A Travellerspoint blog

November 2011

The Backwaters of Alleppey

sunny 27 °C

When we (I really mean Nat) was researching all of the adventures we might have on this six month voyage, we (I still mean Nat) scrolled through many lists of "top things to do" that we might have the opportunity to bump into. I don't remember who put it on their list, but we heard about the backwaters of Kerala numerous times. The town of Alleppey has a dock full of boats that we could have chosen from, but our hotel conveniently had one arranged for us that picked us up without us having to go anywhere. So we spent the morning by the pool and were picked up around noon.
If you read the last blog, when I went looking for Nat she was in the kitchen where the chef was showing her how he made a bunch of our favourite dishes. It was a good spot to spend a couple of days.
The boat was about 80 feet long and almost 20 feet wide, wooden and heavy and powered by an old diesel engine that topped out around a blazing, 8 miles per hour. But it was very comfortable, over half of the boat was dining room and bedroom and the rest was kitchen and crew quarters. It was an extremely relaxing 24 hours as we explored the rice fields a in our big boat, and they even arranged a smaller boat to take us through the really narrow canals. It was an interesting look at their way of life, but I think those who have it on their "all time best" lists are blowing things a little out of proportion. The food was great again which keeps us going when it comes to searching for more. The trip was over the next day midmorning and we had seen all that this area had to offer...it was time to move on to our next spot, Varkala Beach.

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Posted by colincampbell 08:11 Archived in India Comments (0)

Photos from Kerala, India

sunny 30 °C

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Posted by colincampbell 20:21 Archived in India Comments (0)

Still tasting India

semi-overcast 28 °C

Thanks to the great people at The Oberoi in Agra (for bringing Nat flowers and Valium when she was a little under the weather) and my friend Shaz (who has been a wizard at making arrangements for us and finding little gems to brighten our days) we are still in India and hunting for things we can appreciate about the country.
We returned to Delhi on Wednesday and went straight to an appointment that Shaz had made for Nat to see the cities best homeopathic doctor in the hopes he had a solution for her recurring headaches. It was a quick trip and he seemed very confident, so we will follow his prescription and keep our fingers crossed. A remedy for this problem would be worth at least 100 trips up and down that road to Agra! After the appointment we went in search of some food and were taken to an excellent restaurant for both food and cocktails. And yes, cocktails are perfect after you have tried to find solutions for headaches!
The one thing that we have admitted we love is the food. No matter where we have eaten, it has been amazing every meal and has the tendency to run through our systems pretty quickly so we are always hungry.
Thursday we left Delhi and the safety of our host and headed out on our own to the state of Kerala in the south. I only had a few minutes online to book a hotel in the city of Cochi, so I had my fingers crossed as we drove from the airport into the night. The hotel guaranteed a clean room and wifi and the pictures were solid so I thought it would be a fine start as a base to make our plans in this area. We didn't arrive until almost 9pm to find that the internet was down and the cook had gone home, so we could pick at the remains of the buffet for our dinner. ..not really the reception we were hoping for, but we managed,
If you google Kerala or even watch the TV ads they play in this country about this area you will see beautiful beaches and quaint little fishing villages...we haven't quite got that far yet, I guess. We used the hotels office computer to do a little more research and found the hotel we are in now and it is quite a step up. I know we were spoiled by the service in Agra, but as we are the only people staying at this place, we are doing okay here too. It is in the town of Alleppey which is known for rice barges that have been converted to take tourists on overnight tours of the lake and little waterways that cut threw the coast here. We have booked one for tomorrow night so we will have some pictures to share I am sure.
For now, we are having a great day. I'm not sure if Nat is by the pool or has ventured into the kitchen to get some tips from the chef, but I should probably go and find out...

Our current internet connection doesn't want to send pictures, so I will when I can...

Posted by colincampbell 08:51 Archived in India Comments (1)

A taste of India

semi-overcast 15 °C

I think it is probably a good thing I am writing this blog as I can temper Nat's severe distain for this country so far. In fact, last night, she called it "Hell on Earth." The population of this country is over a billion people and we were warned about various things we would encounter. Our arrival from Nepal was amazingly pleasant, the airport in Delhi seems very new and the immigration officer was probably the nicest airport personal we have met to date. My friend had sent a driver to pick us up as he was arriving on a later flight that night and we were shuttled off to his house about 45 minutes away. Delhi is a city of over 20 million and is hectic to say the least, driving is quite an adventure with cars, bikes, tractors, horses, trucks, 3 wheeled motorized rickshaws, elephants, dogs....did I miss anything??
His apartment was a nice change from Nepal with a heck of a chef in house ready to make us dinner after a nice warm shower. We were still recovering from flu so got an early sleep. The next day we explored Delhi a little bit, seeing the government buildings and some other sites. When we got out to take pictures, Nat was instantly a star with her blond hair...everyone wanted their picture taken with her and she embraced it.
Yesterday, Shaz had arranged for us to come to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal which is about 200kms or a 5 hour drive away, the roads haven't improved from Nepal! The 3 lane highways also have two dividing lines so the people here seem to think that means there is room for 5 vehicles wide. Lots of honking and general chaos. The road was simply described as devastating; from the miserable conditions that people and animals live in to the pollution in the air, water and on the ground, it is a giant shocker for us.
The hotel we are staying in is spectacular with a view of the Taj Mahal out of our window, but it can't change the fact that just over the fence, this is another planet. We explored the Taj Mahal this morning, which thankfully, was worth the drive and are heading back to Delhi now. I'm not sure how much more of this country I can convince Nat to explore, but we are heading south tomorrow to the beaches of Kerala in the hopes it is different.
Not sure where you will here from us next...

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Posted by colincampbell 21:46 Archived in India Comments (0)

The last photos of Nepal

semi-overcast 14 °C

As we hiked back down and made our way back to Katmandu, we quickly forgot about the rain and the cold. We adjusted our flight to India and had one night in Katmandu which we spent at a little french restaurant and then later, with our friends, at a Nepali live music bar. Great way to spend our last night.

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Posted by colincampbell 03:31 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

More photos of Nepal

semi-overcast 14 °C

Despite the rain, we still managed to get a lot of great photos. The morning we hiked to Poon Hill was particularly chilly, but well worth it. The view of the Annapurna mountain range at sunrise was spectacular.

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Posted by colincampbell 03:26 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

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