This is one of the major ports of India and we could see evidence of this as the ship was docked close to mounds of coal off-loaded from massive container ships from China.
Vasco da Gama evidently landed on islands near here in 1498 and the Portuguese assumed control in the mid 1500s. We toured the Jesuit Aloysois College (including all levels of eduction, from primary to university) but that was the most we saw of the Portuguese influence (few buildings that we saw appeared to be from that era).
A tour of a cashew processing plant was fascinating. Started by women, all of the nuts are processed by hand by female workers. The nuts are first steamed in what look similar to stainless steel wine vats; this loosens the kernel from the shell. They are then slowly (in order to cool along the way) piped to a huge room where pipes feed them down to each woman sitting in rows working with few breaks. The shelled nuts are then washed by hand and heated again to loosen the skins. The women cut the skin off with small knives and the baskets then go to the packing department, the only place I saw where men are employed. Quite interesting, despite the hordes of trippers from the Oceania tours that we couldn’t escape.
We went to a rather grand temple comprised of multiple buildings, most gilded in gold leaf. It was obviously fairly new. By contrast, we visited a much older complex that looked like they had some sort of mini-festival going on. Tony sprinted up hundreds of steps to caves in the hills above with Arun – Pam and I waited and caught a glimpse of some of the festivities.
The last stop on our tour was a fish market for both fresh and dried fish. Not quite as humming as some we’ve been to elsewhere (and the fish weren’t swimming as they would have been in HK) but it was interesting to see.