February 16, 2016
16.02.2016 - 16.02.2016 34 °C
We caught the early (7:30) ferry to Kottayam, which is a city of about 375,000. We saw a large group of fishermen out in their canoes on the edge of the lake. They have some method of fishing with a large square net on a long pole. They put the net down to the bottom and kind of scrub it along the bottom. We have no idea how this works or what they catch. It looks very strange compared to the fishing we are used to seeing.
This ferry we were on was also the school bus, we stopped regularly to pick up kids and they all got out at the last stop as well. I don't know how much further they had to go to get to school, but it wasn't right at the ferry stop.
We had read this trip would be about 2 1/2 hours, but it turned out it was only 1 3/4 and we were at the last stop. However, the last stop was 10 km from Kottayam. There is a new highway bridge being constructed across the canal, and it is closed for the duration. So we got out and got a tuk tuk for the last part of the trip.
We had the driver drop us off at a restaurant we had picked from the guide. We figured then we would know where it was and we arranged to be picked up from there later. We walked down the street and lucked into finding the Kairali Crafts Fair. It was the last day of the sale. It was held in a big building which was still quite cool in the morning. We spent quite a long time looking at all the various wares - clothing, fabric, brassware, jewelry, artwork, carving, etc. Don bought a couple of shirts and I bought a dress, as well as some fabric. It turned out that lots of the stores were closed that day due to a strike, so we were lucky to find somewhere to browse and shop. As we explored further down the street, we heard a loudspeaker and lots of cheering. We walked into a courtyard of a college. There was a big assembly building packed full of college students, wildly cheering. We were taken in hand by a security guard, who escorted us to a couple of girls who spoke English very well. They wanted to take us right to the front of the hall so we could see what was happening. We said no, we only have a few minutes. They said it is an arts festival and this is the "Smiling Comedy" part???? We didn't get it, but they were obviously having a great time. We had to take pictures of our helpers, shake hands all round, and then got on our way for lunch. We didn't want to miss the 1:30 ferry back, because there wouldn't be another one until 4:30.
We had a much safer lunch for me at a restaurant - no curry for this girl - and then met our driver and returned to the ferry. On the way back to Alleppey, it was amazing how many houseboats we saw. They were everywhere - at one point where we cross the bottom of the lake, I could see 50 all at the same time! They say there are 1000 of them based in Alleppey.
After we came home and rested for a bit, we went out and wandered around a different neighborhood before having supper. We found a shop selling these great birdhouses - a coconut shell covered with coir (coconut fibre). Very cool, but a bit bulky for putting in the suitcase.