Monday, 4 February 2013

Monday 4th - It Ain't Half Hot Mum

Our digs in Alleppey specialise in the young groovy backpacker market.  When we arrive there is some doubt as to who is more unsettled by this.  We have the top of the range room, which has both doors and windows along with a mosquito net and a ceiling fan. Apparently YGBPs do not rise with the lark.  Breakfast order are taken from 08.30 and if you are lucky they are cooked within the hour.

There is a queue for the alfresco washing machine so we take an auto ride into downtown Alleppey where we stock up on essentials such as stainless steel tumblers, clothes pegs and washing powder.  Once again finding somewhere to sit down for a cup of tea proves difficult.  Eventually we find a breezy corner restaurant for a lukewarm Sprite -  very welcome in the circs.

Two hours of Kerala sunshine has reduced us to perspiring heaps and we make our way back to the ranch where there is still a queue for the washer. We put our bag of grungies in the queue and go to lie down under the fan in our underwear (no pictures).  In the fullness of time our number comes up and we get our washing done and hung out to dry (know that feeling - D).

At about 3.00 p.m we take another exploratory walk, this time down to the beach.  A hundred metres down the road a voice from a dark recess says "Cold mineral water sir?"  Great call as we had forgotten to bring any.  At the next corner we see a queue of waiting autos, drawing level the school gates open and we are engulfed by small children who cry "How are you?"  Replying seems to throw them a bit.

Alleppey beach is not as litter-strewn as Marina Beach, Chennai but..............  We view a few dining options and succumb to the temptation of a cool beer, seated by the open window and wafted by the sea breezes.  The town made it's original fortune as a port and centre for the coir trade.  By 1920 it was in decline and the remaining buildings from this period are in poor repair.  There are still a few coir shops around but we don't have enough room in the luggage.

It is a bit cooler now as we walk back to our guesthouse. If you have to spend time in a cold water only establishment it may as well be in a hot and sweaty town like this.  Another session of fan and undies, followed by a bracing cold sponge down refreshes us for our evening outing.  We decide to try the Royale Park Hotel, partly in houour of the legendary Leeds student drinking emporium of the 1970s.  At the Alleppey establishment no one was singing Al Martino's 'Blue Spanish Eyes' but the food was definitely better.  We ordered three dishes - Kerela Fried Fish, Lemon Rice and Onion Raita. Each was excellent and in combination they made the best meal we have ever eaten in India.  R now wants a Kerela cookbook.

As we walk home from our perfect meal, hand in hand along the darkened street a passing motorcyclist shouts "Hi baby!" - which one of us did he mean?

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