Kerala (III): boating in Venice of the East

DSC_0376We leave Kumily at noon and after several hours in a crowded bus – we arrrive to Alleppey (or Alappuzha) which welcomes us with crowded streets and lots of tourists. An auto rickshaw takes us to the guest house, where we stay in the little huts surrounded by river and trees. We booked all the places to stay in advance before leaving Hyderabad. A night for one person usually cost 350 rupees (4,82 Euro) – compared with Europe it’s very cheap.

India wakes up early

A city centre is filled with people as there is a fair in the streets with a lot of cheap stuff. Indian food is cooked just next to the stalls with earrings, statues of gods, clothes, bracelets and little elephant figures.

Next morning I wake up first and decide to go for a walk. Life in India starts much earlier than in our country: at 7 a.m. in the morning you can already find little shops and tea places opened. I stop at one of them and have an Indian tea – chai, which is my favourite drink here and cost only 6-8 rupees. I buy some bananas for breakfast and have a chat with two guys from Bangalore, who are travelling around Kerala with a motorcycle.

Boating in backwaters

Alleppey is known for backwaters that mesh a city and all the surroundings. We take a small boat to explore the Venice of the East as it is called in the tourist brochures. Backwaters are occupied by dozens of boats: from the little ones to big house boats. There are Indian families or foreigners in some of them.

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We see naked locals taking a bath, brushing teeth or washing their clothes in the same river that we are floating. That water doesn’t look very clean and suitable for people. Local houses are small and decrepit with a slow life going on the shores. We pass some boats with children in the school uniforms – that’s an extraordinary way to reach other places.

There are a lot of palm trees, rice fields and greenery everywhere you look around. I don’t find these backwaters to be very special, but I have to admit that they have some charm. Me and Aiste even took an extra hour in the boat, while others went to the train station to book the tickets.

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Trains – better than expected

I have a chat with a guest house owner, a skinny, middle age man with a funny laugh. He is trying to breed parrots though it wasn’t a great success so far.

After few days in the buses we take a train to our last destination. I heard a lot of things about trains in India and most of them were very crazy. A train wasn’t so bad actually: it was hot inside, no air conditioning and dozens of people, though it was better than I expected. Our journey took only few hours, maybe if I would have to spend there two days it would be a different kind of experience.

We took a sleeper class – it means that all the seats can be modified into the berths. Usually people sit on the bottom seats, while others sleep on the berths above. Sellers are marching forward and back offering soft drinks, chai, samosas and other food. Sometimes railway passes nice views with a sea in the distance – that means we are near to our last stage of the journey.