Adventures in Kochi
Trip Start Jun 28, 2009
33Trip End Aug 07, 2009
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Where I stayed
The Gateway Hotel
Our teacher delegation visited two wildly different schools in the last two days. At the Kochi University of Science and Technology, a public school, college students and students from the attached primary and secondary programs were missing entirely- they had the day off due to our visit (which seemed odd). The rooms were furnished with typical but rather dated science equipment, and the halls were covered in fading posters with motivational messages like "Always do your best", "The ultimate achievement is to conquer yourself", and of course, "Think before you defecate". On this occasion it was again my turn to present the gift on behalf of the group. However, the professor who gave us our 3-hour welcome lecture initially refused me when I approached him to begin my little speech and make the presentation! This was embarrassing for a second- no lecturer had thus far acted that way toward us. He finally did accept an hour or so later after I first tried, once the appropriate amount of pomp and ceremony could be arranged. I still made an effort to be courteous and enthusiastic in my presentation- I had to totally ignore my inner Miss Piggy (hmmmf!)
Then yesterday we visited a private school (PK-12) with an entirely different atmosphere- here we enjoyed total rock star treatment from the students (the staff and administration were also very welcoming and attentive). Our student guides, the equivalent of high school sophomores and juniors, were amazingly gracious hosts- well-poised and respectful. My two guides in particular seemed ready to take on the world. We also witnessed a morning staff meeting that was full of laughter. Unfortunately, this expensive school is open only to Kochi's wealthiest families- it's troubling to know that only a small percentage of the city's children are educated in such well-maintained schools (beautiful lawns and student-tended gardens) in the care of obviously dedicated teachers and administrators.
At the end of our private school visit, I got to try my hand at a little cricket. Again, my 16-yr old tour guide was a fantastic host- she took my camera and offered to take pictures of my debut. And yes, that is my new purple India princess outfit I'm playing in. Check out the action shots- the boy behind me is reacting to my beginner's luck- he had just fished explaining the basics when I hit the ball pretty far on my first try.
There are just a few more random pics I want to explain- the desserts are from the buffet where we eat twice a day at the hotel- the selection of sweets here is bigger than it is for real entrees. Last evening, we toured the waters surrounding the island city of Kochi on a lovely and very relaxing cruise (weather was perfect). Sure, there aren't any sandy beaches to be found, but the breeze was a treat and it was fascinating to watch the local fishermen and their big nets at work.