Kerala/ Alleppey/ The backwaters

A tropical palette of colour meets your eyes in the backwaters of Alleppey, ‘the Venice of the East’. Luscious rich green grass of the paddy fields line the still blue water ways, hovering palm trees, dotted yellows and reds of growing fruits and birds. Passing the wider canals, you see the house boats, steaming through. People partying, others reclining. Taking a turn into the smaller passages, weaving our way past villages. Women knee deep in water at the foot of their houses scrubbing clothes, their neighbour washing the silver thali pots, bubbles around them as we miander down. Turning the corner, a boy is sat, knees by his head, toothbrush in hand rinsing out his mouth in the waters. The canals are their way of life. The waters rise above the surrounding land, so man made islands have been build in between the paddy fields. However each year they must be prepared to be flooded as the waters rise. One mans told us if his friend who one night when asleep in bed, stirred, his hand falling from his chest tumbling open to the floor, but to his surprise his arm went straight into water. Jumping up in shock he looked around to see his house flooded just inches below the height of his bed! We were told however- no problem, he has an upstairs, so they just move everything! It is accepted that every year this will just happen.

One benefit however of the water is it makes for perfect conditions for growing rice. Their main source of income, second to tourism. Families will harvest the rice and sell it to the government at a fixed price to be shipped abroad. The government however also supply the local farmers with reduced pesticides, so they can grow more and I turn sell more to the government. The issue being that the pesticides flood to the canals that people feed off, wash, clean, drink. As a result the canals are being over grown with weeds, green flowers which we struggled to paddle through and I often got slapped in the face by as Pen towed harder throwing them back my way! However in spite of this there is opportunities for people to work and gain and income from the land, and the waters create a beautiful serene environment of calm, very different to much of India.

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