Blogs from Kollam, Kerala, India, Asia - page 6

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Asia » India » Kerala » Kollam February 8th 2007

We got out of Trivandrum as fast as we could and made our way to the beach town of Varkala in Southern Kerala. Varkala is set atop a cliff and mostly attracts foreign travelers and the businesses set up to service them - offering a wide variety of clothes, souvenirs and restaurants serving everything from spaghetti bolognaise and pizza to Tibetian momos and of course Indian curries! All of the development is atop the cliff, leaving the beach pristine apart from the odd sprinkling of sun umbrellas. It was a nice place to hang out for a few days relaxing in the sun, body surfing in the waves and watching the fishing boats. Dave has been an almost vegetarian since the start of the trip (aside from the odd piece of bacon) and so he was ... read more
Us on Varkala beach
Keralan Backwaters
On the backwaters

Asia » India » Kerala » Kollam January 31st 2007

Can you imagine a place so quiet that it screams at you? Taking a cruise on the Kerala backwaters is such an experience. The boatsman propels the boat with a long pole and only very few fisherboats use engines. There are palm trees as far as the eye can see. After all Kerala means country of the palm trees. Coconuts are used for a lot of different things: you can drink the milk while they are still green and when they are ripe (brown and hairy) coconut powder for a lot of delicious dishes is produced. The fibre of the coconut is used for making ropes. ... read more
House boat
Fisher boat

Asia » India » Kerala » Kollam January 28th 2007

I'm not going to be soft on the city of Kollam - it's a bit of a dump with few redeeming features and nothing architecturally interesting. But we didn't come to Kollam for the city we came to use it as an embarkation point to explore the beautiful rural backwaters. With our trusty LP's help we chose Kollam, the southern gateway to the Keralan backwaters, as the starting point for a cruise. Most people head tro Alleppey further north but LP advised to avoid most people for a more serene and less congested waterway experience. Of course, what they failed to point out was Kollam's lack of boast! Having less demand under basic market principles requires only a small supply of vessels and so when we arrived, nothing was available (for a week)! We "should have ... read more
Kollam House Boats
Lots Of Coconuts
Ayurvedic Centre

Asia » India » Kerala » Kollam January 17th 2007

From Hampi we headed south through Bangalore (India's silicon valley), Mysore (famous for silks and sandlewood), the Vytheri rainforest (with its amazing tea, coffee and cardaman plantations - I will try and upload some photos if I get the chance) and into Kerela. Our first stop was a place called Kannur where we found the most idyllic beach in the whole of India so far and enjoyed it pretty much all to ourselves. We spent our time is what's called a homestay, where we were living and eating with an Indian family. We also got invited to a local ritual called a 'Theyyam' which is a religious festival which takes place for a variety of celebrations and involves some rather eccentric dressing up, dancing and worshipping. Ours was for a housewarming, aiming to ward off any ... read more
Living aboard
Our house for the night
Chilling...

Asia » India » Kerala » Kollam January 14th 2007

(Now in Cochin, after much discussion we're going to spend a shortened amount of time in Thailand after all, we fly on the 15-16th.) Took the bus to Kollam from Kovallam (unfortunately similar names) and booked into a cheap place to stage for a boat tour through the backwaters. We booked some tickets for the 8 hour northward cruise through the backwaters and found a hotel for the night. The next day was one of the most memorable in the entire trip. We ordered breakfast and through miscommunication ended up only getting coffee; perhaps an omen that this day wouldn't be easy. We picked up some biscuits and hurried down to catch the boat. They're old wooden boats about 30-40 ft long like a classic "motor launch" but having an upper deck with chairs. The boat ... read more
Canoe sort of boat
Old fishing boats
new fishing boats

Asia » India » Kerala » Kollam January 14th 2007

Hello Folkes. Yay! I'm nearly up to date with my blogs. It would be great to hear fRom you all so I know how you are. Grandad - How are you? Chris - hope your recovering well. Phil - you smell. Uni people - where are you? Hope you are all well anyway. Something that you can't miss in Keralla is the backwaters. Basically they are a strip of inland water very close to the coast, infact you can see the sea form them in some places. We got on a boat in Kollam and had a lovley three hour boat ride to the Amritanandmayi Ashram . This is the ashram set up by the wolrd famous huggy mother who people call Amma (mother). She started out pretty young by feeding the poor and generally comforting ... read more
a houseboat
sunset on the backwaters
Ganesh takes a stroll

Asia » India » Kerala » Kollam January 2nd 2007

Hi Guys After a quick get away from Kochi (Cochin) we arrived in Allepey where we found a really nice home stay for the night. In the morning we headed down to the back waters to try and hire a one double bedroom house boat for the night. We were lucky and found a punting all inclusive house boat with our own Chef and crew that was a little over priced, but it was New Years eve. We packed our things and set off for the back waters at around 12 noon. We had a lovely time on the backwaters catching fire flies and dancing with the kids, who were having a New Years eve party on a jetty near to where we moored for the night. They even managed to get Vic to rendition them ... read more
House Boat
Boy fishing on the backwaters
Boy washing on the backwaters

Asia » India » Kerala » Kollam December 16th 2006

My last few days in Sri Lanka ended with and ‘up-and-down’ five day tour. The high point was (literally) climbing Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak), a major pilgrim destination for Sri Lankans of all beliefs. It was at the top while watching the sunrise that I finally used the jacket that I packed for this trip! I have had an insight into Buddhism during my time in Sri Lanka and found it very interesting. The Hill Country was disappointing because the famous colourful tea-pluckers were on strike, but the cave temple at Dambulla, rock settlement at Sygiria and Buddhist ruins at Anuradhapura were all very impressive. Only my feet suffered on the hot stones around all the stupas. Unfortunately a month of good health came to an end with stomach problems as I left Sri Lanka and ... read more

Asia » India » Kerala » Kollam December 12th 2006

Got to Alleppey in a timely manner, and got on our houseboat a little after noon. I was really excited as we got out of the car, and walked passed boats, wondering which one was ours. It's small, but enough for us. There were some huge ones out there (like mansions on water). Ours had 2 lounge chairs, a small table and chairs, our little bedroom and bathroom. To get to the kitchen you had to go around the outside of the boat. Some of the huge ones were double-decker, and could hold up to 10 people or so. We had 3 people on board for just the two of us...a guy at the front to steer, a rear propeller guy, and a cook. The backwaters are incredible. It's just so beautiful everywhere. It's warm, ... read more
Backwaters
Backwaters
Ducks!

Asia » India » Kerala » Kollam December 11th 2006

Today has been an incredibly lazy day. But it felt nice. We had a buffet breakfast of mostly Indian food and then got picked up right on time. The drive here was just about an hour and a half. We are staying at a resort called Water Scapes, and it is beautiful. We're in a big hut on stilts with 2 hammocks below us...situated in trees and by canals. We booked a backwater package in America for 3 nights (Cochin, Kumarakom, Houseboat) and picked the Deluxe...we can't imagine what the Superior would have been like! It was very warm today. We checked in and then went and got some lunch at the restaurant (which overlooks a lake). We had some manchurian chicken (delicious) and a chicken curry made with some coconut milk. Then we hung out ... read more
Kumarakom




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