Saturday, 14 February 2009

The Jews of Kochin

Entrance to the Synagogue in Kochin...

I had a great day today. I'm in a stupidly good mood....

Charles got up really early to go and get a massage. I hate massages at the best of times, and getting up at 7 to have one just goes beyond me, but then who am I to decide what is odd or not.

As we wanted to see several sites around Kochin we decided to rent two push bikes. I've been getting more concerned about the levels of pollution, and tuk tuks are particularly bad for it as a lot of them burn kerosene. It was a great idea to hire the bikes. Kochin is flat and easy to navigate. I'm not so sure about the little camp basket I said yesterday, all very Sound of Music ( Sonrisas y lagrimas )...

The first place I wanted to visit was the synagogue, although I knew that today it would be closed to tourists.

The first Jews settled in India either in the 6th Century BC, or even before, in the days of King Solomon, 12th Century BC. Things went well and a community developed until sometime in the 16th century when the Portuguese Inquisition arrived in Goa. Jews were then being burnt at the stake.

Thankfully a local Raja gave them sanctuary and a community settled here in Kochin. Sadly these days there are very few families left as most have emigrated to Israel. The old Jewish Quarter has a very Central European feeling to it, and now it's just full of small stores selling handcrafts and the usual tourist tat. After that we cycled around for a few hours, going for a while near the Backwaters that make Kerala famous...
Tomorrow we are going on a boat for 24 hours to see if their fame is deserved, but I get the feeling I'm not going to be disappointed as they look teeming with life. I have brought with me enough DEET to kills all the mosquitoes in South East Asia.

Though I am slightly concerned about, well, what else...snakes.

I finished my day in a lovely coffee shop called 'The Tea Pot' drinking 'White Silver Tips', some special type of tea, all very civilized, and finishing the book I have been reading, 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' by Khaled Hosseini. Not an upbeat book, but, in my opinion, a great story of courage and dignity, full of very sad moments, but also a few heart warming moments that give you hope.

Still haven't received any Valentines cards.

The who on earth would send me a card....I am a sweaty pig....


  1. LOL@sweaty pig standing right inf front a "Cochin" service sign! You are a sweetie pig, we love you and miss you. Happy Valentine´s. R. Alex & Paula

  2. lol I was just going to say the same thing!
    Well if its any consolation - I also din't receive an Valentine's cards (and I don't think I can claim the sweaty pig excuse!).

    On another point though: great to see the push bike! Cycling (even on the rickiest of bikes) is the best way to see a city....