Today we had to get up at 5:15am... to go to Cochin :D George picked us up and took us to the train station. The train wasn't at all as bad as I expected.. only a bit worse than the trains I have been on in Eastern Europe! Although as I found out when we got the train back, this was due to the early start so there weren’t many people on the train.
Once we arrived in Cochin we met Anupama, who is a former intern of Jananeethi. We went for breakfast at a restaurant – I could tell it was a place frequently visited by tourists as there were two white people (maybe German) in there who were eating omelette, fries and toast! We went for the traditional India breakfast though – Masala Dosa. It’s strange seeing other European people again since I think we are almost the only European people in Thrissur!
It was interesting chatting to Anupama, she’s a lovely girl. She is currently undertaking a law degree and has previously completed a short internship at Jananeethi. To do an LLB in India you need to complete another bachelors prior to this. They don’t get much time off studying and in the few weeks they do get off they have to undertake internships! It seems to be much more difficult than in England. I have noticed that the Indian’s are very conscientious and passionate about their work. Not everyone gets the chance to attend university here, so I think they are more grateful for this opportunity than in England where I think it is sometimes taken for granted since most people have the opportunity to receive funding for university.
After breakfast we took a rickshaw to Fort Kochi and went on a boat trip on the backwaters. The backwaters are picturesque, but this depends on which way you look! I was slightly disappointed with the trip we took since it didn’t go very far into the backwaters and canals and the large ships machinery seemed to ruin the views.
After the boat trip we met Anupama’s friend; Vidhya and went to Kochi Fort and saw the Chinese fishing nets which were impressive! This is a unique method of fishing operated from the shore. The weight of a man walking along the main beam is used to cause the net to lower into the sea. They are used to catch fish and crustaceans which are then sold to passers by.
After this we went to St Frances Church the oldest European church in India. We also went to the Jewish part of town and visited the synagogue which was interesting, and did some shopping.
When we finally caught the train home we found ourselves on the wrong carriage by accident and the train conductor was going to charge us Rs 200 each for a reservation as we were in the sleeper carriage! But we managed to convince him to let us change carriages to second class at the next stop (you cant get from one carriage to another by walking down the train). When we got off at the next stop we didn’t realise how far it was to run to 2nd class carriage and when we got there it was extremely full – people hanging out the doors and windows! There was no way we were getting on. So we found another sleeper carriage we could fit on but we ended up standing in the doorway next to the toilet for the journey home which wasn’t pleasant! The journey passed quickly though as I began talking to some Indians who were local to the area, and the next ticket man who came down was more understanding so let us stay where we were, thankfully.
Once we arrived back in Thrissur station we decided to find out how much train tickets are for when we leave Thrissur to go to Varkala. The queue was massive, but was only men so we decided to start our own ladies queue and it worked; we just went straight to the front to the desk and they served us before all the men! This is an Indian custom which should be introduced in England!
Tonight is Laurens last night we are all sad that she is leaving! I’m going to be on my own in my room after tonight!