Navigating Kochi’s Light Rail and Waterfront Adventures

It was a rather nice hotel we stayed at in Kochi. But it was indeed a hotel; and we’d booked it through Airbnb, which was designed for travelers to rent out rooms in people’s homes. And it’s one of our pet peeves that many hotels and hostels also list their properties on the site — and sometimes don’t make it clear what kind of property they are.

It’s an even bigger pet peeve that they often state that they have a kitchen, when in fact they don’t — at least not a kitchen that guests can use. Since we rarely eat out, but much prefer to cook our own meals, being able to cook is one of our top priorities when we book lodging. And apparently, some of these hotels and hostels check the box on their Airbnb profile to indicate they have a kitchen just because they have one for their own purposes; but that doesn’t mean they allow guests access to it. And such was the case at this hotel.

We could get by with just a way to heat water, since this would enable us to brew that all-important cup of tea in the morning; and it would also enable us to prepare oatmeal. But alas, we also didn’t have any such thing at this hotel. So we took the matter up with the desk staff, who were quite helpful, and offered to bring tea to us each morning Well, that took care of one problem, but still left us trying to assemble meals that didn’t require any heat. Which, heaven knows, we’d done plenty of times before.

On Sunday July 3, our first morning at the hotel, we were up by about 6:00 as usual. And there was no sign of anyone at the desk to deliver on the tea pledge. We waited until 7:00. Still no tea. And then 7:30. Ditto.

Finally we decided we’d have to take matters into our own hands. Dennis went out into the rain to scout out a coffee or tea shop where we could buy a cup to go. As it happened, there was one just around the corner, selling authentic Indian chai in those little cardboard cups that look like flower pots, for a measly 20 cents a cup. He purchased a couple of these, and then pondered how to get them home, as they were a bit hot to handle, and easily sloshed. The tea shop offered them on a platter, but we didn’t want to have to return it later. So they offered to deliver the cups of tea to our hotel. India boasts an astounding combination of incredibly low prices and incredibly high service.

But we declined the offer, and managed to get the tea back to our room by our lone selves. Then about half an hour later, there was as knock at our door. When we opened it, lo and behold there stood a hotel clerk holding the pot of tea we’d been promised. It was a big pot, and the tea wasn’t very strong (in part because it hadn’t been steeping long) but the water was plenty hot, so we used it to make oatmeal, and then still had tea left over. So we began the day’s wanderings with a hearty breakfast in our bellies.

As already mentioned, the first part of the day was consumed by a trip to a bird sanctuary, where mosquitoes almost consumed us. In the afternoon, we elected to head down to the waterfront. Getting there required navigating Kochi’s extensive and impressive light rail system. One of the most memorable things about it, however, was that getting through the turnstiles required splitting up — there are separate entrances for men and women. (This wouldn’t be the last time we’d see such a thing.)

Down by the waterfront, we passed the usual gauntlet of vendor stalls and tour guides hawking their goods and services. There was also a landing pad for a helicopter offering rides to tourists — well, it presumably offered rides to anyone, but probably just tourists normally have the budget or inclination to partake. The locals, however, were clustered around watching the copter land and take off with fascination.

With so many boat tours being offered, we decided to spring for one — the tickets were quite cheap. So we took a little cruise out into the bay, and around the island where Bolgatty Palace is located. Built in 1744 by the Dutch to be a governor’s palace, the structure later became the local seat of British government, and is now a lavish resort.

The cruise was short and brief and not very long, but a pleasant little ride. And then it was another train ride back to our hotel room, where we put our creativity to work concocting a gourmet dinner from cold ingredients.

Wouldn’t be Monsoon Season without a Rainstorm

The Birds roost here to signal the end of this Post

July 3, 2023 (part 2 of 2)

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