Alleppy / Alappuzha

Trip Start Nov 18, 2002
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

On Saturday 11th February 2006 we headed south by train to Alleppy or Alappuzha as it is also known.
This was our first trip by train. Just a short one of one hour at the princely sum of 27 Rupees each which worked out to be 35 pence each. Goodness knows what class that was as we were not sure what was written on the ticket. The train was 1 hour late but hey! We were in no hurry. We get on what class we thought we should be on or better still where there was 2 seats free. Along comes the guard and duly works out that we needed to pay another 45 rupees each. It worked out at just over one fine English pound each but the carriage was clean, not air conditioned but at the speed it traveled it was still pleasant.

We arrived in Alleppy and took our first ever rickshaw ride. Basically this is three wheeler motorbikes with a double seat behind the driver. These are not a good idea for long journeys but really cheap for short ones.
We got dropped off at our chosen accommodation a big old colonial house with a beautiful garden as described in the (sometimes) trusty Lonely Planet. The setting was out of town amongst palm trees and mosquitoes the size of dogs! As I was to find out within 5 minutes of being there. One such mosquito dog bite me 15 times on the lower left arm. It was unbelievable. Out came the 'jungle formula DEET' and I didn't get bitten again.
Down town Allappy Back waters Allappy Rice barges
Alleppy is famous for its tours into the back water canals. This area was originally a series of lakes of which have been linked by canals. Little villages have sprung up along these narrow canals which make it interesting to explore.
The usual tourist thing is to have a so called house boat for 24 hours. See photo. These huge floating homes, some basic some luxurious depending on the budget drive up and down the wider estuaries making quite a noise with their out board or in board motors. Yes they look nice but they don't allow you to discover the real back waters. We opted to take a small row boat for a few hours which was more our thing. It was silent to begin with which allowed us to hear the children singing in the schools, people shout hello, others going about their daily work, men selling pots and pans from their small teak canoes, women having a good old gossip whilst beating the hell out of their washing of which all was done in the canal.
We stopped for fresh coconut juice sold from a simple hut at the side of the canal. Later we stopped for fresh pineapple juice too. This was a welcome break during the heat of the day.
Eventually we reached our destination of our boat mans family house. We were served a most delicious 'thali' Thali means meal. Usually vegetarian where separate amounts of rice, salad, dahl, and vegetable curry are served on a fresh banana leaf. It had to be the best meal we have tasted so far on this trip.
Fishing Thali Meal (Local meal on a banana leaf) Local fishing boat
The Kumar family were extremely attentive. Mrs Kumar or Kajenni was an excellent cook. Their 3 and a half year old daughter Minashee was a delight. She loved to look at our white hands to compare with hers. She was a real sweetie.
After lunch we went for a long walk along the narrow canals. People came out of their houses to say hello and what is your name? After that they didn't usually say much else. The children were very inquisitive wanting to see the photo on our digital camera we had taken. It was all so very peaceful unlike being on one of those house boats!

Later in the afternoon after returning back to the house we had a wash down in the shower room with water from the canal from a bucket. It reminded us of our days in Laos by the Mekong River! The water was clear-ish and refreshingly cool.
Scaffolding Indian style Devi tounge piercing ceremony.. Real !!
Later we went back out in the row boat and made our way to a special place right next to a Mosque and watched a most beautiful sunset with an incredible vibrant red orange sky. See photo.
Later in the evening we had another fantastic meal with local caught fish from the canal. It was a perfect end to a perfect day. The Kumar's were a great host family. And all because we met some fellow travelers who recommended this particular boat man. No one else we met so far had the same personal experience.
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monfroboese on

Mrs Kumar
Hello m-and-c
I have been following your trip in south india. Could you please tell me how to find Mr. and Mrs. Kumar to take the rowing boat into the canals azt Alleppy ?

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