Monday, March 9, 2015

India Travel Journal Part 7: Fort Kochi to Delhi

I only had about 45 minutes to explore Fort Kochi, which was hardly enough time to see anything. I couldn't afford to get lost, so I stuck to the shoreline where I saw many more of those amazing Chinese fishing nets. I navigated through vendors selling cheap jewelry, trinkets, coconuts, and ice cream. Maybe being so pressed for time is a good thing for the wallet because I wasn't at all tempted. The shoreline became difficult to follow as I spotted a sign for the Dutch Cemetery, which I read about in my guide books. I found the gate, snapped a photo, and hopped in a tuk tuk, hoping he could show me around a bit and take me back to the ferry.

We stopped at a pretty church. I went inside and tried to absorb what I saw, but ran back to the tuk tuk. I couldn't afford to dilly dally. The driver insisted on taking me to see spices and pashminas. I tried to argue with him and offered him more money to take me straight to the ferry, but he had other plans. $40 later, I emerged from the shop with vanilla beans, saffron, perfume, and chai massala tea, all of which I'm sure I could have found cheaper at a grocery store or mall. Damnit India!

Next thing I know, I'm being dropped at an unfamiliar location for the ferry. I go to the boarding area. Nope, this is definately not the right ferry. Of course there are more than one. No, I don't know the name of the one I need to get on. I run back to the tuk tuk and explain that I have a car waiting on the other side of the ferry and that mine is closer to the fishing nets. He exclaims I should have told him that and heads off toward the nets. I get on the next ferry and am excited to see my driver waiting as I approach. I think we'll make it to the airport on time, but he hasn't heard from the police yet.

India pried my technology away for a reason. I enjoyed being disconnected for the rest of my trip. Sure it was annoying to have to print stuff and write everything down, but I spent more energy absorbing my surroundings as a result. When I got to the Kochi airport to go to Delhi, I asked a stranger to borrow his phone so I could call my husband to tell him I lost my (other) cell.

I arrived in Delhi later that night and was greeted by a wonderful driver from my Delhi hotel, The Leela. The car was so nice! I could get used to car seats that have massage features... and to having a driver for that matter. It was all so surreal, though, you know? When I arrived at the Leela, I told the front desk about my missing phone and they empathized with my situation. After I got a tour of all of the technical features of my really nice room, I booted up my laptop and was in shock as I read an email from the Police in Kerala. They found my phone! What are the chances, honestly? Now, how were we going to get it back. I responded to the email with the address of my hotel in Delhi and asked if they could courier the phone to me. After a lot of back and forth between the Police, the Leela, and the Courtyard Marriott back in Kochi, I learned that it would be impossible for them to get the phone to me before I departed Delhi. So, I paid the Marriott to go pick up the phone from the Police and send it via DHL to my office in the US, which would take at least a few days. Apparently, there's no overnight shipping from Kochi to LA.

This would mean I'd be without a phone for my travels back to the US and during my conference in LA. Another week of being disconnected. Would I survive without handheld email, mobile boarding passes, calendar reminders, twitter, and instagram for that long? Would the conference have ubiquitous wifi? What about all the conference calls I had for work that week? Would I have to take them all from my hotel room using the land line? How would I tell time? Surprisingly, none of this occurred to me. I just resigned myself to being disconnected and had neutral feelings about it all. It would all work out because I had no other choice. Thanks, India.

Next post: Delhi in a day.