10 March 2016

Allepey and the Backwaters

We weren’t sure where to stay in Allepey, but ended up staying in a somewhat-luxurious resort on an island. Emerald Isle was reached by boat, and consisted of a series of islands joined by bridges with lots of backwater canals. It was remote, quiet, and gorgeous.
The place we stayed was way over our heads, and Wayne got upset with how much people were waiting on us. I tried to book a regular room, but there were no more available, so we basically got what was the honeymoon suite. It was our own giant private cottage with a sleeping area, sitting area, outdoor bathroom, private outdoor garden with hammock and sitting area, and another outdoor sitting area.
We got there and had lunch, which was a lot of typical Keralan dishes. I found myself craving Jungle Cafe back in New York City, or really, anything else. It was good, but I was starting to get sick of curry leaf curry leaf curry leaf in everything.
After lunch, it was just too hot to do much. We relaxed in our AC cottage, and then at 4pm, went for a massage. We got ayurvedic massages with lots of oil; we were on two tables next to each other, but a thin wall in between. It was relaxing more than anything.
After, we showered and used lots of soap (and still struggled to get the oil off our bodies) and then took a walk. In the backwaters, people were fishing, washing their laundry, bathing, washing dishes. The private was public. Everyone said hello and it was just so pretty and chill.
I went on a run and it was one of the most fascinating and great runs of my entire trip. I pushed myself as hard as I could, yet stopped to wave, smile, and say hello to everyone. Women walked in gorgeous sarees to the temple with an offering plate of flowers. Children laughed, and yelled, “What’s your name?” People unabashedly bathed in the rivers, while daughters lugged out a large load of dishes to wash. D
The next morning my run was the same. Some people remembered me from the day before; they smiled and waved. People were brushing their teeth, staring at me, running by, huge smile on my face. Towards the end, a group of children stopped me and asked me to play badminton with them. We were both unskilled, a ten year old boy and I, and we repeatedly hit the birdie into the water. Ooops.

After breakfast, we had a stroll on the island with a lot more hellos, chatting with people, pictures….then another boat road and tuktuk and an overnight boat!
We asked at the Emerald Isle for a boat. They told us it would be 8,000-12,000 rupees. We said we wanted to pay 6,000. We got a boat for 7,000.
It was basically an awesome floating hotel room. The front area, where we spent all of our sunlight hours, was awesome. We had a couple of benches, a cushioned couch, and I sat mostly in the swinging lounge, reading, writing. There was a table and chairs we we ate all of our meals.
Our room was nice, just a bed with nightstands, tv, counter, and bathroom...with a shower. What? I actually used it, and was grateful for it.
We took off, and it was really nice and relaxing. We had a welcome juice with lime and coconut, and as we floated, Wayne and I read, I wrote in my journal, I took a zillion photos.
We paused for lunch, which was way too much food and pretty good food. We stuffed ourselves silly, and then went back to reading, taking photos, enjoying the water.
At 4, we had a snack, which was tea with deep fried (in coconut oil, yum) bananas and ghee-soaked bread.
We stopped at 5:30 for the night. There was a small village, with ayurvedic massages (too bad, we had one the day before) and we took a walk, smiling and chatting with small children and waving to everyone.
At 7, we had our dinner, which was again too much food. The mosquitos came out in full force, so we hid in our room. We were sticky and gross, so I hopped in the shower. The shower head didn’t work; bucket shower time!

In the morning, it was a tight squeeze but I was able to roll out my mat and practice yoga; Wayne slept in. Then, a bucket shower, lovely breakfast, read and relax, and we arrived!

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