07 October 2013

Alleppy Backwaters - India (16)

Alleppey Backwaters, Kerala, India
What an amazing day in the backwaters of Alleppy. We were going to get the normal Indian Ferry for IR 10 but were stopped by a guy touting a private cruise for 3 hours at IR 1200. Looking at the ferry boat, which was packed and didn't look too comfy, we decided to take the small motor boat. A very good choice, even though it sounded as if it would stop in some crazy place, never to go again. The chap took us through tiny backwaters where the larger boats cannot go so we could see how the locals live. It is quite amazing that these people live and breathe by the back waters. They scour their pots in the water, they wash their hair in the water, they bash their washing on their washing stones, they bathe in the water - in fact, the water is their life-line. It's just incredible. Whilst the waters don't have litter floating, one has to wonder how clean it actually is? Fishing was also very evident - from an old granny to a young boy, they stand with just their fishing sticks.
Alleppy Backwaters, Kerala, India
People are so happy and most of them love having their photos taken. Often, the children will run out and wave just so that one can take their photo. Smiling faces, happy faces - it is wonderful to experience this abundance of joy  in these peoples lives. The houses on these canals are on a narrow strip of land abutting the rice paddy fields. Apparently each house has a section of paddy field so they have  steady income. There were only a few women working the fields today as it is Sunday. However, being Sunday, it gave is immense insight into the lives of these people living along the canals of Alleppy.
Our "driver" had to contend with an oil leak and water hyacinths clogging his propeller, and trying to turn the boat around at a very narrow spot. He managed this with finesse and despite our misgivings, gave us a fantastic tour. He apparently earns IR 6000.00 per month and has been doing this job for 20 years. Thanks, Joseph for an amazing day. 
The backwaters have miles and miles of waterways and there are many various boats around. The houseboats are from 1 - 3 bedroom, there are the day-tripper boats, much bigger than our little chug-a-long and many locals in dug-out canoes getting from place to place. The backwaters are the reason that most people visit this area and we hope to enjoy another trip soon.
To get to the boat jetty originally, we took a new 4 wheeler tuk-tuk for IR 50.00. On the way back, we got a normal tuk-tuk - wow - bouncing, can't see much and it's the same price as the new ones! The driver could not really speak English! We had to wait at the train crossing for ages before the train went by at speed. The way back was thru some really grotty, dirty areas - in fact, the backwaters looked cleaner than these particular streets in Alleppy.
We arrived back in our room to find the bed decorated with frangipani flowers, which smell simply heavenly and some incense burning to give the room a wonderful fragrance. As I have said before, the service here is top-class even if the accommodation is only basic Silver Crown. 
Dinner at Dreamers again, watching the very busy beach. Being Sunday, the locals were out in force enjoying the sea breezes. All appeared very well behaved, just being out and social. The beach is huge so it does not appear totally over-crowded. Dinner was good.

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