Sweat pit of hell and the lovely backwaters

Trip Start Jan 23, 2012
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Trip End Jun 09, 2012


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Flag of India  , Kerala,
Friday, February 17, 2012

After checking out of our lovely hotel in Varkala, with Delhi-belly effects still causing a little havoc, we decided to take the luxury option and picked up the first available taxi to our next destination, Kollam.

Ahh, Kollam.

Now, Lonely Planet describes this town as a quaint, sleepy town - and a gateway to the backwaters. It's not. It's really not. Well, it's a gateway to the backwaters alright, but qaint? No. Sleepy? Not a chance!

After arriving by Ambassador Taxi, we hunted down our hotel, only to be told they had no record of our reservation. Lovely. Luckily enough, we plodded about 20 paces down the street, and checked into the Karuna Residency. Again, Lonely Planet describes this place as a 'little tired'. 'Little' is stretching it to the extreme - but hey, we had a bed for the night, and by this time we were covered in sweat, and in no mood to find another!

Lonely Planet - you're now on thin ice.

After possibly the hottest, and sweatiest walk ever, we managed to find the local tourism office at the local jetty, and booked a canal cruise on the backwaters for the following day (the luxury houseboat option was available for a whole 24 hours, but with our delicate stomachs still not quite playing ball, spending a whole day on the backwaters probably wasn't wise!).

After unsuccessfully finding any eatieries catering for delicate stomachs, we turned to the (now much abused) Lonely Planet guide, and found the Hotel Nani restaurant. Although we'd missed the lunch by a few minutes, we'd seen the taste of luxury and decided to head back that night.

After a lovely western meal of bread and butter, we plodded on down to the Hotel Nani to dinner. So impressed were we with the food, and hotel, (and so full of hatred for our current hotel, and Kollam for that matter) we decided to book two nights at this hotel. Yes, it's waaay over our budget, but it was the only sanctuary we found in Kollam.

The following day we checked into Hotel Nani, and spent a few hours enjoying the luxury power shower, beautiful room, and watching BBC Entertainment!

It was now time for our backwater trip. After being picked up from the jetty, we were whisked to a place called Munroe Island, and spent a lovely, peaceful four hours being punted around the beautiful Kerala backwaters.  The waterways were surrounded by palm trees and greenery that was perfectly reflected back into the waters.  As part of this trip we found out how to make the canoes, made from the local wood and the holes stitched with plastic rope with coconut husks and covered in fish oil on the inside and cashew oil on the outside.  We also found out how to spot clove, ginger, pepper and pineapple plants.  After the peace of the backwaters we went back to the relative calm of the Hotel Nani and enjoyed movies and food.

Tomorrow we're catching our transport to Kumily to visit the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.

Kollam.  You will not be missed.  
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