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Kerala Backwaters Alleppy – sounds and images

22 April, 2011 (06:20) | Living in Europe | By: admin

Backwater Critters

Quiet Backwaters Audio Soundscape from boat

1) The front of our quaint boat looks like an Italian gondola, but the canals are nothing like Venice, Italy. 2) Welcome coconuts

Our kettu vallam (a converted rice barge) houseboat is the perfect size. We cruise down small backwater canals, passing tiny houses along the banks behind which lay dense jungles and rice fields. Life is busy on the riverbanks; people wash themselves, their children, their clothes, their teeth and their dishes in the river right in front of their houses. Colorful saris, scarves and fabrics blow in the breeze.

Although this is a *romantic* overnight cruise, I cannot stop shooting photos and recording sounds. Mark and I are such great partners; we both do our best to document this magical voyage.

These backwaters have many uses for the villagers along its banks.

I love the aroma of thick jungle and am charmed by the tiny villages that dot the narrow canal banks, teeming with life. We are a living tableaux.

We spot a number of unusual rodent type animals we think are monkeys but might belong to the possum family. We also take note of an unusually flashy bird with bright blue wings, apparently a bird common in these parts. We find out later that these fluorescent cobalt birds are Kingfishers.

Backwater Canoe

More sounds to go with the following images

It is fun having our own private houseboat. We decide that we would like to do this one more time later this month if possible, departing from Kollum instead of Alleppy, to see how the two backwater regions compare.

1) Happy bird 2) A village father and son take a swim

Like most mammals in India, these goats roam free.

1) Holy cow 2) Lone umbrella, poetic in the rice field.

Beautiful, exotic fruit accent the lush tapestry of village life 2) We spend the night (in our boat) docked along a village bank, where we are free to get out and roam. Mark befriends these two cute tour guides…

We drift through quiet canals lined with coconut palms and spend the night on the water under a galaxy of stars, with a distinct sound scape which includes the rhythm of clothes being washed and then slapped to get rid of excess water, the occasional church bells (Alleppy is a Christian town)
and unusual animal calls which are often easier to hear than to see.

With so much stimulus its not easy to assimilate all the tactile sensations, but I do my best to document and share. Meanwhile, from our docked houseboat we take a noisy little row boat from where we watch a gratifying sunset.

Noisy Boat

Backwater soundscape from canoe.

Lovely sunset photos. The last image here is of the main canal back to town in the morning.

Our bed is comfortable, our crew is accommodating without being obtrusive, the journey as romantic and relaxing a Nisha and Vijoy promised.

Backwater Canoe

Sound byte of the visually tranquil canals, aurally active with a cacophony of busy night sounds:

In the morning we wake up on the houseboat and have breakfast as we cruise back to Alleppy to meet our driver. We shoot a lot of video, which I will share with you when I get to Part 2 of the Backwaters.