , Kerala,
Friday, December 3, 2010

Map of Cochin
 
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1.  Chinese fishing nets   2.  Jewish quarter    3.  Cultural show
4.  Vasco de Gama's tomb   5.  Kochi history museum (no pictures)  6.  Cultural show sign
7.  St Francis Cathedral   8.  Fishing boats    9.   Sign in Jew Town



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From Wiki:
"Kochi (About this sound pronunciation; Malayalam: കൊച്ചി [Kocci]); formerly known as Cochin) is
a city in the Indian state of Kerala.  Kochi is located in the district of Ernakulam. Old Kochi loosely refers to a group of islands including Willingdon Island, Fort  Kochi and Mattancherry. Today Kochi includes Ernakulam, old parts of Kochi, Kumbalangi, and outlying  islands.

For many centuries up to and during the British Raj, the city of Kochi was the seat of the eponymous princely state. Kochi traces its history back many centuries, when it was the centre of Indian spice trade for many centuries, and was known to the Yavanas (Greeks and Romans),
Jews, Arabs and Chinese since ancient times.[1]"



Dec 2:  The Kerala District (SW India) is known as "coconut land."  We departed by coach for Cochin on a overcast but nice day.   We took pictures of some women plucking tea, then proceeded to the Canamara Tea Plantation for a visit to the tea field, a short slide presentation, then to the factory where they process the tea leaves for sale. 



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Tea is produced from two species of camelia, and only the tender (light green) leafs are harvested.  They harvest tea by hand and machinery.    White tea is produced from a small brown leaf, and is very expensive.   Tea was first produced in China 5,000 years ago.  Tea production in India began in 1700, and the Connemara Tea Company was established in 1341.   In 1875, Robert Finley started the cultivation of tea.   Tea is propagated from one leaf that grows to 9 inches in 8 to 12 months.  There are tea trees that are 700 to 1,000 years old.    We were able to see the production of tea from the raw leaf to the packaged for sale process.   When the tea leaf is first harvested, it is put into huge bins for drying 1) to be kept for several days before it is processed.   It is then put into a 2) shredding machine, then 3) crushing/tearing, 4) curing/fermentation/oxydation with quinine, then 5) dried for 15-minutes.  It is then ready for
packaging where it is graded by machine and put into huge sacks.   The largest granules are the Pekoe tea, and there are about eight other grades that decreases from the larger granules that ends up as a powder at the end.   



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NOTE:  There are many Catholic and Protestant churches in this area.
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Dec 3: COCHIN.  We visited a private village school where the children welcomed us with smiles, handshakes, and flowers - real and handmade.   91 boys and girls attend this school that has five teachers who are paid by the state  government.   The principal is paid $500/month, and the teachers are paid from  $400 to $450/month.   The are taught in Hindi and English, and
are taught math, science, geography, history, and languages.    They have a 100% literacy rate here, and many students from this school become doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, and other professionals.  The children sang and danced for us, and we also sang two songs
for the children.

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After our visit to the school, we visited a women's cooperative where 16 women from the area participate in producing dried banana chips, and other products.   They are provided with micro-loans by the government of 100,000 rupees at 8% interest.   That's a bargain rate in India where loans for most things are charged at over 16% interest.After our visit to the women's coop, we walked a few hundred yards to the boat for our four hour cruise on the Tamba backwaters of Cochin.    We had lunch on the boat, and pretty much relaxed, took pictures, and napped during the cruise.  



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We stopped to take pictures


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We were back to our hotel by 5:45PM, and was told to be ready by 6:30PM for our van ride
to a hosted dinner.    Four of us visited a family that has traveled to Europe, Malaysia, India, and the Middle East.   The couple has four daughters with the oldest now in her residency
program for her MD.   The second oldest daughter is  studying computer science, and the two younger daughters are only eleven and thirteen years old.We were returned to our hotel
before 9PM.

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Dec 4; COCHIN:   We began our tour at the St Francis Church where they have the first tomb of Vasco de Gama.



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I believe his remains are now at the Jericho in Lisbon.  Not far from St Francis Church are the Chinese fishing nets that uses rocks to leverage the heavy nets.  They still use those for fishing, and we saw many of the seafoods they have harvested with these nets.   Our next walking tour was to the Old Jewish quarter. The Jews of Cochin arrived here in the 11c  BC as part of King Solomon's fleet, and is now recognized as the world's oldest Jewish population.   We visited the Pardesi synogogue founded in 1568, but we were unable to visit inside because it was Sabbath.

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We also saw a very long snake boat being renovated in one of the craft shops in the Old Town.

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We then visited the Dutch Palace (circa 1555) that was used by their royalty from 1503 to 1964.    No picture taking was allowed.

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We were back to our hotel by 1:05PM.   

Dec 4: Cochin: Last night we went to see a special cultural show where the performance is done  by the eyes and facial expressions.   He can show anger, sorrow, sympathy, romance, and other emotional expressions by use of his eyes and facial muscles.   We also saw the story of a king and a beautiful woman who is really a demon.   the king eventually learns the truth, and kills the demon with his sword. 


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We then flew from Cochin to Bangaluru where we were coached by bus to Hassan.




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