Education, Health and Social Sevices
My working life was spent in public service so I was interested when our guide, Joseph, spoke about the high standard of services provided in Kerala and specially in Kochi.
We noticed several schools, and schoolchildren in uniform - one schoolgirl group I spotted were dressed in brown and blue, almost exactly the same as the uniform I wore in early 1950's England!
Picture 1 - Canossa schools were founded by Portuguese nuns and are highly regarded as educational centres for girls.
Picture 2 - Ambulance Boat - thiswas provided by the Kerala Coastal Health Project
Picture 3 - A specialist Hospital Service for women and children.
Cochin International Airport
COCHIN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
The new airport is at Angamaly, closer to the town of Alwaye than Cochin. It is in the middle of nowhere, done so to reduce the impact on the environment. The old, chaotic and somewhat romantic aerodrome left over from the British Colonial Days was in the Willingdon Island , which was totally inadequate when Cochin became a city of exporting humans to the Middle East. The new aiport can handle all the flights coming and going out. It is a testament to the Kerala Labourers to th Middle East that every single major arab airlines from the gulf region: etihad, emirates, Saudi, Kuwait, and Arabia all fly in and out of Cochin Airport
Air India has direct flights to Riyadh, Jeddah, Koweit and intriguingly enough to Salalah in Oman. Connecting through Calicut and Mangalore, Air India flies to
Muscat, Sharjah, dubai, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Bahrain, Dammam.
The traffic to the middle east is mainly Labour Traffic and not intended for tourism. Cochin is well connected by air to Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore and Madras, and through these ports to the wider world.
Silk Air flies daily to Singapore. Tiger Airways from Singapore used to fly here but they have stopped flying here. Sri Lankan flies to Colombo and beyond.
I really look forward to the day when Cochin will direct flights from Europe without stopping off in the Middle East.
My usual routing is:
Either Air France from Paris to Bombay and then down to Cochin
Continental from New York to Bombay and then down to Cochin
From KL and Singapore it is easier to reach Madras and it is a pleasure to fly Paramount airways down to Cochin.
Churches of Kochi / Cochin
As you walk around Kochi and get to know this South Indian city, you will discover it's blasts from the past quite often.
Kochi was once colonised by the Portugeuse and here you will notice a number of things that are living day evidence of this.
Street names are one, along with the Med influences of the small cafes, but the main amazing thing here (especially as you are still in India) are the magnificent churches here, they are so well looked after, so easy to access and such a sight to behold!
Kathakali classical dance-drama
Time to attend a Kathakali (literally meaning story-play) dance demonstration.
It is a unique art in which legend and mythology come to life. Generally the students of the Kathakali start at the age of 10-12, the elaborate training in it, which lasts for about 8 years and consists of intense physical exercises and a prolounged course of instruction in footwork, body movements, eye movements, hand gestures facial portrayal of emotions, etc. (see demonstration on the picture)
Earlier I was mentioning that Kochi is popular spice trading hub that attracts Europeans, Chinese and Arabs during the seafarer's periods. Spices business however still very strong in Kochi with many streets occupied by gingers, cardamom and other spices traders.
Besides producing spices for cooking, some factories also produce pickled products or even making tea with spice flavors.