We arrived in Kollam after 2 hours on the bus, to discover that Kollam is worse than Allepey! We found a hotel (which had the hottest room we have had so far, and we had a powercut in the night making it unbearable! I had a shower in my pyjamas, hopeing that the wet clothes would cool me down - no, i was still as hot, but also uncomfortably wet, and my bed was soaked!) we didn't get much sleep that night! In the evening we booked our trip to the backwaters for the next day. We tried to go out for dinner but ended up at 4 different places because people didn't understand what we wanted, or we didn't know what they were trying to serve us. We eventually found somewhere and i had a fish curry for 15 rupees! cheapest meal yet!!
We woke at 8am to go to the office for the tour. There was another couple there, an English guy called Tom and an Aussie girl called Jessica. We stocked up on bananas and water, coke and samosa's for Jack before going on the trip! Unfortunately there was an hours taxi journey before we got on the boat which was long and uncomfortable, but it was worth it. the canoe was big(ish) and comfortable for 4 people plus the driver/punter! Some of the backwater alleyways are very narrow, and often they have a really low bridge where you need to decide whether you are going to jump off the boat over the bridge or duck under it! Lots of fun! Tom had a sound recording device with him, to record the sounds of the Keralan Backwaters. I didn't have a go, but Jack did and he said it was really cool hearing all the different wildlife. We all had a go at driving the boat aswell. Along the way we saw villages, birds, pineapple trees and even a wedding! The wedding was being filmed, and they stopped to film us going down the river! Not sure how the bride will feel about that! We saw how they make rope from the coconut shells, and got a coconut to eat and drink aswell. Allin all the trip was excellent, and it was really nice to have silence for a while (something you get practically none of in India) with just the call of nature in the background!
When we got back we had lunch with Tom and Jessica (all you can eat Thali for 25 rupees!) and then we got on the bus to go to Trivandrum (actually called Thiruvananthapuran which is it's new name, but everyone still says Trivandrum, understandably!). The journey took 2 hours with a driver who was in some sort of mad rush to get there. A few hairy moments which could've been avoided if he just calmed down!! But we got there eventually to discover that there were no hotels, they were all full! We looked around for about half an hour before deciding to head to the train station and get a train to the beach which was only half an hour up the road. We were so tired, and arrived in Varkala at about 6.30pm. We got talking to a Kiwi couple, and are staying in a hotel just down the road from them. Varkala is nice and relaxed, and we are going to stay here for a few days before heading inland to the wildlife parks and spice plantations. Last night we had the best meal ever, a seafood sizzler with the catch of the day, tiger prawns, veg and chips - all for 2 quid...!!! Delicious! It's got really hot here, so we're hiding in the AC internet cafe until it cools down in the afternoon.
Hope you enjoy the pics, don't forget to look at them all, i've put more than one album on there, and a couple of blogs too!
Linsey and Jack xxx