Happily ensconced in a brand new, air conditioned minivan, Paul and I were on our way from the Tea Bungalow to Alleppey, which was to be our jumping off point for a houseboat tour of the Keralan backwaters. As we drove through Kochi (now in the daylight), we were absolutely charmed.
It was lush and colorful and seemingly prosperous. Paul wondered, do the people in North know about this place? I mean why wouldn't you live here?
Aside from the excellent hospitality and lovely environs, Paul was also taken with the fact that the Keralan population seems to be accepting of somewhat plump movie stars.
Before long we arrived at the mecca of houseboats, and the folks at Lakes and Lagoons wasted no time in getting us onto our boat.
And I wasted no time in making myself comfortable. Nothing better than mango juice on a warm afternoon.
Paul was so relaxed he could do little but take in the serene water scenes that we floated through.
An old cargo boat, our vessel was really quite spacious.
There was more than enough room for the two of us and our crew of three.
Luckily that crew included a cook, who soon brought us a gorgeous south indian lunch.
Ah coconut, how I love thee.
And you too, whatever you are, I loved you too.
After lunch I retired to the cushioned deck, where I would remain for the remainder of the trip.
During the first part of the trip, we had lots of company.
But before long we made it out into the less populated canals.
And presently stopped
to pick up some giant shrimp for dinner.
That done, it was time for more relaxation. This time with a cup of tea.
Eventually we came to a small town with a lovely church.
And we stopped off to take a closer look.
And then stopped by the church's woodworking shop.
We watched the craftsmen work, and bought a few of their lovely pieces. A wooden statue of Ganesh which Paul could not live without, a wooden mesh platter that I couldn't live without (and now keep on my kitchen counter to keep my fruit close at hand) and a wooden bowl. We of course completely overpaid but the experience in the shop had been so lovely that we couldn't be too upset.
Then back to the boat for more rest and relaxation.
And then the rains came.
As badly as I felt for the guys getting wet, I have to admit I love nothing more than a really intense, short lived rain storm.
We pulled to the side of the canal, battened down the hatches, and waited it out. And then this was our reward.
And then dinner came (see those shrimp?). Yum. Curry pastes galore, some more of my favorite coconut, and some lovely cold beer. Could life get any better?
After we had sufficiently savored the meal, we turned in early, and were lulled to sleep by the rise and fall of the backwaters.