Having an Anglo Indian background on my Mum’s side, I had always thought of the Portuguese blood in me to be really random. However coming to Kochi, a melting pot of background and international influences, this is not the case. Aaron, who ran our hostel was in fact of Indian Portuguese descent.
Over the years Kerela had been run by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British. So today walking the streets you will pass a Catholic Church, sat next to the Jewish synagogue, whilst having a Dutch breakfast in a hotel of Portuguese architecture, looking out to the fisherman, who are still using the Chinese fishing nets to bring in the days catch.
As a result the state of Kerela is 40% catholic, and many locals we met had European names, Joseph who ran the Portuguese museum or Susan and Paul who gave us a cooking lesson. There is a distinct international feel in Kochi, a mix of architecture, artsy boutiques and cafes, it is an example of one of the many places in India, that really doesn’t feel like India or at least your expectation of it. With such a mixed history, the turn of each country could be stepping into many a country.