Friday, 18 April 2008

Cruising on the Keralan backwaters

Apologies for radio-silence people. We haven't been able to blog from our mobiles, nor have we been anywhere near computers over the last few days. But there's loads to update you all on... We're currently in the hills in Kerala at a little place called Kumily, near Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. But let's start from where we left off...

First of all since we left Lakshmi the elephant, we had to endure 48 hours of buses and trains to get to our first destination in Kerala... This turned out to be a complete nightmare as we on our first overnight bus journey we broke down at 5am so we had to chance to a crowded government bus...which ALSO broke down, so we changed to another crowded government bus!

But anyway, two days later, after two trains, three buses and no sleep, we arrived in Allepey, the heart of Kerala's backwaters, where we hired a private boat, driver and a chef for 24 hours of tranquility and curiosity... We did very little apart from watch the birds, admire the landscape and watch people going about their daily lives (washing and fishing mainly) while we cruised slowly through the canals (however, we did manage to muster the energy to take a quick swim in the lakes). Our cook made some traditional Keralan food which included butter fish masala, a beetroot and coconut thing and various curries.

We ended up going to a tiny, remote community where our boatmen were from. Actually, it was a strip of dry land, a couple of feet wide, between paddy fields where some people had reclaimed enough land to build a hut for their families. No roads, huts and boats. Their lives were so far removed from ours, it's hard to know where to begin describing it... We should have some photos soon, which we'll upload for y'all...

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