TRAVELLING TO KERALA
8/3/10: Once again Jacinta had a bad sleep having to go to the toilet half a dozen times during the night. She now had bad diarrhoea and felt weak and tired. We arrived in Kochin at 10:30, then another 2hr trip by train to Alleppy arriving at a guest house around 2:30pm. The guest house called Mandala was right on the beach and with my attempts to lower the rate down to 250rs we ended up settling on 300rs and Jacinta was just glad that she had a toilet again. We were both shattered from the two days travel and caught up on some sleep until I finally got up and went for a swim and watched the brilliant sunset over the ocean.
9/3/10: Jacinta was still not well so we had an easy day walking around the town trying to find out about getting a boat trip on the backwater. The first thing you notice about the Kerala people is they have allot darker skin than most Indians and they are also very friendly and with everyone saying Hello to us in town it took us off guard as they didn’t even want anything from us except
to say hello. Later that night we meet an Australian couple Ryan and Clea that we hit off with and contemplated doing a backwater boat trip with. Ryan was in IT but was studying to be a dentist and Clea is a drama and theatre teacher.
10/3/10: I left Jacinta in the room sleeping and slid the dead bolt across locking the door from the outside. I finished some more of my blog and got on the internet to speak to my mother as I was trying to get her to come to Nepal with us while Dad was in Saudi working. It was 10:00am, thinking that Jacinta must have been really tired because she was still asleep, I didn’t disturb her until I heard commotion from the staff. Jacinta came around the corner with a sour look on her face. I said “good morning you must have been tired?” Only then did I realise she had been locked in the room the whole time until the staff heard her calling for help Oooops. She had been awake for over an hour waiting for me to come back. It turned out to be another rest day as she was
still feeling weak. Lunch time came and went in a flash so we decided to try to local Indian up the road and although the portions were small we ordered six dishes that ended up being everything on the menu. It was nice finishing the meal off with an ice-cream. The bill was even nicer only 91rs about $2.20aus. I later went for a swim to cool off when an Indian man came over to the water and through a plastic bag in the water for no reason. It pissed me off so I went over to ask him why he trough it in the water and to pick it up. I explained the obvious why you shouldn’t throw things in the ocean adding that tourist will stop coming if it looks like a rubbish tip. He smiled and started to walk away without picking up the rubbish, I started to get more wound up and by this time there was a crowd of Indians watching. I asked if he just heard anything I said and to pick the rubbish up and thrown it in the bin not in the ocean! Again he said he understood all that and there
was nothing he could do. By this time the guest house owner came over to defuse the situation as I started to really lose it telling the guy that if he doesn’t pick it up I will pick it up and put it were the sun doesn’t shine. The owner of the guest house asked what was wrong and as I explained the man slipped away through the crowd. It turns out that the fishermen think they own the beach and they can do anything they want. The guesthouse owner has a lot of trouble trying to get approval for things as the council has a lot of fisherman on the board and everything is very corrupt. He too has a lot of disagreements with the fisherman and has only just stopped them from shitting on the beach in front of the guest house, he’s just buying his time until more guest houses are built giving them a bigger voice. Until then he picks up the rubbish everyday and tries to keep the peace. They are small minded people and even though there is a bin provided they still throw rubbish where they want and have no problems living in
their own filth. Ryan and Clea came back from house boat hunting and managed to get a good deal for the four of us including breakfast lunch and dinner including one night on an AC boat for $5500. Jacinta was excited as this was the one thing she really wanted to do but would have been way too expensive for us to do on our own. We all had dinner that night on a beachside restaurant within walking distance of the guesthouse. We were glad it was our last night at Malanda and even though the staff were the friendliest we have ever had the food they cooked was terrible and often 2-3hours late after ordering. The guest house needed a good cleanup after some recent renovations and the staff and the owner were happy to sit around most of the day and play games and watch TV.
11/3/10: We packed our packs and said our goodbyes to the staff. Clea had organise two tuk tuks to pick us up and just to confirm where we were going the guesthouse owner translated our directions into Hindi “first bottle shop for alcohol then jetty.” it was simple. I wasn’t exactly sure
were the jetty was so the tuk tuk driver was made to follow the one in front. 1.5km down the road and our tuk tuk driver started to lose sight of Ryan and Clea. I wasn’t too worried because directions were discussed before hand and a bottle shop agreed upon. We caught a red light and sat for a couple of minutes until finally continuing on. We started to leave town and I knew he was taking us straight to the jetty instead of following the others to the liquor store. I said “Bottle shop, Alcohol, Beer” he responded with the same answer and then turned the tuk tuk around. Once again I lost my temper at the stupidity of tuk tuk drivers. I yelled “you were supposed to follow the other tuk tuk to the bottle shop, why did you not follow?” He had no excuse but to drive around to find a liquor store. It was wishful thinking that we might see the others at the same store to discuss what drinks to buy but this is India. We settled on some Romanov Vodka that is made in India and is quiet nice and reasonably priced. With the
Alcohol sorted it now turned into a mission to find some 2L bottles of lemonade to drink with the Romanov, six different stores and 10mins later we found the lemonade and made our way back to what I hoped was the right boat jetty. Immediately upon turning up we had helpers from our boat to take our packs and carry them down the jetty through the jamb packed jetty of empty house boats. Jacinta followed the bags whilst I argued with the tuk tuk driver over the extra 10rs he wanted to get us here. He was that dumb that I didn’t even waste my breath anymore walking away from him. It also turned out that Ryan and Clea had the same problem with there tuk tuk driver and we were starting to think they set the whole thing up. During Ryan’s attempt to get Alcohol he was elbowed in the ribs by a drunken arrogant India that wanted to fight him. He was extremely rude and yelled smart comments over the counter while the staff directed Ryan around the back for his safety. Ryan was close to teaching the guy a lesson but was unsure of the intentions of
the other Indians around him.
With all that over and done with it was time to check out the boat and relax while the three crew organised themselves as we set off on our voyage through the back waters. We were so glad we didn’t just get a canoe for the day as the house boat was so relaxing while we chatted over a cold beer. Within minutes of setting of we had snacks and were treated like royalty the whole way. That afternoon we pulled up beside a small bank to have dinner consisting of fine Keralan cuisine washed down with cold beer, life doesn’t get any better than this. We finished off the night with Romanov vodka, talking and gazing at the Indian sky before finally returning to our AC room to sleep off the food and alcohol.
12/3/10: I woke up after a great sleep to a dry mouth and sore legs from dehydration. The backwaters were already alive with fisherman and villages children walking to the boat stop for school. I managed to find time for a little fishing before it was time to pull up the anchor and get ready for our omelette and
fruit breakfast. Before long it was time to make our way back to the jetty and say our goodbyes to the crew leaving Alleppy on a high. We caught a bus to Kotchin an hour away were we would go by ferry to the Vypien Island another hour away to relax on the beach for a few days before going to Rajasthan. The local bus dropped us of and we ended up walking to 2km with our packs towards the beach until we got to a restaurant to chill out, Jacinta and Clea went to find a room for us while we waited with the bags. Half an hour later and with no word we set off down the road in search of a cold beer. We were offered several rooms but held tight until we heard from the girls. The phone rang and the girls secured a really great resort hotel for a ridiculous price. Jacinta managed to get a 3000rs room for just 500rs/night. The Sealine Resort was situated right on the beach and the restaurant on top has 180deg views. Our first beer even had ice in it and it hardly touched the sides. We had a
nice dinner that night talking until around 9:30 and finally returning to our room to watch pay TV.
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