From the description in our guide book we were expecting Kollam to be a tranquil and picturesque little fishing village however this wasn't the case. It was a grubby, noisy town with no asthetic appeal whatsoever. Luckily we weren't here to explore the town but rather to take a trip along the backwaters which snake their way from the sea into the surrounding countryside.
We checked into a overpriced sweat-box of a room, booked our backwater trip for the following morning and then headed out to find some food. This turned out to be quite a mission, we couldn't find many restaurants and those that we did stumble across were working mens joints, packed with sweaty men shuvelling down the set meals served from buckets which are nice but we didn't fancy right then. We were craving a Dosa. We eventually found a place called 'The Indian Coffee House' which turned out to be our saviour. It served cheap and tasty Dosas and cold coffees. The friendly waiters wore fancy hats and our waiter, Steven, gave us a picture of himself dressed in his uniform.
We had a sleepless night that night due to the unbearabe heat in our room. We had to keep getting up to take cold showers and we were pretty tired when we were pucked up the next morning for our trip om the Backwaters.
The Kerala Backwaters are a network of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes and inlets, a labyrinthine system formed by more than 900km of waterways. Lush tropical vegetation, coconut palms and cashew plantations blanket the surrounding countryside in dazzling green and many villages are situated on the banks of the peaceful waterways. The backwater trips from Kollam are less touristy than trips from other places in Kerala and visit more isolated areas and our trip was excellent. We were the only two people on the canoe and we didn't see any other tourists, only locals transporting boats of coconuts between villages. We made our way along the the narrow canals, lined with towering palms and thick vegetation, making a few stops along the way. Our first stop was at a little place where they made rope out the fibre from coconut shells. It was all done by hand and the ladies made it look a lot easier than i think it was. We also stopped at a place where they produced coconut oil and there were hundreds of coconuts drying out in the sun. It was such a quiet and beautiful area, the only sounds were the paddles in the water and our boatsman singing local songs and whilst floating through the maze of waterways we witnessed villagers on the banks building boats and washing clothes. It was all over too quickly and soon enough we were on our back to noisy Kollam. We had some grub at the indian Coffe house and jumped straight on the next bus to Alleppey.
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