A long blistering hot day in Madurai led us to the 23.05 train to the Keralan coast in the sleeper class carriage along with many Indian people. After a good few long stares and us awkwardly looking away as if to say 'erm ... Is this going to happen all night?' We attempted to get as comfy as possible on the top of our three tier bunks. Soon realising that actually although we didn't have the window breeze coming in on us we were laid about 2 feet underneath the fully working fans! There really is a God!
Our big and little bags at one end of our 6 foot long fairly hard bed left me with about almost enough room if I curled up slightly, the same can't be said for Bryn who hung off my about 1.5 feet. Still, the heat of the day had drained us and lights were turned out so we persevered at trying to sleep. 3 hours sleep didn't seem so shabby and a wet wipe freshen up and a tooth clean out the window, watched by the many commuters and school children that had joined us, and we lowered ourselves down the 3 foot drop to the platform of Kollum.
India is making us more lazy than SE Asia with walking. 1-2km waking with our backpacks through a town used to be standard, however a combination of the intense heat (apparently not even at its worst), lethargy, and cheap rickshaws means we're pretty quick at deciding to grab a lift now a days. So off the train and we grabbed a 20ruppee trip to the pier to find out about a boating trip round the backwaters. Apparently the boat trip we'd planned up to Alleppey wasn't working at the moment (although in hindsight maybe that was ploy) and finding the expensive but gorgeous houseboats way out of our price range we settled on a punting day trip for a tenner around the village waterways instead with Vishnu.
Climbing aboard our little wooden punt, Vishnu pushed us off. First stop his family home for a bit of village life education. Mum in the kitchen with a fish curry on the simmer. Next door neighbour drying out coconuts and deshelling them to sell both parts. Peppercorns, chillis, bananas, cinnamon, coconuts and turmeric growing in the garden. Farmer down the stream washing his cow. A few people cracking on with their clothes washing in the steam. A man upto his chest in a water field tending to his prawn farm (who knows what that involved!) Everyone knew their job. An hours punting and wildlife watching later we saw a group of women magically making rope out of dried coconut shell fibres and apparently earning 250 rupees for their keep. Humbled we punted on and nibbled on a pomegranate.
Our 3 hour punting trip over we decided to make headway and bus it up to Alleppey to stay the night.
Love Jo x x x