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The Backwaters

Kollam Travel Blog

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A houseboat to tour the Backwaters (Southern India)

Halfway the afternoon we should have arrived at Kollam, but when we notice the quiet awkward attitude of Ajit and Lomash in front of the bus, it’s obvious we’re lost again. The biggest problem seems to be to fact that we’re in the middle of nowhere and there are no rickshaws who can lead the way. The only solution seems to be that Ajit hits the breaks whenever there’s someone in sight, so that Lomash can run out the bus and ask for directions. It’s actually quite funny to observe this whole process…

After about an hour (there were a LOT of wrong directions) we arrive at a riverbank where three beautiful houseboats await us.

On a houseboat to tour the Backwaters (Southern India)
Each houseboat has three double bedrooms and an open living room and we’re happy to end up on a boat with our favorite travel companions: Jeroen, Cynthia, Raisha and Marlies. We’re welcomed with coconuts with straws in it, and within minutes we’re on our way through the backwaters.

All we have to do is sit in the luxurious open living room (complete with couches and sofa’s!), relax and enjoy the view. The shores of the rivers are lined with palm trees and green bushes and houses where women do their laundry or the dishes in the river water. Men either pass by in boats they have to paddle along or  small motor boats.

Once we’ve been on our way for about an hour, a small fishing boat lays next to our houseboat and the fisherman on the boat shows us huge shrimp.

A houseboat to tour the Backwaters (Southern India)
We can buy these for our dinner (dinner is included, unless you like to have shrimp). Everybody does, except for me, I’m a vegetarian.

As the evening falls, the houseboats stops at a river shore and throws out an anchor. Since it gets dark pretty quick, we are left with two choices: put down the large canvas flaps that cover the sides of the open living room and sit in almost complete darkness or leave it open and be surrounded by mosquitoes that swarm near the few lights we do have.

We decide to put the flaps down, this leaves us only with a couple of dozen mosquitoes we can’t see since it’s too dark. That is a problem easily solved as well, I have my bright yellow liquid of mosquito repellent from the herb garden! I get the bottle from my bag, take the cap off and place it on the dinner table.

Luckily Marlies is the kind of travel companion that always knows to bring the most impossible items you might need in very rare occasions.

A houseboat to tour the Backwaters (Southern India)
She actually brought small candle and a small light to tie to your head. The candles make sure we can see each other, the light on the head (which is alternated around the table) allows us to see what we eat and is a great help while peeling shrimp. Dinner is fabulous (the vegetarian version too) and the absence of sufficient light makes it all quite funny.

After dinner we leave the table and head to the couches to have some drinks, and I bring my bottle of scary yellow liquid and put it on the small coffee table. So far it works fabulously, mosquitoes really seem to stay clear of the stuff. We have our drinks, we have some laughs, but the highlight of the evening is without any doubt me reaching for my glass on the coffee table and knocking over the bottle of mosquito repellent. Even though we all immediately lift up packs of cigarettes, lighters and sunglasses, everything that has been touched by the scary yellow stuff melts.  

My sunglasses, cigarette lighter, plastic around packs of cigarettes, it all falls apart in our hands, really weird.

Tour of the Backwaters (Southern India)
As it turns out, the cashier at the herb garden was right. You don't want too much of this on your skin…

The entire coffee table is drenched in the repellent, we all try to clean it as good as we can and at first glance, the small table seems to have survived the attack. But as we later all go to our rooms to get some sleep, we joke that the table may melt overnight. It may be an interesting science experiment: small items with plastic completely disintegrate from a seconds’ touch with the liquid. Would a wooden table soaked in the liquid maybe slowly vanish?

anupa_rk says:
Kerala is a lovely place to visit.. amazing pictures you have in here..
Posted on: May 03, 2010
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A houseboat to tour the Backwaters…
A houseboat to tour the Backwater…
On a houseboat to tour the Backwat…
On a houseboat to tour the Backwa…
A houseboat to tour the Backwaters…
A houseboat to tour the Backwater…
A houseboat to tour the Backwaters…
A houseboat to tour the Backwater…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern I…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern …
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern I…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern …
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern I…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern …
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern I…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern …
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern I…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern …
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern I…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern …
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern I…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern …
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern I…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern …
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern I…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern …
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern I…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern …
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern I…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern …
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern I…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern …
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern I…
Tour of the Backwaters (Southern …
Dinner on the houseboat (Backwater…
Dinner on the houseboat (Backwate…
Dinner on the houseboat (Backwater…
Dinner on the houseboat (Backwate…
Dinner on the houseboat (Backwater…
Dinner on the houseboat (Backwate…
Kollam Sights & Attractions review
The absolute highlight of a visit to Kerala
A tour through the Backwaters on a houseboat is the absolute highlight of a visit to Kerala, maybe even of Southern India as a whole. It’s a very re… read entire review
Kollam
photo by: royalrider