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Part 7
BACKWATERS IN  KEREALA

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The statue of liberty? No not quite! But this so ill adapted installation is said to have been errected by some hot shot Indian millionaire with the aid of an American financial trust. Situated on an isle in the backwaters just north of Kollam, this statue is a constant pain in the neck (or ass) to the local Hindu population.




Boys bathing along our watery trail.




Carina and me on our second day of encounters with Kerala's water ways, here among some really narrow sections where we were also guided around among the villages to see how copra is being produced while also studying various spices, flowers and fruits in their natural habitats.





The most famous beer (or as is often the case,  the one and only available brand thro- ughout India)  is undoubtedly "Kingfisher". And here is one of those little critters perched on a high suspension wire. When I was a kid in Western Australia we had a distant relative to this beautiful species called the "cuckoo borough", a bird with a very distinctive call sounding remotely like children laughing.




Villagers transporting copra  across the lakes and canals.





Transportation by boat can be rather risky business, at least when going about it as this fellow is doing by overloading his boat to the point that it's starting to leak in water!





Towards the end of the day darkness fell upon the waters (as  in the holy script) announcing a sudden  change of weather.




Islamic mosque on the main road between
Kollam and Allepey.

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Drifting along the Backwaters encompas- sed on all sides by the serene waters and endless rain forests of the  Kerala state  is an experience which no traveler of South India could ever afford to miss! And if you're lucky you might  even catch a glimpse of these emerald green Kingfishers, making this so exotic part of the world a haven for anyone who's into fluttering wings, especially when draped in such lovely, flamboyant colors!




Tourism by houseboat has become a major industry along these routes. While being a bit costly it is undeniably a way to endeavor into the heart lands of tropical India, either with your T-shirt on or off, though preferably on (in order to pay respect to the customs of the locals)! For ourselves we were quite content to make this cruise by regular ferry, a trip which took us eight hours from Kollam in the south up to Allepey in the north. But of course, it's possible to choose any other level of comfort now with the ongoing exploitation of this touristic area.




Villagers rowing idly among these never-ending water lanes.


 
A solitary ibis sitting out in the
middle of nowhere.




A local woman washing clothes, maybe to get dressed up for Diwali (New years eve) which was due to occur on the following evening.




In Kerala Chinese fishing nets such as these are regularly in use, often lining both sides of the canals, giving the impression of a tunnel guiding the vessels along their way.  




Cumulous clouds were building up on the Backwaters and the sticky heat got almost to the point of becoming unbearable. Then on the evening of our arrival to Allepey, all hell broke lose with the most intense thunder storm I've experienced for over 25 years. We were celebrating my birthday, which happened to coincide with Diwali, enjoying a luxurious and yet inexpensive meal of tiger prawns and various other dishes when lord Shiva began to put on his own performance of fire and fury, drenching the town in torrents of rain with subsequent black outs which went on late into the evening.




Allepey, which seemed to us like a more or less average town even if there weren't as many cows, dogs or goats roaming the streets as in most parts of India.





In front of Taj Mahal
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