Sunday, 11 May 2014

India 6 - Messing about in a boat and stuff

Hi folks, Jock and Zeke here signing off for the last time for a while - everyone say ahh!

Well, the next morning the nice paddly man came and paddled and took us back to Mr Shijo and our car, and we thought, well that was fun what next?

"We're not leaving the waters just yet boys," said the crew (see we're getting nauticalical again). (Ahem, don't give up the day job just yet.) 

Whatever, that's what was said, so we watched out the winder of the car and quite soon Zeke was leaping up and down and pointing, "Look Jock, look everyone, another neffalent!"  And we looked and there was a neffalent, another neffalent, a HUGE neffalent. It was just a-strolling along in the mididdle of all the traffic. It was a tusker with his mahout perched on his shoulders and carrying a huge bundle of greenery - almost a whole tree.  Mr Shijo explained that it was its food that the tusker was carrying, but how could you live on a tree? Apparently that's what neffalents eat, but it looked quite chewy if you ask me.

That was an unexpected tocitement and after a bit more driving and getting snarled up in traffic in Aleppy, we arrived at the boatyard to see our floating home for the next two days.  This isn't our houseboat, but ours was quite like it.

We were soon aboard and just a-cruisin along. Mr Captain was sitting up front with his steering wheel and we managed to sit on some cushions just behind him so we could see all the world floating by.

We were quite settled, when one of the crew decided that they needed the cushions to stretch out and watch the world go by.  All I can say is that watching must be very tiring 'cos very soon she was all tuckered out and was zizzing away.  Well, we can symphonise, it can get quite hard work, we do it and we like our zizzes too.

We had our own real crew on the boat and Mr Cook gave us lovely, tasty, scrumptious food. This meal was chicken biriani and it just goes to show which came first. The chicken or the egg?  Have you guessed yet? No? The both come at the ams time, along with poppadoms, vegetables and minty sauce. See, we don't know why it's such a mystery.

One of the nice things is that Alan got to bring his own bottles of beer. At this meal it looks like Zeke only got water, but he didn't.

See, we got to share it really.

After we had eaten our fill it was time for more serious watching the very busy world go by. It was hard work, but someone had to do it 'cos the humins seemed to drift off and sleep at the drop of a hat. 
We had great fun watching everyone out and about on the waterways. Most people seemed to get around by canoe. Can you imagine taking a canoe to go for your messages? Yes, going shopping was a bit more complicated than most of us would think. You have to pay a man a few pennies so he will paddle you to the other side of the water, and then you can walk along the banks to the village. It certainly makes you think before you set off.  There was no sign of Mr Sainsbury's delivery boats that's for sure.

 It wasn't all sunshine of course and we did get some rain. Until it got really really heavy this was Mr Captain's wet weather gear.

Soon we tied up for the night and Mr Cook gave us duck. Yummy it was though the staff said that there wasn't too much meat on an Indian duck.

Next morning we set off after brekkers of curry and fruit and we cruised along in great style.  From time to time along the banks we saw duck in flocks and men in canoes herding them along the waterway.

Can you see what the dark band in the water with a man in a canoe behind it?  Well, that's ducks. thousands and thousands of ducks, stretching right across the waterway - at least 400m.
Mr Captain headed straight for the middle of the flock and we clapped our paws over our eyes, but it parted miraculously to let us through, though the duckies made a LOT of noise as they got out of the way!  The boat was going slowly so they had plenty of time to get moving, "Qauck, quack, ack, ack, QUAAAACK, rackety, ickety rackety, quack!" My, what a noise, and all that water was churned up as they paddled away. When we went to the back of the boat, the flock had formed up again from bank to bank none the worse for their experience.

Soon it was time for lunch - well you know, watching all those ducks made us quite peckish, but our toventures weren't over yet, 'cos we had things to do afterwards.

We met up with another big houseboat with two n=more humins in it and a big canoe and we all jumped aboard the canoe, though Ann did struggle a bit getting down into it 'cos she says her legs were too short.  Our legs are much shorter and we had no bother at all!  Ahem, might that have something to do with you being inside my bag? Welllll, we aspose so, but soon we were all aboard and off we went up a side canal.
It was just like going through a village, except here the road was the canal.  There were children playing and the waved to us . Of course, we waved back, that was only polite. Up in the trees the birds were calling, calling and they were very pretty.  We think we could have liked to visit that village, but we just putted along in our canoe and soon we came back out where our houseboat was waiting for us.

A little later on when Mr Captain wasn't there we thought we'd see what it was like sitting in his seat. It was quite comfy, but we couldn't see past the wheel, so we just clambered up and sat in front of instead. It was a good view, but we decided that maybe we'd get into trouble if we decide to drive off.  You bet! We'd have all been sent home in disgrace, so I'm glad you weren't too tempted.

Soon it was time to settle down for the evening, while Mr Cook cooked, his nibs went for a walk to see the birds (and get well chewed on by the insects) and on the way back he stopped to get the sunset. Wasn't it lovely?

There were no pictures taken of dinner, but it was yummy as ever and washed down with a nice bottle of wine.

Next morning Zeke and I had a lovely surprise, 'cos there on the table were our own wee boats. We sat in them, but they didn't seem to be going anywhere until we realised that they were a cunningly folded napkin and we had to move so that we could get our breakfast.

Dosas,  yum and sambar - vegetable curry - with coconut chutney, and for juice it was creamy grape juice. Just thinking about it makes our tummies rumble in unison (Mine too, mine too!) Curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner, sounds a lot, but we soon got used to it. One morning we had uppuma, tapioca cooked like couscous with saffron, vegetables and chillies and served with Zeke and Jock sized bananas.  Yummy too, but eaten before a photo could be taken.

Soon we had to say goodbye to our real crew, from left to right, Mr Cook, Mr Engineer and Mr Captain, three lovely people who looked after us so well.

Then we headed off in Kochi, or Cochin as it used to be called.

On the way Mr Shijo took us to the beach where we could look out at the Arabian Sea. Can you see the fishing boats behind us. There were a lovely shape and sometimes quite colourful.

When we'd looked at the boats and Ann had got herself all wet - she went for a paddle that almost turned into a swim - we went past lots of interesting places.  We got to see some smashing birds like this Brahmini kite. Isn't it big?  We kept inside the car when it was around, 'cos you never know when little bears can just look like little snackerals do you?

This is our last hotel, and just below you can see us sitting on our balcony wall looking out at all the hustle and bustle of the harbour.

Inside, our room had a great big high bed, that even Alan needed a step to get onto. We got given lovely little bunches of jasmine flowers and they smelled so sweet.  Meanwhile, above our bed was an embroidery with a tree on it. In the tree were birds and bats and bees, and Ann and Alan wanted to take it home, but thought that people might notice, which is a shame, 'cos it would look so nice on our wall too.

After a light lunch it was time for a tour of Kochi and low and tohold there were more neffalents.  We thought that this one was very friendly looking. It was there to take part in a festival and in the evening it would be all dressed up, but we didn't get to see that 'cos it was past our bed time.  We went for two walks, one with a nice Mr Roy, who showed us the nephalents and one with Alan when we saw the Chinese fishing nets again. We even got to see men catching fishes.
In the evening we got to see a nice man cooking fish molee, very very tasty and we followed up with a really tasty dinner from the fish menu. His Nibs had lobster massala and Ann had king prawns.  Yummyness personified.

Next morning was our last day - oh dear we were enjoying ourselves. We decided that it was time for a swim - well maybe Alan did 'cos water and bounce fill doesn't mix. So we sat on the dolphin's back and when it got too sunny, we sat under the brolly. My it was hot - about 40C - that's 100F for you souls who don't do celcius.

After we'd been to see the men catching the fish for people's dinners we came back and Alan had a shower and changed into his glad rags. "What are we doing that's you're all dressed up? Huh?"
"We're off to see some special dancers and then we're going to have our final dinner in the History Restaurant."
Here's on of the Kathakali Dancers that we went to see. He's a prince of heaven. Doesn't he look amazing?
Soon we wended our way back to the hotel, and up to the History Restaurant. Starters included prawns with beetroot puree. Naturally being the last night we had to have bottle of wine.

Main courses arrived and Alan and I shared a First Class Railway Mutton Curry.

He had to stop me from diving into that sauce.

Ann and Zeke kept to fish and had a lovely dish with pomegranate seeds in it. It was a fitting end to a fantastic holiday.  Next day we were up early, early and off to the airport for our flights home.

There are just a few things to say. We loved Karnataka and Kerala. (You haven't guessed have you?) The people were friendly, the food was fantastic and the scenery wonderful.  Thank you so much to our guides and most especially to Mr Shijo our driver. He was safe and reliable and had so much knowledge of the country and it's wildlife. He made the holiday.

We'll just leave you with a sunset on the backwaters. We will have to wait to go back, but we are already planning.


Jock, Zeke and the humins


  1. Hi Jock Zeke and the humins, We were so interested in your holiday, it sounded fantastic. Granny said she would love to taste the food. I am wondering if they had honey. I didn't see you eat any. I would love to ride on a heffalant. I think I would need a rope around my wait. it looks a long way down.
    hugs Wilbur

  2. Hi Jock Zeke and Alan and Ann,

    What a wonderful wonderful trip you were on! Must be great to be a bear in the company of Alan and Ann. The photos are quite beautiful - the ones with the sunset look like postcards. In fact, I thought for a minute they were! Lucky bears you guys are! Great views you've had and not had to climb or walk or anything. Way to go! Tell your humins that I'm glad they had a lovely trip too!


  3. Hi Guys,

    I've been missing in action - the puter somehow got bearfused and dropped me as your follower - how naughty is that?

    But - I'm baccck. (o:

    Prudence ♥

    1. Hi Prudence,
      Naughty puter. Good to have you back.
      Jock and Zeke


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