Showing posts from February 27, 2011

Houseboats and palm trees

We decided to cut our time in Periyar shorter than originally intended due to the wildlife being exceptionally good at hide and seek, and headed next (by taxi and not bus this time) to Allepey. This is where you get the iconic ‘houseboat’trip, in the Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Things to do before you die list. LP also describes Allepey as a ‘slice of Venice’ which is misleading as the town is a complete shithole. We stayed in a lovely guesthouse called Palmy Residence which is out of the town and very quiet. We decided not to do the overnight houseboat, we’d seen photos and there really isn’t much to do except sit and look at the world go by which is a luxury when you are short of time, and we also wanted a couple of extra days beach time further down the coast. We opted for canoeing, which actually means sitting in a small boat under a shade and being pushed along with a pole by a driver who perches at the back of the boat.  I'd like to say it's like a gondala - in theory it'…

Tiger Trails in God's Own Country

Kerala is one of the prettiest states in India. Located in the South the diversity ranges from stunning palm-lined beaches on the coast to the rolling green slopes of the Western Ghats, home to thick jungle and green tea plantations as far as the eye can see.

We had 2 reasons to be in Kerala: firstly to visit Periyar National Park, home to 45 tiger, 1000 elephants and various species of monkey and birds. Secondly was to do the highly rated houseboat cruise round the backwaters – one of the top 10 things to do before you die, according to the God of Lonely Planet.

Kochin itself is made up of a bustling town on the mainland and several islands all connected by bridges. The furthest of these is Fort Cochin – a maze of crumbling, Portuguese houses and narrow streets, old churches, and a busy fishing harbor.

We had a lovely night and day in Fort Kochin – lovely that is apart from the food poisoning Caro got from the fish curry she bravely sampled. I wasn’t game enough to try, opting for eggp…

On Trains and Birthdays

I’ve just had a birthday A big birthday. I can’t type the figure, let alone say it, and it would traumatise me too much to try. Let’s just stay that there’s an unacceptable swear word that begins with the same letter, strangely enough has the same amount of letters and also contains an ‘F’and a ‘U’. This swear word would pretty much describe my disdain at turning the afore-mentioned figure, and would also describe the reaction of many people when I told that how old I was turning, as apparently I don’t look it! Small comfort. Stuff growing old gracefully, DISGRACEFULLY is far more fun and I plan to go into my middle aged years kicking and screaming in dire protest.

Anyway the plan was to go to a land where millions of people didn’t know how old I am, and mission accomplished. In order to ease the pain I am rewarding myself with a very extended holiday. The plan was also to party in Goa on my birthday, but the amount of time it takes to get from A to B in India has to be taken into cons…

Slumdog, Streetdog, Beachdog

Last time I blogged it was in Goa, and it seems a world away from the week we’ve had in Kerala. However before I post about Kerala, I have to share an experience which has been dreadfully upsetting for me and highlights the East meets West mentality in a nutshell.

Dogs are everywhere here. Street dogs in the towns, beach dogs in the resorts. In Goa many had collars, and I assumed they were owned as they had pieces clipped out of their ears as if part of some registration program, and they were incredibly friendly. Being fed and petted consistently by tourists has served to take the edge off their pack-dog mentality, however some mothers of fights would break out where 5-6 dogs would converge on one, resulting in blood-curdling growls and squeals of pain. These appeared territorial and would usually end up with the interloper running back in the direction he came from, often limping or nursing a wound. It’s hard to watch, but is exactly how our beloved pet dogs would act if they lived i…