Goa is a state in South India and a former Portuguese colony with a rich history. Goa is tiny by Indian standards. Goa is made up of a unique mix of cultures: Indian and Portuguese. Its architecture reflects this historical fact. Since the sixties, Goa has been attracting a steady flow of visitors - hippies, pilgrims visiting Catholic and Hindu shrines, and many settling in Goa and making it their home. Goa is looks and feels different from the rest of India, thanks to Portuguese rule which isolated it from the rest of India for 451 years. Because of the extraordinary harmony between Hindus, Christians and Muslims Goa is regarded as one of the most peaceful states in India.
Kochi, often spelled by its old traditional name of Cochin, is one of the highlights of South India. Merchants began trading in spices here - such as black pepper, cinnamon, anise, cumin and cardamom with the Arabs, Dutch, Portuguese and Chinese since the 1500s which helped Kochi prosper and to become one of the major gateways to India. Portugal was the first colonial power to establish a base in Kochi, followed by the Dutch and British. The foundation of modern Kochi started with Sir Robert Bristow, a senior Royal Navy Engineer who established Kochi port after the opening of Suez Canal. Since the formation of Kerala State, Kochi has been the commercial capital of Kerala as well as the seat of the Kerala High Court.
Looking out over the panorama of Yokohama from Japan's tallest building, you can hardly believe that 150 years ago, Japan's second largest city and largest port was hardly even a village. When Commodore Perry's Black Ships sailed in and demanded that Japan open itself up to the rest of the world after its long insular snooze, Yokohama was opened up as an international port. The city quickly grew around the port and foreign concessions blossomed. Foreigners were allowed to live only in certain areas of the city. Yamate Bluff quickly became a virtual European village. Chinese were soon to follow. Chinatown, just below the Europeans' bluff bustled, as it still does, with the sizzle of noodles being stir-fried and the smell of ginger and sesame.