Day 133, Year 5: Little Things That Make You Smile
Date: Monday, March 8, 2010
Weather: Cooler, but Still Hot
Location: Bolgatty Hotel Anchorage, Cochin (Kochi), India

Ziggy Milo, our son’s baby boy, started our day with a smile. We finally connected via Skype video. Ziggy and Justin were just getting out of the bath when we called, so Ziggy was in the altogether. Thank goodness Justin put clothes on! Ziggy has been sick with some sort of virus that has been circulating, so he was not his usual smiley self, but Justin and Jo were able to cajole a few smiles out of him. We might get to have a video Skype call from the southern Maldives, but after that it could be six months or more before we have internet that can handle video. There is internet in Madagascar, but it evidently is not working most of the time. So Justin and Jo sent us a video through Skype of Ziggy playing, eating, crawling, and giggling that we can watch over and over during the next few months. We had no idea that you can send video via Skype, but you can. How wonderful! Both the Skype call and the video made us smile.

Nazar arrived just after the call with Justin and Jo, so we loaded our outboard engine on Nazar’s boat, and Mark and Ed headed out with him. They went to a Yamaha dealer on Fort Cochin Island. Mark was very impressed with the professionalism in the Yamaha shop, and thankfully, the motor checked out fine. It seems the vibration problem is coming from water in the fuel. So we’ll filter the fuel and hope all is well. We were just glad to hear that there is nothing major wrong with the engine. Hope the guy is right about this one. Nazar then took Mark to General Engineering. This is the company that has been doing the refrigeration on the boat. Mark went to vent and to let them know that we out about $900 US and that we don’t intend to pay them for the work done unless they can get something working. Since they have already told us that the new compressor doesn’t work, we don’t really expect anything to start working. But evidently Mark made an impact as they came to pick up the new, non-working compressor this afternoon to check it out in their shop. We have almost zero hope that something can be done, but at least they are checking into the issues.

Mark and I had planned to go to the Post Office this afternoon to mail off tax forms, and then go food shopping. After that we were going to pick up the alternator. So we left the compressor on Constance and called Nazar to tell him to pick it up there. We took a rickshaw to the Post Office and then another one back to the market off Jew Street. We did a hunt and kill shopping trip for garlic, carrots, and potatoes, and then hailed a rickshaw to take us to pick up our alternator. Since the alternator shop is in a different town, we were very surprised that the first driver we stopped seemed to know exactly where we wanted to go. He said something about it being the end of the school day and then we took off. Shortly we understood the importance of knowing about the end of the school day. He stopped and picked up seven little bright-eyed girls, ages five to nine, and off we went. This is in a rickshaw that is meant to seat two, or at most three adults. We did the ‘quick tour’ of the suburbs outside of Ernakulam delivering the little girls to their homes. This was an unexpected side trip, but it was very interesting. We drove down one street that was lined with homeless people staking out their territory with bags of who knows what. We turned the corner and there were lean-to homes made of sticks and old pieces of tarp. We have not seen this kind of poverty here before. But then we entered the ‘burbs’ with narrow little lanes lined with walls and gates. Behind every gate there was a neat little home right next to another one. We dropped off one little girl at a time and with each departure, we would wave and they would smile and wave back. And we would smile. When we reached the alternator shop, he dropped Mark off and told me to stay in the rickshaw. He said we’d return in 20 minutes. So I stayed in the rickshaw to deliver the last four girls. We then went back to pick up Mark and drove back to the Bolgatty jetty. Although we had not bargained for all the side trips, it was a highlight of our day.

Tomorrow is a shopping day. We have to buy all of the perishables that you put off until just before departure-eggs, limes, oranges, more potatoes and carrots, and green peppers. We will probably wait until Wednesday afternoon to buy bananas. We are coming down to the wire. I have to share one funny thing that happened this morning. I was on the back deck doing laundry. One of the tour boats that constantly ply through the anchorage cut right in front of us and someone yelled, “Live Free or Die.” Concord, New Hampshire, is the home port printed on our stern and evidently someone from the US was on that tour boat. Small world.