The World’s Only Pepper Exchange

I was watching Pilot Guides tonight (I have a crush on Megan McCormick–I’m kind of picky about my travel show hosts), and learned about the world’s only pepper exchange in Kochi, India.

The Wikipedia entry is meagre (I managed to double its length with one sentence), so here’s a first hand report from a traveller who visited in 2003:

I bought a ticket to go onto the ‘trading floor’ for ten Rupees. Ten rupees is about $0.21USD. I went upstairs of the modest building and heard the open outcry commotion. Imagine a dismal office room built in the style of Sardis Elemtary School — low, acoustic tile-panel ceilings, faitgued flourescent lights, and 1’x1′ asbestos tiles. It wasn’t exactly the NYMEX or the IPE. It looked more like a Glengarry Glen Ross set, except no desks, just an empty floor and some hemi-semi-demi cubicles along the walls that served as the floor brokers’ phone booths. The brokers were the same easygoing, simple folks that fill Kerala — dressed casually in their muhtis (I think this is the term for the half-sarong-skirts they wear) and other Keralan styles.

Cool. I wonder what other products have obscure exchanges.

Hmm…more searching led me to this article, which suggests that the exchange may have already gone online. Another real-world outmoded by the Internets.

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