We have quit our jobs and sold our house. Here you can follow us on our travels.
Many Indians, no cowboys
In a full week of India we did not see a single holy cow. The closest we came were a bunch of goats, but they were there to be skinned and eaten. We did meet quite a few Indians however, and we got some glimpses of a very colourful and truly beautiful culture.
Before India we spent a day in the Sri Lanka capital of Colombo, a city that to the untrained eye looks very much like what we later found on the Indian mainland. From there the Luminosa took us to Cochin in the Indian province of Kerala, to Mormugao in Goa and finally north to the multi-million metropolis of Mumbai.
We were a bit afraid we would feel totally intimidated by the buzzing life in tensely crowded streets, filled with a language and a set of social rules we knew nothing about. We were not however, thanks to the fact that we took the trouble and the money to find local guides to give us a private introduction to the world we entered. They also took us away from the hordes of tourists of our own cruise ship, and shared with us a knowledge that we otherwise would not have had access to.
The highlight of Cochin was a traditional folk theatre performance that we attended rather half-heartedly, but that turned out to be a fascinating show of mimics and music. The two highlights of Mumbai were the slum tour, that we have described in detail elsewhere, and also the textile marked where ES and her friend Lady B from the Luminosa dinner table literally shopped till they dropped.
Before we give you our Sri Lanka and India photo album, let us recommend the Reality Tours and Travel Company in Mumbai. We took two five hour city tours for a very reasonable price, and without them we would never have understood much of the city we visited. Should you ever be in need of an introduction to Mumbai, reed our blog post on the slum and look up Reality Tours on the net!
The beautiful Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque is a landmark in Colombo.
truck full of onions and other goods has arrived to the market…
…and the wholesalers haul their wares away.
ES has found just what she was looking for, a shop full of laces and ribbons for this year’s improvised Christmas decorations.
The old Colombo Town Hall.
The tuk tuks, all made in India, fill the streets and offer inexpensive rides. So if you get lost walking around town you are not in trouble. You are never more than a couple of dollars away from where you started.
A tuk-tuk-selfie. Can you spot us?
Cochin, Kerala, India. What did we find next to the Costa Luminosa? Yes, a representative of the booming Swiss merchant navy fleet!
They call them the Chinese fishing nets. They are suspended to a huge wooden structure and lowered into the sea.
The hanging counterweights help pull them up again. There is no price for guessing that this way of fishing was introduced to Kerala by the Chinese!
The nets are not always full of fish, though. This guy did not have a lot to sell when we passed by.
The substitutes for the holy cows are the not-so-holy-goats.
Market-life in Cochin old-town.
The St Francis Church in Cochin was the first church built by the Europeans in India. It dates back to 1503.
Inside the church we find the original burial place of the mariner Vasco da Gama. His body was later relocated and reburied in Portugal.
A campaign poster fighting rape. Over the last few years, sexual abuse of women in India has become world news.
Puppets on a string.
We were taken to a theatre performance that turned out to be one of the best events of the entire cruise. Here, the main character gets his makeup, on stage, before the show starts.
A frightening sight. We hope the actor has seen himself in the mirror also on earlier occasions!
The cast was two actors and two musicians, all men. This character is the bad guy, literally the devil in disguise.
We were very much impressed by the drummer!
The frightening fellow with the green face is the hero. The devil, disguised as a beautiful woman, tries to seduce him, but fails. The play was without spoken words, an off voice explained the story to us in English.
Unlike at the American Presidential Election, the story has a happy ending and the bad guy gets what he deserves.
We were allowed pictures with the actors after the show. The hero thought of himself as a good-looking fellow, but our friend Lady B was not quite sure if she agreed.
The market place at the Cochin Cruise terminal, as seen from Deck 10 on the Costa Luminosa.
ES stocking up on Christmas gifts. This year, everyone we know will get presents that have travelled around the world, if not the entire route, so at least parts of it.
After the election of Donald Trump, God has given up on the USA. He now concentrates on making life better for people in Kerala.
In the morning we had a new neighbour by the pier, the Indian navy’s flagship aircraft carrier!
Waving goodbye to Kerala – and Kerala waving goodbye to us!
Approaching Mumbai we are met by another Swiss cargo ship! Looks like the mountain goats have taken over the world’s oceans altogether!
Touring Mumbai with Lady B and our excellent young guide Champ!
The Gateway of India is the local Arc de Triumph! To the far right the Taj Hotel, where terrorists killed 200 people in the 2008 attacks.
The Gateway is a sight to see also for the locals.
By mistake this picture was shot on the wrong shutter speed, but we still like the scene. A barber does his client in the narrow street while a mother and her young kids are passing.
The kids were happy to dash and splash, and also happy to come over and talk to us!
Three locals enjoying a scenic view of a Mumbai beach.
Mahatma Ghandi’s house is a must for those who want to see the sights of Mumbai.
The great man’s private office and bedroom.
Sunset at the beach.
Mumbai is mainly Hindu, but with a large Muslim minority. This mosque is situated beautifully on a narrow strip into the sea. The terrorism acts of 2008 have not ruined the coexistence, which is still mainly peaceful.
The Crawford market.
ES bought several bags of curry. They are being stored in a closed suitcase together with clothes and textiles, so all our Christmas presents this year will probably have a strong smell of spices when they are ready to be opened!
The bottomless poor of Mumbai are found sleeping on the sidewalk. The working poor are better off, but their life is also very hard and not very healthy. This is the open-air laundry, where workers also live. They collect clothes and other textiles all over the city, wash them in open basins and dry them on the rooftops. What impresses us the most is the fact that in this apparent chaos they have a system that makes it possible to return everything to their actual owners.
Climbing to the roof with a sack of laundry ready to be hung out to dry.
The basins are not only used for the laundry, the workers also use them for their own morning baths!
After drying it is time for ironing and folding. This picture is from a similar, but much smaller, laundry in Cochin. Like in Mumbai, the workers are all men.
This guy uses ancient technology, a coal fired iron! On the table however, lies his smartphone!
The streets of Mumbai. A guide in this labyrinth comes very handy!
The textile market with stacks of silk that would reach from here to Timbuktu, probably several times!
Selling silk to ES and her companion was not the hardest job this guy has ever done. They bought the metres by the dozens!
Two exhausted ladies drinking tea. They very literally shopped till they dropped!
Returning to the docklands and the Luminosa with the loot. For now, at least, it is Gudbai Mumbai!