Indian Gondola and Island- Part One
While in Kerala, we decided to have another girls day out and took a tour on the backwaters, which is a chain of canals and lakes that form 900 km of waterways throughout the state. We woke up nice and early so that we could enjoy the tour during the cooler part of the day. Our guide, Peter picked us up from our hotel and took us to the river where we would start.
While on the drive, we saw a huge truck with the words “Elephant Express” written on the front. Peter told us that it was a truck used to bring elephants from temple festival to temple festival (what Mikhaila wrote about yesterday) which I thought was really neat.
When we arrived at the river, our “Indian gondola” was waiting for us.
Our “Indian gondolier” navigated the backwaters with a very long bamboo stalk. Unfortunately, he did not sing arias for us.
We were all amazed by how quiet it was. We could not believe we were still in India! There were palm trees with coconuts and other kinds of plants everywhere. We took so many beautiful photos that it was hard to choose which ones to share!
Our first stop was a little house where a mother, her three year old daughter, and their dogs and goats lived.
After that, we continued our journey through the backwaters. We went down very narrow, but beautiful canals that reminded me of a wedding. The canal was the aisle the wedding party would walk down and the palm trees on the sides were the people sitting in the pews.
We kept going until we came up to some fishermen at work. They had huge nets and walked in the deep water from one side to the other collecting fish as they went.
We stopped there for a few minutes while our boatman got us some tender coconuts (4-6 months old). He cut off the tops and gave them to us for a refreshing drink. He also gave one to us to take back for my dad.
The coconut water and meat were delicious and tasty. I want to take my coconut shell back to Canada and use it as a cup! My mom said that it reminded her of the show called Gilligan’s Island.
After our drinks, we came up to a village where we met the first settlers and saw their house. They were very kind to us and showed us around their home.
They explained how important palm trees are for their survival. The gentleman said that the foundation of the first house was made out of thousands of coconut shells!
Next, him and his wife showed us how to make rope. First, they soak coconut shells in the river for six months. The wife showed us how to take the fiber out of of the coconut shell. First she got a piece of wood and a big club. Then she took the skin off of the shell and threw it away. After that she hit the fibers so that it became stringy.
Then she tucked it into the front of her skirt and started making two long strands by twisting the fiber. She then hooked them onto a wheel and made them even longer.
Afterwords, she hooked the other end onto an other wheel and told me to hold a triangular shaped piece of wood and walk while she and Mikhaila spun both wheels.
Ta daa! Rope! They cut the rope in half and gave the two pieces to Mikhaila and I. What great souvenirs!
Going on the boat ride reminded me of the Venice, Italy because of the small canals. It was like an Indian style gondola ride!
For me, is was a really interesting day. I loved the nature and coconuts! I also enjoyed the village and thought it was really neat how they used palm trees in all parts of their lives for survival.
But wait, there’s more! Stay tuned to find out what we did next!