My last three days with my parents (sob) were spent on three very different boats (well actually, the first boat was after the jungle trek, but I am juggling things around because I am sneaky and also because it’s my blog so I can do what I want)
(Thankfully only one of the boats had mandatory life jackets – they never seem to realise that one size doesn’t fit all in these things)
Our first boat was a huge two story beastie full of tourists as we floated down the river watching all the birds and sambar along the shores.
After the national park we drove to the backwaters of Kerala near Kumarakom to board our houseboat for the night. There are over a thousand houseboats in the backwaters of Kerala so I’ve read it can get very crowded in the season, but we saw hardly any other boats while we were out. It is a pretty damn big lake to be fair.
There are a couple of things to see around the lake – the church is another claiming to be the oldest in India (it clearly isn’t, but it was built on the site of an older church which was built here in the 1480s), and the emus are kept for their eggs, which…errr…cure cancer.
Other than that, there is not much to do except enjoy the views, eat copious amounts of food prepared by the onboard chef (including freshwater prawns the size of lobsters), read a good book and relaaaaaaax. Aaaaaaah.
Our last boat was the smallest yet, but piloted by the best guide who provided us with umbrellas for shade, a bird book and binoculars for spotting kingfishers and kites and took us through the smaller rivers and canals of the backwaters. We were shown how to climb a coconut tree (not sure I will ever put that into practice), how to handspin the coconut fibre called coir, how the locals fish (we saw the people with poles and nets catching fish but didn’t see if the guy with a crossbow had any luck…) and most importantly how toddy is made – from the sap of coconut trees gathered and fermented in the sun. It tastes very yeasty, but hey, with a production method like that at least you know it’s all natural.
Sadly my last day with the parents didn’t end very well. Despite the umbrella I got horrible heatstroke and ended up puking over the side of the boat (very well timed actually – just as we were pulling up to the driver’s brother’s house, so I got looked after by his family). Spent most of the rest of the day in bed trying to sleep it off and generally feeling sorry for myself.
Mum and Dad have long since got back to Scotland now, with a bunch of souvenirs for me (haha, thank you excess baggage), and are presumably working hard on saving up enough money to come out and visit me again soon! (Please? Miss you already!)
Meanwhile I’m back on overnight buses, cheap ass hotels and not knowing what the hell I’m doing from one day to the next. Yay.