Lonley Planet rates taking a boat through the backwaters of Kerala as one of it’s top ten things to do before you die. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it definitely was one of the highlights of our trip.
We took the tour from Kollam instead of through the more common and busy Allepy. We had three staff members on the boat besides Mike and I, which was kind of strange. We felt pretty pampered. Things here are so cheap during the monsoon season though. For the equivalent of $120 we had three gigantic meals, a bedroom and bathroom, a private boat tour on a small canoe, and the three guys–a cook, a captain, and another guy who did a little of everything.
On the trip out we saw the giant fishing nets Kerala is famous for, divers who drag sand up from the bottom of the river to sell building companies, giant fishing boats covered in old tires and ancient small fishing canoes, small fihing villages and prawn farms, and last but not least, the beautiful scenery. I spent much of my time watching Manu, the cook, make our meals. He was a pretty incredible chef, and I will post a picture of him soon.
When we docked the boat for the evening, Mike and I went for a walk in a little village and stumbled upon a volleyball game. They let us join in and it was one of the most fun, magical experiences of our trip. We get tired of people trying to sell us stuff here, and it was so nice to just have some fun with the people who live here. I held my own, making about 10 serves in a row, and Mike was a wall at the net. Before long there was about thirty people gathered watching our game. The sun set while we were playing and the sky behind all the palm trees was a vibrant pink. We didn’t have our camera, but it is so clear in my head, and I will never forget it.
We also both loved the house boat. We loved that we couldn’t go anywhere. We just had to sit, relax, eat good food, and look at “God’s Own Country.”