Thursday, June 03, 2010
After arriving at Kochin airport we were picked up by our lovely driver in an enormous, brand-new people carrier, and settled in for the drive down to Alleppey. Two and a half hours later (and some hairy driving) we arrived at the gorgeous Maria Heritage. By this stage we were absolutely hank marvin, and thankfully they had a delicious meal prepared for us.
As you’d expect, curry featured on the menu a lot – I love spicy food so this was no issue. I have to say, by the last day, curry for breakfast was getting to be a bit much. We staggered off to bed, only to find that they were rock hard. I mean, like a stone. So hard that when I first tried to sit on it I actually ricocheted off it. I’ve had some bad nights sleep in my time but that first night was up there with the best of them.
Thankfully we had scheduled in precisely nothing for the next day – much to the amusement of our hostess. We hunkered down in the hammocks so thoughtfully provided in the garden, and got down to the difficult business of snoozing, book reading, and a bit more snoozing in the sunshine.
We did get up to go for an ayurvedic massage in the ‘spa’. I use the word loosely – it was a wooden table in a small shack – well this is India. It wasn’t really what I’d call a massage, more of a frantic rub with what smelt like cooking oil….but my skin was super soft afterwards and I did then sleep for another couple of hours afterwards….all good.
The next day we set off for one of the area’s famous house boats – gorgeous looking things with thatched roofs and all mod cons – ours had AC, a bedroom, and a bathroom with a shower and toilet! It was a super-relaxing, wonderful day. As you gently cruise up and down the waterways (which have a very lush, green, jungly feel to them) you get to see ordinary Indian people going about their lives. As you would expect, they don’t have much, living in extremely modest houses at the side of the river. And the river is their life-blood, they use it to bathe in, to drink from, to wash pots and pans and clothes in.
After that we went to a nearby town for some shopping, Indian style. It was incredibly busy and bustling so we got in amongst the locals and had a good look round the shops. Interestingly no-one sleazes at you (hello Beirut, Hello Damascus) and we felt incredibly safe the entire time.
Home for more curry and a last morning of lounging in the house whilst watching the torrential rain. Then back to Dubai..
Visually, India was just what I expected - it looks a lot like Sr Lanka, green, tropical, lush. When it came to the experience and the people I didn't know what to expect - well I can report that they are absolutely lovely, so friendly and welcoming.