Life in the backwaters of Kerala is all about water: for transportation, bathing, cooking, gathering food, and recreation. Come with me as I meet some local people and speculate on the nature of their relationship with the water.
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you a trip to Kerala isn’t complete without a night on a houseboat. But that’s expensive, not so safe for a solo female, and what you see from a big boat is pretty limited! So read on to find out how to see the villages of the Kerala Backwaters on a budget!
One last bit of adrenaline kicked in and propelled me to the stunning view at the top of the pass. Laid out before me was a vast grassland, a shallow valley slowly descending to silvery blue Song-Kol lake in the distance, reflecting the snowy mountains that shimmered in the bright sunlight. Behind me, I could see where we’d come from, the yurt camp that was just above ours now just a tiny white speck far, far below. This four day trek to Song-Kol lake was spectacular.
I didn’t get groped in India on the first day. Not once. On the second day I even took the metro, and forgetting about the women-only car at the front, crammed myself in with all the men. But no groping. One man even accidentally brushed against my forearm and then held up his hand in apology. What was going on?
My coworkers and I ate, and ate, and ate, picking away at the mausoleum as if it didn’t contain the pickled, preserved remains of the beloved former leader of the country we currently were calling home. Sugar highs ensued, and as the Vietnamese staff laughed and praised our creation, any doubts my friend and I had had about possibly offending the locals quickly melted away.
Taking the boat from Sittwe to Mrauk U in Myanmar is an excellent chance to see life along the river. The ferry leaves just as the sun is rising through the mist; seagulls follow the boat as it makes its way from the dock up the river, hoping it will churn up a tasty snack. Cargo and fishing boats pass, some loaded down until they’re barely peeking out of the water, and stops at villages along the way make an interesting diversion.
There were two choices for going back up to the road: the ‘safe path’ or the ‘ladder’. While the right choice seems fairly obvious, please understand that the safe path meant retracing our steps and going a very long way out of our way just to get back to the restaurant that was essentially right above us. Tiger Leaping Gorge was really about to test my fear of heights.
The city of Zìgòng, with its measly 1.2 million people, is not a well known city in China. But tucked away into a corner of Southern Sichuan province, it’s not difficult to get to and quietly but proudly displays its history for the few visitors who venture in this direction. Did I mention that there are DINOSAURS?
I did the tourist thing in Hpa-An. I took a boat across the river and climbed a big hill to watch the sunset. I took a day trip around to all the cave temples and karst scenery. I visited a popular swimming hole. And when I’d done all that? I wandered. Beyond the market, towards the river, I followed a road down a slight hill, into an area remarkably different from the rest of town.
As I stood on the edge of the canyon I knew: I could not leave yet. I wasn’t finished. This country had gotten under my skin and into my heart like few others, and I needed to stay longer. Even though it meant sacrificing a week in Russia, I had to stay. Because let’s face it, any country that can make me get up for sunrise must be pretty amazing! Click to see the pictures!