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.
– 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 () & then from here in Alleppey (), 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.