Life on the Backwaters

Hello everyone! This is Garrett bringing you another update about our adventures in India. We spent the past two days exploring the Kerala backwaters on houseboats. We started this adventure in the city of Alleppey, and many of us who had been a bit worried about this experience quickly calmed down after we saw the water crafts.

Traditionally, these houseboats would have been fairly simple. At one point, they were even made without any nails and, instead, were made of weaving strong and sturdy materials together. Basically, they looked like huge floating baskets. We were surprised to find that the houseboats have actually been modernized for tourist purposes. They were luxurious, and they were basically small floating hotels.

We were welcomed on to the boat by the crew who gave us coconuts with straws as refreshments. Each boat had a spacious seating area at the front of the boat with comfy chairs and three people shared cozy bedrooms with large modern bathrooms. Our boat even had an enclosed dining room, air conditioning, and satelite television. Basically, there was absolutely nothing better than cruising along the backwaters on these crafts. We all got a chance to relax, catch our breaths, and, if you were me, do some reading.

Our lunch that was served on the boat was especially delicious. Along with some of your typical Kerala style foots, we had fresh fish that were fried. Of course, several of us had a little trouble when it came to picking out the bones, but, overall, the lunch was one of the best we have had. After lunch, we had more time to relax as we traveled through the backwaters. We were even served banana fries of sorts. They were sweet and delicious.

We did see several water snakes, but that did not stop Kegan, Ling Ling, and Charlie from jumping into the water to swim a bit. We also, after we docked for a short period of time, explored the nearby rice patty. A lizard fell from a tree and landed on Allison’s head, which gave us all a laugh, and Kelsie decided to go pet a nearby cow. After this short stop, we got back on our houseboats and headed back onto the waters.

It was extremely exciting to see all of the locals who actually live on these narrow waterways. We saw people bathing, doing laundry, and various other household tasks while using water directly from the backwaters. Also, we saw many rice paddies along the water ways, since quite a bit of water is necessary to grow rice. While we were on a completely modernized version of a houseboat, we were still able to observe some of the more traditional life that occurs on the backwaters.

After drowning ourselves in bug spray, We were fed a delicious dinner of more fish and a special chicken curry. Afterwards, most of the students sat about and chatted till fairly late at night. We then retired to our rooms, and got a wonderful round of sleep.

In the morning, we all prepared for the day by showering and cleaning up a bit. We then had breakfast and started back towards the dock that we started this trip from. Many of us were disappointed to leave the boats. I, personally, could have used another day on these magnificent crafts simply to relax and finish reading my book. Now, we were in the gorgeous city of Cochin, and this city is probably my favorite city we have been to so far. However, you will hear more about that in some following blog posts from my fellow bloggers.

We are still enjoying our time here in India so, parents, do not worry too much! We will be home soon with tons of gifts, pictures, and lots of stories. Till then, we hope that everything is great back in the United States, and, to many of our friends and family who are in East Tennessee, we hope that you are enjoying the snow while we are enjoying the heat here in Cochin!

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