Cochin, India

March 13, Monday, 6:45am. Good morning, everybody. We are still crossing the Indian Ocean. It’s 80 degrees and flat calm at the moment. Yesterday, a ship wide announcement, at about 8:30am, said that we could see a pod of dolphin on the port side. Hundreds of passengers from all over the ship rushed to the upper decks to see this great event. And, lo and behold, there they were!! Maybe a dozen or so. BUT, they were only about a foot long. It must have been a school!! First graders, I guess. No teachers or adult aids in sight.
Here are the answers to the questions I posed in the last blog. Vietnam is first in scooter numbers with Indonesia second. Thailand used to be called Siam. A TukTuk is a motorized rickshaw. Bhat is Thai money. A Wat is a temple. The Wai is a bow. And the national sport of Thailand is kickboxing.
The other night, before going to bed, Ellen locks the balcony sliding door. We always go out on the balcony to see the stars, moon, or any ships in the vicinity. Every night we do this. Then we come in, shut the door, close the drapes, read a little, shut the lights off and go to sleep. We have done this every night since the beginning of the cruise. We have never locked the door because I go out when I get up at 4 or 5 am and don’t want to make noise unlocking the door. So I ask,” El, how come you locked the door tonight?” She says, “PIRATES”!!! OMG!!! Blackbeard reincarnated! I can see them climbing up the sides of the Princess right now!! Where is my cutlass???? Fire up the cannons and get ready to repel those bloodthirsty barbarians!!! I will save you, El, my love. Do not despair!!
1:35. Listened to information about Mumbai this morning followed by the second lecture about another world traveler, Captain James Cook. Here’s another quiz for you. Name two of Cook’s ships? What is fothering? What is careening? Tomorrow morning we make our first stop in India. A large city called Cochin. Over 600,000 people. India is going to be a very interesting place. About 100 of our passengers will leave the ship to go on a three day tour to the Taj Mahal. They will fly, take a train, and then a bus to get there. It will cost each person around 2500 dollars for the trip but it includes everything. Airfare, hotels, meals, guides, etc. They will rejoin us in Mumbai three days later. Four of our table mates are going. They are very excited!! Our excursion in Cochin is another boat ride to Kerala (called the Venice of the East). Talk to you later.
March 14. Tuesday, 7:20pm. India is another world. We have NEVER seen so much humanity. So many people!! It is a conglomeration of businesses, shops, shacks and trash. Like we have never seen before. So many cars, bikes, scooters, motorcycles, TukTuks, pedestrians, buses, trucks, handcarts, etc. Most roads are two lanes but they drive like it is six lanes. Vehicles come at you head on and swerve at the last minute. Horns are honking constantly. They say, if you can drive in India, you can drive anywhere in the world. It is said you need three things in order to drive in India: a good horn, good brakes, and good luck!!! So, so true!!! It is so trashy that the ship warns us not to wear open toe shoes and NOT to eat any street food, especially fruit or nuts, or drink anything that is not sealed. Even ice is bad. Almost every female wears a Sari except school kids who wear uniforms. Men wear slacks or what is called a Dhoti. Kind of a long skirt that can be lifted and tied to make kind of a diaper. We took a two hour bus ride to a town called Alleppey, in the state of Kerala , where we took a boat ride through a very extensive canal system. Here they spoke Malayala not Hindi. It is the state that makes a product called coir.They use the coconut fibers(husk) to make carpets, rope, mats etc. We also partook in an Indian buffet at a resort along one of the canals. It looked like a wedding was taking place outside but it was for us. Outstanding!! Wait until I show you photos of some of the thousands of housboats along these canals. Like nothing you have ever seen. Here’s the last bit of info I’ll give you today. The red dot that Indian women wear on their foreheads signifies certain things. If it is worn low, (like just above the eyebrows) it means beauty but if it is high on the forehead, (like just below the hairline) it means she is married. How about that!! El would have to wear two dots!!! Smooooth! Enough for tonight. Signed, Captain Jack Sparrow

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