Friday, 12 August 2011
Ain't half hot mum!
Left Varkala with a last hurrah and many a fond farewell from all our regular pals here in the various beach cafes and bars. Our lovely Rani saying "Maybe you come back again one more time?" but we smiled sadly - alas no this time we leave for good and all.
Arrived at station in time to witness an elephant being led along the road through the traffic which was cool.
Two aircon seats and three hours of gazing over the back water dwellings and all life happening along the track and we were in Alleppey. So looking forward to this our final week in the most expensive accommodation (16 quid per night) with aircon and apparently lovely and genial hosts. What we got was a real bummer of an experience. The town is dirty smelly busy noisy and generally uninspiring shambolic mess of bazaar selling gold, silver and plastic. It was raining and miserable too.
Then lo and behold turned out the guesthouse was on a main drag with speeding motorbikes and honking rickshaws zooming past- not a good start. The place was a building site and we weren't sure who the builders were and who the owners may be. No one was particularly chatty or welcoming. We were shown a room off reception where we had to leap over the building work. The room was windowless and dark (only one light out of 6 working) The bed was high up and hard and more like a table really. Three people stood outside the door and as soon as we re-opened it they started to try and flog us their Backwater trip for the next day. Far from the reviews of helpful and accommodating hosts these guys argued amongst themselves and hardly spoke English. I said it was fine for the trip but we didn;t wish to pay for the room whilst out on the boat. They weren’t accepting this and kept saying you pay half price for the room. This is ludicrous as we wouldn’t need to leave anything in it so they could rent it out again if they needed to. We were really hacked off with them.
Long story short we were truly miserable and down and couldn;t get dinner anywhere so went to bed hungry and miz. They were re-tiling the floor outside our door until gone 10.30pm (hammering and sawing etc) Terrible. We got up early threw the money on the table and walked!! Unfortunately we couldn’t then get a place because of boat race. Managed to find a really lovely place which gave us a room for half the prrice of the last one which was cool, large, big clean bathroom, terrace in the garden etc lovely. They could only let us stay one night though but we booked on to their Backwater Boat for the following night (also cheaper than the orignal guesthouse quote)
We had determind that we would have to cut our losses as far as watching the Nehru Trophy Snake boat race was concerned and head back to Varkala after we finished on the house boat on Friday morning (all in all though this set of circumstances we worked out would save us 10,000 rupees – about 150quid- which we could have thrown away on the stupid original guesthouse. Suddenly though our luck changed as the snake boat teams were having their trials and practice that very afternoon so we ended up getting to see some of the madness anyway.
Snake boats are huge long canoes with 104 guys on them rowing or drumming or steering. The atmosphere even at the practice was awesome, really exciting. Pleased to see a ladies team with the women from local villages (all ages) wearing red sari blouses and white saris rowing like crazy.
At the end the local team all disembarked near where we were standing and they all proceeded to shake our hands and chat to Simon about what was going on and what their chances are. It was great to see, shame that we will miss the Saturday trophy race but given how crazy thestands were just at the practice the actual day will be mad.
After an extremely hot and sweaty night despite the hard working fan we were up early and preparing to embark on our Backwaters cruise. This may have to go in another post as I have an extremely loud and annoying Kiwi lady rabbiting loudly on skype to her daughter and I can’t concentrate (coz I’m listening to her stories ... it was her daughters birthday yesterday and she has just re-married- Graham (he’s English) and they’;re on this amazing honeymoon in Malaysia, India etc- maybe a cruise but she hasn’t said!! (I may have to ask!!) Anyway they are driving me nuts so I’m signing out!!