The weather was hot and balmy. It was our last day in Kerala and we were looking forward to spending the night on a houseboat.
On my previous trips to Kerala, I’ve only gotten within drooling distance of a houseboat. It’s a rather expensive proposition. There was one time when Steph was down from Switzerland and we did some sightseeing on a small boat, and then went around in a little canoe (that was fun!). But I hadn’t been on a big boat…
There are two things to look forward to once you’re on board. A lot of free time and delicious food if luck is on your side and you get a good cook.
We made ourselves comfortable just behind the captain as he veered us from the backwaters into the Vembanad lake. The pace is slow and leisurely and you do get drawn into a rather zombie-like state. I snoozed away. Woke up and sleepily took in the sights around : basically comprising of more boats of different sizes all cruising around in the endless lake. Life basically revolves around the water. People are washing clothes, performing daily rituals, bathing, scrubbing utensils, swimming : it’s a whole world of activities out there.
The cook whipped up some delicious veggies and fish cooked in Kerala style we were in foodie heaven. The one disadvantage to living on a houseboat is that there isn’t much scope for exercise so while you’re wolfing down all this food, there are passing moments when guilt strikes, but more food arrives and it passes.
Houseboats are usually built around a few bedrooms : they range from one to several. Ours had two. In the front area, there is the dining table and there is usually a television (for reasons beyond my ken). And then towards the front end is the captain’s seat and an area where you can relax. Some houseboats have an upper deck. Ours didn’t and my sister suffered from â€œhouseboat envyâ€ whenever a boat with a deck passed by.
We crossed quite a few houseboats : despite the heat the tourists seem to be keeping Alleppey and Kerala on their maps. We weren’t the only ones brave enough to take on the Kerala sun.
After lunch and more rest, we were back in the waters and sailing around the lake. Followed by tea time and more snacks. I apologise for talking so much about the food, but besides that there was little else we indulged in.
At around 6 pm we headed back to a village near Alleppey where the houseboat was moored again. This was where we would spend a night. Sis and I went for a short walk around the village. And then dinner and another round of gluttony. At around 930 pm or so, the folks switched on the air conditioning to keep us from getting totally frazzled in the heat.
In the morning, after a breakfast of omelettes, iddiappams and vegetable stew, it was time to head back to the shores and terra firma. And then onto a flight back to Bangalore. But now, at least whenever we talk about Kerala I can say, â€œThere was this one time we sailed around Vembanad lake on a houseboat and feasted on some delicious local fare andâ€¦â€
Wellâ€¦ you know the rest 🙂