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Published: March 3rd 2010
our rickshaw driver
Didn't get his name -- if you see him, you should hire him.
The night fell and it was lovely and quiet and cool and we were just getting ready to move inside and go to sleep when the big houseboat parked next to us turned on their generator so that the fat, old, Europeans could have AC while they slept (btw, the fat, old, Europeans were probably about as fat and old as us -- but we're not Europeans). So we had the throbbing of the generator and petrol fumes all night long - thought about complaining -- but to whom exactly? Anyway, I am happy to say that last night there were no houseboats parked overnight here -- and all was quiet and good. I managed to upload photos to the travel blog for Udaipur and Kochi but there were 3 power failures in the 3 hours I sat there and it's a really long process so I had enough for one day. I am writing notes by hand - something I haven't done for years.
I am watching the morning traffic of houseboats returning or going out from Allepey town -- about 4 kms away -- they have ensuite bedrooms, AC, comfortable sitting areas and a crew of 3 or
4 with a cook that are there to wait on you for 24 hours -- it would drive me nuts but everybody does it and says it is a wonderful experience. We feel we are on a stationary houseboat and all the river traffic goes by all day and we are situated at a particularly pretty spot so we don't need the houseboat experience. We went on a covered canoe yesterday for a trip round the rice paddies, small canals, and the beginning of the big lake. We saw beautiful birds -- 2 bright orange and blue kingfishers, a yellow bird, red eagles, a bird with orange wings and a long tail.
There is a tree trunk in front of our patio which the resdent crow uses as his dining table. Yesterday he brought a small snake and a chicken claw. Today he has eaten a little fish. He shit on our patio -- the patio has a roof so he had to come inside to do that -- he is letting us know that he is the boss around here -- we already knew that -- he is one, mean crow.
We are still on our quest
evil crow ...
eating his chicken claw and snake.
to eat fish -- with some partial success. We had a very nice fish curry at a place in town called "Thaff" (sort of like my name backwards). Everywhere people are fishing and crabbing. Every morning two girls dive for mussells right in front of our cottage and when we went on our canal trip people were cleaning and cooking them in big pots but it is not on the menu and the boatman said that they eat them and indicated that they are very tasty but if we ask if we can get any we are met with blank stares. We asked a rickshaw driver to take us to a fish restaurant. After a long consultation with his fellow rickshaw drivers, he took us to a small restaurant in a side street that didn't have fish. So we had another long consultation with the rickshaw driver, restaurant owner and assorted passersby. I made swimming motions with my hand -- nobody had a clue. He ended up taking us back to town and dropping us off at the place we got on.
We went to the beach yesterday evening. it is a big, white, clean, sandy beach with not
one bit of shade. Wouldn't go there in the day. We ate dinner at a place called Indian Coffee House and after having made real progress in our ordering skills, we regressed and ended up having a wierd combination of items -- one fried chicken leg, one small dish of pea sauce, one small dish of onion gravy, chapatti and finger chips -- it was really cheap but strange. We also ordered 4 vegetable cutlets -- but we didn't get them -- which is probably just as well -- we usually don't get at least one thing that we ordered -- it's as though the waiter has decided that we have eaten enough / are fat enough / have ordered something unsuitable -- maybe they just don't have it but they don't want to disappoint us. Sometimes we get something we didn't order -- and somebody else probably gets what we ordered. Once we ordered seafood combination and were just saying that we weren't paying for the seafood as there wasn't any, only fish which was quite nice -- then we got the bill and saw that it wasn't fish either -- it was chicken.
Now we are back
on the patio watching the river traffic and the river traffic is watching us -- the people going by on the houseboats are taking photos of us sitting on the patio. We will go on a boat ride too -- later, when it is cooler.
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