The morning mist lingered over the Backwaters first thing, but that didn't dampen the birds song.
The school run for these two is a bit more entertaining than the usual one, it certainly beats taking the school bus for sure! Indian children mostly wear the most immaculate school uniforms, with no seemingly individualism ( bit tricky to roll up the hem of a long tunic ...). Can you imagine sending your son to school dressed all in white??!
In Alleppey I was on a mission to buy some spices, but first of all I was sidetracked by the wonderful array of fresh vegetables,
and a row of bright orange and yellow plastic jugs which caught my eye,
Warm cinnamon and star anise, cloves and nutmeg too. A handful of cumin seeds, a pinch of mace and a root or two of dried tumeric and ginger. Can you already smell them?
The spiced ginger variety were my favourite.
Further along the street near a temple are the flower sellers. Fingers busily stringing the jasmine buds to make garlands to be used as temple offerings.
Marigolds, roses, large and small.
Before long it was time to return and get ready for our next adventure...
As I was leaving the cabin our neighbours wished us well, and we ended up having a little chat. They were from Delhi and their daughter was studying in London - at Goldsmiths. 'Oh' I said my son lives just behind there, to which they replied, so does our daughter.....turns out that they live on the same road a few houses apart. Just goes to show that isn't really is a very small world!
So where are we heading off to now?
The cabin is small and, well, cabin like, but I like the special touch with the toilet paper. After pedalling all these miles it's nice to see they are thinking of our comfort...
and a refreshing fresh coconut to drink. The flesh of which made a reappearance later on in the evening in various tastey dishes for dinner.
We float past paddy fields of rice, they can have three or four rice harvests a year in this part of India where, interestingly, the paddy fields are actually one metre below sea level.
These ducks were having a lovely time dipping and diving, little do they know they live on a duck farm and not a duck spa!
These children have finished school for the day and are heading off home on the other side of the river!
After all the frantic peddling in the heat it's delightful just to chill out, catch a light breeze and drift off whilst looking at the reflections.
Soon the sun starts to dip, the waters still and it's time to tie up for the night.
Dinner is a buffet of local dishes freshly prepared by the chef. Ever had pineapple curry? It's delicious, here's the recipe:
First make the usual curry paste of finely chopped onions, garlic and ginger. In the pan first of all dry roast some white mustard seeds and cumin to release the aroma then add some oil and fry off the curry paste for 10 minutes until it starts to caramelise. You'll need to stir it though so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Add some coconut milk, a whole crushed pineapple and one or two mashed bananas, depending on the size. Simmer for 20 - 30 minutes, check seasoning and serve. Delicious.
Have you noticed that men where a dhoti in this part of India? Well I was curious to know more, so with a little gentle persuasion Joseph showed us the technique, including how to make a handy phone and keys pocket. Here's Mike learning how to put one on
Next to where we were moored was a seamstress, so she came on board and demonstrated how to wear a sari. It can take a 'professional' sar wearer just a few minutes to wind the 6 m of fabric and tuck it all neatly into place. I doubt, even with the help of YouTube, I'd be able to recreate the look!
Underneath is worn a sari blouse and as I don't have one Maryjoan offered to make me one. So off I trooped - down the gang plank sari clad - to be measured for one. It will be ready to collect tomorrow morning before we leave at 6.30 am!