April 21, 1978: On the flight from Goa to Cochin, on the west coast of India, I read in a newspaper about the (Hindustan Shipyard){in 2006, 85,200 Google links + 26 images) in Visakhapatisan,on the east coast, boasting the deepest harbor east of Rotterdam.
While in 1933/4 the port handled 120,000 tons in one year, the same volume is now handled in 40 hours.
They export Manganese and Aluminum, 10 million tons in 1978 (?).
From the air I could see several islands, barriers, lagoons, numerous boats and giant cross-nets. We landed at 12:40. After a long wait for my bags, I took a taxi for 12 Rupiahs (R) across a bridge and along the quays where I noted the new Cochin Shipyard.
Then the busy Mahatma Gandhi Road to the rather large Grand Hotel where I took a bedroom with bath and two beds conmplete with baldakins for R 35.
I tried taking a shower but that was too warm so I resorted to "mandi", splashing small buckets of water.
I then washed my clothes and hung them up to dry, before taking a siesta, reading "The Honourable Schoolboy" on an Arabic sofa till about 16:30 when it seemed a bit cooler outside.
I then took a walk and thought Cochin to be a cosy little town, rather warm and humid, very crowded and with too many buses, traffic and air pollution. I gravitated to the waterside where a small park looked out across the water. Here was a nice cool breeze and a pleasing spectacle of numerous small ferry boats or water taxis. I bought some nuts, milk and mandarin oranges. Walking along, I got to a crowded street - close to Jew Town- which looked almost Chinese. People were very small and dark and talked rapidly. They did not appear as sociable as the Goans. Kerala is said to be one of the poorest states. There were many movie theaters, eating stalls, bookstores, hospitals and hotels.
I swung back to the Grand Hotel, bought a map and wondered if I was going to watch Kathakali tonight. Back at 17:00, I had a gin and tonic and some cashew nuts in a very dark, AC bar. Since I was not hungry at all, I skipped dinner for the third day in a row, took another shower, opened my window and enjoyed the cool evening air after the red sunset. I noted red rooftiles, courtyards, crows, bars in windows, a cockroach and 2 tjitjaks (lizards), then finished the book by 22:00 and went to sleep, first killing several irritating mosquitoes. I had a strange dream of a genius who invented an oxygen apparatus consisting of filaments which fitted over your head and into your mouth. I assisted him and chartered boats for nightdives, ran into an exciting woman in a wet suit whose husband was to rent us a boat, made fried fish in a dirty kitchen. Then all of a sudden Earl Frederick, one of my former Millersville students, walked in. This all was somewhere in the N.E. Pacific.
Cochin-Ernakulam MAP
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Cochin History

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