Day 3 - Allepey (Allapuzah)

We woke up to the sound of birds singing in the trees and lots of sunshine. We had already organized breakfast at the owners house and made our way up there. We had toast with what looked like marmalade but turned out to be something between honey and jam. Odd but nice! Sari was also grateful for the huge bunch of bananas which were eaten in no time. The girls were keen to do some shopping (we didn't pack many clothes for the trip). 3 to 2 they won out. We left Palmy Lake Resort with a full stomach on our way to town to do a quick spot of shopping. This was our first experience in an auto rickshaw and we haggled the driver down to Rs30 to take us there. Bargain! We ended up in a small shop filled to the brim with materials and sarees. We were led to a small back room with ready made sarees and the shopping began.

Photo in sari shop"You look. Just look. Very beautiful." Soon a mountain of salwer khameez was building up in front of us. After getting several salwer khameez out of their packets Ceri and Janelle realised that Indian people are midgets and that they were unlikely to get anything over their heads! "No problem, madam. We can make for you." Next mountain, fabric to custom make some outfits. "We make" was actually you go around to a back alley seamstress who will stitch them up. Oops late for getting back for transport to our house boat. Time slips away so easily in India. Takes a long time to do a few things. Finally to the house boat. Luxury at last but still hard beds. On board was Captain George, Pradeep the amazing chef, and Sanjit who was Sanjit. Sipping beer and water for Janelle...relaxing on the sunbed on the bow....taking in the backwaters. Ahhh, now this is holidaying!

Houseboat

The India canoeing and kyaking team train in this area. Not sure how they get to training as the building with the canoes and kyaks is 100 metres out from shore in the middle of the lake.

Sign in the middle of a river

Also liked the sign posts in the water with directions and distances of different towns through the backwaters of Kerela. PHOTO OF SIGN POST? Lunch arrived and we sampled our first of Pradeep's most excellent cuisine. Fried to a crisp fish, long long beans, aviyar (cabbage and coconut) and more beer for the boys. The meal was finished with a whole fresh pineapple.After lunch an couple of fishermen rowed up to the housebout in their canoe. They had a sh@tload of prawns in their canoe and wanted to sell us some. The Tiger Prawns were HUGE, they could almost hav been smallish lobsters. After a bit of negotiation and Captain George demonstrating the potential use of a prawn as a hat for the races, we managed to get 5 of these monsters for the bargain price of Rs750 (about AUS$20, the price you pay for little itty bitty ones in Sydney).

Sari With the giant Prawns

Some more cruising and we all stopped for Ayurvedic massages. The place wasn't as plush as the other one we cruised by earlier. It was more, well let's say rustic. Which means that while the "treatment" was happening you could hear the chickens and roosters outside and the occassional moo of a buff. Once in the room you change by stripping naked and donning a loin cloth ( about 10 cm wide and 5 squares of toilet paper long). Ben was left out in the hallway as the display model! A test of his manhood being exposed in his small piece of fabric lightly covering the essentials (just, so he claims). The massage is on another hard wooden bed and you are smothered in oil, then your WHOLE body is massaged. Later Ceri, Sari and Ben back on board the boat. Captain George thought we had everyone and we set off without Jan-ji and Anton-ji. After a quick consultation and a thorough check by Sanjit to confirm what all 3 were telling them they pulled to the shore because it's a bugger to turn one of those things around in a canal. Meanwhile back at the massage place all that Anton told was that the boat had left without him. Janelle overheard Anton-ji confused "What? Oh. The boat's left. What the boat's left?" Anton and Janelle had to trek down to us and clamber on board. The night was spent eating more of Pradeep's tasty morsels and watching fireflys dance in the palm trees. Bliss...