Friday 14th – the backwaters

I did not have a good night, although I’m not sure why – perhaps I wasn’t tired enough. My stomach was still not feeling too good as well. We got up at abut 8.30 and came into the dining room expecting to find Mark, but he wasn’t there. Eventually around 9.00 we were getting a bit worried, so I knocked on his door. Still no response. Then one of the crew joined me and we both pounded on his door. Poor man – he was in his bathroom and perfectly alright, just decided to have a lie-in!

I resisted breakfast, but then got off the boat and took pictures of weaver birds building their nests. On my way back I spotted one of our crew fishing in a paddy field. He was catching catfish very successfully.

As we set off I got some good shots of a Baya bee-eater and later a white-throated kingfisher.

We stopped at a Roman Catholic Basilica with a small parade of shops along the waterfront. St Mary’s Basilica dated from 429 although I suspect the present building is probably about 200 years old. Mass was in full swing so we stood at the back looking down the nave to the resplendent altar reredos and listening to the priest and choir. When we returned later a red curtain had been drawn across the chancel – to preserve the mystery?

From the Basilica we walked through the shops and I went into a barbers for a haircut (if I’d gone in for a lawn mower, that would just have been silly). He was young, enthusiastic an d did a good job. He didn’t have any thinning scissors which was unfortunate, but he carefully crafted the sides and back of my head, while chopping a bit off the top. He also snipped out my nostrils, any area David has never ventured into! The result was very pleasing and he asked 200 rupees which I gladly gave him with a 50 rupee tip. When I told the crew member accompanying us he was outraged and wanted to go back to demand 100 rupees back. I demurred for, as I pointed out, back home I paid 1,500 rupees! He was clearly shocked.Unfortunately Christine has the pictures of me so you’ll have to make do with one of Mark Iman adjacent barber’s!

Back to the boats and lunch with more pottering , reading and sleeping to follow. We stopped again at a busy part of the river in order to take a small boat trip through the small backwaters. It was clearly a well trodden route, but none the less peaceful and interesting as we had a window into local people’s lives. We watched children bathing and women washing pots. Some houses were beautiful while others looked fairly squalid.

WE docked back at our boats and managed to get everyone off without anyone falling in. More lazing, taking pictures and reading before we docked for the night. Everyone came to us for dinner, which included, duck, chicken and tiger prawns. We veggies didn’t do badly either. David did another splendid turn, having us in stitches and then others joined in, so it was a very merry evening.

Our last night on the boat. We shall be sorry to leave!

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