After eating light snacks of Appam, Elai Adai, and Samosa, I completed my breakfast by slowly sipping hot Chai which kept my body warm after being exposed to the cold of the airport air conditioner all night.
Chai’s last sip indicated that I had to get ready to head to the main destination of that day….Moreover, if it wasn’t Fort Kochi, an area where four cultures blended: Dutch, Portuguese, British, and Indian.
Leaving Cafe Sulaimani, I headed back towards the roundabout around the main gate of Cochin International Airport. When I got there I felt lucky that there was a police officer on duty.
“Sir, where is the bus shelter which can deliver me to Fort Kochi?”, I ventured to ask.
“Just wait there, the bus will come in fifteen minutes”, he looked at his watch and pointed to a street corner.
I immediately crossed the road and waited right around the corner. There wasn’t a bus stop on that side of the road. It was just that the police officer’s instructions convinced me that the bus could be stopped at that corner of the street.
Fifteen minutes of waiting was a calming period, how could I not, the police officer always seemed to be paying attention to me when directing traffic around. He seemed to be making sure I was caught by the bus at the nearest departure.
It was true, in exactly fifteen minutes, an orange bus with the KURTC (Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation) logo came out from the airport. I quickly caught its presence, and so did the police officer. When the bus slowly approached, the officer looked at me from a distance and pointed his finger at the bus while smiling. I gave a thumbs up and smiled back at him.
“Thank you, kind police”, I cheerfully thought.
I entered the bus from the front door and took a seat in the middle. Exiting the airport, the rows of bus seats still looked empty. Not long after sitting down, a female conductor with an EDC machine came up to me.
“Where will you go?”, She asked a question.
“Fort Kochi, Mam”, I answered smiling.
“88 Rupees”, the conductor shook her head.
It was half past eleven when the bus slowly headed west leaving the Aerotropolis Nedumbassery. The bus pushed through Airport Road, the main road with sidewalks between the two sections.
Slowly but surely, the bus picked up its passengers one by one along the way. Some were picked up at the bus stop and some were picked up outside the bus stop.
In fifteen minutes, my curiosity paid off when the bus passed by an MRT station.
“That must be Aluva Station”, I thought to myself.
In my surfing in cyberspace, I found that Kochi is a city that has MRT facilities. That day I found the trail and I was determined to try Kochi Metro even just once. Maybe when I was coming back from Fort Kochi that afternoon.
Leaving Aluva, the crowds of residents began to look massive when the bus entered an industrial area, the Kalamassery area. Big industrial trucks seem to fill the streets, while other types of city buses were crammed with residents who were busy with their activities.
Then leaving the Kalamassery area, I began to see apartment buildings. I guess that most of the workers from the industrial area live in apartments built up around the Ernakulam area.
After 45 minutes of the journey, the bus arrived at a terminal in the Vyttila area. Most passengers got on and off at that terminal. This was a large bus hub in Kochi. Buses from and to other areas in Kerala seem to stand by at that terminal.
After picking up passengers at the Vyttila Hub Bus Terminal, the bus returned to the streets. Farther west, large rivers began to acquire views. I understood that the bus I was on was getting closer and closer to the west coast of Kerala. The rivers branch off and split the land. As more and more land was separated by water, I started to find lots of bridges at the end of the journey to Fort Kochi.
One of them was the longest bridge in Kerala, the Kundannoor Bridge, which connects two areas, i.e. Maradu to the east of the bridge and Thevara to the west. Those vast waters make the panorama as far as the eye could see cooler and bluer.
After crossing the longest bridge in Kerala, the bus spun its wheels along Willingdon Island, which was a stretch of land surrounded by water, making it separate from the mainland of Kerala. Meanwhile, the Fort Kochi area itself was part of mainland Kerala which was located in the far west so buses must once again cross a bridge to get there.
It is the Gateway of Cochin BOT Bridge that facilitates the connection between the island and the mainland.
And in the end, even after an hour of journey, the bus started to enter the Fort Kochi area. At that time the crowd around was more dominated by tourism activities. Both local and foreign tourists mingle in every corner of Fort Kochi.
It took half an hour for the bus to push its way through the crowded streets of Fort Kochi until it arrived at the last stop of the KURTC bus which was located not so far from the west coast of Kerala.
Okay….Time to explore Kochi for the next few hours.