In this, our last post abroad, we will explain the titles of our blogs: “Mobile Blogging” – followed by a description. We have been taking all pictures for this blog using our mobile phones (cell phones) and writing/posting 95% of the blogs themselves, on our mobile phones. It has been a great trip and in a few hours we get on the plane to come home, back to Canada.
Our exit from India was 6 days long: from disembarking the houseboat in Alleppey for the train to Kochi on Jan 1, until the flight from Mumbai to Dubai on Jan 6. In the middle there was the flight from Kochi to Pune on Jan 2 and the train from Pune to Mumbai on Jan 4.
The backwaters of Alleppey hosted many houseboats. The Backwaters also hosts ferries and small fishing boats. We booked a houseboat through the owner of our previous hotel (Green Palace) and spent the day of Jan 1, as well as the morning of Jan 2 on the water. The jetty was packed with houseboats docked to pick up passengers and/or supplies.
Happy New Year everyone! Today we got video footage of the last sunset of 2013! We set up the GoPro at the beach as the sun set over the Indian Ocean. Then Laura went to put her feet in the water and a big wave came while she was posing for a picture! She got her shoes and shorts wet so we went back to the heritage home accommodation before heading to the bus to go in to town for dinner. We loved dinner so much last night that we went to the same place again.
After our trip to Munnar and our stay at Ela Ecoland, we spent two nights at Green Palace, near Alleppey Beach, which is close to the coast so the weather is warmer and more humid, and doesn’t get cold in the evening/night, like it did in Munnar. The only way to Green Palace is by boat! It is off the beaten path therefore it was relaxing and quiet – just what we wanted. The view was beautiful and the staff were very helpful. We met the owner on a boat ride from the hotel to the shore and he helped us book a houseboat for the day after new years.
We stayed at Ela Ecoland for three nights while in the Munnar area. We had breakfast and dinner in their small dining room, off the kitchen. The food was fresh and delicious. The chef, named Muttu, was skilled and friendly. His wife helped him in the kitchen and because it is Christmas time, his two sons were home and they helped out around the kitchen and accommodation.
We had a driver and he took us to many sightseeing destinations. Tea plantations, spice plantations, waterfalls, viewpoints and my favourite – an elephant ride! We waited forty minutes for our half hour ride on Unni. He answered to commands in Malyali after three years of training with his handler. When we asked his handler if Unni understood English, he said no. He explained that he trained Unni, and used his language: Malyali. He went on to say if we trained an elephant, it would understand our language: English.
It was the best Christmas present Purazar could have given me. On our journey inland from Kochi to Munnar region, on Christmas day, we stopped at an elephant training center. The handlers only work with their elephants for three years to build a rapport. We watched them take their elephant down to the river and bathe them.
Merry Christmas everyone! Below are pictures from the times we have seen Christmas in India 🙂
We have arrived safely in Kerala (south-western India) and are spending Christmas with elephants! Check back in soon 🙂
Dinner was served on a long table, with many chairs along one side. There were four tables in all, two sets of two, facing each other with space in between for servers. There were cups and cutlery at every place, and the plates were banana leaves.
Ice cream was served in thin disposable bowls. The flavour was sitaful which is my favourite fruit here. (We will blog about the fruits soon). Purazar had two bowls and I had three.
I hope everyone is having a good Christmas Eve!
We went to the market near the apartment called Hadapsar Market. There were many vendors and shoppers – and just as many smells. We visited the stalls selling fruits, then vegetables, then spices. Some vendors were friendly, some were shy, some were pushy. When people saw our cameras, they asked if we would take their picture. If we wanted theirs, we would ask and most of the time they would say yes and put on a big smile. One woman selling us fruits, nodded that I could take her picture then thanked me. When she learned from us that the strawberry guy a few stalls down wouldn’t negotiate his price, she started to haggle with him for us. She did so by standing and yelling at him in Marathi (the local language of Maharashtra – the state/province that we are in).
Just like in Canada, vehicles break down. It seems to happen here not because of cold weather like Canada but because people get every kilometre out of them. The other day we saw a bus being pushed by a group of men (passengers who got down to help get it out of traffic). There was a long line of cars, motorcycles, rickshaws, and trucks behind them.