www.CouchSurfing.org. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get in touch with him so we took another bus and rickshaw to the ferry terminal to cross over and spend the night at Fort Cochi.
Fort Cochi is an old trading post along the tea and spice routes. It was ruled by Indians, the Portugese, the British and probably a few more in-between. Now it is a sleepy fisherman town and tourist attraction. We checked into a hotel and then went out to a bar for drinks.
www.powerkickinc.com. A Scottish girl from Glasgow who insisted that it was not a good idea for a girl to travel alone in India (especially in Delhi) after experiencing it first hand for the past few months. Apparently, she almost got gang raped in Delhi which explains the hard feelings. Then there was the Australian girl who was on a round-the-world trip and was traveling around India on a motorcycle. Cool.
Up early the next day, we hopped on a bus and rumbled on down to Alleppy, the gateway to Kerala’s famous backwaters. I was engrossed in my book, Losing my Virginity (Richard Branson’s autobiography) for most of the ride, looking up from time to time to take in the scenery. At one point, when we had almost reached our destination, I spotted a JCI banner with a picture of Roland Kweiman, this year’s world president, on it! Wow, JCI is truly everywhere, even in the most remote, “backwaters” places like Alleppy!
That afternoon, we checked in with Antony, our CouchSurfer host who owns a tourism business and resort: http://tourinalleppey.com/. We had a cup of coffee and then he sent us out on a relaxing canoe trip.
The backwaters gets its name from the 1,000 km of canals and rivers that intertwine in a dense tropical fruit tree paradise. Also a tourist photo-happy paradise (thanks by the way to Bela and Deni for all the photos!).
By the time we made it back to our residence, it was dark and we needed to make plans fast. Antony and his Finnish girlfriend decided to join us for dinner so we all went to a nice hotel for cocktails and Indian fare.
Rarely have I relied on guidebooks for my travels so far, but I do look into them from time to time, especially when one is readily available (thanks again Bela and Deni!). The Lonely Planet advised us not to miss out on a backwaters house boat tour, despite the fact that the price would be about 50 times more expensive than anything we’ll have done so far in India. Let me reiterate their advice: you have to do this if you go to Kerala, you won’t be disappointed!
Next stop: Varkala, India!