India: Alleppey as Venice of the East

The last place I bounced to during my summer/work vacation was Alleppey. By this time, I was running low on cash with a week still left to fend for myself with food. I was not too hot on going anywhere far on the last weekend because of my tight budget, but somehow I gave in and got dragged into this day-long trip. And here I was, aboard a 2-hour train ride north to Alleppey.

The morning did not start off well. We had maybe five minutes to catch the only morning train out. We were rushed and other people were pushing to purchase their tickets. And of course, the language barrier. Amidst the pushing, rushing, and confusion, the lady at the counter did not give me the right change. I had no time to check my change, and she overcharged me. I was fuming as I made my way into the train. There was no time to fix this matter. It could have been an innocent mistake or she did it on purpose. Like I said, I had a tight budget, and I couldn’t let 50 Rs go just like that, because that could be a whole meal. Just my luck, the day was off to a wonderful start already…

It was a miserable train ride. It was tight, hot, humid, and very public. It was packed with people. As if having one or two people stare at you was not uncomfortable, try having crowds of people around look at you curiously… To make matters more complicated, the trains are nowhere as sophisticated as NYC Metro, LIRR, Taipei Railway, KTX, or Tokyo Station… No pretty lights, no clean floors, no train music, no English, and no announcements that told you where on earth you were!!! There were also bars on the windows so you don’t even have a clear view of the passing outdoors. Now, together, all these factors led to a horrible misfortune that day. Our destination was Alappuzha, the original Indian name for Alleppey. I saw a sign that looked like ‘Alappuzha,’ when really, it was Ambalapuzha. It was also about 11:50 am, the time the conductor said we should be getting to Alleppey. Turns out, it was the next town over. The train was running late. Never trust the time schedule in India. What are the chances that two seemingly similar places are right next to each other? To a foreigner, it was an easy mistake to make, though with consequences. Now here we were, lost in this random village. The next stop was Alleppey if we stayed on the train, a good 10 minutes away. On foot, it would take a day. On a rickshaw, it would easily be several hundred rupees. Just my stupid luck…

In summary, I was in a cruddy mood. I had a feeling the day was not going to start or end well. But do I listen to my feelings? Most of the time, there’s no basis for my intuition. Most of the time, things are uncertain. I don’t trust my inner conscience as much. And here I was that day, pissed off as hell.

My pissy hormones and mood aside, here’s beautiful backwaters of Alleppey. Three full hours were spent cruising along a boat. Sit back and enjoy the scenery…

Inside the Boat

Double Decker Boats

 

Traditional Houseboats

The simple village life:

Row Row Row Your Boat

 

No tumble dryers, just nature

Oops, caught a bathroom moment.

No washing machines either... just bare hands and brown water.

And complimentary on the tour, a lunch break…

Curry Chicken... Not the best I ever had...

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