The Backwaters of Alleppy

Alleppey Travel Blog

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Indian Railways System Failure

7/07/07
We decided to walk down the boardwalk and have breakfast at Malabar one last time to say good-bye to Maheen, our buddy who is the waiter at the place.  Afterwards we packed up and said good-bye to Krishna, the manager of the Royal Sea Blue Resort who smiled his big grin and said “Money?” as Shanti the dog attacked my feet.  Perhaps he was nervous that we knew he was pocketing the money but we were more than happy to pay for such a nice place.  We walked through the alleyways to the taxi stand only to find that there were no taxis or tuk-tuks.  We ended up having to hoof it a long, steep walk up into the village where we eventually found a tuk-tuk driver who would take us to the train station.

Houseboat in Alleppy

The train crept along for the three hour ride to Alleppy where we grabbed another tuk-tuk to take us to the Keraleeyam Ayurvedic Lake Resort which the driver claimed he knew.  He didn’t and we bounced down dirt roads stopping to ask locals how the hell to find the place.  Finally, we came to a small bridge over a canal and saw a sign pointing the way to the resort.  We walked down the picturesque canal talking to three little school kids and eventually found the entrance (no thanks to the two employees standing there watching us look around for where to go…)  The guy at the front desk was not particularly helpful and really difficult to understand.  He must be the same brilliant guy that I called a couple of days ago asking about transportation who told me to call back the next day.

Cindy on Alleppy Backwaters
  We finally got him to understand that we had made reservations in a bungalow which ended up being a reasonably cute and clean thatched bungalow with attached indoor-outdoor bathroom.  It sits right on the lake with a nice view of the lush, green jungle and river life.

All in all, the place was nice enough but the employees seemed put out that we were even there.  We did have a nice lunch, after which we were told we had to order dinner now if we wanted it tonight.  We ended up napping a bit and then hanging out on our porch watching life on the river slowly meander by.  The location is exotic and beautiful but there isn’t much to do and the ayurvedic massages we had in Kovalam proved to us that they were nothing too special so we opted out of any treatments here.  We took a long walk into the town of Alleppy where there wasn’t much to see or do other than buy some munchies.

Houseboat on Backwaters in Alleppy
  Dinner was less thrilling than lunch and once again, we had to order breakfast immediately following dinner for some strange reason.   The jungle birds were out in full force making a huge racket from dusk until later in the evening and then it started pouring rain.  Luckily our bungalow didn’t leak and the mosquito net seemed to keep out the creepy crawlers and we slept pretty well. 

7/8/07
After breakfast, the front desk guy was actually vaguely helpful and we learned something new - you can’t call 800 numbers from a cell phone in India (go figure…) We were hoping to find out whether we could go to Goa a day early since Alleppy wasn‘t quite as exciting as we thought it would be.  We finally got a hold of the less than brilliant “MakeMyTrip” travel company and, after he finally found our record, the guy on the phone tried to pawn me off to Indian Airlines.

Canoe in Canal in Alleppy
  Luckily I stopped him before he transferred me and asked him if he could first tell me whether or not the Cochin - Goa flight was even available on Sunday (it wasn’t).  Issue solved - we decided to check out of the Keraleeyam resort and go back to Cochin.  Now it was just a matter of where we stay in Cochin.

We hired a boat for a couple of hours to cruise us around the backwaters which are truly beautiful.  Lakes are inter-joined by small canals where the locals do their laundry, bathe, swim and fish at a leisurely pace.  Fishing boats, canoes and huge house boats covered in thatch, some fancy, some simple, ply the waterways.  It was actually very pretty and relaxing (but we will take a cruise on Suladan over this anyday!).

Houseboat in Alleppy
  We did see a long, thin “snakeboat” which is a racing boat rowed by over 100 men for big races that are in August.  This sounds similar to what we saw in Myanmar last year (although those guys row with their legs!).  The boatman dropped us off at the ferry port in Alleppy where we walked to the bus station to catch a bus to Cochin and instantly decided to opt for the train instead.  With time to burn before the next train, we dropped by a local guest house to try to get on the internet and look into a Hilton stay but were foiled by the Hilton site being down. 

We made it to the train station and booked seats on the next train (even though the funny sign in the ticket window said “System Failure!” , then tried calling the Hilton to find out about staying.

Kereleeyam Bungalow
  The girl on the phone, while helpful, didn’t quite get that we were trying to book a points stay so I guess we will once again have fun dealing with Indian bureaucracy at the front desk.  The train journey went quickly as we ended up sitting and talking with an Indian woman who teaches English in Kuwait.  While I was talking with her, Cindy was getting accosted by an older woman next to her asking questions like “Are you Christian? Do you believe in Jesus?” since Kerala is a very Christian state and the locals don’t seem to mind asking the most personal of questions.

Well it looks like it is a day of relaxing at the Hilton (perhaps having a “party with our friends!” at the empty executive lounge…) before heading off for our final days in India on the beaches of Goa.   

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Indian Railways System Failure
Indian Railways System Failure
Houseboat in Alleppy
Houseboat in Alleppy
Cindy on Alleppy Backwaters
Cindy on Alleppy Backwaters
Houseboat on Backwaters in Alleppy
Houseboat on Backwaters in Alleppy
Canoe in Canal in Alleppy
Canoe in Canal in Alleppy
Houseboat in Alleppy
Houseboat in Alleppy
Kereleeyam Bungalow
Kereleeyam Bungalow
Canoe on Alleppy Backwaters
Canoe on Alleppy Backwaters
Alleppey
photo by: Stevie_Wes