It was a long and tumultuous journey from the Azores to Kochi, India but I have finally made it and spent the day relaxing in Kochi or Cochin at the Le Meridien hotel which is very nice and very cheap. My crazy journey started in the Azores by my first flight to Lisbon being delayed, while I only had a 55 minute layover to begin with to London, I knew something bad would happen with my bags-and it did. They lost my bag which has all my clothes/toiletries type stuff. TAP Portugal may be the worst airline I’ve ever flown and I hope to never use them again if I have a choice. When I did finally get to London I was told I wouldn’t get my stuff back until the next day at the earliest because they wouldn’t send it out until the last flight of the day which landed at Heathrow at 11pm. Ugh!
Long story short, they finally sent it on the flight that came into Heathrow at noon and said I would receive it between 4 and 8pm. I thought I was waiting for the cable guy with numbers like that but luckily I was staying with my friend Mike and his girlfriend and was able to be there easily for the guy who finally did arrive with my bag. It will be interesting to see if TAP reimburses my toiletry expenses that I incurred with my lost bags-highly doubtful.
Next day, 15 hour travel day to Kochi where I arrived at 3am local time to a packed, sweltering airport, a long immigration line and a swine flu test which was wonderful. I swear the customs and health people looked genuinely disappointed that I didn’t have it as I was the only white person or Westerner at the airport.
Finally, I arrived through the monsoon rains to my hotel in Kochi which is a seemingly nice little backwater city that resembles Sri Lanka more than anything else I can compare it with. It is the second city of Kerala which is one of the nicest Indian states. It is made up of several lush islands and is the gateway place to fly to the Lakshadweep Islands which is what I will be doing tomorrow morning. The hotel travel agency was actually a big help with planning my onward journeys to the Maldives and the Andaman Islands via Sri Lanka, Bangalore and Chennai respectively and I got a really reasonable price for the flights and even a driver. Should be a fun next week or two and I will keep you posted.
Thanks for the emails and advice by the way as i am in new territory and any help or hints is appreciated.