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Alleppey – What does my butter chicken come with?

Well almost another week has passed and in typical fashion the second week has gone much quicker than the first! Had a lovely week in Alleppey so far…
After arriving to the Indian mansion Monday, Tuesday saw me having a lazy day. Woke up at 10am, strolled downstairs and sat watching BBC World News whilst having breakfast of guava, bananas and oranges.
Mathew the owner arrived so sat chatting to him organising trips for later in the week.
He then ordered me a takeaway curry in India!  It arrived in a huge brown bag and had about 10 different sized silver foil packages and 4 foil bags of different sauces. There was also a pot of spicy veg curry and a pot of sweet rice pudding with cinnamon and sultanas.
Had a plateful of thali curry then retired to my balcony in the sun for a while and read a book to the sounds of tooting horns and squawking crows! After all that exertion I then had a well-earned nap followed by some more takeaway thali and a spot of Schindlers List! Such a cheery film for a Tuesday night!
Wednesday saw me having to set my alarm for 8am so I could get ready for my half day tuktuk tour around Alleppey. The driver picked me up at 9am and started the tour by taking me out to the small villages around the backwaters. We tuktuked along dusty pot holed lanes which ran alongside rice fields and backwaters stopping to see the odd church, hindu temple and snake boat.
We then had to cross over to the other side of the backwaters which involved taking a boat! Now in true indian fashion this was no ordinary boat…..the was a small passenger boat filled with pedestrians who wished to cross the backwaters and for vehicles there was an old wooden boat tied to the passenger boat with some old rope and on top of this was a platform for about 4 vehicles! So we drove up the ramp and onto the makeshift vehicle boat and crossed the water!
Over the other side of the backwaters we saw another hindu temple, a temple dedicated to Shiva and a fish market. My driver was unfortunately rather passionate about the fish market and insisted we take a closer look. After trying to tell him 3 times that the smell of fish makes me want to vomit, I just held my breath and focused on not vomiting over the fish as opposed to smelling it!
We then headed to the almost picture perfect Marari Beach which is apparently an exclusive resort with only 5 hotels along it, all costing circa $300 a night. Now I don’t mean to disillusion you all but although it looks lovely in the pictures I would like to point out that due to a lack of smell-o-vision you cannot appreciate the full picture! If you look at the photos of the beach longingly and imagine a heady scent of smoke, mixed with sewerage and fish you will be slightly nearer the mark!
Anyway after the beach we headed to a coir matting workshop, a weird Indiana Jones style temple and a Shivarati festival which entailed more kathakali dancing, loads of children dressed up in sunday best, food and fruit stalls and fireworks.
After the days sightseeing I headed back to the mansion to be met by 2 Yorkshire men who were staying in the room downstairs for the night. Eric and Steve turned out to be a right hoot and invited me out for something to eat that evening. They fancied a few beers first and then a curry after. So we headed out to a hotel bar for a drink to start with, walked in to a bar full of indian men, no women! Got some looks off the indian men….
We then headed to another hotel bar only to walk in and be asked to leave as it was men only! Starting to appreciate how the elephant man must have felt!!!
Anyway we then headed to a small eatery called Kreme Korner which is in the lonely planet guidebook! It didn’t look up to much but the food was actually pretty good! The best moment had to be when Steve asked what his Butter Chicken came with, only for Eric to fire back immediately ‘salmonella’! Hilarious….they are like a comedy double act!
Onto yesterday (Thursday)….I had to set the alarm yet again, this time for 7am! At 7.30am myself and a Danish man residing in America called Jan were collected by a tuktuk and taken to the public ferry terminal. We then hopped on a public ferry which took 45 mins to cross the backwaters and drop us off at a small landing plank in the middle of the backwaters. We then met our guide for the day who would be taking us around the narrow, quiet backwaters and villages that were unreachable by larger ferries and houseboats.
First stop was a house for breakfast….we walked about 5 minutes through jungle and came out by a small concrete box of a house, simple but pleasant. It was clear they didn’t have much money. His wife had cooked us some weird pancakey dumpling things with vegetable curry and a cup of chai. After breakfast I took a trip to his outside tin shed hole in the ground before climbing in the canoe for the tour.
We paddled along the backwaters for about 3 hours, stopping twice. Once to go for a short walk to see a secondary school housing 1000 children, a church dedicated to some guy I had never heard of and some rice fields and the second to stop at a small coffee place for a coconut!
We then returned to the house early afternoon for lunch which was served on a banana leaf. There was rice, green mango pickle, pickled beetroot, tomato and onion salad, cabbage, carrot and coconut salad, omelette, poppadoms and veg curry. It was amazing home cooked food and just goes to show that sometimes the best food is not cooked in a restaurant but in a simple villagers home. We then sat in the garden surrounded by rice fields and waterways watching his visiting grandchildren playing with coconut husks.
It was then time to say goodbye and head back for the public ferry to Alleppey.
Once back at the mansion I had a pleasant surprise in the form of an email from Shirley saying she was coming to Alleppey for 2 days, so hopefully I will be able to meet up with her Friday. As for next week, I keep changing my plans……but hey its my trip so I can make it up as I go along.  I am now waiting on an answer as to whether I have squeezed on a 2 week trip starting back in Kochi in the 9th March. I should find out Monday next week so fingers crossed for that. In the meantime I will head up to Delhi with Shirley for a couple of days and take her on a tour of Old Delhi and visit the Taj Mahal with her. She then flies back to Ireland on the 5th and I will head back to Kochi if on the trip, if not I will head to Goa for 10 days or so maybe before starting a different trip in Delhi on the 17th March!

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