Inside of ze SS Stod.
My second day in Kerala
I headed to Thiravantuparam. This was the jumping off point of my backwaters tour. The backwaters consist of lakes, rivers, and canals that parallel the beach. I went to my boat also known as a Kettuvelam. Kettuvelams are converted rice carriers that come in all sizes and levels of comfort. They ply the backwaters taking tourists through rice paddies, tea plantations, prawn farms, and jungle rivers. Ever been on the ride “The Jungle Boat?” This was it, only better. I had my own boat for the next day and a half, a crew of three dudes-one of whom was my personal chef, and more for only 100 bucks.
The drivers name was Dominick, the chefs’ name was Syrian, and the engine operator was named Christopher.
God that was a great trip.
The western names are due to their Christian heritage, and the Portuguese who ruled here for over a century. We took off around ten in the morning, and slowly went about the rivers and estuaries of Kerala. I sat in my seat just enjoying the sights. When lunch came, I ate pineapple, coconut, and fish at a teakwood table. The only downside to the adventure was the solitude. I’ve really enjoyed traveling alone. It’s been a great period of discovery, and the beginning of my Renaissance. Eating dinner alone gets old, but that’s over soon enough. It’s times like the cruise that bother me though. Every time we’d turn a corner, the scene grew even more amazing, and I’d look next to me and have no one to remark about it to.
Really, it's like this everywhere...
Dominick was good company though. We went about this way for many hours, just me with the iStod on listening to reggae. At tea time the chef brought out fried bananas and chai tea. I loved the bananas, and gave a few to Dominick. We later headed to a small prawn farm where I bought the largest shrimp I’ve ever seen. They were still alive, and were the length of my forearm. These shrimp would have cost a ton of money in the States, but were only ten bucks for a kilo in Kerala. After sunset we pulled the boat to shore, and Dominick and I went for a walk on one of the islands, where one of the scariest things on the trip happened. We were walking along, and I hear and saw something scurry into the bushes a foot ahead of me to my right.
My other screen saver.
I didn’t actually see the creature, but assumed by its speed that it must have been a small rodent or other small mammal. Looked up at Dominick, and his face was ashen. I have a rule, to never panic unless you see a local panicking. Dominick told me to be careful; we almost stepped on a snake. What kind of snake? A cobra…not cool!
At dinner, my chef cooked up the prawns in a masala curry, and I also had fried fish, 21-veggie casserole, lentils, coconut and bean casserole, and all sorts of other things. I sat eating this under the light of oil lamps with the boat gently bobbing up and down in the water. It looked like a scene out of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” There weren’t even any mosquitoes. As I sat there wondering what in the world could make this better, the answer came in the form of fireflies. I’ve never seen fireflies before, and was totally blown away. Those things really glow! So there I am, eating a gourmet meal on my own boat. The temperature was around 75 degrees, fireflies were everywhere, and there wasn’t a sound on the water except for the birds in the trees. Have I not told you that I consider myself lucky?