Sunday, May 1, 2011

Backwaters 2

Since we stayed up against the canal as part of a row of separate cottages at Philipkutty's Farm, it was kind of a surprise to find that this island we inhabited was a) manmade by Anu's grandfather-in-law with special dispensation from the government, and b) contained a huge plantation of fruits, spices, and other treats that you'd hardly know existed from our veranda. Funny thing, though: the plantation was below sea level, and we were, too, though our cottage's mound of earth was built up higher. (The original Philipkutty made a ring of dirt in a relatively shallow canal and filled the rest in to make the island, though they have to pump excess water out of the many channels that flow through it. If that makes sense.) One day after lunch we descended into the world behind our cottage for an afternoon walk through what I've termed The Jungle.

And the wonders we found back there. Besides my mental scenario of snakes slithering out of the green murk that filmed over the canals, there were lots of red ants. The biting kind.


Cinnamon tree: the strip of peeled bark was done by this slightly angry-looking woman with a huge machete. When she approached us, I backed away instinctively. We were each given a piece of the bark, and lo and behold! it was cinnamon. Really, really nice cinnamon at that. 

Baby pineapple! So cute!

Red chilies!

Nutmeg in its tree form!

 Nutmeg in its nut form!

Bananas, bananas everywhere. A veritable forest. Most mornings began 
with two varieties of banana jam, as well as pineapple and fig preserves.

Discarded cacao shells. Yes, they grow chocolate, too! Cadbury's buys from them.

Janet's plantation souvenirs: a coconut and a cacao pod, which she carefully 
arranged on the veranda until we departed two days later. 

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