Sunday, 15 February 2015
Day 33 (India): Alleppey to Kochi
A final trip through the backwaters today, this time on a public boat from Alleppey to Kottayam (pic). Actually that's not our boat. Ours was nowhere near as shiny and new. Or level.
The middle of the trip was across vast lakes (pic). It cost just Rs19 (20p), took three hours, and was full of locals hopping on and off at remote rural stops – the aquatic equivalent of a local bus, only much slower, and without having to overtake lorries on blind bends. All great fun.
We saw curios such as rice-fields on reclaimed land that is much lower than the surrounding canals that drain them (they have to be pumped constantly), and this island church seemingly in the middle of nowhere (pic).
From Kottayam to Kochi, the huge capital city of Kerala state, was one of those clanky, ancient local buses. These are a classic Indian experience: scarily fast, hurtling round corners, overtaking everything even if there's things coming the other way, and barely stopping when they pick up or drop off passengers. Then came another classic Indian experience: queueing for the ferry ticket across to the historic old town on the island of Fort Kochi (pic). It took an hour to buy my ticket (and all for a Rs4 fare). In a country that invented zero and infinity, though, an hour is nothing special.