Anina (left) and Anne (right)
Had a traditional Kerala breakfast of rice noodles and chickpeas (which we were informed is a balance of carb and protein) before leaving on the boat. We sailed for about 3 hours through the backwaters amongst the wildlife including buffalo out for a swim and trying to graze on the weeds at the side. Was really nice just sitting chilled out listening to Sigur Ros, almost like something out of Planet Earth. Stopped off at the Toddy Parlour to taste the local toddy - an alcoholic drink made from coconut milk. This smelled really bad and didn't taste much better, but we did get some very tasty spicy prawns for only INR 25.
We then continued on our way, passing a bridge that had to be hand lifted and so the boat man just shouted at the girl by the water and she went across and pulled it up with a rope. We arrived at Kottayam and transferred to a car and drove for about 4 hours out of the city and up the mountains through the fields of tea and rubber plantations of Thekkady towards Periyar National Park, stopping along the way for lunch and to visit a church
Sarah shares her pod
Sarah with Elizabeth Anne and Anina playing with her ipod shuffle
and to see and take pictures of the rubber trees.
We also stopped at Mr Abraham's Spice Garden - as featured on the BBC's Around the World in 80 Gardens. We had a lovely stroll around the garden looking at and tasting some of the many spices and fruits that he grows. These included tasting a fresh chilly (v.hot), cinnamon leaf, clove leaf which was quite numbing on the tongue, passion fruit that was most delicious and we got some to take away, fresh pepper, and coco plant which we ate the fruit out of.
Mr Abraham is a wonderful character who provided a meal of many tastes that he guided us through as we ate traditionally off of a banana leaf with our hands - or hand since you use only one hand to keep the other clean for drinking. Have adapted my tastes to no longer despise banana as had 3 different kinds for dessert - the first as a banana mash with rice yoghurt and sugar. John has a clear fear for using his hands to eat and avoided the banana mash completely as it was all mashed up together with your hand.
Saying goodbye to the family
left Mr Abraham's around 6.30pm and went to our our hotel (Ambadi) 10m away. Hotel is very nice - does have a lot of ants but getting used to that, and we are having some laundry done. Went for a stroll around the shops and picked up some snacks for tomorrows jungle walk - that starts at 6.15am!!! Early to bed tonight!
General thoughts for today
- long day with a lot of traveling but the boat part was nice
- nice being in the mountains - very pretty and a pleasant temperature
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