deponti (deponti) wrote,
deponti
deponti

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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:


fancy houseboat 120810

guitar housboat 120810</a>

this one certainly looked like a bird tweeting!


tweety bird houseboat!

And if those were houseboats, this one was a hutboat!


hutboat 120810


Every houseboat comes with an anchor:

120810 anchor


and a bilge pump:


houseboat bilge pump 120810

Here are the gears and accelerator, at the prow of the houseboat:

gear and accelerator

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:


repairing the thatch 120810

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:

sebastian and his chAyA 120810


a view of the front, with KM, Sebastian and Baiju (two of the crew...I never got to photograph the cook or the kitchen!)


km sebastian baiju


Sebastian had the Virgin Mary to guide his wheel:


mary matha at the wheel

...so he didn't mind KM taking over for a while!


km driving houseboat

Here's lunch served on the houseboat:

lunch 120810

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:



sun through fronds


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:


nat'l waterway no. 3


Here's the scene as we cruised along the waterway:


waterway scene

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:


drying palm fronds


We passed houses along the banks that were blue and orange:


blue and orange house

pink with purple windows:


pink house 120810

and blue:


blue house


several churches:


st joseph's church 120810

the telephone exchange:


tel exchange 120810

We passed a school:


high school 120810


and a school boat (instead of a school bus!)


school boat


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:


communist memorial


If we'd wanted to, we could have some accompaniment for lunch:


toddy


I was hoping this mill didn't send a team for the race....Sri Krishna was already beaten! (actually, that's beaten rice...)


sri krishna beaten rice mill

We passed this "green" couple, paddling along:


green couple 120810

a young one was about to have a bath:

about to have a bath

Others were washing clothes:


washing clothes 120810

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!

120 people in Chundan 120810

As the team started practising, another boat (with someone timing the effort) went along:

120 people being timed

We saw several spectators already beginning to enjoy themselves, two days before the race!

spectators 120810

These men were fixing up the bamboo poles to make the race lanes:

fixing up the race lanes 120810




Many more scenes that I saw are on the Picasa Web Album if you

click here

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!


paddy field workers 120810
Tags: house, kerala, photography, river, scenery, travel, water
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