Pooppally's, Alleppey - Friday 6th April to Tuesday 10th April 2007
We took our fist train ride in India, only two hours, but quite an experience for us all. The children's first encounter of beggars with hideous diseases and severe poverty, much discussion about this and life sprung from these encounters. Once we all had our seats we settled down to take in the amazing views as we headed towards the Kerala Backwaters, the colours and lushness was overwhelming, dotted with children jumping into the waters, women in colourful saris, working the Padi fields and carrying pots on their head, cows wallowing in the water, lithe men in Sarongs working along the way. Our next stop is Pooppallys Heritage Homestay on the River Pampa. What a gem of a place, we were met by Mrs Pooppally (Cecily) and Dr Pooppally (Joseph) and shown our amazing rooms in their family home. We are in the converted rice Barn, all made in dark Keralan wood.
We have the most beautiful view of the river. Lunch is served on our arrival, a typical Keralan meal of freshly caught backwater fish, and the first of the many to come! What a fabulous experience. We had breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner cooked every day, each meal a feast of Keralan food, even Jack was converted to trying out the many dishes. We met a great couple also staying here, Ben and Polly from.....Crouch End!! Together we had some wonderful adventures on the river in the 100 year old canoe. We entertained the local Alleppey neighbourhood with the fine technique of the "Snake boat" oarsman, the navigation and the preparation for adverse weather conditions! Yes, we were caught out in a storm in the pitch black with no torch! And yes, we did get caught the next day in torrential rain and falling coconuts, but what fun we all had. The gardens of the house captivated us all with banana, papaya, coco, cashew, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, curry, watermelon, jack fruit, breadfruit, mango to name but a few trees. Dr Pooppally guided us around and talked about the plants, while Mrs Pooppally cooked us amazing dishes containing nearly all the ingredients we had seen. Jack was always first out in the morning looking for fallen nutmeg with the beautiful bright red mace wrapped around. This has been a relaxing, fun and educational highlight of our trip!