First Two Days in Kerala [en]

An account of our package days in Kerala. Nice!

It took a bit of firmness, but it was finally less difficult than I had feared to obtain the various entertainments promised in our package.

We started yesterday evening with a trip around the local canals in a canoe. Peaceful, and nice, glimpses of lives in little houses or huts near the water, and the splashing of the oar in the dark as we headed home, interrupted only by the twilight din of the birds hopping and chirping excitedly in the coconut trees.

The food was nice, although the ‘vegetable curry’ we ordered alongside the fish was ‘somewhat bland’, and we clearly hadn’t ordered enough. For my part, I was thinking ‘family style portions’, but each dish here was clearly meant to feed one person only.

We got up at dawn this morning (6:20 a.m., the birds were at it again with their racket) for a slightly longer tour through the backwaters in a motor boat. Luckily we just chugged along slowly, so the noise didn’t prevent us from enjoying the peacefulness of the morning scenes offered to us: fishing, bathing, and washing up the dirty dishes.

We came back for a hearty breakfast of appams, and discovered that the vegetable curry wasn’t too bad with a little added salt and pepper.

By nine o’clock the car (mini-van, actually) was ready to take us to a neighbouring village for a short trek. There isn’t much to say about it apart from the fact that it was pleasant and allowed the atmosphere to sink in. Anita shot quite a lot of videos with the digicam.

Lunch was a success. We had ordered a lot of food and it was really nice — especailly the prawn masala (prawns naked, if you please). We ordered accordingly for this evening.

Half of the afternoon was devoted to laying around and bathing for me, and hotel-hunting and transport-organizing for Anita. Again, I cannot say it enough: thanks, many thanks.

Around three we set off for a brief visit of the highly coloured temple, a stroll on the beach (the soft sand and warm water made me want to bathe, can you imagine!) and a walk in the town. Our driver, Matthew, turned out to be a very nice chap who told us all about the finest umbrella manufacturer in all India (here in Alleppey only), as well as a local church we peeked into.

I’ve rarely packed as many things in an Indian day as I have today!

From Pune to Alleppey [en]

Leaving Pune, travelling to Alleppey and a few words about the resort we are staying in.

Leaving Pune was hard, just as the last times. I was sad to leave the town and the people I love, sad to leave without knowing when I will see them again.

Anita had spent a day in Pune, so we travelled back to Bombay together, which was nice. We went to Bandra to see if I could find nice silvery glittery sandals for my size 41 feet. I gave up, to no surprise — shoes that size aren’t really to be found, especially when the foot they must fit is also wide and high.

For dinner, we had what is probably the best Thai food I have ever eaten. I don’t have a great experience of Thai food, true, but in any case, I’m certainly going back to this place next week before flying back home.

We got on our train the next day after an excruciatingly long rickshaw ride to the station. I was prepared to repeat the Chennai feat of last-minute train-catching, but fortunately it proved unnecessary to excercise ourselves in such a manner.

We travelled in the company of a nice young man named Sharath, who was going to meet his family after two years and a half. We ate surprisingly good train food (including two halves of a chicken — the prices must have dropped for a reason you can certainly imagine), feasted on cashew nuts, raisins and almonds, and shot whacky videos with the digicam. I even jumped out during one station-stop to clean the outside of our windows so that we could film the scenery from inside.

We arrived in Alleppey half an hour late, which is pretty good as far as Indian trains go. As promised, somebody was there to pick us up, and we made it to the resort and into our room without a hitch. The resort looks brand new to me, though it is probably a few years old. Room and bathroom are squeaky clean and equipped with a mosquito net, the latest water-squirting technology instead of the normal tap for the toilets, and a couple of frogs on the veranda to help keep the local bug population under control.

We had booked a 3 day/2 nights package with the resort. Although the resort is nice enough in itself, the package organisation left us a little unsatisfied. We had to fight and insist a little to squeeze into our day and two halves here all the promised items of the package (canoing, water-boat backwater, cruise, village trek, ayurvedic massage, temple visit, etc.). Actually, it seems this resort is mainly populated by a lot of foreigners, most of them middle-aged, who spend a lot of their time sitting around in chairs. Based on the list of “Daily Entertainments” hanging outside the office door, I guess many people settle down here for some time to relax, get ayurvedic massages, take a few yoga classes and cruise around a bit every now and again.