S.India- d4: Kollam to Alappuzha

We had a little bit of a rough night. Not as bad as they come with a toddler, but still… Little M kept twisting and turning and getting into the weirdest angles. She sleeps sandwiched between my husband and I because she is prone to falling off the bed, which means we both got our fair share of kicks. I feel like I haven’t been able to completely rest since we left Bangkok, and it shows on my face. I’m glad you don’t get to see those pictures :p Thankfully breakfast was delicious and even Little M partook of the feast. We had something that looked like a solid roll of rice and coconut, called puttu, and we ate it with sweet bananas, pomegranate seeds and lentils, and a few papadam. And chai! Sweet steamy delicious chai. 

 

Puttu, pomegranate seeds, lentils and papadum
   

We unfortunately were leaving the homestay early, and we were wishing we had planned more nights.  

We said our goodbyes and beautiful Adhira wanted to give the doll to Little M. We are traveling with a single backpack that is about to burst and we had to decline. Not that i wanted that doll following us around… But how wonderful that she offered! 

A rickshaw took us to nearby Kollam, where we caught the 10:30 touristy two-deck boat going to Alleppey (or Alappuzha). We took this boat because I had great memories from the first time I came to Kerala in 2004. I’m not even sure it was this same route but I wanted to share this memory with my little family. It turns out the journey was dull, plain old boring, and exhausting with a toddler. Leaving Kollam by the main waterway, the canal was full of trash and ugly vegetation, the kind that makes bodies of water look unwelcoming and forlorn. There seemed to be a lot of factories along the canals. Our fellow passengers soon drifted into deep sleep. So lucky. We had a monkey to keep busy. And of course she did not want to nap.  

The flying monkey in the boat
 We stopped at a restaurant by the water with -thankfully -good food. There was a small buffet with rice, a pumpkin dish , a cassava (tapioca, manioc) dish, a vegetable curry in coconut milk, dhal (lentils), papadum and grilled fish. 

Then we had to go back to the ship (nooooo!). Thankfully, at exactly the point where the waterway changes from salt to freshwater, the scenery also changed. Suddenly it was beautiful again. We could look out the windows! There were rice fields on both sides of the canal, and small modest houses by the dirt road bordering the waterway. There were catholic churches, there were schools, there were a lot of goats! We saw a man on a small punted canoe “hearding” a big group of ducks, calmly getting them into an enclosure half on land, half on the water. Little M was captivated for almost 40 minutes by the ants going up and down the boat windows. Amazing. We passed the ashram of the world famous Amma, the hugging guru, and i giggled when i saw that it was a multistoried complex of various pink buildings by the water. This was not what i was expecting! 

 

This is what an ashram looks like
 
We stopped for chai at a quaint little hamlet and had delicious banana fritters.

 

Banana fritter and chai
 
Soon it was time to get off and we felt like VIP’s when the boat dropped us directly at our hotel. Since it was passing in front anyways they were kind enough to make the unscheduled stop ( after wide smiles and friendly hints to the expected tip). We arrived to the Ourland Island Resort by 5pm. A smily lady that didn’t speak much english took us to our “tree house” room and left. The structure is right by the water, surrounded by lush tall bamboo clumps. 

 

Tree house at the Ourland Island Resort
  
Hotel canoe
  
The canals behind the hotel
 
Little M fell asleep by 7. We followed suit not long after her, but not before eating a dinner of vegetable stew, rice and chappati.  Mr A also had chicken curry. 

The hotel is in a picturesque setting but we felt lonely, left to our own devices with no real interest from the owners in making us feel welcome. Maybe we are just missing our hosts at Munroe Island!

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