11 October 2013

Alleppey, India (19)

Alleppey, Kerala, India
Alleppey experienced rain and very load thunder overnight so we woke to fairly cold weather this morning. Having booked a tuk-tuk to go to Marari Beach (The Silent Beach) we decided to cancel this outing as it was IR 700. Instead we went into town and experienced life in the shopping district of Alleppey. Tiny shops with all sorts of goods interspersed with some modern clothing or appliance stores, it's quite an eye-opener. One chap with a small stall is a "hardware shop" Everything hanging all over - barely enough space for him! James got chatting and told him that we only have huge, modern hardware stores in Cape Town so he admitted to being a dinosaur! Doors, windows, chips, water, plastic goods, seeds, flowers, umbrellas, shoe repair services, shoes, and the ever-present traffic.
There do not appear to be any stop signs in Alleppey - whoever hoots the loudest, seems to have right of way. As pedestrians, we first stood and waited for traffic to stop or slow -  do we really want to become fossils?? No - so take the bull by the horns and act like a local - walk right into the oncoming traffic and pray that it either swerves around you or you are fast enough to dodge. I am very proud of myself, having negotiated a number of hairy crossings and survived to tell the tale.
Many of the men were lungis - white cloths wrapped around their waists. These are very popular and apparently, there are more fancy ones, with a different name, for special occasions. The office or hotel workers wear slacks - however, it seems these are discarded at home for the free and easy comfort of the lungi's. We have found the people so friendly and many are willing for us to take photo's. An elderly chap, on a bicycle delivering goods, actually smiled and slowed down so that both James and I could film him. Such generosity of spirit is amazing to witness. At no stage have we ever felt threatened - even though we realise that we stand out like sore thumbs. I am not sure where the other Western tourists go but they certainly don't seem to walk around in India like we have done.
The humidity increased as the day went on and we had a 5 km walk back to he hotel. We always look like total idiots as we get drenched in sweat, hair sticking up all over, and shirts sticking to our backs. The Indians don't ever appear to be at all hot - very frustrating!! They all look cool and calm - it's no wonder we get strange looks - these crazy Westerners, sweating like pigs on a VERY cool day in Alleppey!! I have never taken so many showers in my life!
Some spring rolls for lunch and we hope to get to Munnar tomorrow if the Travel Desk guy gets his act together. He acts as if there is no tomorrow - maybe he is fed-up because we cancelled the Backwater excursion which was IR 5500 for a few hours.
There is still no Wi-Fi at the hotel which is even more frustrating. Shades of Telkom SA?
© Judelle Drake

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