11 October 2013

Alleppey to Thekkady, India (21)

On the way to Kumily, Kerala, India
Up early this morning, we were amazed to see a rainbow over the beach, a soccer game in progress and many people taking a brisk walk. Shows what all we miss by sleeping too much!! Although we were a tad early for breakfast, the staff were very obliging and got us fed in record time.
We set off at 09.15 hrs with driver, Aneesh. Such a pleasant chap, well-spoken, well educated (BSc Degree) and we can understand what he is saying. Thankfully! The trip to Thekkady is 145 km and took us 4.5 hours!!!!! OK, we had about 4 very brief photo stops, the problem is narrow roads, much traffic and twists and turns as one proceeds into the hills.
Through Alleppey one passes shop upon shop, tuk-tuk's as always, people everywhere, then suddenly we came upon a "lake" which of course, turned out to be rice paddy fields. The fields are covered in water until the rice is ready, then the water gets drained off. Apparently, there is not enough rice cultivation from individuals anymore, so a corporate has been formed to increase production.
Kerala is known as "God's Own Country as they have a plentiful supply of water all year round, beautiful scenery and no natural disasters. Even the horrendous tsunami a few years back, left Kerala untouched. The roads are pretty good until one gets up into the hills, then there are pot holes every now and again. Our driver says that one should first train in a circus before driving in India - it is chaotic and nerve-wracking but I am pretty used to this now and just hope we remain safe! There are signs such a U-Turn ahead (for curved bend), High Accident Zone with a 24 Hour Hospital just below the road, wear helmet, ya right!! Apparently, 2 wheel drivers can lose their licences if they drive without helmets but it seems that nobody polices this as most drivers wear no helmets and their pillion passengers don't either. Women often sit side saddle holding a child or some shopping.
We passed huge tracts of rubber tree plantations - these owners are very rich despite the 25 year wait for the tree to mature. Thereafter, all is pure profit The  houses along this stretch are palatial homes  - very large and the best we have seen so far in India.
As we started climbing higher, the views were glorious - valleys and with hills covered in natural forest but still the tuk-tuk everywhere! Every now and again a village or town pops up. We have not yet encountered a long stretch of road without habitation - this is everywhere. Understandable, given the huge population in India.
Buses come hurtling down the road, often on the wrong side as they take the corners. The Indians must be born without any nerves or else they learn the ways of the traffic while still tiny toddlers. Nothing else can explain the total disregard of any sort of road etiquette. It's like playing dodgem cars in real life.
We  also saw a large slope of pineapples (these are so sweet here in India), tea plantations, coffee plantations and many spice plantations are we got nearer to Thekkady.
What a very long drive for 145 km!! Thankfully, the Stugaron kept my motion sickness at bay although I don't think I would have managed to go much further.
We have checked into our hotel called Green Forest. Very nice room and bathroom, some Western type food on the menu tonight AND we are able to get Wi-Fi!
Panoramic Sea Resort in Alleppey has been without connection for over 4 days - very, very frustrating.

© Judelle Drake

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