Day 100, Year 5: Day Trip to Mattancherry and Fort Cochin
Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Weather: Beautiful Day with a Little Haze
Location: Bolgatty Hotel Anchorage, Cochin (Kochi), India

Mattancherry and Fort Cochin are both on Fort Cochin Island which is back toward the entrance to Cochin harbor. Ed and Lynne of Constance, Judy and Dave of Freebird, and Mark and I were planning to take our dinghies to shore, hop on an auto rickshaw which would take us to the main ferry terminal, and then take the ferry to Mattancherry early this morning. But Nazar and Ibrahim who have become our Indian boat boys (for lack of a better term for they surely aren’t boys) came to see if we needed anything and when we said we were going to Mattancherry, they offered to take all of us on their boat at no charge. We still had to take dinghies to shore so we would have a way back to our boats later in the day, but then off we went. Everyone but Judy and I were going to find a man named John who runs the boatyard in Mattancherry, but they never found him. What they found out instead is that we just tell Nazar and Ibrahim what we need, and they will make sure we find it. Nothing here is straightforward. All requests or messages seem to be passed from one person to another and you are never sure the original message gets through. It’s kind of like playing the child’s game of Telephone. Judy and I went off with Ashbak in his Lamborghini auto rickshaw and had a not so good experience at a spice shop. We paid WAY too much for WAY too little. I think Judy and I just got caught up in the beauty and the smells of all the spices. Ashbak explained to us, after the fact, that it was because our skin is white and that we need to bargain, bargain, bargain. If the price is too high, just say no thank you. Okay, lesson learned.

While Judy and I were having our spice experience, Mark, Lynne, Ed, and Dave had a different spice experience in a warehouse on the waterfront. Their’s was way more authentic and cheaper. The boatyard contingency had not had any luck in tracking down anything, so they headed to the part of Mattancherry called Jew Town at the same time as Judy and I. We looked in more shops, all fascinating but expensive, met up with Rose and Tim of Rendezvous Cay for lunch, and then all split up going in different directions. Eventually, we caught up with Ed and Lynne at an internet café where we found out that 3G is not allowed in India. So now we will have to try a Skype video call with our 2G and just see what happens. Next, we walked all the way across the island to Fort Cochin stopping at a temple on the way and a few fruit and veggie markets. When we reached the waterfront in Fort Cochin, Mark and Ed got to see the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets in action, and actually got to go out and help pull the ropes. These fishing nets date back to the days of Kubla Khan in the 1400’s and the whole process is just fascinating. We took video and will edit that get it posted with this log in the not too distant future.

After a twenty minute walk to the ferry terminal, a twenty minute ferry ride, and a two mile walk back to the dinghy, we made it home and collapsed. It was a good day, but a tiring one. The good news is that when we went to the internet café to meet Ed and Lynne, Mark got online and found that there are three Danfoss (our freezer compressor) offices in India that make reference to a 12 volt compressor, so Mark is hopeful that tomorrow he might be able to contact these offices and find that we could buy a compressor here rather than having one shipped. We also have Anal (the man who sends us our refrigeration guy) working on finding a marine toilet. So it seems that all of India is searching for what we need. Let’s hope they are successful.

100203 Day 100 India–Mattancherry and Fort Cochin