The houseboat experience...
I’ve only stayed on a houseboat in Kashmir before, so I was looking forward to our stay on one in Kerala. Overall, though, the experience was not as delightful as it should have been; the main factors being the somewhat tacky houseboat we had, and the high cost of the rental. Apparently the owner of the houseboat said that we’d have to take the entire houseboat (it was a two-bedroom one) and KM agreed (I wouldn’t have!) But the second room was not even cleaned…and our room was small, cramped, and the little cockroach I saw scuttling along didn’t come under the heading of wildlife!
However, moving along smoothly on the backwaters was really a nice experience, and certainly, with the houseboat, we were able to see a lot more of the practice sessions for the Chundan and Iruttukuthi boats than we would have from the shore.
Houseboats look quite fancy…here’s an unused one, with the typical “curly” wood-railings of Kerala:
<lj-cut text=” some more of the waterway scenes”
Others indulged their fancies, and I enjoyed the sight of this guitar houseboat!
this one certainly looked like a bird tweeting!
And if those were houseboats, this one was a hutboat!
Every houseboat comes with an anchor:
and a bilge pump:
Here are the gears and accelerator, at the prow of the houseboat:
Definitely, the maintenance cost seems to high, and I often watched scenes such as this, where the thatch was being repaired because of damage due to the heavy rain:
Our houseboat was driven on the water by Sebastian, who enjoyed a hot glass of “chAyA” (as the Malayalis call their tea) as we proceeded:
a view of the front, with KM, Sebastian and Baiju (two of the crew…I never got to photograph the cook or the kitchen!)
Sebastian had the Virgin Mary to guide his wheel:
…so he didn’t mind KM taking over for a while!
Here’s lunch served on the houseboat:
It was apt for the houseboat, because a couple of the dishes were floating, too…in oil!
I got the sun shining briefly through the palm fronds as we were tied up for lunch:
The whole idea of a life with waterways instead of roads was a fascinating one, and for a few hours, we watched what such a life would be like. Here’s a road, er, water sign:
Here’s the scene as we cruised along the waterway:
the monsoon clouds (it rained heavily almost all the time!) looked majestic…and life-giving.
The green of the paddy fields (those are palm fronds being dried in front) was soothing to the eyes:
We passed houses along the banks that were blue and orange:
pink with purple windows:
the telephone exchange:
We passed a school:
and a school boat (instead of a school bus!)
The Sports Authority Building (this one was for all water sports) looked ghostly in the rain:
Kerala, along with West Bengal, is one of the last bastions of Communism in the world, and I saw this memorial to a Communist:
If we’d wanted to, we could have some accompaniment for lunch:
I was hoping this mill didn’t send a team for the race….Sri Krishna was already beaten! (actually, that’s beaten rice…)
We passed this “green” couple, paddling along:
a young one was about to have a bath:
Others were washing clothes:
Apparently, the Govt is fairly strict about maintenance of cleanliness along the backwaters….
Of course, our first sight of what we had come for… 120 people on one long boat…. was amazing. Imagine how hard the wood must be, not to sag and sink in the middle!
As the team started practising, another boat (with someone timing the effort) went along:
We saw several spectators already beginning to enjoy themselves, two days before the race!
These men were fixing up the bamboo poles to make the race lanes:
Many more scenes that I saw are on the Picasa Web Album if you
Let me close with the green of the paddy fields…I loved those “head-only” umbrellas that the people are wearing….but realized I’d never really use one!