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.

Our guide Peter

Our guide Peter

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.

The Elephant Express

The Elephant Express

When we arrived at the river, our “Indian gondola” was waiting for us.

Our boat

Our gondola

Our “Indian gondolier” navigated the backwaters with a very long bamboo stalk.  Unfortunately, he did not sing arias for us.

Our boatman

Our boatman

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.

The little girl

The little girl

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.

The wedding cerimony

The wedding ceremony

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.

Fishermen

Fishermen

Fishing

Fishing

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.

Cutting the coconuts!

Cutting the coconuts!

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.

The inside of their home

The inside of 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!

The first house on the island

The first house on the island

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.

Making two strands

Making two strands

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.

Making rope

Making rope

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!

12 thoughts on “Indian Gondola and Island- Part One”

  1. Herta Park says:

    Now this is really off of the regular ‘tourist path’. Again, it stands to reason that there should be these types of quiet rural types of areas – even in India, but we in the West do not think of this. You have had such a wonderful eye opening experience. Come to that, there may be times when you get home when you will be tempted to roll your eyes at the ignorance of of of us Westerners. Your first hand experience at these amazing things/ places/ events will enrich your life forever. And think of the stories that you will be able to share!
    Coconut foundation to a house? That is a new one. As is coconut rope. I look forward to part two. How long was this tour/ adventure? How did you set this one up?

    1. Zoe says:

      Hi!

      I love telling all of our stories from this trip such as crashing a wedding, who would have thought we would ever do that? 🙂

      I thought it was really neat seeing the villagers make the rope out of coconut. The tour lasted a day. My mom finds tours like these on the internet.

  2. doreen says:

    Sounds like a great day….so far. How amazing to learn how important the coconut is to their survival – talk about using the whole fruit and not wasting anything. Look forward to part two Zoe. Love Teta Doreen xoxo

    1. Zoe says:

      Hi!

      It was a great day! I also think it is really neat how they don’t waste anything at all. 🙂

  3. Mary Papulkas says:

    What a great adventure! Once again, I am happy to see that you are learning and experiencing so much during your travels; and, in particular, from the locals. How proud they must feel sharing what they know, and passing it on to you to share with others who are following your blogs. Zoe, I have noticed something…you are getting taller. Must be all that delicious food you have been eating!

    1. Zoe says:

      Hi!

      The tour was so much fun and very interesting. I didn’t notice my height increasing… You’re right it must be all of the yummy food I am eating! 🙂

  4. Helen M. says:

    Hi Zoe,
    Thank you for sharing such lovely pictures. It is amazing how serene and tranquil the river looked and what gorgeous scenery. You were very fortunate to find an experienced gondolier to tour you through the river. I look forward to reading part 2.

    Lots of love,
    Teta Helen

    1. Zoe says:

      Hi!

      It was very quiet and peaceful. I especially enjoyed listening to the beautiful birds singing in the trees. 🙂

  5. Baba, says:

    WOW! Zoe,
    I really loved your analogy of a wedding, describing the canal and palm trees. That is also my favourite photo. Imagine all the uses for coconuts.
    Who would have known that coconut shells could be used for a foundation of a house, and also to make rope. Thank you for sharing! Love, Baba

    1. Zoe says:

      Hi!

      When we heard that the foundation of the house was made out of coconut shells, I was amazed! I was even more amazed when we started to make rope!!!! 🙂

  6. Oma says:

    Hi, Zoe, Looks like you had a wonderful day, and probably enjoyed the quiet after all the hustle and bustle, music and crowds of the temple festival. I enjoyed the photos very much, especially the one describing a wedding ceremony. The scenery is so beautiful and I could just picture the colourful wedding party. It was very interesting to get an idea of their daily lives, especially to see the fishermen at work. It looks like a very hard work. The rope making was another great information. How nice that you both could keep half of it as a souvenir. It’s such a simple thing to have, but will always remind you of that special day.

    1. Zoe says:

      Hi!

      I did really enjoy the peace and quiet. I am glad that you enjoyed the wedding ceremony photo. What colour is the wedding party wearing? Green? 🙂

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