What (Not) To Do, If You Had One Hour to Spare In Alleppey!

The other day I had to get down at the Alleppey Bus Stand to get a connecting bus. When I asked at the enquiry, they told me I had another hour and 20 minutes to go, before the bus arrived! At first I just walked around, but then I decided to take a look around the place! What transpired next were a few experiences that would truly be exclusive to a place like Alleppey!

I first walked aimlessly towards the path that the bus had come by, that was when I saw a shop at (what looked like) the other side of the road, separated by a small channel. As I kept walking, I spotted an ATM. I went in there to withdraw some cash, just so I would not end up feeling too cheap going up to the shopkeeper and asking the price of a good. If you take the definition Economists give for demand, you need desire, willingness and ability. To me, willingness is based on one’s mood, so it does not really count; no matter how strong your resolve NOT to buy something is! So, armed with 500 extra rupees and a weird sense of propriety, I ventured into this tourist hub to see what it had to offer a tourist on an hour-long trip to Alleppey.

As I set off to explore the place, I spotted a shop called ‘Kerala Spice Market’ across the channel. It looked quite appealing; mostly it looked like the kind of place a tourist would target! So, I decided to find where this channel ended so I could go over to this shop. As I set off, a random man on his bike offered to give me a ride in the broken English that he could barely manage, I replied a ‘No’ in Malayalam and that was enough to drive him away.

Turns out, the only way you cross these canals is by bridges that are built intermittently. I crossed one of them and ended up crossing over to the other side of the channel. If you look down as you cross the bridge, you could see a string of boats lined up against each side of the waterway.

 

The first interesting shop I spotted was named ‘Kerala Bazaar’. It mostly carried items from Kashmir although the name would suggest otherwise. The Kashmiri guy inside was not as chatty as the ones I have come across in Fort Kochi. The Kashmiri men in the little shops on the Jewish Street are a delight to spend time with. They humour you with answers to all your questions, and even after you declare that you do not intend to buy anything, they continue to treat you like you just agree to buy all the items before you. The person manning the ‘Kerala Bazaar’ was not all that bad, he showed me quite a few bags and a strange carpet made from leftover clothes that were used to make kurtas. Soon we were joined by two ladies from Switzerland, and at some point I asked him about the price of a piece hanging in his shop, he gave me a figure and later confided that he had a different price for foreigner. So, if YOU are not an Indian and you end up in ‘Kerala Bazaar’, BEWARE!

I stepped out of this shop and moved towards the shop I was initially headed towards. There I realised that the ‘Kerala Bazaara’-wala was not just fooling the foreigners, but also the locals. He priced twice as much as they actually cost! I ended up looking around this little shop for a while, admiring the elephants of different shapes even as the aroma of various spices pervaded my nostrils. I am crazy about elephants; whether they are real or not is immaterial to me, I just love elephants! The only reason why I do not already own one is because they are so expensive and their upkeep would drain the rest of the money out of my father’s life-long savings. So, I bought this little elephant carved out of wood.

On my way back, I found a goat stuck on a wall that came up to knee-length. I clicked photos and took a video while a lady came and was generous enough to actually help the poor animal, leaving me to feel like a huge idiot.

A foot ahead, there was a little temple right beside the road.

As I was crossing the bridge on my way back to the bus-stop, I saw this huge white palatial building. No, it is not an actual palace; it is one of the showrooms of Jos Alukkas. For those of us who are not familiar with this name, Alukkas is Kerala’s answer to Tiffany’s!

And once I reached back at the bus-stop, I sat reading a book for about 10 minutes before my bus arrived and took me to my destination.

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Comments
7 Responses to “What (Not) To Do, If You Had One Hour to Spare In Alleppey!”
  1. kpadhnan says:

    hey…u went Kumarakam…??/

  2. Maya says:

    Well Anjukutty…..I love this piece of revelation. The ‘price tag transformations’ is a public secret, yet it is good that u get to be reminded about this lest you should forget & end up cheated!

  3. annajohn says:

    One of things i hate to do is bargain, but places like these make it impossible for you NOT to bargain! And the best thing to do (given the circumstances) is to move around and check out a few shops before you decide to buy something.

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