Alappuzha was the main reason we were drawn to Kerala. Although we had heard and read about the natural beauty; the coconut trees, the beaches and the ocean, the rivers and streams, we were especially excited to see the backwaters of Kerala.
The backwaters of Kerala is a network of rivers and streams inland, away from the coastal line. It swivels and snakes it way through rural areas of Kerala, where local residents travel by small canoe like boats or other floating devices as a means for transportation. Local communities residing on the shores of these waters even have their own agricultural practises, mainly growing rice paddies and locals also fish in these waters.
Many tourists come to Alappuzha, also known as Alleppy, to take a quiet relaxing boat ride, either on a Venician style gondola or a family size house boat. The vessels cruise around the lakes or on the rivers at a slow pace making for a very peaceful environment.
It truly proved to be the place to go to get away from a high strung and very stressful city life. Its also a paradise for the romancers.
We too spent an afternoon cruising around on a boat and soaked in the natural sights of this beautiful region. It was a true retreat. People even spend the night on some of the houseboats. They serve as hotels. They come fully equipped with electricity as well and are furnished including large screen tvs.
Maneesh and I did not spend the night in Alleppy. We spent the day and then went onwards to the next city of Khozikhode where we caught our flight back to Delhi.
Due to the downward turn of Maneesh's health, we had growing concerns of getting him home and checked out by doctors and a medical system that we were familiar with. We had decided the three week adventure we had of south India fulfilled our curiosity and we were ready to head home in spite of the health concerns. Whatever we were unable to touch we felt would make for another neat travel adventure in the future. We were also getting a little tired. Naturally Maneesh was already feeling weak and even I had started feeling under the weather and feverish by this point.
Long travels of being on the go constantly, carrying backpacks is a tiring activity. As mush as we enjoyed what we got to see and experience we were happy to be heading home for now.
We were only able to get a big coach to take us to Khozikode which was about three hours away There was no train service and the taxis would have cost us too much. Since we were determined to head out the same day, we thought to book a coach (like a Greyhound bus back home in Canada).
We had heard positive feedback about this mode of transport and were recommended to try it. We booked our tickets at a travel agent in the town and then boarded our bus at about 10:45 pm. It looked great when t arrived. We gave our backpacks to the bus driver who stored them in great big luggage compartments under the bus. However once we hopped on the bus, I immediately wished to get back off.
The bus was about 90% full and Maneesh and I were not able to get seats together. I was seated next to a women who was covered head to toe in a shawl. I could barely see her eyes. The whole bus was extremely dark as all the curtains were drawn on the windows and all the lights were out. The tv was on and a Tamil movie was blaring loudly. There were no subtitles and we couldn't understand a word. It made for a very uncomfortable environment. Pitch black, extremely loud and among strangers. The woman next to me tried to speak to me but was speaking in Tamil. When I asked if she could speak Hindi or English she looked at me like I had the plague. That was the end of her friendliness and she passed out.
In addition to this uncomfortable environment, the air conditioner was on extremely high. The bus was like a pitch black freezer. To make matters worse, when the us driver hit the highway his driving was crazy. The bus was swaying from side to side as if it could tip over any time. He was extremely fast around curves and at times it felt the bus was out of control. I couldn't relax and forget about trying to sleep.
I was feeling so afraid in this environment that I sat perfectly still. I didn't want to disturb the lady next to me so I didn't even turn around to look for Maneesh. About 45 minutes into the trip the bus stopped, and I couldn't take it anymore. I mustered up the courage to find Maneesh in the back somewhere. When I spotted him, I saw the seat next to him was empty. He saw me looking for me him and he waved to me. At that moment I got up, taking all my stuff with me and basically ran down the aisle to him, like a lost child finding his mom. I was so relieved to plop down next to him. At this point I didn't care if this seat was reserved for another passenger, I just wanted to sit with my husband on this bus from hell.
We had had a very long day and were feeling tired. It was very difficult to sleep however eventually our sleepiness became too strong for us to control and it took over. Once I had dosed I felt like I was in a nightmare. My body was still very aware of the environment and there was no where we could have gotten off the bus even if we wanted to. At this hour this was the only method of transport to Khozikhode. We endured the bus ride and were extremely happy to jump off at 3:30am when we reached our destination. Since this bus ride happened over night and the actual bus itself was cold and pitch black, the crazy driving really made it feel like we were in a nightmare.
We were able to find a auto rickshaw who helped us find a hotel. About an hour later we were laying in bed, safe and sound, fast asleep. We were now in Khozikhode.