Unfortunately it has been a slow & frustrating couple of days since I finally left the beach at Kovalam, some 160 kilometres further south down the Kerala coast. I’ve taken three bus trips in as many days (although none for longer than 2 hours) to get here to my present location of Alleppey via a night in Kollam. It has been slow going but that said hurtling down the wrong side of Indian roads, horns blaring & playing chicken with several tons of TATA/Ashok Leyland metal has been fun.

Waterways in Alleppey, Kerala, India. September 17th 2012.

Waterways in Alleppey, Kerala, India. September 17th 2012.

The emerald jewel in South India’s crown.

– Lonely Planet commenting on Kerala’s backwaters

I’ve been trying without success to visit the Kerala backwaters, the spindly network of rivers, canals & lagoons that are, according to Lonely Planet, the ’emerald jewel in South India’s crown.’ I tried visiting them first from Kollam (map-pointer-icon) & then from here in Alleppey (map-pointer-icon), the so-called Venice of India, an association Venice, itself admittedly a little run-down (although in a good, enduring kind of way), hardly deserves. The backwaters are Kerala’s biggest tourist draw & even though I was prepared to pay to charter a houseboat for a night or two I couldn’t; it’s low season here right now (something I’ve been reminded of ad nauseam) & it seems the Indians here are happier to lounge around on the moored boats from one end of the day to the other rather than attempt to make some money from them.

Moored barges on the waterways in Alleppey, Kerala, India. September 17th 2012.

Not going anywhere for while. A moored Kerala Department of Tourism barge in Alleppey, Kerala, India. September 17th 2012.

An Alleyway, Alleppey, Kerala, India. September 17th 2012.

Picture captured in Alleppey alleyway. I’m not too sure why but I’m really hankering for something other than people to photograph. That’s probably asking too much in a country with a population of over a billion people. Alleppey, Kerala, India. September 17th 2012.

A stall on the streets of Alleppey, Kerala, India. September 17th 2012.

A stall on the streets of Alleppey, Kerala, India. September 17th 2012.

Indian Coffee House, Alleppey, Kerala, India. September 17th 2012.

Inside the Indian Coffee House in Alleppey. An Indian institution, the Indian Coffee House is a restaurant chain run by a series of worker co-operative societies. It has strong presence across India with nearly 400 coffee houses dotted around the country, with the state of Kerala having the largest number – over 50 branches, including this one in Alleppey. Kerala, India. September 17th 2012.

Tuk tuk drivers on the streets of Kollam, Kerala, India. September 16th 2012.

Tuk tuk drivers on the streets of Kollam, Kerala, India. September 16th 2012.

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