28. My List of Ten Firsts for Kerala and Goa

  1. First rain in 70 days while in Kerala.

2. First overnight train ride where I didn’t share a 70-passenger coach with 69 others including crying babies and shouting 2AM boarders moving into the berth across from me.


3. First time I ordered a 100 rps chai and meal from “Meals on Wheels.” I drank the chai. I didn’t eat the meal because there was an inch-long hair lying on top of the food.

4. My first hotel in which some guests swam in a swimming pool. Of course, because of my staying at mainly budget hotels, I’ve only been to two other hotels that had swimming pools.



5. First viewing of the Arabian Sea.

6. First restaurant in all of India where I could have eaten pork.



7. First Christian statue on a taxi dashboard.

8. First visit to a Jewish synagogue in India. The Paradesi Synagogue was built in 1568.


9. First church, St.Francis Church in Cochi, in which the remains of Vasco de Gama were interred. As the first Portuguese to reach India by sea, he showed that Europe and Asia could be linked by a sea route other than traveling through the Mediterranean. This voyage and the return voyage from 1497-1499 were the longest sea voyages to that time.  He died on December 24, 1524;  his remains were taken to Portugal in 1539.


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10. First public viewing of St. Francis Xavier’s relics in 1622 in Goa’s Basilica of Bom Jesus (Basilica of Infant Jesus). Although he died in 1552, his remains were transferred to this church in 1613. The relics in a silver encased pine casket are opened to the public every 10 years.


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