Yesterday, I took the bus from Kochi airport to Fort Kochi. It ended up taking about two hours through rush-hour traffic. Whilst waiting for the bus I met a fellow Gujarati, who kindly paid my bus fair.
He had flown back to India having worked in Australia for three years and was impatient to get home having been travelling for 24 hours. He was getting quite agitated about the traffic. I, on the other hand, was enjoying the slow journey because it let me see parts of Kochi I wouldn’t be going to!
We had an interesting conversation on the bus about how India is changing. He mentioned, for instance, how the road that was now snarled up with traffic was, a few years ago, mostly empty. Prosperity had seen some people swap legs for bicycles, bicycles for motorbikes and motorbikes for cars. This upward mobility had resulted in too many cars for Kochi’s once voluminous roads. The rate of change, he said, was phenomenal. Others too had pointed this out to me. Tourists who’d returned to India said how quiet it used to be compared to now. Domestic tourism has expanded considerably. Another sign of increasing prosperity. I noticed that on my day tours: everyone apart from me was an Indian tourist seeing another part of their own country.
I have hugely benefited from the internal tourism industry because everything can be organised on the internet. I’m not sure I could have done as much without these facilities. Certainly, I wouldn’t have been able to improvise and repeatedly change plans at short notice as I have been doing.
After my yoga workout this morning and the obligatory siesta, I wandered over to Mahatma
Gandhi Beach. Apparently he was a right one for implanting his towel on the beach early in the morning to claim his place for the rest of the day.
I continued my walk taking in the rest of Fort Kochi, the charming Mattancherry (old bazaar district and centre of the spice trade) and the oddly-sounding Jew Town!