Stuff I Know

Just stuff by me about me and my life, such as it is.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The "backwaters" are supposedly one of the highlights in a visit to the state of Kerla. Backwaters refers to the rivers, and canals that wind their way inland from the coast through the villages and forest. And they actually are pretty nice.

The beginnings of the lake just outside Alleppey.

The best way to see the backwaters is to rent a houseboat for a few days and just cruise along at a leisurely pace. Some of these house boats can be rather grand, with large bedrooms, verandas, and air conditioning.

One of the more stately type of houseboats.

Of course renting a whole houseboat certainly isn't cheap. And it was prohibitively expensive for me to do it alone. One of the pitfalls of a solo traveler. There was an opportunity for me to join a group of people who were going to rent a houseboat, but at the cost they gave for just two days and one night, I still couldn't justify it to myself for this trip.

One of the canals.

Alappuzha, better know as Alleppey, is one of the entry points to the backwaters. There are a few cities that you can start a backwater journey from, but Alleppey has the advantage that there are two canals that run through the town which make accessing the backwaters easier. And those canals make wandering through the town a more pleasant experience. Parts of the canals are a bit over grown and consequently a bit drab looking, but generally they are in pretty good shape, especially considering what most city waterways look like in India.

Traffic on the backwaters.

While I didn't go on a houseboat trip, I did get a chance to see a bit of the backwaters while I was in Alleppey. I took a canoe tour. I sat in the bottom of a canoe while a guy paddled me around for a few hours. My guide/motor didn't speak much English, but he did tell me he was the number five paddler on the the city's boat in the annual snake boat race (kind of like a dragon boat race). Apparently the stronger paddler you are, the higher up your position is, one being the highest.

The trip was actually a pretty nice way to spend an afternoon. In fact, even though Alleppey doesn't have much else to see, it may be worth a stop even if you don't happen to take a boat trip.

This photo needs an explanation. It was an overcast day, and I took this picture of the reflection of the sun in the water.

Here are the photos for you. There is a special rare bonus photo of me in the bunch. I rarely have pictures of myself taken. And yes, that is pretty much the way I look most days of this trip. Enjoy.

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At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad your sunglasses have nice eyes! I love that picture of the clouds reflecting in the shot!! do you have to rent a house boat or can you kayak/canoe and then camp along the canal banks? just curious..

At 11:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Robert,

Very nice pictures makes me wanna go to India. and I really great blog

But before I go to India I will go to Korea :), in April (the complete month) If it is ok I would like to ask you some questions about Korea. I would like to do some hiking there. and I was wandering about maps and gps, it is really hard to find gps maps for Korea, but from what I have red on the internet it is not really necessary as it is very busy in the national parks. can you confirm this? also are there any maps available in Korea with names both in roman and in Hangul? or should I get a GPS in Korea it self?

Also I understand that it is very easy to find a place to sleep and to get something to eat in the parks, is it still handy to bring a tent and food for multiple days? I'm planing to do some small trips 2-4 days in different parks

Do you have any site seeing tips?


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