Edit Blog Post
Published: February 26th 2005
The absolute relaxing way to visit the backwaters is in a privately chartered house boat
As we had already taken in enough positive energy, we decided to start using it up. We left quite early from Varkala because we intended to take a boat in Kollam
(former Quillon) at 10:30 a.m. Our first means of transport was the train, late as usual. At the train station we met Annie and Stuart, a couple from Britain who were in the middle of a trip similar to ours. They have also quit their jobs to travel around the world for two years - with interruptions. It was interesting to hear them talk about China and Tibet, future destinations of ours. The trip by train did not last very long, and as soon as we had arrived in Kollam, we took an auto-rickshaw to the jetty. Everything had worked smoothly so far, we had enough time to buy the tickets and get good seats in the upper deck, in relative shade. Despite the temptation to take a luxury house boat including overnight facilities and meals, we opted for the cheaper alternative. The boat was quite full, between 30 and 40 people, and left on time.
The eight hour adventure in a unique environment could begin. The backwaters
Typical landscape found on the backwaters trip
very touristy spot, are a network of rivers, streams, lagoons and canals that occupies the alluvial plain between the Arabian Sea and a chain of hills called Western Ghats, running the length along the coast from Kollam to Kochi. What we saw was water, water, water, green vegetation and a wide array of animals, especially birds. The borders of the canals and lakes are quite densely populated, people trying to make the best use of the fertile soil. All along the way, we watched people (and they watched us, the children enthusiastically waved at us), fulfilling their daily chores, farming and fishing. Hundreds of Chinese fishing nets lined our way, when we passed they were not being used, we also saw men in the water fishing mussels. We were rather happy what we did not step into the water when we beheld the enormous amount of blue jellyfish in there. This might have been an unpleasant encounter - for us. The backwaters must be birdwatchers' paradise, considering all the herons, egrets, seagulls, cormorants, kites and kingfishers we saw. For the first time, we saw kingfishers, mostly sitting on wires, and were always delighted when they flew away, showing their bright
Chinese fishing net
Fishing system, where the net is pushed down into the water and later pulled out (with some fish) by using an ingenious balance of weights
After a while, the scenery got repetitive, so we talked a bit with Annie and Stuart who were on the boat with us and met Guillaume and his friend, two French guys. They had already been to the North of India, where we were heading, and gave us some precious tips. They were on their way to places we had already been to, so we exchanged tips. The boat had left on time, but at the end of the trip we had around one hour delay, giving us the opportunity to watch a backwaters sunset. Arriving in Alappuzha
(former Alleppey), we took a bus to Kochi in the dark. This bus was more modern than the former ones, with doors and windows! This day we had managed to take all means of transport possible (rickshaw, bus, train and boat).
Tot: 2.738s; Tpl: 0.089s; cc: 32; qc: 168; dbt: 0.1199s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.9mb