Well I’ve now been in India for a month and arrived in Fort Kochi in Kerala after spending the first month in Goa.
The last week in Goa the weather had improved after Cyclone Kyatt moved Northwest and away from the Goan coast, so it was nice to have some sunny sky’s and calmer seas for the last week there.
I spent a lot of the last week walking around Patnem and saying good bye to different people that I had met in my time there, It changed dramatically in the month I was there going from just a few people on the beach and only a couple of restaurants open to their being hundreds on the beach and dozens of restaurants to choose from and shops trying to sell their wares. I will miss Goa but was looking forward to Kerala and a change of scenery after a month living on the beach.
The trip down to Fort Kochi by train was a long one but I knew and expected that so didn’t get to many surprises.
I checked out of my room on the Thursday morning but was able to leave by bags on the porch for the day until I was ready to leave for the train station ( I had heard a lot about scams and theft before leaving for India but so far I’ve not seen any problems, not in Goa anyway ). My train wasn’t due to leave Canacona station until nearly 12 o’clock at night so I had all day to kill in Patnem, so after breakfast I went back to Micky’s restaurant for a few hours then on to Om Shanti restaurant along the beach where I had spent a lot of the past month and had a long leisurely meal over looking the beach before having my first Tuk Tuk ride in India to the train station arriving at around 5 as I wanted to get there and get settled in for the evening before it got dark.
Canacona itself is fairly small so the train station never gets that busy but I spent nearly 8 hours there in the end watching people come and go and the activities of the platform dogs who seemed to of taken up residency there ( I think they just like to be around people )
In the end the Netravati Express which is an overnight sleeper train was already running 90 minutes late when it arrived in Canacona, so it was 1.30 in the morning when I got into carriage B2 and searched for berth 12 only to find someone already asleep in it ( somehow this didn’t surprise me at all as it was a lower berth ) I tried to rouse him but either he was in a deep sleep or pretending to be asleep ( probably the later ) but he wouldn’t respond, the guy on the top bunk opposite said the top bunk opposite him was empty ( probably belonged to the guy asleep in my bed ! ) So not wanting to cause I’m scene at half one in the morning on an Indian train climbed up top ( 3 level bunks ) and got settled, there were clean sheets, a pillow and blanket provided, which was needed as the air conditioned coaches get quite cold. I was asleep quite quickly which surprised me only to be woken around 0230 by a conductor checking tickets but got back to sleep quickly till around 630 which wasn’t bad and it was starting to get light and people were waking up, I could see why people would avoid the top bunk though as your right up against the roof and unable to lift your head let alone sit up.
Once people are up though the middle berth folds up and that provides 6 seats although the guy who had taken the lower berth in the night still took took seat 12 which was near the window but as it enabled him to sit opposite his wife I wasn’t bothered, he did upset another 3 guys though by moving their stuff around that caused a bit of an argument but as it was in Indian I didn’t understand any of it.
The rest of the trip did drag a bit, but there was constantly people up and down selling tea ( Chai ), Coffee and various item of cooked food and snacks.
By morning we had entered the State of Kerala and the scenery was mostly green and lush ( mostly palm trees ) almost verging on jungle sometimes with large towns in between, as we got further down we began to see more water in the form of rivers and canals.
We finally pulled into Ernakulam Junction around 4 o’clock on the Friday around 1hr and a half behind schedule and it seemed like for most of the train this was their final destination.
I had been advised to get a prepaid ticket for the Tuk Tuk ride to where I was staying from outside the station and found the ticket office and quickly relized that trying to form an orderly queue or line up wasn’t going to work here and you would be there all day if you tried and it was every man ( and woman ) for himself ( or herself ) and after pushing myself to the front struggled a bit to get though to the man where I was going by showing him the address on my phone but some other people there were able to help and I got my ticket and boarded a waiting Tuk Tuk,
Ernakulam is a relatively large city and was very busy compared to where I had just spent my last month and it felt strange sitting in the traffic as he made it over to Fort Kochi which involves crossing a couple of large bridges, the driver had to stop and get the number of the residence off me to ring the owner to find where he was going so I was grateful for that and arrived safely after what felt like a long trip and was warmly welcomed by Joseph and shown to my room which was large and clean and had hot water for a decent shower after only having cold water for the last month, after a shower, I ventured out to get some food and back for an early night.
This morning I was up early for a walk around Fort Kochi and managed to see a few sites and expect I will spend the first week here exploring locally before venturing further afield in Kerala and I’m looking forward to it.
So I’ve not quite been here a day yet but can see it’s quite different to my last month in Goa but it looks promising here and so far so good.
I will leave it there for now ( going to follow the Rugby on BBC website. Come on England ! )
Good Luck to everyone running in the New York marathon tomorrow ( I’ll be cheering you on from here )
Take care all till next time