Day 72–Fri. Mar. 18, 2011–Kochi, India

     Kochi is both a city and a former state (known as Princely State) in southwest India on the Arabian Sea.  Now part of Kerala state, the region of Cochin has one of the highest population densities in India.  Agriculture is the chief economic activity.  India is a large, triangular-shaped country in southern Asia, buttressed by the long sweep of the Himalaya in the north and protruding into the Indian Ocean in the south.  It is bordered by Pakistan to the northwest, China, Nepal and Bhutan to the north, and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east.  Sri Lanka is the teardrop-shaped island hanging off its southern tip.  We saw fishing nets as we pulled in.

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     We packed last night and just had the little things to add this morning for our trip to the Taj Mahal.  We ate a very good breakfast and then met Ann, Lorrin, Susie & Dorothy to wait for clearance to leave the ship.  There was entertainment for us on the pier.  It took a little longer than expected to get off the ship, but our driver was waiting for us.  It took about 1/12 hours to get to the airport.IMG_0064 IMG_0066

     He got our tickets for us and we went through security.  They separate male and female and you get patted down.  The women have a curtain around them.  They stamp a tag you have to put on everything carried aboard.  There was one large waiting room and three gates numbered 1 – 3 – 2.  You get on a bus to get to your plane and then we had to walk up the steps to the plane.  I sat next to a young man that did not like heights or going fast on his way to a new job with Google in Hyderabad.  Ray started teasing him by saying to him, didn’t you see the pilot with the book “Flying for Dummies”?  When the pilot announced how high we were and how fast we were going, his eyes were as big as saucers.  When we were landing, Ray said to him the pilot was looking in the back of the book for how to land.  He laughed and said we made the trip fast for him.  We had a 30 minute layover in Hyderabad.  During that time an official came aboard and checked every piece of luggage and item carried aboard to make sure the owner was aboard and to make sure the item had a tag with stamp.

     In Delhi we had a huge walk to the luggage area.  Mahi was waiting for us with 2 cars.  One to take the other 4 to the hotel and one to take Ray and I to a mall with a Harley-Davidson store.  Delhi, India closed H-D  The driver locked the doors and we drove through some very bad areas.  We got to the mall and found out the H-D store closed 2 minutes earlier.  It was a very modern mall.  You had to go through security to get in.  The driver left and we were to call him to come back and get us.  I had to go into the store next door and they let me use their phone to call him.  We got to the hotel about 15 minutes after everyone else.  Ann and Lorrin walked past our room while the desk clerk was showing it to us, so we went to dinner with them.  We went to the Italian restaurant and it was way too expensive, but there was no other place to eat.  I was so tired I forgot to take pictures of our room, it was beautiful and the shower was great.

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