A week since the course has ended. Where am I? Right now, I’m still in Cochin where I took the course. I had no initial plans, a week ago. I knew I had a few days left in the apartment I was staying at. So I chilled-out for a few days.
Me and Doris did some trips, got away from the polluted city and explored some of the sights. It was so cool. I had my first train ride in India. It was an experience that I so glad I had, with someone who knew what to expect-Doris has been in India since December and has used public transport a lot, so she knew the “drill”. I had some lessons I needed to learn, when it came to public transport in India and also I had some sights I’ve have to get used to seeing. What I realized first of all was to never expect the timings, which are listed on the Internet, to be corresponding with the timings in reality. Always expect to be late and give yourself as much time as possible. Secondly, I realized how extremely cheap it was. Wouw! Cheaper than food, accommodation, water and even a cup of specially brewed Marsala chai!!! I paid for a 2-hour train journey, only 10 rupees, which is around 0,14 cents! And soon I would realize why: The amount of people they are able to squeeze onto these trains and the length of the trains, as well as the platforms, makes them able to keep the trains running at such a fare cheaper than a bottle of water!
The sights I’d seen in the movies and on television, I was suddenly seeing for real. There were old men, so tiny, frail and vulnerable, curled up in little balls, trying to sleep but lying in the passage ways and being stepped on by other passengers who were more keen to get on the train instead of not hurting those poor old men. Then there were the passengers who were NOT willing to pay the 10 rupees, so would be standing along the train tracks in the middle of nowhere, waiting for the train to pass-by, which would be going at a snails-pace more often than not and with the doors to the carriages ALWAYS open, they were able to run and jump on board, and hitch a free ride to wherever the train was going! This is something you would only see in action movies or in those movies which are set back in the early 1900‘s, or something you would only witness in India.. Then the stench of stale urine would be seeping from the toilet (or the hole in the floor of the carriage, which could be found behind a screen, which was serving the purpose of a wall) and making its way through the carriage. The windows didn’t have any glass; steel barriers were enough to ensure the lower hanging palm-trees that would sweep by the outside of the train, wouldn‘t cause the passengers any harm or poke them in the eye or whack them in the head. The tea-man was the entertainment onboard! He was walking up and down, shouting: kape, kape, kape, kape! chai, chai, chai chai! over and over again, in the same voice with the same tone, as if he’s recorded himself and was replaying the tape whilst walking through the carriages and hoping to earn a few rupees. My first train ride! Wouw.. I was adjusting and turning a blind eye to all of this. Or, I LOOKED to be turning a blind eye. Nobody could tell I had never experienced anything like this before, nobody knew what I was thinking and nobody sensed that I was shocked by everything. I just smiled, laughed, chatted, had fun and let the amazement settle until this the moment I’d get to share it with others, which is now..
We made our way to jungle, we visited the “backwaters of Kerala” and some small, cute and very colorful villages. We went to waterfalls, we swam in the river where the locals bathe and wash their clothes (and we weren’t “allowed” to wear a bathing-suite (inappropriate) but we were fully dressed instead, which felt so suppressed I might add). Swimming in such a river, I know might have been unwise, but it was flowing water, with a strong current and very clean to the eye so I had to experience it!
After spending some amazing days together, since completing the course, Doris and I both tried to start planning our “escape” from Cochin. Doris’ escape happened way faster than mine. She managed to leave Cochin and has gone to an Ayurveda village to undergo a detox-programme. So, at this moment in time, her body is being cleansed from all the toxins she’s been eagerly building-up in her body, caused by overindulging in the amazing Indian cuisine. We said goodbye on Wednesday evening. It was sad but inevitable. I was just so glad I got to spend my first chapter here in India with a girl so amazing!! As for me and escaping Cochin: at that point in time, I still didn’t know how long I’d be staying here for, but I was patiently waiting and planning. So stay tuned! There’s more coming right up!