The flight here, it was a flight, nothing more nothing less. 7 hours to Dubai, then a manic 2 hours trying to get through security again and on to our boarding gate. Us and millions of other travellers.
Emirates have their own terminal and Dubai is the gateway to the rest of the world. You would have thought that getting off one plane onto another without passing go would be simple, but No you have to be re security scanned. We saw a sign that said Gate C7 20 minutes walk. 15 minutes later we saw a sign saying C7 15 minutes walk. Finally after about 2 miles and the biggest designer shopping mall ever, we found our gate and boarded the next plane to Cochin.
4 hours later we arrived.
We then stood in a queue for 1/2 an hour, had our visas authorised, finger prints taken and general faffing about.
We walked out to the arrivals area and the fist person we saw was holding a sign up with my name on it. The rep took us to our car and introduced us to Bobby our driver for the holiday.
It was just over an hours drive to Cochin. Through very busy roads full of Mopeds, motor bikes, tut tuts, cars, lorries and buses. They drive on the Left here, or at least supposed to. The constant tooting of horns to warn that you are over taking. Even if it means you might just drive down the wrong side of the road for a bit.
I was fascinated to see that no one got angry, no road rage and although a lot of near misses no hits. Amazing and surprisingly not scary.
The journey took us through so many busy towns, was not expecting it be so built up, affluent. My only experience of India so far has been pictures of poverty and crowds in Mumbai as shown on TV. It’s nothing like that here.
Our hotel looks and sounds romantic from the trip,adviser pictures, however the Dune Spice Fort is quite run down. The rooms are clean and very basic. We had shutters over the windows that we opened up for natural light in the room, to look out on a back alley with men working outside and looking in at us.
the time difference is 5 1/2 hours so in effect we lost a nights sleep whilst travelling. We laid down and got a very comfortable 2 hours sleep to set our heads on the right way up.
We had a walk along the sea front, the sea is too dangerous here to swim in, the seafront is lined with small market stalls selling plastic crap, drinks, fresh fish, saris etc, everything in fact. the vendors themselves are very polite and not pushy, so not getting hassled.
Our first trip that evening was a river boat experience. We arrived at the landing station and watched boat taxis and boat busses coming and going. Our little boat arrived, about 12 seats on the top outside deck and the same in the cabin. We climbed on board as the only exclusive passengers.
Our trip took us round the lake and harbour of Cochin, we spent 1 1/2 hours tootling about, looking at the Chinese fishing nets( the ones out from the cost edge are still working, the ones on the beach for tourists, you can help pull in the catch. nothing is ever caught, then tip the men).
We went past the large container port, over 3 million containers pass through every year, a great source of income in the area, also the gas works, no natural gas in India so all imported from the golf regions.
It was a tranquil trip, seeing hotels and houses large and small littering the seafront. Very different with its own beauty.
After the boat ride we walked along the seafront and found a small restaurant for dinner. There are very few places in Kerala that can serve alcohol so we accompanied our meal with cloudy lemonade. We ordered Kerala prawn curry, Prawn Biriani, Noodles, and flat breads. There was so much food, we left a third of it, It was amazing that this little beach hut could produce flavours that we so fresh. The spices are all grown in the area and have a perfume, a fragrance that fills all your senses.. It was as though the food sung.
We wandered back to the hotel and after a snifter and ginger (smuggled in to India via my suitcase) we had an early night. Aircon and ceiling fan going all night as the temperature didn’t drop below 28degs. 36degs and humid during the day.
Day 2, met our local holiday rep, she sat and went though our holiday itinerary.