So since my last cocktail, Ive had some more- I had one called Black Colin. I don't think you've ever heard of this one before, and im pretty sure its not travelled very far either. Ask your local weatherspoons. It was quite good though.
Fort cochin was a nice place to stop, we had a great day on bikes (my bike was called Hero, 0.6 tonnes, rod pull front brake, no rear), and Laura's was called Red something (one brake also, one pedal missing). They had working bells though, which in India is more important than having brakes. That goes the same for cars too. Still, they were 90p each for the day, which was a lot cheaper than the ones we hired in Valencia back in July.
A row of famous Chinese fishing nets along the estuary, cantilevered with large stone boulders, are swung up and down during the day to catch all sorts of fish.
So on to Alleppey in Kerala, home to the backwaters and mighty houseboats. I'd always been looking forward to this, and the waterways really were something to see. Flexible (and cheap) as ever, we decided to do a canoe trip instead on the first day. This was our guide. What's not to trust?
He'd obviously been to Blackpool Pier to get that hat. Anyway, he took us to his humble house, which was just recovering from some flooding. They were growing mango's, bananas, coconuts and pineapples in their garden. We were fed some amazing food, served up and cooked in banana leaves by his wife, and then headed out into the canals. Best just to show some pictures I think.
Now, our boat was rather more modest than the two above here. A bit more man powered. A bit more, 'sawn off plastic garden chair seats'. But that's the way we like to do things isn't it. Actually, having the small canoe let us go into much much smaller canals, and see the sights above, whereas the large houseboats stick to the open waters. And our little boat stopped at the Toddy Shop, a canal side 'bar' selling homemade coconut beer (slightly fermented, lightly fizzy mix of coco milk and ethanol in glass bottles). We were told later that night to avoid it where possible, you can go blind. Meh!
We were a bit torn about whether to go for the large boats as well, for the following day/night. They did look really good, and would have been a rare slice of luxury for us. Though for 22 hours on one of the boats above, moored up for the night and touring in the daytime, it was the same cost as 20 nights in a hotel for the two of us.
We'd been asked by our canoe guide if we could help with getting an English visa for his daughter (and I don't think he meant with the paperwork), after mentioning earlier that we could tip him extra if we liked the trip. There's really no escape, even out in the country, and it created a slightly uncomfortable atmosphere. Anyway, after our long day paddling around with Blackpool Pier, we'd seen everything there was to see there, had a wonderful time, and had found a comfy, social and genuinely kind hotel with staff who really cared.
Plus, around the corner from the hotel, was a small car garage, where i bought a new horn controller for Roo (our van back home). So we'll have 3 horns, playing 3 different songs/noises. I know, it'll be amazing. A project for me and Dad when we get back home- what do you say??
We are presently in Varkala, a beach resort in southern Kerala. We've actually been here over a week, since we're counting down days to Thailand, and just want an easy time of it now. Its a cliff top path of bars, shops and restaurants, above a great beach with nice waves and a lot of palm trees spotted around. Just the job! Its a bit touristy, but what the hey, its what we are after all :)