Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lunch & shopping in Fort Kochi

One day we joined Bill & Amy on S/V ESTRELLITA and Randal & Ruth on S/V DORA MAC for a day of shopping in Fort Kochi.  And lunch at the Seagull Hotel restaurant, of course.   Ruth was on a mission to find a tour guide book for Turkey, so we all tagged along.  Something to break up the boredom of sitting in the marina day after day.

No guide books for Turkey were to be had.  Didn't think we would find one, but it was worth a shot.  Shopping was good for other things this particular day.  I bought a large blue silk scarf -- just in case I am required to cover my head when we visit the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.  And a heavier weight silk scarf to wrap around my shoulders in case it is cold.  What am I saying -- "in case" -- of course it is going to be cold in Turkey in April!  Istanbul is near latitude 41N.  That is about the same latitude as Long Island Sound in New York.  Darn right it will be cold in April!!

After shopping in the tourist section new Jew Town we hailed 3 tuk-tuks to take the 6 of us to the Seagull Hotel restaurant for lunch.  One couple paid 50 rupees; another couple paid 40 rupees; and we paid 25 rupees.  Each for the exact same distance in the "motorized rickshaw" as the tuk-tuks are called here in India.  And we did not even try to bargain the price down.  We just happened to get quoted the cheapest price.  To put that in perspective, 50 rupees is about $1.10 USD.  Tuk-tuks are very inexpensive here.  On the ride to the restaurant we passed hundreds of school children getting out for their lunch break.  The groups we saw were all in uniforms, but Bill & Amy passed a group of girls all dressed up like small Indian women.  If they send me that photo, I will upload it later.  Speaking of which, the Indian women dress in the most beautiful saris.  I have not taken any photos because it always feels like that would be an intrusion.  But, take my word for it, they wear gorgeous clothing, even for just staying at home and doing daily housework.

This time we knew to enter the Family Restaurant instead of the one called just plain old Restaurant.  Mustn't mix the women with the men while dining.  I really don't get that segregation by gender while eating concept.

And by Family, they do mean family.  There are no high chairs or booster chairs here.  Women hold their babies and toddlers when feeding them.  Everyone normally eats with their fingers and it can get pretty messy.  But they have something else for babies in restaurants that we don't have back home -- baby beds.  Have you ever seen a baby crib or bassinet in a restaurant?

BTW, food was good again this day.  Mushroom masala and cashew rice for me.  Fried shrimp for Bill.  With parotta (a bread thing) and Kingfisher beer.

After lunch we all walked down near the Chinese fishing nets to try to negotiate a better price for a knife that Bill Betts wanted to buy.  Bill Rouse went in and bargained the price down from $400 USD to $300; but Bill Betts only wanted to pay $200.  Ended up not buying it.  He will be here several more weeks and has plenty of time to return and pay the higher price if he decides it really is worth that much.  While walking down the narrow old stone/dirt streets we saw some electrical lines that are very low to the ground.   As we walked near these lines to take a photo, some local men shouted to tell us that it was "danger."  No kidding!  That is why we wanted the photo.  Any little kid could grab these things, they are so low to the ground.  Danger, indeed!

While walking back to the ferry dock for the first leg of our return trip to the marina, I stopped in a small shop and bought a "doubles" doll for our granddaughter.  This will probably be our birthday present to her later this summer.  A doubles doll has a male head on one side with a long flowing cloth robe/skirt.  Beneath the robe/skirt is a female head.  You turn the doll upside down and the long cloth goes down in the opposite direction and becomes a long dress.  These dolls vary in price considerably, depending on the fabrics used and quality of sewing and adornments.  Our granddaughter won't care anything about this, but I thought it would be a good souvenir for her or remembrance of our trip to India.

At the ferry dock there was the Indian version of a Park 'N Ride lot.  Full of old-fashioned bicycles and lots of motorcycles.  No bit of space wasted. 

There are two queues to purchase ferry tickets -- one line for women and one line for men.   With only one ticket seller.  He alternates selling first to men and then to women.  Each person can purchase only two tickets.  Then everyone stands together on the platform and makes a mad dash to try and be the first one on the ferry when it arrives.  So, what is the point of separating the women from the men to purchase the tickets?  The logic (or lack thereof) totally escapes me.

Another one of those little quirks of India.


  1. Great post! Love to hear how others live. Those power lines... wow!

  2. Thanks for the mention !! Interesting travel journal.


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