We made ourselves Nutella and banana coconut buns for breakfast and then went to the tourist office, where we were picked up in a minibus to be taken to Munroe Island for our backwaters tour. Joining us on this excursion was Eric, a Californian travelling in India for 5 months (he was 2 months in). He told us about some Canadian man who had hired a car, didn't have a road map and was going to navigate himself using the sun -absolute nutter! The lonely planet description had said "you can observe daily life in this isolated village area, and see kettavallam (rice barge) construction, toddy (palm beer) tapping, coir-making (coconut fibre) prawn and fish farming, and so some bird watching and perhaps a quick spice garden tour" and so I was a bit disappointed that of these we only saw prawn and fish farms, some birds, some trees that mostly weren't with fruit/veg/nut, and some coconuts to be used for coir. However it was very beautiful and I think that going in a canoe to be able to go down the narrower canals was good. The boat guide made us guess from the smells of the leaves which plants they were- none of us got either ginger or curry. There was a plant called mimosa -translated as touch-me-not- which curled up when you touched it. We stopped for the best chai I've had since being here and met some Israelis who let us try some of their tapioca crisps. We also stopped for mine and Alice's first fresh coconuts-it made me nervous when he was making great big thwacks with the knife in the direction of his hand (holding the coconut). I wasn't overly amazed at the coconut water but it was fun using the husk as a spoon to scoop out the flesh. I was glad to be told the plastic bottles on the prawn farm weren't just another case of rubbish spoiling the Indian surroundings (although I think quite a lot of the rubbish we saw was) - they were to alert the fishermen that prawns had attached onto the string below them.
We walked back to the YMCA, and then onto the station. The man at the help desk told us the train to Varkala was from platform 4, but luckily someone told us as we were sitting on the train at 4, that it was actually at platform 3. It was quite crowded and we weren't sure how we were supposed to get our huge rucksacks off the train in the tiny window of opportunity that was getting off the train but luckily the locals were all eager to notify us when we were drawing close.
There was no one at the information desk at the station so we tried to buy train tickets at the reservation counter to Mumbai but were put on the waiting list at number 13.
We got a tuk-tuk to our hostel which is amazing value- Rs299 a night and very comfy beds- although I managed to jam the lock on the cupboard my bags were in -whoops! The boy said he'd do it once we went out so we headed off to a travel agent where we finally managed to sort out our transport out- we're getting a coach from Kochi to Goa, having a day there to break up the journey then onto Mumbai from there. It cost an arm and a leg, but not as much as flights (an arm, two legs and a head if you were wondering).
Wandering along the cliff edge we got accosted by several men persuading us to go to their restaurants and promising us cheap cocktails. In the end we settled for a place where an unlikely looking old man was sitting in the DJ booth playing Eminem songs and a song whose chorus contained the lyrics "f*** you" a lot (this wasn't the reason we chose this restaurant). I had a spinach and mushroom burger and chips and Alice had a margherita pizza.
We walked back the way we came so I could choose where I wanted my pudding from, and I ordered a 'hello to the queen' from a place with Bollywood dancers. We had seen "hello to the queen" on menus a fair few times and I was intrigued- it was sliced banana with crumbled biscuits on top, then ice cream with hot chocolate sauce and coconut. The Bollywood dancing didn't seem very traditional-towards the end they were doing some cringey breakdancing which is a bit of a shame that they thought they should do this to appeal to the tourist.