Day 121, Year 5: Unbelievable Shipping News
Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Weather: Clear, Super Hot Day; 94 degrees F inside Windbird
Location: Bolgatty Hotel Anchorage, Cochin (Kochi), India

West Marine does not get an A for effort. After talking for the hour and a half last night to Port Supply International Sales, we got confirmation today that a new toilet repair kit was sent to Kevala in India. So this time they got the country right, but the state wrong. It should have said Kerala. And they sent this package International Economy instead of International Priority, so we will have no idea whether we will get the package until after March 3rd. Then we get a call from DHL saying that our compressor could not be sent from Chennai to Cochin by air because the word ‘refrigerator’ was on the packing slip. They were going to send it by truck, but now there is another hold up. They want a VAT Tax # from us and we have no such number. We have no idea why DHL needs this since the package has already cleared Customs, but the bottom line is that we will know nothing until noon tomorrow. All of this is very frustrating, but we can only deal one day at a time. Hopefully the compressor is really on its way to Cochin. It is a 16 hour bus ride from here to Chennai where the compressor landed, but I have a feeling it has not left there yet. I guess Amazon gets the only thumbs up on shipping. Good for them!

Lynne made it to Florida and her mother is in stable condition. This was very good news. Lynne’s mother is 88 and has gone through a great trauma, so recovery will probably take some time. Neither Mark nor I still have living parents, so we have already gone through all of the decisions that must be made with aging parents. It is not an easy thing and we send our thoughts to Lynn as she and her sisters and brother deal with this.

I worked more on photos this morning and Mark did more work on polishing stainless. I also worked on making reservations for a hotel where we will stay when we head north to a Hindu festival this weekend. Mid-afternoon we went to town to check in with the Tourist Information lady at the main ferry terminal. I wanted to share our plans for going to the Chinakkathoor Pooram this weekend and get her input. She suggests we go by train but says we can’t buy the tickets ahead of time. In order to catch a 7:30 am train on Sunday morning, we will have to have Nazar pick us up at 6:30 am so we can get to the train station by 7 am. Hopefully all of this will work and we will reach Ottappalam by 10 am, check into our hotel, and then go to the temple for the festival. This is a festival that will be vibrant and colorful. Poorams refer to congregations of decorated elephants. So we are going to see the caparisoned (elegantly decorated) elephants (but not until sunset), kuthiras which are like huge horse piñatas carried on poles, kaalas which are like the kuthiras but are bulls instead of horses, and then a mass of people in the Sree Chinakkathoor Bhagavathey Temple. Our hotel is very close to the temple and the hotel is only 5 kilometers from the train station. So hopefully all will work out well and we will be back in Cochin by mid-day on Monday. I just couldn’t leave India without seeing one of these festivals, so I am so glad that one is happening and is only about three hours away.
One bit of good news for today-I found potting soil. Well, at least soil. The friends who visited with Lynne and Ed on Sunday had said I could get soil at Cochin Blossom on Market Street. So Mark and I walked all along Market Street looking for this place. We didn’t find it, but we did find a nursery that Mark had gone into a few days ago but had no soil. I went in this time and was told that potting soil is just not being delivered to here and that they had none. I asked the woman if she knew where I could find Cochin Blossom. She replied that I was there. When I told her a local woman had told me to come there to get soil, she agreed to sell my 5 kilos even though it is a precious commodity right now. She also invited me into the back room to see a 400 year old synagogue. You just never know what you are going to see here. So now I have my soil and if I just receive the seeds that my daughter sent, I’ll be able to continue with my onboard gardening. I have Thai basil, arugula, chives, and sweet basil started, but wanted the soil to plant more sweet basil and some lettuce. Since we will have nothing green in the Chagos, I think these will add significantly to our diet. Lynne started her basil weeks before me, and she has been enjoying pesto since we were in Thailand. I can’t wait to catch up.