One very interesting scene I happened upon while in Fort Cochin was women preparing ginger in Jew town. Jew town is the main spice area for India: Pepper and ginger were being prepared behind old walls and in old courtyards. I went into one of the courtyards and asked about it. The women had laid out thousands of ginger pieces to dry. They were picking through them looking for bad pieces. I chewed on bit that they handed me and it was really good. The ladies were thrilled that I was interested in what they were doing. I went to take a picture and everyone freaked: no pictures, restricted area.
Walking through Jew town was also interesting because of all the architecture. There is nothing that is specifically anything. A building could have Dutch, English, Indian and Hebrew aspects to it: a Star of David here, a decorated arch there, a bit of stain glass, and grinding stone on the porch.
The synagogue in Jew town is the oldest in colonial history. It was very peaceful for the first few minutes. The sign outside said: Please not talking to help maintain the atmosphere of peace. I took my shoes off and didn’t speak. Then about 50 Indians showed up, followed by 50 pilgrimaging Jews. A cellular phone went off and that was the beginning of a furious picture taking and very loud discussions. Even within a peaceful synagogue where no one was supposed to talk I was bombarded with the usual where are you going, where have you been?
During lunch as I was sitting in a restaurant I saw porpoises swim by. My first porpoise sighting: a fin or two popping up. I feel bad for them because the water they are swimming in is so dirty. During one of my boat rides I panicked because there was the tiniest possibility the boat could tip (the boats are as crowded as buses), and the thought of falling into the sewer like, body filled, animal infested water made me feel weird inside.