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Published: January 22nd 2010
Enjoying the cool water at Kollam Beach
We caught a pretty rough looking bus to Kollam which is the start of the Kerala backwaters. The pace has really slowed down now, although the towns are still dirty, dusty and hectic, with a mix of huge trucks, auto rickshaws and ox and carts. Once it had cooled down we were able to head down to the beach - not a great one for swimming but the sea breeze was cool and we could stroll around picturesque Keralan fishing hamlets. Unfortunately our hotel room was basically on the main highway. The noise, all night long was unbelievable.
The backwaters have been described as the emerald jewel in South India’s crown and we would have to agree. Our first canoe-boat trip from Kollam was through the peaceful canals of Munroe Island. We had a local guide who was able to give us a glimpse into life in this isolated village area. We were able to see local kettuvallam (rice barge) construction. These are made by hand using coconut fibres and fish oil for waterproofing. They take at least 2 months to make. No boat trip would be complete without a chai stop and fresh coconut. The backwaters were so tranquil
(nothing like the rest of India at all!). Growing throughout the area were pineapples, cashew nut trees, pepper trees, chillies, bananas and of course coconuts.
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