A Travellerspoint blog

Day Two - Ferry Good Taxi

At Kochin airport we changed some money and jumped into a private hire taxi that would take us to Fort Cochin where we would be staying. Now we mentioned Emma and Alasdair earlier. They are both our running mates in the race and also the inspiration behind our entry into The Rickshaw Run. Hailing from Cheshire and Scotland via South Africa and en route to Chantilly they're a formidable pair. They along with their Peacock adorned Tuk-Tuk are Team Tuking-Tuk-Tastic!

Anyhow, it was Emma and Al who had the ground in Kochi two days ahead of us and they already knew the lay of the land. Em had told us where to get the taxi we were in and how much to pay. We even had the address to take us right to The Anchor inn on Mackenzie Lane, Fort Kochin. With all this information the first adventure should have been easy. Forty minutes of taxi drive later, Laura and I were looking at each other in a fairly puzzled fashion. We had stopped at ferry port and our driver was telling us the queue was too long to wait, we should go as foot passengers instead. We tried to suggest that the taxi fare was to get us all the way to the hotel but his argument was making sense. Ten minutes ferry and tuk tuk. One hour taxi with air-con and no heavy bags to carry... The ferry it was. We bought tickets for three rupees each and off we went.

On the other side no-one had ever heard of MacKenzie Lane, let alone the anchor Inn. We looked around confused once more until a couple of Aussie guys shouted over and asked did we want to borrow a map. A cold beer and fifteen minutes of cartology later we'd met our first fellow Tuk-Tukkers and were on our way to the hotel. We got in and passed out in our four poster super king; the air conditioning humming its lullaby in the background.

Em and Al woke us at around four and we headed out towards St Francis church where we get our first glimpse of our galavanting steeds.

Now The Adventurists are the company running the show and to be fair they have been very detailed in telling us what to expect, how dangerous the roads are and in giving us plenty of notice for us to create a design for the paintwork on our Tuk Tuk. Laura and I has spent a considerable amount of time procrastinating and generally ignoring demands for artwork. And so it was, on dead line day Emma send us a Whatsapp picture of the beautiful and intricate peacock design she had created, gold embossing and all. We were in trouble. Panicking I grabbed the laptop and opened my old favorite Microsoft Paint. Running with avian theme I went for a Chicken Little motif which was quality in my eyes. Start to finish I'd cracked it in ten minutes. I'd poured myself a beer and was showing it to Laura with no loss of pride. Laura said two things. The first was 'What is it?' The second was 'Oh... It looks... nice.' In hindsight I should have seen it coming, but so lost was I in my efficient brilliance I hadn't noticed the cogs of creativity start turning in my wife's eyes. Two days later a piece or art was presented to me in the form of a Tiger, named Tony henceforth, bright orange and striped black with emerald eyes where our headlights would be and stripey tail coiled up the back. I asked what was wrong with Chicken Little. Laura had thought we could do better.

We rounded the corner into the grass courtyard and before us stood around eighty individually designed and hand painted Tuk-Tuks. We marvelled at their beauty, briefly, and then went to find some cold beers and some fantastically tasty food for dinner. It felt good to be in India.

Posted by ibeamish 06:47 Archived in India Comments (0)

Day One - Inter National Express

5.45. The alarm sounded. Fifteen minutes later we were struggling out of the door. Keys hon?
Yep.
Have you turned the heating off?
Yep.
Sunnies?
Yep.
Passports?
Yes dear.
Lets go.
That's how our trip to India began. I'd already forgotten to book airport parking and so Boxing Day and the 27th had been spent trying to remain calm and avoid Heathrow's monstrous £300 fee. In the end we'd settled for a ride on the National Express. 'When your life's in a mess, take the national express...' the Divine Comedy's words ringing in our ears as our coach pulled out of the fog. We sat down in darkened seats; our senses heightened by a lack of vision. It took about sixty seconds before the acrid smell of body odour attacked both our noses and palates at the same time. With every slow stretch the chap in the seat in front of us unleashed another lavender bag of his sweet scent. Laura insisted we move and so we did. The rest of the journey was entirely unremarkable.

Heathrow Terminal 4 sends planes out to the middle east. As such, it seems to have a target audience of people that need to buy, a.) a rolex, b.) a mulberry hand bag and c.) a selection of boss, cartier, gucci and zegna. We settled for a magazine, a bottle of bourbon and a packet if peanut m and ms. Though Laura did go big and have a facial whilst we eeked out out last few hours on British soil.

On board we found we sat behind an intermittently screaming child. The only problem is that when she wasn't screaming she was actually very cute. A sign of age on my part I think.

India likes it's rupees. So much so they don't let you take them out. More over, no one else can either. That means a tourist has to try and change their rupees either in India using foreign currency or by drawing cash from an ATM. But alas, India is changing its notes and the knock on effect is that when an ATM happens to have some cash within it's loins it allows only 2000 rupees out per day (80R = £1) and it charges you 200 rupees as a fee! That's before the good old British bank gets stuck in for their thirty pieces too.

So Laura and I had a grand plan of turning up at Abu Dhabi Airport with thousands of english pounds and converting it into lots of rupees for Laura and I and also Emma and Alasdair. It turns out that rupees can escape India but only to the UAE. Our grand plan was rearranged after we spent an extra forty minutes circling Abu Dhabi because there was a bit of fog. As we landed Laura and I started running. The two km dash through the airport didn't allow for currency exchange; rather, it allowed us to more quickly reap the benefits of 30 degrees Celsius and the incredible humidity. We arrived at our boarding gate with eight minutes to spare. We were a little moist. We were bussed out to our aeroplane by an Arabian Colin McRae. One poor Indian chap was suffering from the inertia generated by Colin's driving skills and quickly. opened a clear plastic bag and made that 'under-water gargling sound' as he filled it with goldfish sized pieces of carrot in what looked to be muddy water. I looked to Laura horrified. She had tears flowing out of scrunched up eyes, a beaming smile in silent laughter, shoulders hunched and bobbing up and down.

Moments later we were being told to observe the seatbelt warnings and turn off our mobile devices. The only difference was that we were being told in a Scouse accent. One day, all the world will be Scouse!

Three and a half contorted hours later we touched down in Kochin. We had arrived!

Posted by ibeamish 04:48 Comments (0)

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